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Photovoltaic, Crystalline Silicon (wafer)
Photovoltaic, Crystalline Silicon (wafer)
Silicon (Si) is a semiconductor material that displays the photovoltaic effect. It was the first material to be employed in solar cells and is still the most prevalent. It can be applied for use in either a crystalline (wafer) form, or in a non-crystalline (amorphous) form.

There are two types of crystalline silicon: monocrystalline and polycrystalline (aka multicrystalline).

Monocrystalline is very expensive to manufacture (because it requires cutting slices from cylindrical ingots of silicon crystals that are grown with the Czochralski process) but it is the most efficient crystalline silicon technology. Its conversion efficiency is around 23%.

Polycrystalline is easier to manufacture and can be cut into square shaped slices, but has lower efficiency in its PV effect (approximately 5%). It is comprised of small crystals or crystallites. Its conversion efficiency is around 18%.