DIY Solar Cell Kits

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Do It Yourself (DIY) solar panel kits are for people looking to get hands-on experience with their solar panel equipment and installation. Solar panel kits allow the buyer to assemble components together towards making a solar panel, and might save money compared to buying finished products. It can be a great money saving measure and very educational at the same time. Mosts kits contains the essential DIY components you need to connect solar panel cells: solar cells, tabbing wires, bus wire, a flux pen, and solder.

Types of Solar Panels

There are three general families of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on the market today. They are monocrystalline (also called single crystal), polycrystalline silicon, and thin film. Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), integration of photovoltaics (PV) into the building envelope, is also a type solar panel system being used today.

Monocrystalline solar panels
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    Monocrystalline, or Single Crystal, is the original PV technology invented in 1955. Monocrystalline modules are composed of cells cut from a piece of continuous crystal and are known not to wear out. The material forms a cylinder which is sliced into thin circular wafers. To minimize waste, the cells may be fully round or they may be trimmed into other shapes, retaining more or less of the original circle. Because each cell is cut from a single crystal, it has a uniform color which is dark blue.


Polycrystalline solar panels
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    Polycrystalline cells are made from similar silicon material as monocrystalline except instead of being grown into a single crystal, they are melted and poured into a mold. This forms a square block that can be cut into square wafers with less waste of space or material than round single-crystal wafers. As the material cools, it crystallizes in an imperfect manner, forming random crystal boundaries. The efficiency of energy conversion is slightly lower. This merely means that the size of the finished module is slightly greater per watt than most single crystal modules. The cells look different from single crystal cells. The surface has a jumbled look with many variations of blue color.

    In addition to the above processes, some companies have developed alternatives such as ribbon growth and growth of crystalline film on glass. Most crystalline silicon technologies yield similar results, with high durability. Twenty-five-year warranties are common for crystalline silicon modules. Single crystal tends to be slightly smaller in size per watt of power output, and slightly more expensive than polycrystalline.

    The construction of finished modules from crystalline silicon cells is generally the same, regardless of the technique of crystal growth. The most common construction is by laminating the cells between a tempered glass front and a plastic backing, using a clear adhesive similar to that used in automotive safety glass. It is then framed with aluminum.

Thin Film Solar Panels
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    A thin film solar cell (TFSC), also called a thin film photovoltaic cell (TFPV), is a solar cell that is made by depositing one or more thin layers (thin film) of photovoltaic material on a substrate. The thickness range of such a layer is wide and varies from a few nanometers to tens of micrometers.

    Many different photovoltaic materials are deposited with various deposition methods on a variety of substrates. Thin-film solar cells are usually categorized according to the photovoltaic material used.

    Thin film solar panels are commercially available for installation onto the roofs of buildings, either applied onto the finished roof, or integrated into the roof covering. The advantage over traditional PV panels is that they are very low in weight, are not subject to wind lifting, and can be walked on (with care).

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    Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are photovoltaic materials that are used to replace conventional building materials in parts of the building envelope such as the roof, skylights, or facades. They are increasingly being incorporated into the construction of new buildings as a principal or ancillary source of electrical power, although existing buildings may be retrofitted with similar technology. The advantage of integrated photovoltaics over more common non-integrated systems is that the initial cost can be offset by reducing the amount spent on building materials and labor that would normally be used to construct the part of the building that the BIPV modules replace. These advantages make BIPV one of the fastest growing segments of the photovoltaic industry.