We all know that we should each do our bit towards saving the environment and that having solar panels installed is one of the best ways to do this as it not only helps but also saves us money by reducing our utility bills. But, can you honestly say you fully understand how solar PV cells work? Well here are a few pieces of information to help you with this:
1. The first modern photovoltaic (PV) cell was developed in 1954 by Bell Laboratories.
Initially these cells were developed to be used on toys and other small instruments as the cost of the electricity which was produced was very high. It was then suggested that the cells be added to Vanguard I satellite in order to extend the lifetime of the spacecraft which was originally only meant to run on batteries.
2. Elliot Berman reduced the price of solar PV cells.
In the late 1960’s Berman investigated a new method of using silicon in the ribbon process. After being unable to secure funding it was the company Exxon who picked up the project. By 1969 Berman was working in an Exxon lab. Improvements to the solar PV cells include realising ‘old’ silicon was better than brand new and growth in cell size.
3. There is a wide range of materials used in the panels
Depending on the materials used will affect the efficiency of the solar PV cells. The more expensive they are the more efficient they will be. Also some cells are designed to convert sunrays that reach the Earth’s surface and some are made to convert sunlight from the Earth’s atmosphere also. The materials which are currently used in photovoltaic cells are monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium selenide/sulphide.