Amorphous solar panels are a new type of solar panels which are relatively cheap and widely available. They are named so because of their composition at the microscopic scale. Amorphous means “without shape”. When the term is applied to solar cells it means that the silicon material that makes up the cell is not highly structured or crystalized.
Amorphous solar cells are usually created by applying doped silicon material to the back of the plate of glass. The cells will normally appear dark brown on the sun-facing side, and silvery on the conductive side. When used as a solar panel it will appear to have several thin lines running parallel across it. These thin lines, are actually breaks in the N and P layers of the silicon subtrate and they create the boundaries of individual cells. Amorphous panels often come without any obvious hook up points, so it can be confusing to use them at times!
Where to get them?
Amorphous panels are now very popular and can be bought from most good solar panel manufacturers or outlets selling solar panels, one company is Jameco.
How to install them
You have to attach wires to the silvery surface on the back. This can’t be done unless you have conductive tape or conductive epoxy. Soldering just doesn’t work. If possible, take an ohmmeter with you to test things out.