First, raw silicon dioxide—from either quartzite gravel or crushed quartz—is added to an electric arc furnace. A carbon arc is applied to release the oxygen. This process results in carbon dioxide and molten silicon. The molten silicon is 99 percent pure and one percent impure. The silicon undergoes more purification to drag out leftover impurities until the silicon is 100 percent pure.
To make solar cells, pure silicon is transformed into polycrystalline structures, called silicon boules. In this process, a seed crystal of silicon is placed in melted polycrystalline silicon. A cylindrical silicon boule forms as the seed crystal is slowly rotated and removed. Next, this pure silicon boule will need to be sliced into silicon wafers using a saw.
Silicon boules (ingots) are sliced into thin disks, called wafers, with a circular or wire saw for precision. Each wafer should be as thin as a single piece of paper. The wafers are polished to remove saw marks from the cutting process.
Next, the wafers are treated with phosphorous and boron in an oven-like chamber. This process is called doping, and it changes the surface of the wafers to ensure they can convert solar power into electricity. Silicon can reflect up to 35 percent of the sunlight that hits it; therefore, to reduce lost sunlight, an anti-reflective coating is then added to the wafer, such as titanium dioxide or silicon oxide.
Solar cells are soldered together and connected with metal strings to create a matrix-style structure. The rows of solar cells make up a module, and modules are framed with glass to protect against weather and other harsh impacts. Solar panels include a range of sizes, such as: • 72-cell panels for commercial, governmental and scientific use • 60-cell panels for standard use • 48-cell panels for small buildings and residential roofs Once you’ve achieved your desired size, a junction box is affixed for connections, wiring, springs and wire forms. Finally, the solar panel undergoes cleaning, inspection and finishing touches.
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Master Spring is at the forefront of the shift toward renewable and alternative energy. Our dedication to quality, innovation and customer service is what sets us apart. To get a free spring or wire form quote for your renewable energy project, contact us today.