Have you ever wondered about what types of solar panels are? In this guide, we will explore the main types of existing solar panels and provide detailed information about each one.
Solar panels are a renewable and sustainable source of energy that has gained popularity in recent years. Understanding the different types of solar panels and their characteristics is crucial to make informed decisions when choosing the one that best suits your needs.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
These panels, made of monocrystalline silicon, are known for their high purity. They can be easily identified by their uniform dark appearance and rounded edges. The high purity of silicon in these solar panels gives them remarkable efficiency, reaching over 20% in the latest models.
Monocrystalline panels have high power output, occupy less space, and have greater durability.
Another advantage to consider is that their performance is usually slightly less affected by high temperatures compared to polycrystalline panels. Those reason make Monocrystalline Solar Panels the most used in residential homes
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
As the name suggests, these panels are composed of multiple silicon crystals instead of a single one. The silicon fragments are melted and poured into a square mold, giving them a characteristic shape.
Polycrystalline panels are more affordable as less silicon is wasted during their manufacturing.
However, they are also less efficient in terms of energy conversion and space since their purity and construction are inferior to monocrystalline panels.
Additionally, they have lower heat tolerance, meaning their efficiency is reduced in high-temperature environments.
Thin-Film Solar Panels
These panels are characterized by having extremely thin and flexible layers. Each panel does not require a frame backing, making them lighter and easier to install.
Unlike crystalline silicon panels that come in standard sizes of 60, 72, and 96 cells, thin-film panels can be customized to different sizes according to specific needs. However, they can be less efficient than conventional silicon solar panels.
PERC Solar Panels (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell)
PERC solar panels are an improvement over traditional monocrystalline cells. This relatively new technology adds a passivation layer on the back of the cell, improving its efficiency in several ways.
On one hand, it reflects light back into the cell, increasing the amount of absorbed solar radiation. Additionally, it reduces the natural tendency of electrons to recombine and inhibits the flow of electrons in the system.
It also allows higher wavelength light to be reflected, preventing it from heating the back metal sheet and reducing panel efficiency.
PERC panels allow for greater solar energy collection in a smaller physical space, making them ideal for places with space limitations. Although they are slightly more expensive to produce due to additional materials required, their efficiency can result in a lower average cost per watt.
PERC panels offer the following key benefits
- Increased energy production: In a complete photovoltaic system, they can add up to 5% more energy production.
- Better performance in low light and high temperature: They excel in low-light and high-temperature environments, with a 3% efficiency increase.
- Smaller rooftop footprint: Being more efficient, fewer panels are needed to generate the same amount of energy, allowing installation on smaller roofs.
- Reduced indirect costs: By requiring fewer panels, savings are achieved in labor costs, inverters, and other system components.
- Same manufacturing costs: The manufacturing of PERC panels has a similar cost to traditional panels.
All these aspects indicate that PERC panels are becoming the industry standard. Solar installers offering PERC solar panels can stand out among the competition by providing their customers with a high-quality product at a very low additional cost.
So, what is the downside? Currently, PERC panels are still slightly more expensive than traditional panels, but the benefits far outweigh the additional costs.
In summary, by understanding the characteristics and advantages of each type of solar panel, you can make an informed decision to make the most of solar energy and contribute to a more sustainable future.