Which Type of Solar Panels Is Best?
If you’re getting confused about which type of solar panels is best for you in generating energy in your home or business, it’s obvious you need the right information that will help you make informed decisions. This is because there are lots of factors you will need to consider when planning to install. This article promises to give you everything you should know. So read on if you really want to learn the nitty-gritty about the different types for home use.
Basically, there are three types of solar panels, which are monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film. Although these three types of panel serve the same purpose of generating electricity from sunlight (photovoltaic solar or PV), they differ in price, materials and efficiency. Hence, your unique situation would determine which of these varieties will be most suitable for you.
There is also the thermal panel used for converting energy from the sun to heat water for household uses. A recent variety of solar panel is the hybrid version, which produces electricity as well as helps to heat water in the manner of the thermal panel.
Generally, solar panels are made of silicon. The level of purity of silicon used in making the panel determines the main differences between monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film solar panels. The efficiency of this silicon to convert solar energy into electricity is directly correlated with the level of its purity. Hence, manufacturers continue to increase the purity level of the silicon so as to boost its efficiency. However, as the purity of the silicon increases, the prices of the panels increase as well. This may make some varieties of solar panels unaffordable to certain class of people.
Now, let’s consider the different types their pros and cons so you will be able to make the right choice.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline panels are made from single-crystalline silicon (single-crystal-Si), which is of extreme purity. The four sides of the cells are cut to give uniform cylindrical shape that is easily recognizable. The purity of the silicon and the uniform look help to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the solar panel. This explains why monocryatalline solar panels are the most efficient at producing electricity and most expensive type of solar panels.
- Monocrystalline are made with the highest-grade silicon so they have the highest efficiency rates.
- Monocrystalline require the least amount of space.
- Monocrystalline have the longest duration.
- Monocrystalline are aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.
- Most expensive compared to others
- Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline is made with used off cuts from different silicon crystals and melted down into a mould, to form semiconductor. The disjointed silicon crystals are less pure and make slightly less efficient power outputs than monocrystalline . A major difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline reflects in their shapes. While monocrystalline panels have cylindrical shapes, polycrystalline cells look perfectly rectangular with no rounded edges. More also, polycrystalline panels seem to look bluer due to the multiple crystal pieces reflecting the light.
- Polycrystalline panels cost less.
- The process involved minimal waste of silicon compared to monocrystalline.
- Efficiency rate is ideal for household uses.
- Polycrystalline has slightly lower heat tolerance compared to monocrystalline.
- Lower efficiency rates due to lower silicon purity.
- Polycrystalline have lower space-efficiency.
Thin Film Solar Panels
The thin panels are relatively newer technology compared to the crystalline panels. They use extremely thin layers of amorphous silicon as their semiconductor. The good side of these panels is that they are characteristically flexible and aesthetically alluring. They can be fixed into a variety of surfaces. More also, they work more efficiently under low light and cloudy weather conditions.
- The materials used in making thin film panel make mass-production possible.
- Thin film panels are potentially cheaper to manufacture than crystalline-based solar cells.
- Appealing appearance.
- High flexibility giving room for new potential applications.
- High resistance to extreme temperatures.
- Less-effective in most residential situations.
- Low efficiency rates.
- Low space-efficiency.
- Short lifespan.
This is just one way to efficiently save money on energy. There are lots of ways to insulate your home, keep warm in those colder months and also save money. It’s always worth looking at double glazing as well. This is a time tested way of adding value to your house while saving money on energy bills and making sure you’re home is always kept warm.