Flexible use – practical laminate solar panels
Laminate solar cells are in demand in all situations where it is necessary that solar modules can be attached in a particularly flexible way. Laminate solar modules are often mounted on vehicle roofs or boats. In addition, laminate solar modules are also suitable for outdoor installations and for building-integrated solar systems. A distinction is made between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells.
The new laminate solar modules combine the optimum efficiency of conventional solar modules with the flexibility of polymer modules. Due to crystalline cells, the solar modules were initially not rollable. However, an additional further development made it possible to manufacture flexible high-performance modules today.
Laminate solar cells are very thin, but still have the stability of a framed module. However, one must make sure that they are installed with the appropriate mounting system. In addition to a flexible and cost-effective installation, there are additional advantages in very good rear ventilation with mounting parallel to the roof and self-cleaning of the smooth module surface. Thanks to the laminate solar modules it is possible to achieve an optically homogeneous surface.
Polycrystalline laminate Solar cells
Silicon is used as the semiconductor material for polycrystalline solar cells. The material is melted to produce the solar modules. It is then doped with boron atoms. It is then cast into large blocks. Different casting processes are used for this purpose. In this way the material silicon can solidify into ingots. These ingots are then sawn into slices, known as wafers. Finally, the solar cells are coated with an anti-reflective layer. Due to the manufacturing process, the crystals can align themselves differently. Losses occur at the boundaries of individual crystals. The efficiency of polycrystalline solar cells is therefore lower than that of monocrystalline solar cells. For this reason, the production of these solar modules is much cheaper.
Monocrystalline laminate Solar modules
The semiconductor silicon is also used for the production of monocrystalline solar cells. However, a different manufacturing process ensures that the ingots are formed from a single crystal. The wafers are then sawn here as well. There is no different crystal orientation. The grain boundaries are therefore omitted in the wafer. Thus the losses are reduced. This increases the efficiency of the monocrystalline solar modules. By comparison, production is expensive because the energy consumption is very high.
Comparison of polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar cells
Compared to monocrystalline solar cells, the production of polycrystalline solar cells is cheaper. However, compared to monocrystalline technology, a reduced degree of efficiency is achieved. In addition, a higher area requirement is required. Monocrystalline solar cells can be manufactured in different colors and require a smaller area. The efficiency is considerably higher.
Laminate solar modules allow a particularly flexible installation. Therefore, they are mainly used for different vehicle roofs. Compared to conventional solar modules, assembly is somewhat simpler because these solar cells are very light in weight. With the help of these solar modules it is possible to achieve a homogeneous surface. Although many manufacturers promise stability similar to that of conventional solar cells, laminate solar cells are not the preferred choice for all applications. For example, conventional solar modules with frames are mostly used for the roofs of detached houses and other buildings. The reason is that these solar cells achieve the optimized performance that is usually required to power a home.