Solar Cell and Solar Panel
Solar photovoltaic (PV) or simply called solar panel is a developed technology that has a life expectancy of 25-30 years. The term “life” of a solar panel is typically related to the degradation rate of solar cell that reduces to about 80% effective at 25 years. However, the cell is not dead, but with limited rate of production. The overall life of a solar cell is about 50 years where no further outcome is expected. In Australia, the minimum performance warranty of solar panels is set to be no less than 25-30 years.
Solar panel is a semiconductor device that consists of several solar cells. The most common type of solar cell is made of silicon. The silicon allows sunlight (photon) to release free electrons thus producing the direct current (DC) electricity. The process of capturing photons and producing DC electricity is called photovoltaic (PV), therefore a solar is also called PV module.
One solar cell generates limited amount of DC electricity; therefore, several cells are interconnected in a waterproof and sealed platform to form a solar panel. To produce a greater amount of electrical energy, solar cells may be arranged in series and multiple modules are linked together to build an array. The efficiency of solar panel is impacted by temperature. Lower is the temperature, higher will be cell efficiency and vice versa. Thus, various technologies have been implemented to manufacture the solar panels which help increasing its efficiency.
Depending on required wattage, manufacturing capability and automation, a solar panel could consist of 60 and 72 cells (also called full cell panel – ), or 120 and 140 cells (also called half-cut or split-cell panel– ).
This topic is technical and sometimes difficult to understand, but we tried keeping the information simple for your understanding.