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Solar cells

  1. Sep 17, 2007 #1
    Hello!
    I'm very interested in solar cell tehnology. I know that the main material used is crystalline silicon. Is it possible to buy all the materials that are necessary and to make the solar cell at home conditions? I hope that this process is not very complicated and laboratory isn't needed? What this process would include and is there some babyseps in doing it?
    I'd be very happy for any kind of information!
    Electronics is my hobby, maybe it can help me..

    Wishing a nice day,
    Raivis
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2007 #2

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    Hmmm. Offhand, the silicon fabrication and doping processes that I'm familiar with take a fairly complicated oven and vacuum chamber setup, and use some darned dangerous gasses. There might be some other simpler processes by now for solar cell fabrication, though. Here is some basic background, with links to more info:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell

    Even if you buy wafers that have already been sawed from ingots, the doping steps still require the vacuum oven and the gasses. Probably not very safe for you or your neighbors. How about making a small-scale heliostat solar tower, and using thermal conversion instead?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliostat
     
  4. Sep 17, 2007 #3
    Thank you very much!
    Do you think I could make heliostat solar tover at home conditions?
     
  5. Sep 17, 2007 #4

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    I think it's relatively practical, and with some common-sense, it could be reasonably safe. Emphasis on the common-sense part. If you live near an airport, and have a small yard with lots of close neighbors and flammable trees in the yard, then it probably would not be a good thing to experiment with, except maybe on a table-top scale (which will still teach you a lot of things). If planes and helicopters don't fly over your home, and you have a large back yard or property (preferably), then you should be able to make something maybe 10m x 10m, and produce something like a kW or two.

    Quiz Question -- if you built a very efficient heliostat-based solar oven, with 10m x 10m of mirror area, what peak power would you be able to produce?
     
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