Everything You Need to Know about the Output of a Solar Cell
If you’re planning to buy a solar panel, you need to know the voltage of a solar cell. Why? Because the voltage of a solar cell determines how much energy the panels can produce.
Before explaining what the voltage of a single solar cell is, let’s first understand what a solar cell is.
Well, a solar cell is a small semiconductor device. When assembled, it forms what we know as solar panels. In other terms, you can also say these solar cells act as a foundation for solar panels.
They mainly collect the energy from the sunlight and convert it into electrical energy for charging appliances. Each solar cell voltage determines how much power the panels can provide for everyday electricity needs.
Want to get more insights on solar cells and what the voltage of a single solar cell is? If so, dive in!
How Are Solar Cells Made?
Solar cells, in general, are made of two semiconductor materials: silicon and germanium.
Out of these two, silicon solar cells are the most preferred ones. Not only are they effective, but they are easily manufactured.
- – First, the silicon cells are processed.
- – Once it’s done, they take the shape of a silicon cylinder.
- – The manufacturer then cuts the silicon cylinder into different wafers or slices.
- – These slices are then used to make solar cells.
When in the purest form, these cells have a dark blue colour. You will find these refined solar cells in monocrystalline panels.
On the contrary, the ones with a mixed colour are polycrystalline cells used in making polycrystalline panels.
Talking about what the voltage of a single solar cell is, it ranges from 0.5 to 0.6 volts when connected in a series form. Each solar cell generates 28 to 40 milliamp per sq cm current.
The Function of a Solar Cell
We have already discussed the solar cell’s primary function, which is to absorb energy from the sunlight and transform it into electrical power. But how does it work?
Remember we discussed semiconductors? So, solar cells are made of n-type and p-type silicon semiconductors.
When the sunlight falls on the solar cells, the photons from the sunlight lose their power. The electrons then utilise this power to pass from the n-type layer and flow into the electric circuit. And that’s how electric current is generated.
How much power is provided to the appliances? Well, that depends on what the voltage of solar cell is, which again depends on how much energy the solar cell captures from the sunlight.
Types of Solar Cells
Now that you know what the voltage of a single solar cell is, we’ll discuss monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells.
Please note: it is important to remember that the voltage of a single solar cell is not fixed. It can differ depending on which solar cell you choose, poly or mono.
Let us go through the table to learn the differences between polycrystalline and monocrystalline cells.
|Monocrystalline Cells||Polycrystalline Cells|
|Made from the purest form of silicon wafers||Not made from the purest form of solar cells|
|Made of a single silicon crystal||Made of multiple silicon crystals|
|Silicon is cut to form monocrystalline cells||Silicon is melted to form polycrystalline cells|
|More Efficient||Less efficient|
|Dark blue colour||Mixed colour|
|Can sustain in all temperature conditions||Cannot sustain in all temperature conditions|
|The degradation rate is 0.5%||The degradation rate is 0.7 to 0.8%/year|
|Has a good appearance||Has an average appearance|
|More area efficient||Less area efficient|
Power Generation from a Solar Cell
We know that the output of solar cell is of the order of 0.5 to 0.6 volts. Simply put, each solar cell generates voltage within this range.
So, when the solar cells are connected to form a solar panel, the voltage of each solar cell is multiplied by the total number of solar cells used in the PV modules. The PV module then sends that current and voltage to the electric circuit to power up the appliances.
For instance, if 32 solar cells are used in a solar panel, the voltage of a single solar cell is multiplied by the 32 to determine the energy output of a solar panel.
The panels’ voltage can differ depending on the number of solar cells used. And the voltage determines the applications of solar panels.
So, before purchasing, you can make this calculation to determine whether the voltage of a single solar cell is sufficient for your requirement.
Pricing of Solar Cells
There is no specific price of solar cells. The cost can differ depending on what the voltage of the solar cell is, from which brand it has been purchased, the solar cell size and type, and the technologies used in making the cells.
Besides, efficiency also plays a major role in deciding the price of solar cells. For this reason, monocrystalline cells are costlier than polycrystalline ones.
You can contact the manufacturer to know what the voltage of a single solar cell is and the price of the solar panel based on it before making a buying decision.
Pros and Cons of Solar Cells
Now that you know the output of the solar cell is of the order of 0.5 to 0.6 voltage, let’s understand the advantages and disadvantages of solar cells.
- – Solar cells generate renewable electricity from sunlight
- – Although the installation cost is slightly higher, solar panels produce free electricity post-installation
- – The energy produced is eco-friendly
- – Good quality solar cells are highly durable
- – Ultimately, your electricity bill will reduce to a great extent
There’s probably just one limitation: solar panels require a shadow-free area. So, space could be an issue.
Why Isn’t Solar Energy More Popular?
You might think if solar energy has so many advantages, why is it not widely used? Here are some reasons why:
- – Solar panels are slightly costlier. Since people might not understand that solar electricity is free and that the upfront installation cost will break even very soon, they hold back from switching to solar.
- – A myth that holds people back from solar installation is that the solar system won’t produce power during the rainy season. But, it does – the efficiency slightly drops, but the system produces power as it needs light to generate electricity, not heat.
Now that you know what the voltage of a single solar cell is, do not delay the installation of a solar system any further.
Consider the advantages and disadvantages of solar cells before making a decision on what kind of panels you would require – mono or poly. SolarSquare will help you in making the best buying decisions.
Also, ensure that you know what the voltage of a single solar cell is for your selected solar panel before placing the order.
Q. What affects the output of solar cells?
The voltage of a single solar cell is one of the factors that determine the output of the solar cells.
Other than that, solar cell size, type, and technologies used in manufacturing the cell also contribute to the cells’ energy production.
Q. Can solar cells generate power in shady areas?
They can, but not enough. Direct sunlight must strike the surface of the solar cells for optimum power generation.
Q. What the voltage of a single solar cell is?
The voltage of a single solar cell is 0.5 to 0.6 volts.