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Solar panels make energy, but they take energy to make, too. And, until about 2010 or so, the solar panel industry used more electricity than it produced, according to a new analysis. Now, the industry is set to "pay back" the energy it used by 2020. A solar cell (also called a photovoltaic cell) is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. It is a form of photoelectric cell (in that its electrical characteristicse.g. current, voltage, or resistancevary when light is incident upon it) which, when exposed to light, can generate and support an electric current without being attached to any external voltage source. The term "photovoltaic" comes from the Greek (phs) meaning "light", and from "Volt", the unit of electro-motive force, the volt, which in turn comes from the last name of the Italianphysicist Alessandro Volta, inventor of the battery (electrochemical cell). The term "photo-voltaic" has been in use in English since 1849.[1] Photovoltaics is the field of technology and research related to the practical application of photovoltaic cells in producing electricity from light, though it is often used specifically to refer to the generation of electricity from sunlight. Cells can be described as photovoltaiceven when the light source is not necessarily sunlight (lamplight, artificial light, etc.). In such cases the cell is sometimes used as a photodetector (for example infrared detectors), detecting light or other electromagnetic radiation near the visible range, or measuring light intensity. The operation of a photovoltaic (PV) cell requires 3 basic attributes:

1. The absorption of light, generating either electron-hole pairs or excitons. 2. The separation of charge carriers of opposite types. 3. The separate extraction of those carriers to an external circuit.

Working of a Simple Solar cell

1. Photons in sunlight hit the solar panel and are absorbed by semiconducting materials, such as silicon . 2. Electrons (negatively charged) are knocked loose from their atoms, allowing them to flow through the material to produce electricity. Due to the special composition of solar cells, the electrons are only allowed to move in a single direction. 3. An array of solar cells converts solar energy into a usable amount of direct current (DC) electricity.

Photogeneration of charge carriers

When a photon hits a piece of silicon, one of three things can happen:

1. the photon can pass straight through the silicon this (generally) happens for lower energy photons, 2. the photon can reflect off the surface, 3. the photon can be absorbed by the silicon, if the photon energy is higher than the silicon band gap value. This generates an electron-hole pair and sometimes heat, depending on the band structure.

Band diagram of a silicon solar cell

When a photon is absorbed, its energy is given to an electron in the crystal lattice. Usually this electron is in the valence band, and is tightly bound in covalent bonds between neighboring atoms, and hence unable to move far. The energy given to it by the photon "excites" it into the conduction band, where it is free to move around within the semiconductor. The covalent bond that the electron was previously a part of now has one fewer electron this is known as a hole. The presence of a missing covalent bond allows the bonded electrons of neighboring atoms to move into the "hole," leaving another hole behind, and in this way a hole can move through the lattice. Thus, it can be said that photons absorbed in the semiconductor create mobile electron-hole pairs. A photon need only have greater energy than that of the band gap in order to excite an electron from the valence band into the conduction band. However, the solar frequency spectrum approximates a black body spectrum at about 5,800 K, and as such, much of the solar radiation reaching the Earth is composed of photons with energies greater than the band gap of silicon. These higher energy photons will be absorbed by the solar cell, but the difference in energy between these photons and the silicon band gap is converted into heat (via lattice vibrations called phonons) rather than into usable electrical energy.

CONSTRUCTION of Simple Solar cell using Copper plate

Materials/Resources: 1. A sheet of copper 2. Two alligator clip leads of approximately 12 in length for each solar cell. You want to leave enough in the clips so that connection can be made without tipping the solar cell. 3. A sensitive micro-ammeter that can read currents between 10 and 50 microamperes. 4. An electric hotplate or stove rated above 1000 watts. 5. A large clear glass jar. 6. Two tablespoons of table salt, preferably NaCl reagent grade. 7. A source of tap water. 8. Fine grit sandpaper(00)

1. Cut two pieces of copper sheeting to match the size of the of the burner. Use a sheet of sandpaper to clean off any light corrosion or sulfide. 2. Place one clean dry copper sheet on the burner and turn the burner to its highest setting. You will notice oxidation patterns from, as oranges, purples, and reds begin to cover the copper. 3. As the copper gets hotter the oranges purples and reds will be replaces by an ugly black coating of coating of cupric oxide. When the burner is finally glowing red-hot, the copper sheet will be coated with the black cupric oxide coat continue to cook it for 30 minutes, to get a thick coating. 4. After the 30 minutes of heating, turn the burner off and leave the hot copper sheet on the burner to cool slowly. The copper will shrink as it cools, as will the black cupric oxide. Fortunately for our purposes they shrink at different rates so the black cupric oxide flakes off with enough force to propel them a few inches from the burner. 5. When the copper has cooled to room temperature (approximately 20 minutes), most of the black oxide will be gone. Light scrubbing with your hands under running water will remove all of the black spots because that could damage the red cuprous oxide layer needed for the solar cell to work. 6. Take both the burnet copper sheet and the clean copper sheet and bend both pieces gently so they will fit inside the plastic bottle without touching each other. Face the cuprous oxide outside, as it has the smoothest and cleanest surface. 7. Attach the two alligator clip leads, one to the clean copper plate and the other to the cuprous oxide coated plate. Connect the lead from the clean copper plate to the positive

terminal of the ammeter. Connect the lead from the cuprous oxide plate to the negative terminal of the ammeter. 8. Mix two tablespoons of salt into some hot tap water and stir the solution until all the salt dissolves. Then carefully pour the saltwater into the bottle, avoiding getting the clip leads wet. Leave about an inch of copper plate above the water so you can move the solar cell around without getting the lead clips wet. 9. The meter will usually show a few micro amps even in the dark, because the solar cell is a battery. Few students were not convinced, so the solar cell had to be covered completely in a lightproof box in order to read the ammeter without any light striking the solar cell.

Three type of copper plates are used here plate 1 is pure copper plate treated with high temperature to form copper oxide. Plate 2 is treated with low concentration of NaOH and then exposed to high temperature. Plate 3 is treated with High concentration of NaOH and then exposed to high temperature. Experiments are conducted for various intensity of light and for various filters.

EXPRIMENTAL RESULT Initial characterization Measured currents are in micro amp. Type of plate Dark Plate 1 Plate 2 Plate 3 10 11 11 Current (micro amp) Room light 22 20 24 Sunlight 53 64 84

For various filters Light intensity is constant (noon light) Type of plate White Plate 1 Plate 2 Plate 3 56 64 86 Blue 46 62 78 Current (micro amp) Green 35 40 52 Yellow 32 40 58 red 35 39 52

Conclusion: High concentration of Copper oxide plate gives more current than other plates. And blue light gives more current than other colours. One of the reason is the band gap of Cu2O is 2.17 eV.

Copper oxides, especially cuprous oxide, are of interest because of their applications in solar cell technology. The semiconductor cuprous oxide Cu2O film has been of considerable interest as a component of solar cells due to its band gap energy and high optical absorption coefficient. The results obtained show that the cuprous oxide can be used as a potential active material for solar cells application.