Solar energy is a sustainable energy source that is important to protecting ecosystems, wildlife, and people. It also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. Furthermore, solar energy can improve air quality and reduce the quantity of water needed for energy production. In 2021, solar energy produced around 4.4% of the worldwide total energy output. This is a 3.3% increase over 2020. Ember Climate reports that 38% of the energy generated was renewable, with solar power making up 11.5% of the total 1. Selecting the appropriate materials for solar construction is crucial to increasing total energy production, improving efficiency, and creating durable, functional solar energy systems. The most important factors and suggested procedures for selecting materials for solar panels, support structures, and associated components will be covered in this section.


Solar Panels

Solar panels, sometimes referred to as photovoltaic modules, are an array that collects solar radiation and converts it into renewable energy. Every solar cell is built on a semiconductor material, often silicon. It is sensitive to light and, when exposed to solar radiation, produces energy due to an event known as the photovoltaic effect. The core of any solar energy system is its photovoltaic modules. The core of any solar energy system is its photovoltaic modules. When selecting materials for solar panels, take into account the following factors while choosing materials for PV modules:

Components of a solar panel 2
  • Solar Cells 

Common materials used to create high-efficiency solar cells include crystalline silicon, thin-film materials (like CdTe or CIGS), and newly developed materials like perovskite. Each has a distinct edge regarding cost, production method, and efficiency.

  • Encapsulation Materials

In order to provide insulation, UV resistance, and moisture protection, solar cells are frequently wrapped with ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA).

  • Backsheets

Backsheets, constructed of materials such as Tedlar or TPT, provide electrical insulation and shield the back side of the solar cells from environmental factors.

  • Glass

To protect the cells and improve light transmission, the front cover is made of tempered or anti-reflective coated glass.

Support Structures

To ensure the long-term durability of any solar system, a well-designed solar PV support structure is essential. In order to withstand the significant stresses of the panel weights and high wind speeds, structures for both roof-mounted and ground-mounted systems must be strong and safe.

Solar panel support structure for ground mount 3

Racking Systems

Solar panel racking systems are supported structurally by racking systems, which also guarantee that the panels are correctly oriented toward the sun. Take into consideration the following materials:

  • Aluminum: Aluminum is a common material for racking systems because it is lightweight, resistant to corrosion, and simple to work with.
  • Galvanized Steel: Provides strong support and longevity, but could be more prone to corrosion and heavier than aluminum.
  • Stainless Steel: Excellent resistance to corrosion means that it can be used in challenging environments.


One of the most important parts of a solar energy system is an inverter. It’s a device that changes the power produced by a solar panel, known as direct current (DC), into alternating current (AC), which is used by the electrical grid. Usually, weather-resistant polymers or metals are used to construct inverter boxes. However, the solar inverter performs more than just DC-AC conversion; it also features an islanding effect inspection and control function, an MPPT function for tracking maximum power, and an active operation and deactivation function 4.

Solar inverter 4

Balance of System (BoS) Components

Everything that makes up a photovoltaic system except the solar panels is referred to as the balance of the system (BOS). These consist of a battery bank, battery charger, mounting system, wiring, switches, and one or more solar inverters. Most of the parts are included in BOS components, which account for most maintenance needs and represent 10% to 50% of solar installation and cost. Modernizing solar PV systems, increasing efficiency, and controlling costs are essentially accomplished by the balance-of-system components 5.


Protection and Coating

Summers in India are known for being extremely humid and hot, with average temperatures of 32 to 40ºC 6. All around, including roofs and buildings are negatively impacted by this severe weather. Protective coatings that reflect sunlight help heat absorption and damage. In order to stop solar energy from penetrating the material and heating the surface, these coatings act as a barrier and reflect it. This helps shield the material from heat-related damage and lowers the energy required for cooling.

  • Coatings: In order to shield materials from environmental factors, coatings are essential. Consider coatings that prevent reflection on glass, protect metal parts from corrosion, and shield plastic from UV rays.
  • Weather Resistance: Every component used in solar structures needs to be able to cope with a range of environmental factors, such as rain, snow, UV rays, and temperature changes.

Considering the Environment

Take the environment into consideration while choosing materials for solar structures. Seek solutions with a minimal carbon impact and think about end-of-life component recycling and disposal techniques.

For a solar energy system to be sustainable and operate well over time, the right materials must be utilized in its installation. By considering many factors such as material characteristics, ambient circumstances, and lifespan consequences, engineers and designers can make informed decisions that lead to a long-lasting and efficient solar installation.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *