How are solar panels made? Most of the solar panels you see (or own yourself) are photovoltaic (PV) panels. There are several types of PV panels, but it’s essentially the same principle with any. Each panel is made of conductive cells. Light particles (photons) knock electrons loose from the cell’s atoms. This process creates an electric current to harvest the sun’s energy.
It all starts with silicon crystals. The silicon metal needs to be mined then purified in an electric furnace. Pure cylinders, or ingots of silicon are then thinly sliced into rectangles that will fit a solar panel perfectly. The silicon is treated with both boron and phosphorus, resulting in a positive and negative charged semiconductors. Wires are then connected, creating a path for the electricity to power your home.
At this point, the cells are coated with an anti-reflective substance so that sunlight can be absorbed, rather than reflected, as much as possible.
The cells need to be sealed in a rubber or vinyl substance before final attachment to a panel. After sealing, the cells are transferred into an aluminum frame. From there, a layer of glass or plastic is added on top and the solar panel is complete.
Although thousands work in solar panel manufacturing, a lot of the work is done by automated robots. The increase of technology, allowing robots to help create solar panels, is a large contributor to why solar panel prices have decreased so much in the past five years.