Home Improvement Tips
Types of Solar Panels and How to Choose One

Types of Solar Panels and How to Choose One

When it comes to installing a solar panel system, there are several factors to consider, one of which is the type of solar panels to purchase.

Most solar panels for residential solar energy systems available in the market today fall into one of 3 categories: monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels, and thin film solar panels. Each one of these types of solar cells results in a different set of characteristics for solar panels. How can you tell which form of solar panel is best for you?

We’ll look at the differences between the 3 types of solar panels in this article to help you determine which ones to put on your roof.

What are the different kinds of solar panels?

While there are several different types of solar panels, the majority will fall into one of three categories:

  • Polycrystalline solar panels
  • Monocrystalline solar panels
  • Thin film solar panels

Each type has its own set of characteristics that make it best suited for specific solar projects. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Monocrystalline solar panels

One of the main reasons why people choose monocrystalline solar panels is their appearance. Monocrystalline panels are common among households because the solar cells are a single, flat black colour.

A monocrystalline panel can be identified by the form of the silicon wafers, which are built like squares with the edges cut off. The process by which monocrystalline solar panels are manufactured gives rise to their name. Each solar cell contains a silicon wafer, which is made of a pure crystal of silicon. The single crystal is created using the Czochralski process, which involves placing a ‘seed’ crystal in a flaming inferno pure silicon at a high temperature.

Polycrystalline solar panels

Polycrystalline panels, also known as multicrystalline panels, are common among homeowners who want to put solar panels on a tight budget.

Polycrystalline silicon solar cells do not always have their corners cut off, so you will not have the big white gaps on the front of the panel as you do with monocrystalline panels. Because of the way they are made, the panels have a blue hue, which some people find objectionable.  They are also less effective than monocrystalline panels due to the manufacturing process. How effective they are also depending on Solar power in Hawthorn, Melbourne or wherever you live and the incident sun rays.

Thin film solar panels

Thin film solar panels are not the same as monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels.

They are completely black, with no visible silicon cell outlines like those seen on the surface of a crystalline solar panel. Thin film solar panels are typically lightweight and versatile, making them simple to mount.

Because of their lower performance ratings, thin film solar cells are often used in big industries such as utility or commercial solar installations. Thin film solar panels are created by dumping a thin coating of a photovoltaic material onto a solid surface, such as glass. These photovoltaic materials include, for instance: (CdTe)Cadmium telluride,(a-Si)Amorphous silicon, (CIGS)Copper indium gallium selenide, and (DSC)Dye-sensitized solar cells.

Each of these materials produces a different ‘kind’ of solar panel, but they all fall under the category of thin film solar cells.

The panels are lightweight and, in some cases, flexible as a result of the production process. It does, however, make them less robust than crystalline solar panels.

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