Solar Panel vs. Photovoltaic Cell

Last Updated on July 11th, 2023

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Solar power technologies have taken new forms as they innovate and become the products of tomorrow. For example, companies like Tesla have created products that provide weather protection for roof tiles and collect solar energy to power the home. 

These products will use the photovoltaic process to create electricity, which comes down to the bi-layered stack of solar cells packed inside the solar panels. 

The main differences between these two solar power collection systems come down to the photovoltaic cells being packed together, stacked bi-layered, and the components inside the solar panels that actually create the electricity being stored and utilized.  

What are the Differences?

To start, we take what was mentioned earlier in the article and break down the two units; the solar panel is the entire structure needed to collect power and usually comes in the form of foot-long rectangular pieces. 

In addition, these units will come with other materials beyond the solar cells, including metal framework, cords with copper wiring, and plastic sheathing. They will also be secured to a heavy-duty support mount. 

The solar photovoltaic cells will be smaller in size, coming in the form of small-inch, inches-long square-like discs. 

These make up the inner components, which create heat from collected solar energy, then produce electricity from electron jump-based reactions between the bi-layered cells. 


What are the Similarities?

The similarities will be down at the micro-level of these two solar power collection system pieces of hardware, remove the metal framing and cords, and all that is left will be the bi-layered solar cells. 

Both pieces of hardware were made with the intention of collecting vast amounts of the sun’s light and energy to create usable electricity. 

The solar cells are made of a metallic composite, darkened so that the sun’s heat can be collected and used to create a PN junction-friendly environment between the cell layers, enough for electron jumps from the heated layer to the cooler layer below. 


Pros and Cons: Solar Panel vs. Photovoltaic Cells

The pros of these photovoltaic cells will be the ability for them to safely and effectively produce and store energy that can be used to power homes and businesses. 

The con will be that purchasing these systems are expensive, while technology is constantly improving makes this somewhat unreasonable, in some sense. 

The con of the solar panel will be the immense amount of space these units take up when fully set up and equipped. 

The pro will be that once set up, these panels require little maintenance, collect power passively, and are easy to place when concerning the direction or patterns of the sun. 


Which one is More Common?

This is kind of a trick question. The solar panels, without all the metal framework and wires and cords, are made up of photovoltaic cells. 

Granted, they will be in compact groups of cells, attached to a parallel layer of solar cells, but the power collection and electricity-producing processes will take place between these layers of cells. 

With this context in place, solar panels are the more common product. Not all panels are made up of this sort of solar energy collecting technology, though about ninety-five percent of them will be made of silicon semiconductor materials. 


Which One is More Efficient?

Today’s standards and levels of technology are at a point in which these silicon-based solar cells are the best and most efficient means for humanity to collect the sun’s energy. 

However, many scientists and solar panel manufacturers are working on the next level of solar panels. In addition, organizations like NASA have contracts for the best in solar panel technology to which those curious could find the latest in this tech. 

In order for there to be improvements to the collection technology, there will have to be a breakthrough in alternative materials that can absorb sunlight more effectively than today’s metallic materials. 


Final Thoughts on Solar panel vs. Photovoltaic cell

When it comes to the next level of solar panel technology, we, as a consumer, will have to wait for innovations to pass certain tests before we are able to use it safely. 

However, there are already neat gadgets on the market, including mobile blowup solar battery chargers and other various niches where a person can collect and use solar power. 

The cool thing for us as consumers is the fact that the future’s technology is on its way, including flying automobiles charged by the sun. So it is an exciting time when it comes to the developments inventors and scientists are unveiling daily. 


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