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Types of Solar Cells

As you might remember from biology class, the process in which a parent cell splits off into two daughter cells is called mitosis (or meiosis). That process is the first step in the expansion of life as we know it, including your own body tissue. Now, throughout solar industry history, we’ve had some mitosis of our own. In 1883, when Charles Fritts first made a selenium-based solar cell, he began a long chain of reproduction and evolution - a chain culminating thus far in the many types of solar cells we know today.

Selenium gave way to silicon, the original solar golden child, which dominated solar cell production for much of the 20th Century and still persists today. Now, however, several other types of cells are gaining momentum. These include amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride and CIGS, among others. Yet these are just the semiconductors and can be used to create several different kinds of solar cell: plastic or polymer, dye-sensitized, organic or good ol’ fashioned monocrystalline silicon.

If that little spout of biology and chemistry is a tad confusing, even nonsensical, consider yourself normal. So in order to clear the air about the many types of solar cells, we’re providing the following Solar Library articles, which cover these photoelectric phenomena in more detail. You can get to know your own solar electric system from the inside out, or as a biologist might say, from the individual cell through the entire body.

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