Currently, there are many different types of solar cells on the market to serve different needs and purposes. Some have been developed for a long time, some are still quite new. The current types of solar cells are divided into three main generations.
I. Generation one
These are traditional solar panels, the oldest type of battery made from silicon including Monocrystalline silicon and Polycrystalline silicon. This is also the most popular generation in the current photovoltaic market. According to 2019 statistics, the global PV market accounts for 95% of these panels.
1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels
These are panels made from high-purity, monocrystalline silicon. Monocrystalline silicon cells are black or iridescent blue. Monocrystalline silicon cells are highly durable for more than 25 years. However, their conversion efficiency also decreases with each year (about 0.5% per year). The downside of these panels is that the high purity requirement of silicon crystals leads to complicated silicon crystal production and higher costs. Besides, these cells are also susceptible to cracking due to mechanical impact. Currently, the highest conversion efficiency of this photovoltaic cell has reached 26.7% and the module has reached 610W / panel with the conversion efficiency of the module is 22.3%.
2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline panels are produced by fusing raw silicon and then pouring it into molds, cooling, and cutting it into wafers. The production process is simple, less expensive, and the price is also lower than single-crystal sheets. However, polycrystalline panels have lower conversion efficiency, less efficient performance than monocrystalline panels under the same elevated temperature conditions. In 2019, the conversion efficiency of polycrystalline cells reached the highest of 22.3%.
II. The second generation
1. Amorphous silicon thin-film solar cells
Thin-film photoelectric cells are produced by depositing silicon film onto a glass substrate. This type of silicon is less expensive to manufacture than monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells, but the conversion efficiency of this type of cell is not high. One way to improve cell efficiency is to create the layered structure of some cells. The main advantage of this type of technology is that amorphous silicon can be deposited on a wide variety of substrates, can be produced flexibly and in different shapes, and can therefore be used in a wide variety of applications. . Amorphous silicon is also less prone to overheating, which often reduces the efficiency of solar cells.
2. CdTe thin-film solar cell
This is another type of technology, which in recent years has become quite popular due to its low investment cost, ease to recycle, good conversion efficiency, the ability to absorb wavelengths of light wider than silicon, increasing the application of these panels. However, the biggest disadvantage of CdTe thin-film cells is the environmental risk problem. Large quantities of Cadmium and Telluride are required during production. For cadmium is the toxic impact on the environment, people, and Telluride the biggest problem is the supply. Currently, the conversion efficiency of this type of photovoltaic cell reaches 21% and the conversion efficiency of the module reaches 18.3% (First solar).
3. CIGS thin-film solar cell
Of all the thin-film solar cell technologies, CIGS is the most efficient one, CIGS modules are becoming more and more popular in the photovoltaic industry because they do not contain toxic cadmium. CIGS cells are produced by the deposition of metals with a thin layer on the substrate. As of 2019, the conversion efficiency of CIGS photovoltaic cells is highest at 23.1% and reaching 17.6% for the module (ZSW).
III. 3rd generation
3rd generation solar cells include a variety of materials, both organic and inorganic. Most of them are still in the research and development stage such as DSSC (dye-sensitized solar cell), Polymer and Organic PV, Quantum dot PV, Perovskite. These technologies are currently unstable and there are still huge barriers such as efficiency, longevity, technology, application conditions and the most important factor is economic efficiency.
With the successes in research, production, and application, a series of high-power, economically efficient solar panels have made the photovoltaic industry more and more important. into an indispensable energy source in the present and the future. This is an industry with great potential and scale. Photovoltaic will be the pioneer energy source in renewable energy sources and will gradually replace traditional energy sources. From information about solar cell generations, it is certain that the second generation will be the generation of solar cells that will explode in the coming years as production technology has reached maturity and the advantages of This generation such as the ability to be widely applied in all fields, low production cost, low material cost, performance, high durability, less affected by temperature, easy to recycle. Especially CIGS thin-film solar cells because in addition to the above advantages, CIGS thin-film solar cells are friendly with the field and the distance between the cell and module performance is still very large. These factors represent enormous potential for CIGS thin-film solar cells in the future.