Observing the world of renewable energy and sustainable living

How Solar Panels are Made

Bosch video showing the production process of a solar cell.

We have had the Ice Age, Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Fossil Fuel Age and now we are entering the Sand Age (Silicon Age) aka Solar Age.

The size of a typical solar cell is 156 mm * 156 mm…


… and produces ca. 4 Watt peak or 3.7 kwh per year (Holland) or 100 kwh over a 30 year lifetime. If you realize that 1 kwh represents one man-day of hard physical labor, than this tiny piece of silicon is the equivalent of 6 months of hard physical labor, based on 200 working days/year. That’s the power of technology.

That little 250 cm2 piece of silicium with the weight of a few grams is able to lift a car (in 30 years time) to roughly the same altitude from wich Felix Baumgartner jumped.

This amount of sand, after proper transformations, can generate energy, enough to lift a car into the stratosphere.

In order to replace the world’s current energy consumption for 100% with solar, you need to cover an area the size of Spain entirely with solar panels. That’s a daunting task, but it can be done, as long as you still have fossil fuel to produce these panels. Once these panels are in place, they generate enough energy to replace themselves after 25-30 years, considering an EROEI of 30-60 for well-placed modern solar cells.

Production plant of Calyxo GmbH in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany. Production of CdTe Thin Film Solar Module.


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