In the field of photovoltaics, there are now several types of manufacturing technologies. Silicon is one of the best known solutions. Other technologies include thin-film technology and concentrated photovoltaics. Each of these photovoltaic manufacturing methods has its advantages and disadvantages.
Silicon photovoltaic cells incorporate a semiconductor material, silicon. The latter has several advantages. First, it comes from an abundant natural resource, namely quartz. As a result, the risk of depletion of raw materials is controlled. The other advantage of silicon cells is that they can be adapted to any size of photovoltaic solar panel. In addition, for some years now, specialists have had a good command of the technologies used. All these reasons explain the international market share of silicon. However, silicon photovoltaic panels have their limits. They do not produce enough energy until after 12 to 30 months of operation.
Given the losses collected with the use of silicon for photovoltaics, researchers have developed an alternative manufacturing approach. This is the thin-film technique. These have an average thickness of 2 microns. They are arranged on a flexible support. If they are stacked one on top of the other, the quality of the thin layers is increasingly optimised. Noting that there are two categories of thin films. The first class uses cadmium telluride. Compared to silicon, the latter is cheaper because it is less expensive. However, it is in short supply. In addition, this element emits toxic effects that promote the greenhouse effect. The second category consists of the alloy of copper with selenium and indium. These two families are both better able to absorb light.
The organic photovoltaic industry
Photovoltaic technologies also include the organic photovoltaic sector. With this technique, researchers use organic polymers. These are plastics from renewable resources such as plants or animal resources. Because these organic elements allow for better light absorption, they can be transformed into thin layers of very low thickness. Like the previous technique, these components are to be deposited on flexible supports. This technique has two advantages. The first one is the optimization of cell yield. The second is the extension of the lifetime of the photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells can operate for up to 1,000 hours.