Broken solar cells - applications and receycling
Broken solar cells - applications and recycling
15 December 2010 

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.

About the author
Dricus is Managing Director at Sinovoltaics Group “, a solar technology company specialized in the Supply Chain Management and De-Risking of utility scale solar farms. Dricus is based in Hong Kong and has been working in the PV industry in China for 10+ years. Connect with Dricus on LinkedIn

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

Abhishek Jain

on 4 June 2015

Please call me for solar cells scrap im india

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

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

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

Abhishek Jain

on 10 August 2016

requirements of Solar cells broken chips scrap cell 9820508607 www.ambikemetallica.com

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

By

Mohan Rajan

on 17 December 2017

We need 10 MT of Solar Cell Scraps Monthly - Solar Cells with Ag is what we need.

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