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Broken solar cells – applications and recycling

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Broken solar cells – applications and recycling

Some companies use broken solar cells to produce even more cost-efficient solar panels. The fact that solar cells are cut from a broken cell does not mean that the quality is less than a regular solar panel.

For the solar panels made of recycled broken solar cells, the same warranties apply as for the standard PV modules, however the pricing can be more attractive.

Also there are plenty of hobbyist that build their own solar panels from broken cells. There are plenty of guides and videos available for hobbyist to build their own solar panels by recycling broken solar cells.

It is perfectly possible to create your own solar panels from broken solar cells, even though the lamination of the solar panel is a challenge, as the techniques used in a factory can not be applied at home.

Origin of broken cells

An optimal silicon solar cell is about 100 µm thick. However, thickness between 200 and 500 µm are typically used, as it makes the cells easier to handle and avoid breakage. With such thin cells, you can imagine 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. At the moment solar cells are produced in several countries, including China, USA, Germany, Japan and South Korea.

Safe Packaging

Needless to mention is that safe packaging is crucial for the transport of broken solar cells. During any transport, cells will be damaged and a certain percentage needs to be taken into account for the extra damage.

Solar cells without any tin bumps (as explained below) will reduce the risk of damage during transport.

Broken solar cells - packaging

Broken solar cells – packaging

 

Degrees of breakage of solar cells

To explain the degree of breakage of the broken solar cell, some explanatory pictures below:


1. Entirely broken cells / scrap

Broken solar cells – scrap

Can be re-melted..

2. Half or quarter broken solar cells

Broken solar cell, for 50 percent damaged

Broken solar cell

3. Chipped corner

Broken solar cells - chipped

Broken solar cells – chipped

Also the broken cells that have minor damages are suitable to be recycled.

Cutting solar cells

Processing companies cut the broken poly cells into pieces. The cutting of the broken solar cell occurs vertically (parallel to the ribbons). Therefore it is important at which side the solar cell has been broken.

Ribbons

Usually, the broken poly cells do preferably not have any ribbons still attached.

Broken solar cells - tabbed

Broken solar cells – tabbed

Before recycling the broken solar cells, the ribbons (or tabbing wire) on the cells need to be removed. Each cell has two or three ribbons attached.

The ribbons can be removed from the broken solar cells by heating up the tin with a special heater. This way the tin melts and the ribbons can be removed without damaging the solar cell.

Tin bumps

Usually, the broken poly solar cells do preferably not have any tin bumps.

By removing the ribbons (or tabbing wire) from the broken solar cells, there may be uneven spots of tin left. These tin bumps need to be carefully removed from the solar cell, as these will cause trouble during the cutting of the broken solar cell.

The reason for this is that the broken solar cell needs to be entirely flat and slightly under pressure while the cell is being cut.

In case any tin bumps are attached to the solar cell, the cell will be damaged during the cutting.

Tin bumps are removed from the broken solar cell by using a soldering machine by spreading the tin until you it is spread as a smooth surface.

Comment Section

22 thoughts on “Broken solar cells – applications and recycling


By manuel on 16 February 2011

would cost 5 kg with shipping to spain


By manuel on 16 February 2011

would cost 5 kg with shipping to spain


By david murrell on 26 April 2011

I am with the Sharp Solar Group in Memphis, Tennessee.
Can you let me know what you typically pay for 156 x 156 (poly and mono) >1/2 w/o tabbing wires.

Also, we cut whole cells (156 x 156) with a laser cutter We have the other half that is a little less than 1/2. for sale. Please quote.

We have good half cells (poly and mono) that we cut with a laser cutter. Are you interested in these. Please quote.

Thanks,

David Murrell
Solar Engineering
901-367-5111


By vladimir karasev on 8 August 2011

Dear Colleagus.
Price Solar Scrap Cell ( 34 Cell and 1/2 Cell ) – CIP seaport Hong
Konga, Shanghai, Dalian, or 7 $ per kg. To start cooperation offer to
buy a test batch – 1000 kg. Taking into
account delivery at the port of China – $ 7000. In the future we will
offer you a contract to 4000 kg per month or 10,000 kg once every 3 months.

