Polycrystalline Solar Cell

Polycrystalline solar cell


The beautiful blue pattern of individual silicon crystals identifies this as a polycrystalline solar cell. This is made from an ingot that is cast from molten silicon, cooled slowly then sliced into wafers. The more efficient, but considerably more expensive, monocrystalline silicon utilises a special process to grow the ingot from a seed crystal. Light hitting the cell is absorbed by the silicon and can knock an electron out of its orbit around a silicon atom. If this electron makes its way to the surface of the cell, it is gathered by the silver contact strips seen here - first by the thin vertical ‘fingers’ then on to the thicker horizontal ‘busbars’ and away from the cell as an electrical current.

Image © Antonio Romero


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