Solar Cell Technologies can be Broken down into Three Generations

We can divide solar cell technologies into three general subsets. They are called the first, second, and third generation of solar cell technologies due to their market entry time and types.

The first generation consists of conventional crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell and Gallium Arsenide (GaAs). The first generation came to mass production in the late 1970s.

Then, the second generation includes thin-film Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS), Cadmium Telluride (CdTe), and amorphous silicon (a-Si). This generation emerged as the next generation also in the late 1970s. The reason why they are called the second generation is that their thickness is significantly less than the first generation. The first generation is including wafer-based solar panels. The thickness of wafers is almost 160-200 micrometers (µm). While the thickness of thin-film solar panels ranges from a few nanometers (nm) to tens micrometers.

The latest third generation is made up of organic photovoltaic cell (OPV), perovskite solar cell (PSC), and dye-synthesized solar cell (DSSC). The generation’s history back to the first year of the 1990s. The superiority of this generation is their flexibility compared to other generations.  



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