Polycrystalline silicon, also known as polysilicon( poly-Si) is a purified form of silicon that includes p-type and n-type components. It is made up of multiple small silicon crystals and is used in the solar and electronics industries. The silicon material is extracted from a type of rock called quartzite, known for its high crystalline nature.
Polycrystalline silicon is very popular in the solar industry since it is used in the production of solar cells which is a key component in manufacturing solar panels. This silicon is highly pure and generates almost as much energy as pure mono-crystal silicon. It has also found uses in various electronic devices, ranging from small components to automotive controls.
There are three main methods to produce high-quality polysilicon for use in different applications.
- The modified Siemens process,
- The fluidized bed reactor (FBR) process, and
- The upgraded metallurgical-grade (UMG) silicon process.
What are the Pros and Cons of Polycrystalline Silicon Panels Compared to Monocrystalline Panels?
Polycrystalline silicon in solar panels has several pros, and some of them are stated below:
1. Lower Cost: Polycrystalline solar panels are less expensive to manufacture compared to mono-crystalline panels which makes them more accessible.
2. Environmentally Friendly: These products do not require harmful chemicals during their production and are made using recycled components. These properties make them more eco-friendly compared to other types of products used in solar panels.
The cons of polycrystalline solar panels are:
1. Lower Efficiency: Polycrystalline silicon has lower efficiency ratings compared to monocrystalline silicon. This implies that polycrystalline solar panels convert less sunlight into electric energy. Since they are generally less efficient than mono panels, you will need more space to generate the same amount of electricity. So, installation can be a challenge if you have limited space. However, now manufacturers have started making poly-crystalline panels more efficient than before.
2. Fragility: Polycrystalline panels are fragile and do not last for a long period. They are made of multiple small crystals which makes them more prone to degrade faster over time. Moreover, they are less efficient compared to mono-crystalline solar panels.
In summary, polycrystalline silicon is a purified form of silicon with a grainy appearance, used in solar panels, and electronic devices. It offers benefits like lower cost and environmental friendliness. However, it also has drawbacks such as lower efficiency, space requirements, and a shorter lifespan. You should consider these factors when selecting the appropriate solar panel type.
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