This question is part of the Super Big Solar Panel FAQ from Solar Mango, where expert answers to over 100 important questions on solar panels are provided.


Amorphous silicon is form of silicon. It is the non- crystalline allotropic form of silicon. Amorphous silicon can be deposited on thin films at low temperatures. Amorphous silicon has been used as a photovoltaic solar cell material for devices which require very little power.

Amorphous silicon based thin-film solar panels were in vogue until about 2011, but a-Si (that’s how they are known in the industry) is today like a dinosaur – no one really uses a-Si solar modules.

Why is this so?

It is essentially quality and economics.

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a-Si solar panels have very low efficiencies – 6-7% – compared to crystalline silicon panels, and also when compared to other thin film solar panels made from CdTe (cadmiun telluride) and CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide). Such low efficiencies, and the fact that there was no promise of increase in this efficiency in the near future, made the power generated from a-Si panels much costlier than power from its competitors.

So, it is fair to say that as of 2016, Amorphous Silicon based solar panels are just of academic interest. No one, except a museum, would seriously consider using it for their solar power plants.

Source: Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell from Solar Mango’s Solar Dictionary

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