What are solar panels made of?

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When you come across a solar panel, it may look like a single comprehensive block. Still, the truth is that solar panels are made of a bevy of chemical components and materials, each crucial to the effective and efficient conversion of solar light into usable electricity.

Virtually all solar photovoltaic (PV) panels use crystalline silicon wafers as the main component material. Silicon is used to create semiconductors for about 95% of all solar modules on the market today, with the other 5% using experimental and in-development technologies like organic photovoltaic cells.

Solar panels materials

The semiconductors created for solar panels are what create the electricity: upon interaction with sunlight, the electrons in this material get knocked loose, which is the basis of electricity. This process is called the photovoltaic effect and it’s how solar panels work to generate power.

Of course, solar PV cells won’t be able to power your home without the rest of the operational components, including glass, plastic, metal, and wiring. Solar panels are typically covered by a layer of glass and an anti-reflective coating to protect the sensitive silicon solar cells while still letting the light through.

Photovoltaic cells

A photovoltaic (PV) cell is an energy-harvesting technology, that converts solar energy into useful electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect. There are several different types of PV cells which all use semiconductors to interact with incoming photons from the Sun in order to generate an electric current.  

A photovoltaic cell is comprised of many layers of materials, each with a specific purpose. The most important layer of a photovoltaic cell is the specially treated semiconductor layer. The solar cells are in fact encapsulated between two layers of tempered glass, bonded together using a special encapsulant. This protects the solar cells from moisture, dust, and other environmental factors such as hail, snow, and winds.

What is a solar back sheet?

Backsheets are the outermost “layer” of a solar panel, the first line of defense for solar cells. They play a critical role in protecting solar panels from harsh, varying environmental conditions over panel lifetimes. Solar panel frames are a key component in the design of a Solar System. The solar panel frame that you use for your mounting system will have a significant and direct impact on the functionality of the actual solar panel itself. By the way, when You contact solar companies, each of them will offer solar system financing mechanisms for customers and consumers, taking into account their characteristics.


In real life, the amount of electricity produced by a cell, known as its output, is based on its efficiency, the average annual sunshine of the surrounding area, and the type of installation. Scientists around the world are working on combining different PV technologies to create multi-junction cells. The utilization of different materials allows the cells to achieve a much higher efficiency than the maximum theoretical limit (33.5%) while keeping manufacturing costs in check. Research is mainly focused on thin-film silicon tandem cells, which yield a theoretical efficiency of 43%. The maximum theoretical efficiency of multi-junction cells is greater than 50%.