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              Thin-film solar cell, type of device that is designed to convert lightenergy into electrical energy (through the photovoltaic effect) and is composed of micron-thick photon-absorbing material layers deposited over a flexible substrate. Thin-film solar cells were originally introduced in the 1970s by researchers at the Institute of Energy Conversion at the University of Delaware in the United States. The technology continuously improved so that in the early 21st century the global thin-film photovoltaic market was growing at an unprecedented rate and was forecast to continue to grow. Several types of thin-film solar cells are widely used because of their relatively low cost and their efficiency in producing electricity.


Types of thin-film solar cells

                      Cadmium telluride thin-film solar cells are the most common type available. They are less expensive than the more standard silicon thin-film cells. Cadmium telluride thin-films have a peak recorded efficiency of more than 22.1 percent (the percentage of photons hitting the surface of the cell that are transformed into an electric current). By 2014 cadmium telluride thin-film technologies had the smallest carbon footprint and quickest payback time of any thin-film solar cell technology on the market (payback time being the time it takes for the solar panel’s electricity generation to cover the cost of purchase and installation).



There are 3 types of solar Thin-Film cells:


1)Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) thin-film

This type of Thin-Film is made from amorphous silicon (a-Si), which is a non-crystalline silicon making them much easier to produce than mono or polycrystalline solar cells.


2)Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) thin-film

This is the second most used solar cell type in the world after crystalline cells.


Unlike a-Si solar cells, this type is made from a special chemical compound called Cadmium Telluride, which is very good at capturing sunlight and converting it to energy.


However, CdTe solar cells have some drawbacks such as:


Rarity: Tellurium is very rare to find, which makes it difficult to mass produce

Toxicity: Cadmium is one of the most toxic elements in the world, so it requires special precautions to deal with this toxic component

3)Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS)

Finally, the last type of thin-film cells is the CIGS solar panels.


These cells are made by placing layers of Copper, Indium, Gallium, and Selenide on top of each other to create a powerful semiconductor that can efficiently convert sunlight into energy.



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