Why choose monocrystalline silicon solar panels

october 14, 2022


1. Classification of solar cells

In 1839, the photovoltaic effect was first observed in a chemical battery by French physicist Becquerel. In 1876, the photovoltaic effect was also observed in the system of solid-state selenium (Se). During subsequent years the first Se/CuO-based solar cell was developed. 

Solar cells can be classified by the cell structure into Mott-Schottky (MS), M1S, MINP and heterojunction (such as ITO(n)/Si(p), a-Si/c-Si, Ge/Si) cells, etc., among which the homogenous P-N junction cell structure always dominates the market. Meanwhile, the other structures also play an important role in the development of solar cells. The types of solar cells classified by what materials they are produced from include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon thin film, copper indium selenium (CIS), cadmium telluride (CdTe) and gallium arsenide cells, etc. Silicon is the second most abundant element in the earth's crust. In terms of semiconductor material, silicon is the most extensively studied and exhibits the most mature technology.   


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2. History and the development of crystalline silicon solar cell

The development of crystalline silicon solar cells can be divided into three stages. The era of modern silicon solar cell began in 1954 when Chapin and other Bell Laboratory scientists invented the first monocrystalline silicon cell with an efficiency of 6%. Silicon solar cells were first used in the spacecraft in 1958. During the subsequent decade, the silicon solar cells were more widely used in space with the development of cell technology and the enhanced stability of cell design. This is the first development stage of silicon solar cells. 

The second stage began in the early 1970s. In this stage, back surface field, fine line metallization, shallow junction formation and surface texturization were introduced into the solar cell manufacturing process, which greatly improved the conversion efficiency of solar cells. Meanwhile, the silicon solar cells were more widely used on Earth. 

In the late 1970s, the production of solar cells used on Earth exceeded that used in space and the cost of solar cells was continually reduced. 

The third stage of rapid development of silicon solar cells began in the early 1990s. In this stage, technologies such as surface passivation, reduction of surface recombination, post treatment to extend carrier lifetime and improvement of light trapping effect were introduced into the crystalline silicon solar cell manufacturing process.

3. Advantages of monocrystalline silicon solar panels

Since the commercialization and application of solar panels on Earth in the mid-1970s, crystalline silicon has dominated the market as a basic material used in solar panels. 

By the crystalline silicon type, solar cells can be classified into monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, thin film crystalline silicon and amorphous silicon solar cells. The invention of polycrystalline silicon solar cells makes it possible to mass produce large-size square silicon ingots suitable for solar cell production, which requires simple manufacturing equipment and process, lower quality and less quantity of silicon. Thus, the production cost of solar cells is greatly reduced. 

However, because of the material and process defects (such as grain boundaries and dislocations, micro-defects, impurities and transition group metal contamination in the manufacturing process), the conversion efficiency of polycrystalline silicon solar cells is very low. 

Produced from high-purity silicon grown by the floating zone (FZ) or Czochralski (CZ) process, monocrystalline solar cells have an average conversion efficiency of about 24%, which is 5% higher than that of polycrystalline silicon solar cells. 

As the photovoltaic industry develops, the cost of monocrystalline silicon solar panels is continually reduced to nearly the same as the cost of polycrystalline silicon solar panels. Because of its rich reserve, stable performance, non-toxic characteristics and the constantly increasing conversion efficiency, monocrystalline silicon has become the most common material used in solar panels in the market.

4. The future development trend of solar panel materials

From the perspective of solid-state physics, silicon is not actually the most ideal photovoltaic material, because as an indirect band gap semiconductor material it does not absorb light very well. Therefore, studying alternative photovoltaic materials has become a trend. Cadmium telluride (CdTe), copper indium selenide (CuInSe2) and perovskite are considered to be three promising photovoltaic materials. So far, some progress has been made in the research of these materials. However, there is still a long way to go for these alternatives to be used to mass-produce solar cells and replace crystalline silicon. 

BigBlue, founded in 2015, is a pioneer of the solar generator industry and a global top-selling solar generator brand recognized by over 100 authorized media and organizations worldwide. Our products include CellPowa series power station and SolarPowa series solar panl. With over 7 years of experience in the field, BigBlue is now a global energy professional brand, and one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of outdoor solar utilities. From day one of the brand, BigBlue aims to solve people’s worries about lacking power by its clean and renewable energy solutions for individuals, families, businesses and societies, helping people to create an infinite future.  Learn more >


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