4 Types of Residential Solar Panels You Should Know
The solar technology has continued to advance with more energy-efficient products being developed both commercial and residential applications. Solar panels are of different types and they have unique system characteristics suited for specific installation needs. The solar market is seeing a surge in advanced solar panel products, leaving homeowners with a tough decision to make.
Residential solar panels offer clean energy, significantly reducing your monthly energy bills, improve energy efficiency and other environmental benefits such as reduced carbon footprint from conventional energy sources and individual impact. While about 90% of solar cells are made using silicon, solar panels vary in price per watt and they will have different efficiency ratings.
Here are different types of residential solar panels and their distinct features you need to know when choosing a solar energy system for your home.
1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Made of high-quality monocrystalline silicon, these panels have can reach an efficiency rate of 20% and above. Their unique features include a uniform dark blue color and rounded edges. Monocrystalline solar panels are designed to withstand high temperatures with high power output per square foot. However, their high efficiency and energy output makes them pretty much expensive than other types of residential solar panels.
2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline panels, also known as multi-crystalline panels, have unique characteristics such as uneven blue color, square cells and uncut edges. Compared to monocrystalline panels, these ones cheaper and relatively faster to produce as it only involves the melting of raw silicon. Their efficiency rate can reach above up to 15% and are not designed to withstand a long period of exposure in high temperatures.
The difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels is very subtle — monocrystalline panels are built for more efficiency, but the two have fairly similar power outputs.
3. Thin-Film Solar Panels
This type of residential solar panels have thin amorphous silicon solar cells and are ideally suited for small solar energy systems. Thin-film panels are the cheapest among the three types, offering poor efficiency ratings of between 7% to 13% and low power output.
They are made using materials such as silicon, cadmium or copper, which are quite affordable and flexible as well. Their flexibility allows them to withstand high temperatures and improve their application. However, due to low-quality products used to produce the panels, they are not as durable as other types of panels.
Residential solar panel technology is ever advancing and this allows the production of more cost-effective solar panels accessible for everyone.
4. Concentrated Photovoltaic Cell
Concentrated PV technology is considered the most promising type of solar panels and source of renewable energy because of its high-efficiency ratings of 41%. These panels are designed with a curved mirror surface and cooling systems, which focus sunlight on multi-junction concentrated solar cells for improved efficiency.
A concentrated photovoltaic solar panel converts traps and converts sunlight into electrical energy using semiconducting materials. The difference between CVP solar panels and the other three types of panels is the introduction of the optical system, including the lenses and the mirror surface, which concentrate most of the sunlight onto each solar cell. CPV systems are available in three magnification ratios: low concentration, medium and high concentration
Now that you understand some of the main types of solar panels, what factors should you consider when choosing a solar system for your home.
- Types of solar panels good for your home
- Solar panels ratings
- Cost versus value factor
- Warranty and elements to look for
- Number of solar panels required
Size and watt of the panels determine it’s efficiency as well as power output, which can also be impacted by how the solar system has been installed and the location of the home. With the above mentioned solar panel options you can confidently choose the right one for your home.