Albuquerque 505-792-6359 Las Cruces 575-305-3028 Santa Fe 505-982-9044
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Full-Service Solar

We design, engineer, install and maintain solar systems for home owners, businesses, and utilities.

Why Go Solar?

-Save money on energy costs
-Clean & renewable energy
-Environmental stewardship

Why CST Solar?

Experience–we install the largest solar systems in Albuquerque and perform installations daily.

Solar Cell Types

While the fundamental physics of all photovoltaic cells are similar, there are significant differences in the underlying technologies, materials, and manufacturing techniques employed to produce commercial solar cells. The most common solar cell architecture will be discussed here, including an assessment of the efficiency and cost of each form.

Crystalline Silicon

The most common solar cells are made from a crystalline silicon lattice. There are two main types of crystalline solar cells:

Monocrystalline Silicon

Technology: Monocrystalline solar cells are created from melted purified silicon grown into a highly-structured mold. The silicon atoms are arranged in a continuous lattice structure, the same arrangement as seen in a diamond, with silicon instead of carbon. Wafers are then cut from the silicon, chemically treated, and printed with electrical contacts to make a functional solar cell.

Efficiency: The uniform structure of the silicon in a monocrystalline solar cell creates a high-efficiency solar cell. This cell architecture is favored most in the production of high-efficiency commercial solar products including SunPower modules.

Cost: Monocrystalline PV cells are more complicated to manufacture, thus increasing costs.

Polycrystalline Silicon

Technology: Polycrystalline solar cells are created by casting molten silicon into a simple mold and allowing the silicon to gradually cool and solidify. The result is a solid block of crystalline silicon comprised of multiple grains of silicon crystals. The PV cells are created cutting the rectangular polycrystalline block into wafers of the appropriate thickness, treating the cell surfaces, and printing electrical contacts onto the surface.

Efficiency: Polycrystalline cells tend to be less efficient than monocrystalline cells.

Cost: The simplified process of growing the silicon wafers lowers fabrication costs and makes polycrystalline cells less expensive than monocrystalline cells.

Thin-Film PV Cell

There is an increase in the commercialization of PV cells that use thin layers of various semiconductor materials to create functional solar cells. These cells are commonly referred to as thin-film photovoltaics. In general, thin-film PV modules are less efficient than most crystalline silicon modules, but the manufacturing techniques employed allow for lower fabrication costs. The most prevalent thin-film technologies are covered below:

Amorphous Silicon

Technology: A very thin layer of silicon and other elements is deposited in gaseous form onto a substrate, typically glass or a thin metal, and then etched into individual cells.

Efficiency: The efficiency of amorphous silicon cells is low compared to crystalline silicon cells.

Cost: Because the silicon layer can be deposited onto a semiconductor material that is very thin, overall module costs are lower.

Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide (CIGS)

Technology: CIGS modules are an emerging technology. They use several semiconducting layers deposited onto a substrate to create a low-cost PV module. The nature of the materials allows for relatively high-speed and low-cost manufacturing, in some instances in the form of a continuous printed roll that can be cut into cells.

Efficiency: CIGS have relatively high efficiency amongst thin-film technologies, with recent advances indicating CIGS cells will have an increasing market presence in the future.

Cost: Low.

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)

Technology: Cadmium Telluride is a polycrystalline thin-film material manufactured in a variety of ways. Thin layers of cadmium sulfide and zinc telluride sandwich a layer of cadmium telluride that absorbs light. The cells are very stable, making CdTe cells among the most promising thin-film technologies in the field.

Efficiency: Moderate.

Cost: Low-Moderate.

Call us for top quality solar panel design, installation and maintenance for your home or business!

Call (505) 792-6359 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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