What is a Solar Cell : Construction, Working & Its Applications

We know that solar panels can be designed with a number of solar cells. The main function of solar cells or PV cells is to generate electricity with a specific amount because each cell in the solar panel works individually. So by collecting the electricity from each cell, solar panel generates electricity. These panels used in homes to provide electricity for different needs. Once a number of panels are connected then it is known as a solar array. In this array, the electricity from each panel can be transmitted to an inverter. So this inverter converts the electricity from DC to AC to use in homes. Solar energy is not possible without the proper design of solar cells.

What is a Solar Cell?

Definition: A component that is used to design a solar panel is known as a solar cell or PV cell. These cells play an essential role in converting the energy from solar to electrical is known as PV effect. The electrical characteristics of solar cells like the voltage, resistance, and current will change when exposed to sunlight. A solar panel can be formed by combining a number of cells. A single solar cell generates a voltage of around 0.5 volts to 0.6 volts.

Solar-Cell
solar-cell

Solar Cell Construction

The construction of a solar cell is shown below. The pinnacle layer of this cell includes an anti-reflective cover glass. This glass guards the semiconductor materials against the sunlight. In this cell, small grid patterns with slight metallic strips are available under the glass. So that the top layer of this cell can be formed by using the glass, metallic strips & anti-reflective coat.

Solar-Cell-Construction
solar-cell-construction

The most important part of the cell is the middle layer where solar energy can be formed through the effect of photovoltaic. It consists of two semiconductor layers which are made up of p-type and n-type materials.

The base layer of this cell consists of two parts. A rear metallic electrode is beneath the p-type semiconductor and it works with the metallic grid to generate an electric current in the pinnacle layer.

A reflective layer is the last layer in this cell used to decrease the loss of light within the system. Based on the application, solar cells utilize various materials based on their application & cost.

Solar Cell Working

Once the solar energy falls on a solar panel, then it absorbs. Each panel in the solar panel includes semiconductor material to combine the properties of insulators and metals. So it makes to convert the light energy into electrical. Once the energy from the sun falls on the panel then a semiconductor absorbs, the energy of photons transfers to electrons and allows the flow of electrons through the material like an electrical current. There are different kinds of semiconductor materials used in solar cells like Silicon, Photovoltaics like Thin-film, Organic, and Concentration photovoltaics.

Series Combination of PV Cells

When two or more solar cells are connected in series then it is called a series combination of solar cells. The connection of solar cells in series can be done by connecting the +Ve terminal of the panel to the –Ve terminal of the second panel. In this connection, the output current of the solar cells is the same but their i/p voltage becomes twice.

For example: If we connect four solar panels in a series combination then each solar panel rated at 10 V & 5 amps, then the total array of panels would be 40 volts at 5 amps.

Parallel Combination of PV Cells

When two or more solar cells are connected in parallel then it is called a parallel combination of solar cells. The connection of solar cells in parallel can be done by connecting all the +Ve terminals of the panels jointly whereas all the –Ve terminals of the panels jointly. In this parallel connection, the output current of the solar cells is twice but their i/p voltage is the same.

For example: If we connect four solar panels in a parallel combination then each solar panel rated at 10 V as well as 5 amps, then the total array of panels would be 10 volts at 20 amps.

Series-Parallel Combination of PV Cells

In series to the parallel combination of solar cells, both the magnitudes of the current as well as voltage increases. Thus, these panels are designed with the series and parallel connection of the cells.

Advantages

The advantages of the solar cells include the following.

  • It is a renewable energy source
  • By using this, electricity bills can be reduced.
  • Maintenance cost is less
  • Simple to operate
  • It does not generate noise and emissions
  • It does not use water or fuel to generate electricity.
  • The lifespan of these cells is around 30 years
  • It needs less maintenance

Disadvantages of Solar Energy

The disadvantages of the solar cells include the following.

  • It depends on the weather
  • Storage of solar energy is expensive
  • Occupies more space

Applications

The applications of the solar cells include the following.

  • Electric fences
  • Remote lighting systems
  • Water treatment
  • Water pumping
  • Emergency power
  • Satellites
  • Power supplies which are portable

FAQs

1). what is the difference between a solar cell and photovoltaic cell?

A PV cell is a subset of solar cells whereas a solar cell converts solar emission to functional energy.

2). what are the types of solar cells?

They are thin-film, monocrystalline and polycrystalline,

3). what is the maximum power of solar cells?

A monocrystalline type Silicon solar cell generates 0.60 V at 25 °C cell temperature. The temperature of the solar cell in full sunshine will close to 45 °C.

4). Are solar cells a diode?

Yes, it is a diode?

5). what is another name for photovoltaic cells?

Solar cell

Thus, this is all about an overview of the solar cell, construction with working and its applications. The solar cell efficiency is just the sum of electrical power generated from a cell that is separated from the energy that is coming in from sunlight. The sum of electricity generated from solar cells mainly depends on the value of the beam accessible as well as numerous characteristics of this cell.

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