Did you know the core components of solar cells comprise solar wafers?
Yes, you read that right! More than half of the utilized pure silicon gets processed to produce solar wafers.
The dark-colored panels you see on the roof of your house are composed of solar cells. They provide power for lamps, refrigerators, and other domestic equipment, illuminating homes.
The solar cells are made up of a large part of thin silicon wafers, which are quite costly because their manufacture requires a lot of time and energy.
Let us know more about how solar cells are manufactured and what is the role of solar wafers in the process.
Industry Framework for the Manufacture of Solar Cells
The Photovoltaic industry’s manufacturing chain, which runs from quartz to solar cells, typically includes three broad categories of businesses.
These either specialise in the whole supply chain or specific segments of it:
- Manufacturers of quartz-based solar cells are businesses that essentially control the entire supply chain.
- Quartz-based solar wafer manufacturers are businesses that control the whole production process up to the cutting of silicon wafers. Thereafter, they sell those wafers to facilities with their solar cell manufacturing machinery.
- Makers of Photovoltaic Panels, with their wafer-to-cell assembly plants, regulate the quality and cost of the solar cells. This category essentially refers to the solar Photovoltaic module companies.
So, which types of solar wafers do these manufacturers produce? Let us find out!
Types of Solar Wafers
Depending on your particular demands and business, you may employ a variety of wafers.
The single-crystal solar wafers are the most prevalent types of solar wafers. They come in three main types, including –
- – Type A: The most popular form of solar wafers, Type A, has a purity level of 99.999 percent. It is used in smartphones, video recorders, and computer storage devices. It is also crucial in other devices requiring a high density and functionality.
- – Type B: Due to its high purity value, type B is more challenging to create than type A. However, it is employed in biosensors and high-quality colour hardware applications.
- – Type C: This wafer, a less expensive alternative to type B, has a purity of less than 99.999 percent. But, it satisfies the majority of uses. It is employed in the creation of logic chips. This solar wafer gives integrated circuits their power; thus, making it possible for computers and smartphones to transmit data and carry out operations.
How are Solar Wafers Transformed into Solar Cells?
It’s an intricate process that has a series of steps involved. Let’s explore them one by one.
- Checking and treating in advance
Raw silicon solar wafers are examined to ensure they are free of flaws like scrapes, cracks, and fractures.
Each solar wafer is opened after testing and then washed using industrial soap. This will assist to get rid of any metal leftovers or other wastage that can affect how well the solar wafers work.
The silicon wafers undergo surfacing after inspection and washing. By doing this, the reflection loss of the incoming light (incident light) is avoided, increasing the efficiency of the wafers.
This indicates that the incident light does not reflect and dissipates into the environment. Nonetheless, it still lands on the surface after rebounding.
The most popular method for texturing solar wafers is random pyramid texturing. This method produces a tidy and orderly crystalline nature of monocrystalline silicon.
It is simpler for electrons to go across the cells because of this arrangement of atoms.
- Acid Removal
Solar wafers go through acid washing after texturing. Any leftover post-texturing dirt from the wafers’ faces is removed in this stage. Two stages can be used while cleaning with acid:
- – The HF Layers of silicon are oxidised by vapour so that they may be removed by etching.
- – HCl removes metallic deposits on the surface by collecting them.
Top Solar Wafer Manufacturing Companies
Now that you know what solar wafers are and their significance, you might be interested in exploring some trustworthy manufacturers.
If so, the upcoming sections are goldmines that you must have a look at.
- Hemlock Semiconductors
This American business focuses on developing robust and high logic components for microprocessors.
Hemlock also operates in the markets for graphics and digital signal processing units.
The company was founded in 1990, and Hawaii is where its corporate headquarters are located. The business is one of the top 10 silicon wafer producers worldwide.
A business called LANCO is well-known for producing and selling solar wafers. Its main office was in Japan.
As one of the world’s top ten silicon wafer producers, LANCO began its operations in 1971 and created several goods. They consist of –
- Tooling for fabricating semiconductor devices
- Grinding and polishing apparatus
- The ion implantation apparatus
- Electrical discharge devices with ions
A Norwegian business called Elkem specialises in producing silicon wafers. The company is based in Trondheim and makes semiconductors.
It also creates additional substances needed in the nano-electric and electronic industries.
- MEMC Electronic Materials
China’s Nanjing is home to the corporate headquarters of MEMC Electronic Materials. Thus, it is among the top 10 silicon wafer producers worldwide. The ranking is dependent on its yearly production capacity.
MEMC makes high-purity polysilicon wafers, making DRAM memory, logic chips, and other electronic devices possible.
Additionally, MEMC does substance research and development. The company produces very pure silicon material and semiconductor devices.
- Manufacturer of Silicon Wafers: Okmetic
High-purity silicon wafers are produced and utilised to make digital and analogue devices. To aid the same, Okmetic established operations in Germany in 1992.
Solar wafers are a unit of semiconductor substances shaped like a fragile disc and made of silicon. They’re one of the most prevalent semiconductors in use today.
Silicon-based PV cells and electronic integrated circuits (ICs) are made from these wafers.
The wafer acts as the foundation of PV designs. Doping, implantation, and etching are a few techniques engineers use to finish the electronic circuit assembly.
Modern industry has accepted the usage of nanoscale wafer architecture. Therefore, the focus is now on how to match such complex microchips with cutting-edge cells and other tiny components.
Q. What is a wafer-based solar cell?
As the name suggests, slices of either one or multi-crystalline silicon are used to create wafer-based silicon cells.
They have the second-highest yields of any commercial photovoltaic technology, only surpassed by GaAs-based cells.
Q. Why do photovoltaic cells require silicon wafers?
Sunlight is transformed into electricity by solar cells made of silicon wafers. This is because a silicon wafer is thermally stable and robust.
Q.What is the primary drawback of Silicon cell technology in solar wafers?
The following are the limitations of using solar wafers:
- – They are costly
- – Their performance might get affected at high temperatures.