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How To Make A Solar Panel: The Process of Manufacturing Solar Panels

How To Manufacturing A Solar Panel From A Factory

We will explore the manufacturing process of solar panels in our factory. From the initial production of solar cells to the final assembly of the panel.

Step1: Solar Cell Sorting

Cell sorting is a process in the production of solar panels where solar cells are classified and screened to ensure that the resulting solar panels have a certain level of electrical performance and appearance quality.

Typically, a cell testing instrument is used to test and measure the current, voltage, power, and other parameters of each solar cell, and the cells are sorted into different grades based on the test results.

This ensures that each cell performs similarly when assembled into a solar panel, thus improving the overall efficiency and reliability of the solar panel.

The sorting criteria should be clear

During the sorting process, classification and screening should be performed according to the set criteria, including parameters such as current, voltage, and power. The sorting criteria should be established based on product requirements and design needs to ensure that the performance and quality of each solar cell meet the requirements.

The sorting environment should be clean

During the sorting process, it is necessary to ensure that the environment is clean, free of dust, water, static electricity, etc., to avoid contamination or damage to the solar cells.

Detailed sorting records should be kept

detailed test results and classification levels should be recorded for each tested solar cell, for the purpose of traceability and management.

Step2: Solar Cell Soldering

Automated solar cell tabbing and stringing is a commonly used method for joining solar cells together. In this process, a machine automatically places and solders thin metal strips, called tabs, onto the front and back contacts of each solar cell.

The cells are then arranged in a series, with the tabs connecting the front of one cell to the back of the next cell. The resulting interconnected cells are called a string.

Solar cell tabbing

The main materials used for solar cell tabbing are copper and aluminum, both of which have good conductivity and corrosion resistance and are suitable for use in the manufacture of solar panels. 

When we used, the appropriate tabbing material and size should be selected based on specific needs and requirements to ensure the performance and quality of the solar panel.
tabing
The tabbing wire for solar cells is typically made of silver-plated copper or tin-plated copper, with specifications varying depending on the size and thickness of the cells. 

For example, for the common 156.75mm x 156.75mm multicrystalline silicon solar cell, the standard tabbing wire width is 1.6mm 1.8mm, 2.0mm, 3.8mm, 5.0mm
Solar cell tabbing
For example, for the common 156.75mm x 156.75mm multicrystalline silicon solar cell, the standard tabbing wire width is 1.6mm 1.8mm, 2.0mm, 3.8mm, 5.0mm

The Advantages Of Automated Solar Cell Soldering

Compared to manual soldering, automated soldering can greatly improve production efficiency and reduce labor costs.

Improved soldering quality

Improved soldering quality: Automated soldering can more precisely control soldering parameters, improving soldering quality and consistency.

Reduced risk of damage

Automated soldering can reduce the risk of damage to solar cells, thereby reducing scrap rates and production costs.

Increased safety

Automated soldering can reduce worker contact time and soldering operations, thereby increasing safety.

More environmentally friendly

Automated soldering can reduce waste and harmful gas production, making it more environmentally friendly.
Considering these advantages, automated soldering is a commonly used production process in the manufacturing of solar panels.
Soldering is one of the most critical processes in the manufacturing of solar panels, as the performance and lifespan of the solar panels depend largely on the quality of the soldering. Specifically, poor soldering or the use of inferior soldering materials can lead to the following problems:

Shortened lifespan: Poor soldering or the use of inferior soldering materials may shorten the lifespan of the solar panel, thereby reducing its overall lifespan and economic benefits.

Restriction of current flow

Poor soldering or the use of inferior soldering materials can restrict current flow, thereby affecting the power generation efficiency of the solar panel.

Damage to solar cells

Poor soldering or the use of inferior soldering materials may damage the solar cells, leading to their failure.

Shortened lifespan

Poor soldering or the use of inferior soldering materials may shorten the lifespan of the solar panel, thereby reducing its overall lifespan and economic benefits.
Therefore, ensuring the quality and reliability of the soldering is crucial, as it directly affects the performance and lifespan of the solar panel.

Step3: Auto Solar Cell Sorting

Auto-cell sorting is an important process in the manufacture of solar panels. It involves using automated equipment to arrange individual solar cells into specific configurations based on their electrical properties, size, and power output. The aim is to optimize the performance of the solar panel by creating the most efficient and effective arrangement of cells.
How To Make A Solar Panel: The Process of Manufacturing Solar Panels
Auto-cell sorting is done using specialized software that analyzes the electrical characteristics of each individual cell and selects the optimal arrangement based on factors such as voltage, current, and power output. Once the arrangement has been determined, the equipment uses suction cups or other mechanisms to gently pick up and place each cell in its designated location.
How To Make A Solar Panel: The Process of Manufacturing Solar Panels
This automated process allows for much greater precision and accuracy in cell placement than would be possible with manual methods. It also reduces the risk of damage to the delicate solar cells, which can occur during manual handling.

Overall, auto-cell sorting plays a critical role in the production of high-quality, efficient solar panels.

Step4: Apply Busbar

How To Make A Solar Panel: The Process of Manufacturing Solar Panels
The busbar is an essential component in solar panels that connects the solar cells together. It is applied to the positive and negative poles of the solar cells to link them into a series to increase the voltage and power output of the solar panel.
In the manufacture of solar panels, busbars are a critical component that connects solar cells into a module. Typically made of copper, busbars have good conductivity and mechanical strength to withstand current and temperature changes, ensuring the performance and reliability of the solar panel.

