Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell: Components, Working Principle, Price, and Pros & Cons
The amorphous silicon solar cells are a variant of thin-film cells. Manufacturers have produced these cells using premium-quality amorphous silicon material.
These cells are used as semiconductors. They are inserted into the thin films of several substances like metal, glass, and plastic.
An amorphous silicon solar cell has a high absorption capacity and is available commercially. It is ideal for use in devices with low power, like pocket calculators.
Moreover, this particular solar cell is far more efficient than monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells.
What Are Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells?
The amorphous silicon solar cell is one of the oldest types of thin-film cell. It is made of non-crystalline silicon and comes at a low price.
These amorphous silicon solar cells are useful in thin-film applications like buildings and photovoltaic power cells. Furthermore, they are utilised in many solar panel systems due to their flexibility.
These amorphous silicon cells have a thickness of 1 micrometre and offer a 7% efficiency rate.
If the operators raise their efficiency to 10%, the amorphous silicon solar cells can become one of the cheapest solar cells on the market. They belong to the second-generation solar panel category.
How Are Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells Made?
The construction of the amorphous silicon solar cells depends on plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD).
This technique is used to generate silicon-thin films. The base is made of plastic or stainless steel through a roll-to-roll method. The amorphous silicon is placed one over the other to make a thin layer of amorphous silicon solar cells that are used to develop a solar panel.
Due to the long evaporation process of the roll-to-roll method, the total cost of manufacture is marginally lower than that of crystalline solar cells. In the case of the multilayer stack design, the battery also has a higher price.
Working Of An Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell
The amorphous silicon solar cell operates like monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells. These cells convert solar energy into electricity through photovoltaics.
When the sun rays fall on a powered device, the protons of the amorphous silicon solar cell absorb the energy from the sun rays and send it to the electrons.
The electrons take the energy, convert it into electric current, and supply power to different electronic-powered applications.
Since amorphous silicon solar cells have low efficiency, customers can use them in small electronic devices like calculators. But after the invention of the ‘stacking’ method, these cells can be used in multiple ways.
How Is Power Generated From An Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell?
The power is generated when the electrons transform the energy to the devices. There are positive and negative electrode cells in the amorphous silicon cell.
The electron passes through both these electrodes to charge the equipment. On passing through the electrodes, the solar cells charge up and convert the energy into the device’s battery.
The internal battery takes the energy from the electron and charges the device when the battery is installed.
In poor climatic conditions or during the rainy season and night, the amorphous silicon solar cell releases the stored energy and charges the device in a similar pattern.
Pricing Of Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells
The cost of an amorphous silicon solar cell is approximately Rs. 200 per piece. It is cheap due to its 6% to 7% efficiency and limited usage.
If the amorphous silicon cell’s efficiency is improved by 4%, the costs will likely increase. The price of a cell varies depending on its application, brand, market value, and features.
The more a cell adheres to the market requirements and demands, the higher its price will be. The amorphous silicon solar cells are cheaper than the other silicon solar cells.
Besides, users can deposit them in cheap substrate materials. Thus, they come at an economical cost.
Pros And Cons Of Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell
The amorphous silicon solar cell has many advantages and disadvantages. Dive in for details!
Advantages of using amorphous silicon solar cell
- It functions at a low manufacturing cost.
- It does not require a large area to accommodate.
- The amorphous silicon is available in square, round, hexagonal, and other complex shapes.
- These solar cells can be used as light sensors.
- It can perform at 25 °C temperature.
- The amorphous silicon solar cell offers high charging efficiency.
- It is highly flexible.
- It is resistant to shaking.
Disadvantages of using amorphous silicon solar cell
- It has low cell conversion efficiency.
- It has a short lifespan of two to three years.
Why Isn’t Solar Energy More Popular?
The sun’s rays are abundant, yet the use of solar energy is limited. Although people know its utilities and efficiency, not many people use sunlight as a resource.
Here are some common reasons why solar power isn’t yet popularly used worldwide.
- It’s true that once the installation is completed, it requires no additional cost to deliver electric current to the household appliances. But the initial price is relatively high to afford.
- The second reason is the grid infrastructure. Setting up a grid infrastructure requires a huge space. People might find it difficult to arrange ample space for the installation.
- The third reason is that the efficiency of solar cells is only 22% since the remaining amount of sunlight that strikes the panels is wasted as heat.
- Manufacturing and maintenance of the semiconductor materials used by solar panels are expensive and need abundant resources.
To summarise, in terms of flexibility, amorphous silicon solar cells are the best in the market. Currently, these cells help charge up small devices like calculators.
A user can purchase an amorphous silicon solar cell, place it on thin films, and use it for charging their calculators. However, the efficiency of these cells needs to be increased to improve their performance in more significant applications.
1. What are the Amorphous materials used as a variant of thin-film cells?
Amorphous materials are solids without long-range orders. Due to the absence of these orders, these materials are difficult to analyse and study, unlike crystalline materials.
2. What is the fundamental difference between polycrystalline and amorphous silicon solar cells?
The primary difference between polycrystalline and amorphous is that the former has a long-range order, whereas the latter doesn’t.
3. Do amorphous silicon solar panels require a lot of space to accommodate?
No, the amorphous silicon solar panels do not require a lot of space to accommodate. Unlike monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar panels, they can easily fit in small sizes.