Why Are Photovoltaic Cells So Expensive?

Last Updated on July 11th, 2023

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When producing solar panels, the materials must be efficient and durable, which requires the highest-grade materials available. Currently, one such material is silicon, which takes an expensive amount of energy to purify and make usable for solar panel manufacturing.

Therefore, combined with the price of refining and producing the photovoltaic cells and the costs to mine and procure the raw materials used in the manufacturing process, there is no wonder about the expensive pricing for these panels.

There are. However, new technologies are being developed, making certain forms of solar energy collection feasible even for lower-income homeowners.

Solar panels on a rooftop on an open field - Why Are Photovoltaic Cells So Expensive?

What makes it Expensive?

The most impactful contributing factor to the cost and why photovoltaic solar cells are so expensive starts with mining the rare raw materials needed for manufacturing.

This is also affected by the lithium-ion technology that comes with the batteries, which are expensive to procure and refine, the same as the silicon of the photovoltaic cells.

There will also be the long processes of refining silicon and developing thin-film technology, which combines four elements to create the perfect alchemic combination for photon energy collection and storage.

In simpler words, the costs come from an expensive procedure to make the panels and the rarity of the raw material needed as well.


Is the Production of it too Expensive?

There is going to be a large debate on the cost-benefit ratio that comes with purchasing, installing, and eventually hitting a point in which the solar panels pay for themselves.’

As the solar panels collect energy, the occasional surplus will be fed into the large power grid, which will save a homeowner money and even turn a small profit.

Most current manufacturer development teams speak about working on creating panels that are cheaper to produce without sacrificing the efficiency and durability expected from the consumer.

Tesla has already released their affordable solar energy-collecting roof tiles, which makes for a juicy debate.


Will the Prices Go Down in the Future?

There is already a trend of the pricing of solar panels going down; specific government programs will help an interested homeowner install the energy-producing equipment and even give tax credits as incentives.

In addition, as mentioned a little while earlier, some companies (like Tesla) are creating innovative ways for people to harness the power of the sun in an excellent energy-producing way.

It comes down to scientific breakthroughs in collection and storage technology that will decide the costs of these types of equipment in the future.


Are there Any Cheaper Alternatives?

The standard solar panel is going to be one hundred and twenty-five millimeters by one hundred and twenty-five millimeters by one hundred fifty-six millimeters by one hundred and fifty-six millimeters.

In addition, modules come in sets of sixty, seventy-two, and ninety, which allows for a certain level of surface space to be utilized for collection purposes.

As mentioned a few times, there are going to be new technologies, like the solar tiles from Tesla and rotating setups that follow the sun like certain earth-grown flowers.

These options are more petite and designed for charging and powering smaller pieces of equipment and gadgets.


Where are Photovoltaic Cells made?

The raw materials will require the capabilities of a commercial forge or industrial furnace that will be able to heat up the silicon dioxide particles enough to refine them.

The most used raw materials will be quartz based, which is melted down to release silicon’s oxygen and carbon dioxide elements.

This process is to purify the silicon, then in molten form, is poured into molds to create the known designs and pattern solar cells we know today.

So the simple answer will be that solar panel photovoltaic cells are made from furnace-melted silicon, produced, and manufactured in a factory/laboratory.


Final Thoughts on Why are Photovoltaic Cells so Expensive

There is going to be a technology boom, which we have already experienced with the cell phone and electric vehicle, that will include alternative energy collecting and producing tech.

For example, there are already, in development, forms of solar panels that are literally roofing tiles and act as protection as well as energy producers.

For those with the budget to act now, there is no better time to begin your journey to the future of energy production.

For those who need to save, continue to do so; new technologies will be released in the near future that will make solar panel technology more affordable and feasible for the average home.

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