Step5: Apply EVA and Back Sheet

Now we move to the next step, to apply EVA and back Sheet
How To Make A Solar Panel: The Process of Manufacturing Solar Panels

What is EVA?

EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) is a type of polymer commonly used as an encapsulant material in the manufacture of solar panels. Its main function is to protect the solar cells from moisture, dust, and other external factors, as well as to bond the different layers of the panel together. EVA is known for its excellent transparency, high adhesive strength, and resistance to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, making it an ideal material for solar panel production.
How To Make A Solar Panel: The Process of Manufacturing Solar Panels

What is the main material of the backsheet?

The backsheet of a solar panel is typically made of polymer materials such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polyethylene (PE), or polyurethane (PU). These materials have characteristics such as weather resistance, UV resistance, and chemical corrosion resistance, which can protect the internal structure of the solar panel from external environmental impacts. They also have certain insulation properties to avoid current short-circuits.

Step6: EL Test

The EL test can effectively and quickly detect the quality of solar cells, while improving the consistency and reliability of the manufacturing process.
EL test
The EL test (Electroluminescence Test) is a method for quality testing of solar cells. The basic steps of an EL test are:
  1. Place the solar cell in an EL testing apparatus under low light conditions.
  2. Apply voltage to the solar cell, causing the electrons within the cell to transition and emit light.
  3. The EL testing apparatus records the intensity and distribution of light emitted by the solar cell and generates an image of the solar cell.
  4. By analyzing the EL test image, quality issues such as cracks, defects, and leakage in the solar cell can be detected.
EL testing is very important in the manufacturing of solar panels, for the following reasons:

Detecting quality issues

EL testing can detect defects, cracks, leakage, and other issues inside solar cells, avoiding the use of low-quality cells in the production of solar panels, and improving the performance and reliability of the panels.

Improving manufacturing consistency

EL testing can promptly detect problems in the manufacturing process and adjust the production line, thereby improving the consistency and controllability of the manufacturing process.
EL TEST

Reducing manufacturing costs

By using EL testing to detect and screen out low-quality solar cells, waste and the number of re-manufacturing can be reduced, thereby reducing manufacturing costs.

Improving product quality

EL testing can ensure the quality stability of the produced solar panels, and meets international standards and customer requirements, thus improving product quality and credibility.
In summary, EL testing is crucial for the manufacturing of solar panels. It can guarantee the quality and performance of the product, improve manufacturing efficiency and consistency, and reduce manufacturing costs.

Step7: Put On Aluminum Frame

The frame of the solar panel is made of aluminum, because aluminum has good strength and corrosion resistance, and is relatively light in weight, easy to process and install. But there are also some solar panels that use other materials to make the frame, such as plastic, stainless steel, etc.
How To Make A Solar Panel: The Process of Manufacturing Solar Panels
However, in some cases, in order to enhance the durability and wind pressure resistance of solar panels, frames can also be made of stainless steel materials. Stainless steel is stronger and more durable than aluminum, and can withstand greater pressure and vibration. 

Therefore, in some special situations, such as extreme climates, high altitudes, harsh environments, etc., stainless steel frames may be a better choice.

However, due to the higher density of stainless steel, the weight of stainless steel frames will be heavier than aluminum frames, which also needs to be considered during the design.

Step8: Curing And Cleaning

In solar panel manufacturing, curing is also an important process step that can optimize and enhance the performance of solar cells and other components. For example, in the manufacturing process of solar cells, high-temperature baking of the back surface field and metal electrode coated on the surface of the cell can accelerate its curing and improve the bonding strength, thereby improving the conversion efficiency and reliability of the solar cell.
How To Make A Solar Panel: The Process of Manufacturing Solar Panels
During the curing process, some residues such as glue and dust may be produced, which could potentially affect the performance and reliability of the solar panels. Therefore, after curing, it is usually necessary to clean the solar panels to remove these residues and ensure the quality and performance of the panels.

Step9: IV  & Hi-Pot Test

IV test, also known as current-voltage test, is a type of measurement used to determine the electrical performance of a solar panel. It involves applying different voltage and current levels to the solar panel and measuring the resulting electrical output, which helps to characterize the power output and efficiency of the panel.

The IV curve obtained from this test can provide information on the maximum power point (MPP) of the solar panel, which is important for determining the optimal operating conditions of the panel.

IV testing is a critical step in the quality control process for solar panel manufacturing, and is often performed before and after other processing steps such as lamination and module assembly.
How To Make A Solar Panel: The Process of Manufacturing Solar Panels
High pot test, also known as high potential test or hipot test, is a type of electrical safety test used to determine the insulation quality and electrical strength of a device or system.

During a high pot test, a high voltage is applied to the device or system being tested, typically at a level above its normal operating voltage, to see if it can withstand the voltage without breaking down or failing.
The test is designed to simulate a higher than normal voltage condition, which could occur due to electrical faults or other abnormalities. The test is commonly used in the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as transformers, cables, and circuit breakers, to ensure that they meet safety standards and can operate safely under normal and abnormal conditions.
How To Make A Solar Panel: The Process of Manufacturing Solar Panels
This process is mainly in accordance with the withstand voltage insulation and grounding test requirements of IEC61215 and IEC61730. Used to check the overall insulation and the grounding performance of the frame

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    Jim is the creator of InkPV. An good solar installer,  he is passionate about all aspects of solar projects for the home and commercial.

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