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Thread: Solar Cells

  1. #1

    Default Solar Cells

    I had concerns that silver usage per unit produced would drop over time, given the costs. A cursory examination this morning and I discover that, for now, this is not the case; in fact, it seems to be heading in the other direction. Copper was promising. However, its low resistance to corrosion and the significant retooling costs are an inhibitor to adoption.

    From my perspective, there aren't any meaningful changes over the next five years, and two emergent technologies use more silver paste. If they can do so and, as a byproduct, achieve a higher efficiency rate (so far just marginal), that would be a boon. Nonetheless in house industry analysts in the EV world are starting to get worried about a new supply/demand scenario that could lead to dramatically higher costs.

  2. #2

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    Silver is a better material compared to copper because it has better thermal & electrical conductivity. Copper could be used with equal performance in these categories, if you used more of it. In an application where weight & space are at a premium, the higher performance material is worth the price. I don't see how that would be the case for a solar panel, unless it was on a space craft or something like that. I have never understood why silver was favored for solar panels. There may be another advantage that I am unaware of. I'm not that deeply studied in the physics of solar cells.

    The corrosion resistance of copper is pretty good too. Just look at some of the copper coins that have survived in very good condition for a very long time. It's pretty close to on par with silver. It's not like the modern zinc pennies. Those readily self destruct when left in a harsh environment.
    “The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”
    Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, January 2008
    This is no longer posted in the Fed Minutes of January 2008, but still quoted here - https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna22592939. The FOMC minutes still quote MR. Reifschneider. as stating the same thing.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilverPalm View Post
    Silver is a better material compared to copper because it has better thermal & electrical conductivity. Copper could be used with equal performance in these categories, if you used more of it. In an application where weight & space are at a premium, the higher performance material is worth the price. I don't see how that would be the case for a solar panel, unless it was on a space craft or something like that. I have never understood why silver was favored for solar panels. There may be another advantage that I am unaware of. I'm not that deeply studied in the physics of solar cells.

    The corrosion resistance of copper is pretty good too. Just look at some of the copper coins that have survived in very good condition for a very long time. It's pretty close to on par with silver. It's not like the modern zinc pennies. Those readily self destruct when left in a harsh environment.
    let me take a stab at your question

    yes, conductance difference between Ag and Cu is very tiny.
    Why silver in solar panel and tomahawk missile? ability to weld and brazing and soldering better than Cu. Ulimate is gold welding and soldering but Au cost way way more

    after silver is NOT copper for solar panel fabrication, it is aluminum
    Last edited by yellowsnow; 01-08-2023 at 09:07 PM.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
    ...
    after silver is NOT copper for solar panel fabrication, it is aluminum
    I find this surprising, as aluminum is considered to be an inferior conductor to copper in other applications. Cheaper aluminum had once been allowed to be used in many house wiring applications in the US, but is now illegal to use in most places that I am aware of. The principle issue that I am aware of it unreliable terminations that would eventually cause hot spots & risk of fire.

    Do you know why Aluminum would be considered superior to copper in this application? If so, would you please be so kind as to take the time to explain it to me?
    “The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”
    Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, January 2008
    This is no longer posted in the Fed Minutes of January 2008, but still quoted here - https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna22592939. The FOMC minutes still quote MR. Reifschneider. as stating the same thing.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilverPalm View Post
    I find this surprising, as aluminum is considered to be an inferior conductor to copper in other applications. Cheaper aluminum had once been allowed to be used in many house wiring applications in the US, but is now illegal to use in most places that I am aware of. The principle issue that I am aware of it unreliable terminations that would eventually cause hot spots & risk of fire.

    Do you know why Aluminum would be considered superior to copper in this application? If so, would you please be so kind as to take the time to explain it to me?
    Al conductor has its drawback too

    the reason i said Al is suitable for solar cell, i mean it's good enough for its application.
    Solar cell doesn't deal with high current, high voltage or high temperature change. Shorter lifespan of solar panel means no need to use material lasting longer than its purpose. Of course, the better solar cell would use more superior material, like silver. I see now more and more cheap appliance motor and transformer coils are made of Al, because they are cheap. Consumer today ain't interested in lasting quality, On a side note, Al windings are getting attention if Al weakness can be designed out. Al lightness does has its advantage in a high revving motor.

    https://electricvehicles.in/ricardo-...v-application/

  6. #6

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    Aluminum wiring is not illegal, but it typically not used in the smaller sizes anymore. It is available, and always has been, in the larger sizes (#6 and larger). Every power drop from a pole to a house is done with aluminum. Copper is too heavy to make good overhead wires. It is heavier to pull through conduits and harder to bend.. Aluminum wires tend to be 2 sizes larger than copper to have the same resistance. But this is just like copper -vs- silver, use a larger piece of aluminum. 2X aluminum is still less than the price of copper.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by heypoolboy View Post
    Aluminum wiring is not illegal, but it typically not used in the smaller sizes anymore. It is available, and always has been, in the larger sizes (#6 and larger). Every power drop from a pole to a house is done with aluminum. Copper is too heavy to make good overhead wires. It is heavier to pull through conduits and harder to bend.. Aluminum wires tend to be 2 sizes larger than copper to have the same resistance. But this is just like copper -vs- silver, use a larger piece of aluminum. 2X aluminum is still less than the price of copper.
    good points. In think gauge apps, Al can overcome their disadvantages. When volume is not a concern Al can match Cu performance at lower price. In EV i think Cu is preferred because reliability is key, and motor can heat up. Cu 1085 C melting temp. is safer than Al's 660 C melting point

  8. #8

    Default

    Melting point of the wire isn't really important compared to the melting/failing point of the insulation. Most distribution wiring has an insulation temp limit of 75C or 90C. Many appliances use 105C rated wire. There is wire good for 150C and 250C (I used some for the power wires to my fireplace blower, and the enameled magnet wire used in motors could be this high), but it gets more problematic as the temps go up.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by heypoolboy View Post
    Melting point of the wire isn't really important compared to the melting/failing point of the insulation. Most distribution wiring has an insulation temp limit of 75C or 90C. Many appliances use 105C rated wire. There is wire good for 150C and 250C (I used some for the power wires to my fireplace blower, and the enameled magnet wire used in motors could be this high), but it gets more problematic as the temps go up.
    i was referring to EV motor. Hard to run coolant around a high revving motor. Even with weight saving advantage of Al winding for high rpm motor, tesla still use copper winding for their electric motor.

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