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Solar Panels - Different Modules

Solar panels are designed and built into the different modules. Silicon photovoltaic cells are used in the production of most of the modules that make up a solar panel altogether. In this article, we are going to have an insight into the different modules of solar panels.

In a sense of broad category view, solar panels can be either of the modules – monocrystalline or multicrystalline.

Technology advancement in the manufacturing process of solar panels has made it possible to avail thin film modules of solar cells. These have cost advantage coupled with high efficiency. These varieties of solar panels are equipped with modules that vary in thickness from few nanometers to tens of micrometers. Following materials are mainly used in the production of thin film modules:

  • Amorphous Silicon
  • Cadmium Telluride
  • Organic solar cells
  • Copper Indium Gallium Selenide

Thin film photovoltaic cells are mainly available in modules of very large sizes and are very much sophisticated in nature.

Rigid thin film modules

These modules invoke the production of solar cells and their respective modules in the same line of production. Glass substrates are used in order to create these modules. Electrical connections are then integrated as required. There is an encapsulation of one more thin glass covering to the front or back sheet. This module also has many sub-categories of technologies. When amorphous form of silicon is used in manufacturing process, it gives a throughput of sunlight conversion rate as 6-12%.

Flexible thin film modules

The name of this module is derived from the flexibility of the substrate that is used in this kind of module’s production line. In one production line, cells and modules are created simultaneously. This is done with a help of photoactive layer that is deposited along with many other essential layers on the above discussed nature of substrate. The assembly of cells into their respective modules is governed by the lamination process that takes place on to a transparent and colorless polymer on one side and fluorpolymer on the other side.

Assembly of electronics and modules of solar cells

Advancement in research has made it possible to embed electronics on to the photovoltaic modules. This makes possible, the measurement of various parameters viz. performance monitoring as well as detection of faults if any at the basic level of the modules. This saves time and effort to troubleshoot the entire assemble of solar panel system. In some solar panels, solar optimizers are also put to use to a great extent. Solar optimizers are DC to DC converters. They are deployed to achieve maximum power harvest from solar panels.

Modules performance parameters

In addition to the specified technical jargons that equip any solar panel system, these so called modules must be able to meet the standards of withstanding various extremities subjected by weather. This can be natural processes like heat, rain, cold, hailstorms, etc. for a certain number of years. The module performance under these extreme conditions is useful in determining and offering a warranty period tag attached to them when they are launched into the market for commercial use. Typically it is the quote of the manufacturers that state module performance of 90% at rated power for 10 years and around 80% of rated power for a period of 25 years.

Module performance testing helps in the marketability of the product like solar panels. Reports from an established market research firm PVinsights state that there has been approximately 120% growth in solar panel markets taking into consideration their installation on a worldwide basis.

Thus we have taken a deep insight into the solar panels though their breakdown structure of solar modules, their types and key performance indicators.

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