Production of solar panels in Ukraine: raw materials and features

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Despite the games of the new government with “green” tariffs, which we wrote about earlier, the development of renewable energy remains an important and promising vector for Ukraine. According to the press service of the Cabinet of Ministers, today about 15000 households in our country use “eco friendly” electricity by installing solar panels with a total capacity of 350 MW.

Given the growing interest of local consumers in this issue, we propose to consider it on the other side and find out what are solar panels made of in Ukraine?

The functioning of these devices is based on the photoelectric effect, which converts the sun’s rays into electricity. This process occurs by transferring photon energy to the electrons of the material from which the panels are made. The effectiveness of the entire installation depends on the characteristics of this material.

Scientists around the world are trying to find new materials and their combinations to increase the productivity of solar panels. Today they are made from polymers, selenides, copper, cadmium telluride, etc. But models of silicon remain the most optimal option in terms of price-quality ratio.

Silicon solar panels exist in two types:

– monocrystalline – consist of thin plates of silicon crystals with a high degree of purification;

– polycrystalline – a cheaper, but less effective option, for the production of which use dissimilar silicon crystals and various impurities, fusing them together.

Polycrystalline silicon is the main raw material for the manufacture of these devices, it is contained in quartzite. On the territory of Ukraine there is a unique deposit with the highest content of silica in quartzite (more than 99%), which has no analogues in Europe – this is the Banytsky quarry in the Sumy region. But, since it is privately owned, more than 90% of the production goes for export.

According to experts, large reserves of quartzite are concentrated in Ukraine (in the Zhytomyr, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Khmelnytsky regions). However, some deposits are not developed. For active deposits, it is more profitable to export raw materials than to supply it to the local market, which is satisfied with imported silicon of Chinese or Turkish origin.

Without a change in state policy on this issue and foreign economic indicators of the silicon market, the situation is unlikely to change in the near future. But this will not become a barrier to the development of alternative energy in Ukraine and the production of solar panels on its territory.

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