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Broken Solar Cells: classification and applications

Broken Solar Cells refers to partly destroyed cells with significant quality deficiencies that make them useless for many standard panels.

Broken Solar Cells – definition and classification

Solar cells are sensitive and can break easily. Solar cell may get broken during the manufacturing process or due to improper (mostly: manual) handling or suffer from defects such as clipping or chipped edges. Many solar enterprises usually sort them out from further processing.

As solar cells are expensive, the usable parts are cut and used for smaller, more economic modules or directly sold cell recycling companies, testing and research labs or other manufacturers.

 

Broken cell

Broken cell

 

How can Broken Solar Cells be used?

An optimum silicon solar cell is about 100µm thick. However, thickness between 200 and 500µm are typically used, as it makes the cells easier to handle and avoid breakage. With such thin cells there are always solar cells that break.

In fact about 1 to 3% of solar cells used at solar panel factories are broken during the production process or during transport. Some solar panel manufacturers use the broken solar cells to produce solar panels that are economically attractive or use them for other solar applications such as solar chargers, solar radios or solar flashlights.

The fact that solar cells are cut from a broken cell does not mean that the quality is less than a regular solar panel. Indeed, for the solar panels made of recycled broken solar cells, the same warranties apply as for the standard PV modules, however the pricing is usually more attractive.

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