A test batch of payment through Western Union and send us a copy of
the payment instrument and test a delivery address for the party.
Details for the payment of the application

Lord we have a few requests for our products. We plan to establish a
relationship with only one buyer. If you are interested you need to
quickly approve the payment today, a test batch and send us your
shipping address. After checking the test batch, we will offer you a
contract.

SOLARUS ENERGY Ltd
VLADIMIR
Email: vladimirkarasev1@gmail.com


By vladimir karasev on 8 August 2011

Dear Colleagus.
Price Solar Scrap Cell ( 34 Cell and 1/2 Cell ) – CIP seaport Hong
Konga, Shanghai, Dalian, or 7 $ per kg. To start cooperation offer to
buy a test batch – 1000 kg. Taking into
account delivery at the port of China – $ 7000. In the future we will
offer you a contract to 4000 kg per month or 10,000 kg once every 3 months.

A test batch of payment through Western Union and send us a copy of
the payment instrument and test a delivery address for the party.
Details for the payment of the application

Lord we have a few requests for our products. We plan to establish a
relationship with only one buyer. If you are interested you need to
quickly approve the payment today, a test batch and send us your
shipping address. After checking the test batch, we will offer you a
contract.

SOLARUS ENERGY Ltd
VLADIMIR
Email: vladimirkarasev1@gmail.com



By khan on 15 January 2012

we are an indian company. We deal with all kind of scrap. Specially with solar cells scrap. Kindly please lets us know about scrap.


By States innovations on 26 May 2016

Are you still in need of solar cell scrap? If so please let us know.

Regards

Soulaiman Toussi
States innovations Belgium
Info at statec dot be


By khan on 15 January 2012

we are an indian company. We deal with all kind of scrap. Specially with solar cells scrap. Kindly please lets us know about scrap.


By Abhishek Jain on 4 June 2015

Hello,

I want to buy 20 mt every months in India

Pls call me


By sandeep on 13 July 2012

hi i have2 tons of solar scrap
meeting your requirment.what is the price payed for that?


By Fazal on 25 April 2016

Hello sir , I recover the broken solar cell , wafers and copper ribbon , if u still have solar broken cell I can buy it u can contact me on 9611153059


By sandeep on 13 July 2012

hi i have2 tons of solar scrap
meeting your requirment.what is the price payed for that?


By Abhishek Jain on 4 June 2015

Hello sir,
I want to buy solar cells scrap matetial.
Please call me


By Chander shekar on 3 March 2016

Hi Abhishek I have solar wafer scrap if u interested mail me


By Wasim Akram on 16 November 2015

Hi,

We are interested in buying solar scrap like: broken solar cells, wafers, copper ribbon etc. We need this material for recovery of silver. i was just hoping if we can get this material from you. If you have this material in scrap then please contact me on +919986782847 or email us the details and the price quotations for the same at princendsons@gmail.com or siwasimakram@gmail.com


By Fazal on 25 April 2016

I can buy ur broken solar cell u can contact me on 9611153059


By Giorgos Taramidis on 26 January 2016

Hello. I am collecting broken solar panels from installations i have made in the past. Is there a way i can detach the solar cells from those solar panels? Would them be usefull if i could achieve that? What would be the price for a detached solar cell (per Watt or per kgr) ?


By gopal ns on 22 June 2016

Dear sir,
I am interested in buying broken solar cell scrap,any qty.Pl contact me at +919535028490.We are based in India.



By Rahman on 10 August 2017

we buy broken solar cell scrap from all across the globe america hongkong India…each and everyone here are resellers but we are the genuine people who do recycle thats the reason our price will be the best please do make a call if u have solar cell scrap +91 8686826478


By Mohammed Saifuddin on 9 November 2016

Hey,
Please contact me regarding solar cell scrap

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Dricus
Dricus is Managing Director at Sinovoltaics Group “Your Solar Supply Network”, a solar technology company specialized in the Supply Chain Management and Quality Assurance of solar energy components.Dricus is based in Hong Kong and has been working in the PV industry in China for the past 9 years. Connect with Dricus on LinkedIn