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Technologies

Crystalline PV

The most common sort of panel in today's PV market and can be split into two different categories.

Monocrystalline PV

A single crystal of silicon is grown and sliced into 0.3mm wafers to make up each PV cell and can be seen as a round, semi round or square cell within a PV module. Panel efficiencies tend to be between 14% and 18%.

Polycrystalline PV

The silicon is melted and cast into a large cuboid which cools evenly in one direction, this allows the production of large numbers of crystalline silicon cells with grain sizes from a few mm to several cm. This is sliced into 0.3mm wafers. The panel appearances has no defined cell formation as in mono crystalline and as the crystals are not uniform under examination they can clearly be seen (frost pattern) Panel efficiencies tend to be slightly lower than monocrystalline

Thin Film

Thin film is a broad term used to describe a variety of different technologies which do not use crystalline silicon cells. The basic thin film cell is made up of amorphous silicon (s-Si) allowing cheaper production, and better absorption of light. This allows the cells to be manufactured thinner than traditional silicon cells and therefore cheaper. In addition the manufacturing process uses much lower temperatures, using less energy in their production and thereby reducing the embedded carbon.

Under real outdoor conditions the operating temperatures of PV can reach 80oC, especially if building integrated due to a lack of ventilation. At this temperature, thin film panels can have a 20% better yield than when compared to traditional crystalline modules of the same power rating.

 

 

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