The primary raw material required to produce solar panels is coal.Coal is burned as a fuel in power plants, and the heat produced by it creates steam that rises and rotates turbines that generate electricity. This process begins with the mining of coal, which results in large-scale environmental degradation through air and water pollution.
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How are solar panels made?
The first step in making a solar panel is to mine and purify silicon. Purification is usually done with an electric furnace. Thankfully, silicon is a highly abundant resource. In fact, it鈥檚 the second most abundant element (right behind oxygen) on the planet.
Where does the silicon in solar panels come from?
Silicon can be mined from quartzite, mica, and talc, but sand is its most abundant ore source. The silicon in solar panels is manufactured through a reduction process in which the silica is heated with a carbon material and the oxygen is removed, leaving behind purer, metallurgical-grade silicon.
Where does the carbon for solar silicon smelting come from?
The Cerrejn open-pit mine in Columbia supplies 鈥淏lue Gem鈥?coal, a primary source of carbon for solar silicon smelters around the world. Metallurgical Coke鈥?(Metcoke) is a source of carbon for solar silicon smelting.
How do photovoltaic panels work?
Photovoltaic cells make electricity from sunlight. Basically, they do this by enabling light particles from the sun to knock electrons from atoms in the PV cells. Here鈥檚 how a solar panel is put together to do just that on your rooftop day after day. The most common material to create PV cells with is silicon crystals.