When choosing to make a transition to renewable energy, solar panels may be the first option that comes to mind. Different types of solar panels offer various advantages depending on your specific needs and circumstances. Here are six types of solar panels to discuss with your solar installers:
1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are a top-tier choice for residential solar systems due to their superior efficiency. This panel type uses single-crystal structure technology, offering an impressive efficiency rate. These panels generate a large amount of electricity per square foot, making them ideal for areas where space is limited. Monocrystalline panels also have a longer lifespan, which enhances their cost-effectiveness. Their high conversion efficiency results in more kilowatt-hours of electricity, maximizing your solar energy yield. Monocrystalline solar panels are a compelling option to discuss with your solar installers if you’re looking for a solar panel type that combines high efficiency, space efficiency, and longevity.
2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline solar panels are made from several silicon crystals. This gives them a speckled appearance. These solar panels are fairly affordable, making them an attractive option for larger installations where space is not a constraint. Polycrystalline panels perform optimally in areas with abundant sunlight due to their lower wattage output. Despite the lower efficiency, these panels provide reliable and sustainable energy production.
3. Thin-film Solar Panels
Thin-film solar panels are composed of very thin layers of photovoltaic material, which are lightweight and sometimes even flexible. They are easy to manufacture compared to other panel types, so they can be cheaper to produce, ship, and install. Thin-film panels have a few main types: amorphous, cadmium telluride, and copper gallium indium diselenide. Their ease of installation and lower cost can make them an attractive option. They are also more maneuverable due to their light weight, making the installation process less labor-intensive.
4. Bifacial Solar Panels
Bifacial solar panels convert sunlight into electricity from both their top and bottom sides, maximizing solar energy yield. Bifacial panels make the most of the sun’s rays for longer periods, often generating more power than traditional monofacial panels. Their double-sided nature lets them capture reflected sunlight from surfaces like white roofs or light-colored ground. Their structure may not suit all types of installations. While they may not be ideal for rooftop solar installations due to the need for reflected sunlight, they are particularly cost-effective for larger solar projects.
5. Concentrated PV Cell (CVP)
Concentrated photovoltaic cells (CVP) offer an impressive efficiency rate, making them one of the most efficient types of solar panels available. CVPs use lenses to focus sunlight onto small, highly efficient, multi-junction solar cells. This technology requires direct sunlight and must be positioned at precise angles, often necessitating solar trackers for optimal performance. While they may be expensive initially, their high efficiency could result in higher long-term savings. Consult your solar installer to see if CVP technology aligns with your project’s needs.
6. Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC)
PERC solar cells have an additional layer on the back of the standard solar cell structure. This extra layer helps to capture light that would otherwise be wasted, allowing for increased energy production. PERC solar panels can deliver more energy than conventional solar panel cells at a relatively low cost. They enhance efficiency by improving electron flow and increasing light absorption. While they utilize the same raw materials as traditional panels, their enhanced design produces greater power output.
Work With Professional Solar Installers
Working with solar panel installers is beneficial when learning about solar panels and determining the best type for your needs. Installers have expert knowledge of the different types of solar panels, their cost, efficiency, aesthetics, and pros and cons. They can evaluate your specific requirements, visit your property to assess potential installation locations, and offer advice on the most suitable solar system. Installers may also provide professional installation services, confirming that your solar panels are correctly set up for optimal performance.