Solar panel technology is one of the most rapidly advancing areas of the renewable energy sector. New manufacturing techniques, new materials, and designs drive the boundaries of panel efficiency every year. Designs and material can vary, nevertheless all panels serve the same function.
The efficiency differs between designs, and extremely efficient panels often come at a higher cost. Nonetheless, you’ll need to find the best value while considering the immediate and long-term priorities.
Different types of solar panels
As mentioned before, solar panels range widely in design and quality. However, most panels, fall into one of three categories: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film. Each category don’t share the same efficiency rates or designs, but each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are easily recognizable, the solar cells are made out of single-crystalline. To optimize performance and cut costs of a single monocrystalline solar cell, the four sides are cut out of cylindrical ingots to make silicon wafers, which gives this solar panel types its characteristic look.
They have the highest efficiency rates since they are made out of the highest-grade silicon, and is remarkable for generating electricity. Monocrystalline solar panels are space-friendly, require very little and tend to perform better than polycrystalline panels at low-light conditions. The largest flaw about monocrystalline panels is the high cost; these premium panels can be significantly more expensive.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
The production of polycrystalline panels are quite efficient, the process is simple and cheaper to produce than monocrystalline. These solar panels may have slightly lesser heat tolerance than monocrystalline panels. While these can be sensibly efficient—they don’t perform as well in high-heat or in low-heat conditions. Heat can affect the lifespan and polycrystalline panels tend to be larger in size,and less aesthetically appealing than thin-film and monocrystalline panels.
Thin-Film Solar Panels
Thin-film solar panels adopt an alternative photovoltaic mediums that are deposited in a thin layer over a substrate. One great advantage is the ability to easily mass produce thin film solar panels, result in a cheaper cost to manufacture than crystalline-based solar cells. Thin-film, solar panels are very efficient in low-light and high temperature conditions, having less of an impact on performance. Their homogeneous appearance can be visibly appealing in functions where traditional panels would stand out.
Generally speaking, thin-film solar panels are not very useful due to their low efficiency ratings. Larger space is required making them less practical for the standard roof layout. Cost of equipment increases due to low-space efficiency. Unlike mono- and polycrystalline, thin-film tends to degrade faster which typically comes with a shorter life warranty.
Here is a breakdown:
Monocrystalline: high cost, efficiency, and environmental footprint
Polycrystalline: moderate cost, efficiency, and environmental footprint
Thin-film: low cost, efficiency, and environmental footprint
Selecting the solar panel that’s right for your home depends on the characteristics that you value the most. Each option excels for a certain niche and other features can help you tailor your system to meet your energy needs. Allow the experts at PacificSky Solar help you decide which solar panel system works best for your home.