Solar panels can save the average American home $1,500 annually on energy costs. However, whether the average family home reaches that amount or not depends on the efficiency of the solar panels used in a solar system. Therefore, it’s important to carefully select the best solar panels you can.
Doing this requires you to know about all types of solar panels. If you’re interested in learning this, read on.
The Major Types of Solar Panels
There are three major groupings of solar panels. What usually makes them different depends on how their typical materials are processed and constructed together.
Two of these solar panel types (monocrystalline and polycrystalline) have roughly the same materials. These are silicon, boron, and phosphorus. All three are essential in the facilitation of the photovoltaic effect.
A thin-film solar panel, on the other hand, has another material included in its construction. This article will discuss this more below.
With an efficiency rating of 15%-20%, these are the most efficient of all three residential solar panel types. However, they’re also the most expensive.
This price is based mostly on how manufacturers make the panel’s silicon. They create the layers of this material by cutting a single, pure crystal of the material. They create this by placing a seed of silicon into a molten vat of the same material.
While this entire process results in a better solar panel, it also results in a lot of wasted silicon. This makes it more expensive to produce this panel type.
When the silicon is ready, manufacturers will create square wafers of boron, silicon, and phosphorus. They will then place these into a rectangular shape. Afterward, they add a glass panel on top.
A polycrystalline panel goes through mostly the same construction process and shape as the monocrystalline one. The only major difference between them is how manufacturers form the silicon.
Instead of producing one pure crystal, the silicon creation process here creates many crystals. This results in less wastage. As a result, polycrystalline solar panels are less expensive.
However, the smart homeowner would know that this price comes with less efficient energy production. Thus, think carefully before you contact professional solar companies in your area to ask about these panels.
These are the least efficient but also the cheapest solar panels the solar industry offers. This is mostly because of the materials that make up such panels.
The materials placed in different thin-film solar panel types include cadmium telluride (CdTe), amorphous silicon (a-Si), and Copper Indium Gallium Selenide.
Though these panels seem ‘bottom barrel’, they are not without benefits. Their lighter weight allows for easier installation. They also fare better in higher temperatures than the other two.
Did You Learn Something? Learn More
Be sure to weigh your options based on your budget, needs, and so on. By doing this with the different types of solar panels, you will probably be able to choose the right ones for your solar system.
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