Solar Panels

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells (PV) whose electrons absorb the sunlight and become highly-energised and so produce an electric current. Panels consist of thin layers of semi-conducting material charged differently between top and bottom layers. They can be encased in a sheet of glass or polymer resin and set in an aluminium frame. These panels can be mounted on roof tops or can be installed on the ground. Solar panels can be made of various materials. Monocrystalline or single-crystal silicon panels are made of cylindrical silicon ingots. They are popular since they are space-efficient and yield the highest power although they are also the most expensive. Polycrystalline silicon panels are made of raw silicon poured into a mould. They cost less but need to cover a larger surface. Amorphous silicon is chosen because of its flexibility. A newer is Building-Integrated Photovoltaics, which are combined with building materials to construct roofs, windows and so on. Solar panels can be found on buildings of all sizes. The choice of which to install depends on the costs, energy efficiency and available space. Because of their prohibitive costs, Building-Integrated Photovoltaics are only suitable for new buildings.

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