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how is photovoltaic cells made

Photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells, are the key component in solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. These cells are made using a variety of materials and processes, which contribute to their efficiency and functionality. In this article, we will the process of making photovoltaic cells and the materials involved.

Materials Used in Photovoltaic Cell Production

The most commonly used material in photovoltaic cell production is silicon. Silicon is a semiconductor that can absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. Other materials such as cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide, and organic compounds are also used in certain types of solar cells.

Silicon based Photovoltaic Cell Production

1. Silicon Ingots Production The production process starts with the purification of silicon to create silicon ingots. The purification process involves melting raw silicon and then solidifying it to form a single crystalline structure. This process ensures the uniformity and quality of the silicon material.

2. Wafer Production Once the silicon ingots are formed, they are sliced into thin wafers using a specialized sawing process. These wafers serve as the base for the photovoltaic cells and undergo further processing to enhance their efficiency.

3. Cell Fabrication The next step involves adding a layer of phosphorous to one side of the silicon wafer and a layer of boron to the other side. This creates a positive-negative (p-n) junction, which is essential for the cell to convert sunlight into electricity.

4. Cell Assembly Multiple cells are then assembled into a photovoltaic module, also known as a solar panel. The cells are interconnected to provide the necessary electrical output and encapsulated to protect them from external elements.

Thin-Film Photovoltaic Cell Production

1. Deposition In thin-film solar cell production, a thin layer of semiconductor material such as cadmium telluride or copper indium gallium selenide is deposited onto a substrate. This process can be done through various techniques such as sputtering, chemical vapor deposition, or electrodeposition.

2. Cell Formation Once the semiconductor layer is deposited, it undergoes a series of processes to create the p-n junction and other necessary features for solar cell functionality.

3. Module Assembly Similar to silicon-based cells, thin-film cells are assembled into modules and encapsulated for protection.


The production of photovoltaic cells involves intricate processes and the use of various materials to create solar cells that can efficiently convert sunlight into electricity. As the demand for renewable energy sources continues to rise, advancements in photovoltaic cell production are leading to more affordable and efficient solar technology. By understanding the materials and processes involved in solar cell production, we can appreciate the complexity and innovation behind this sustainable energy solution.

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