The Three Major Types of Solar Panels

By July 10, 2019 Solar Education

When looking into solar panels, there are generally three types of solar panels that are used during installation. These three types are: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film panels. To produce electricity, solar cells are made from a semiconducting material that converts light into electricity. The most common material used as a semiconductor during the solar cell manufacturing process is silicon. (EnergySage). Each type has its own exceptional advantages and disadvantages; the solar type that is best suited for your installation will depend on factors specific to your own property and desired system characteristics.

The first type of solar panel is monocrystalline. Monocrystalline solar cells are cut from a single, pure crystal of silicon. These cells appear black because of how light interacts with the pure silicon crystal. While the solar cells themselves are black, monocrystalline solar panels have a variety of colors for their back sheets and frames (Thompson). The advantages of the monocrystalline solar panels are high efficiency/performance; the disadvantages, however are having significantly higher costs than other panels.

Secondly, polycrystalline solar panels are another type of panel that can be used. For starters, polycrystalline is on average about 20% cheaper to produce and creates less waste silicon in the process. If your main priority is the lowest price panel, polycrystalline panels are probably your best bet. The disadvantages to these panels are lower efficiency as well as the productivity not being as high.

Lastly, thin-film solar panels are the last type of solar panels that can be used. The biggest difference of this panel in comparison to the others is how thin the panel is. Thin-film panels are often slimmer than the other panel types mentioned above. The advantages of this panel are: portable and flexible, lightweight and the aesthetics. The disadvantage of this panel is the panel is the lowest efficient panel with the lowest performance.

Adey Nash

Author Adey Nash

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