3 Types of Solar Electric Panels Explained 3 Types of Solar Electric Panels Explained
Solar electric panels are arrays of photovoltaic cells that use the sun’s renewable energy to produce electricity. This alternative medium of energy is not only environmentally friendly, but also saves electricity costs in the long run. Moreover, solar electric panels are durable, reliable and easy to operate and maintain. These cells are made using special materials that act as semi-conductors and produce electricity from sunlight. These conductors differentiate the different types of solar panels. The article discusses the common types of solar panels that are available in the market.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
These panels are made from a large single crystal of silicon. This solar panel is the most efficient type of solar panel as well as the most expensive. These solar panels absorb sunlight and are better than other types for low light conditions. The panels use crystalline silicon that is produced in a large sheet that can be cut into a size of a panel making one single cell. The entire cell is then covered with metal strips and looks identical in appearance. This acts like a conductor that confines electrons. The solar panel efficiency or the percentage of solar energy that is converted into electricity for Monocrystalline solar panels is 18 per cent.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
These are commonly found solar panels that are cast blocks of multifaceted silicon that contain many small crystals. This is definitely less efficient as compared to the above-mentioned type but is most common. The panel requires a lot of surface area to operate. These solar panels resemble shattered glass and contain multiple small silicon crystals. These panels are a group of small cells put together. The solar panel efficiency for Polycrystalline solar panels is 15 percent. This panel can be made using cast polysilicon or string ribbon silicon.
- Cast Polysilicon - Molten silicon is cast in a big block which when cooled can be cut into thin sheets that are to be used as photovoltaic cells. The multiple cells are assembled together in a single panel and covered with metal strips that form the electrical current.
- String Ribbon Silicon - This type uses a varied polycrystalline production process that uses molten silicon but draws a thin crystalline silicon strip out of the molten silicon. The photovoltaic strips are then assembled in a single panel with the metal strips. This panel is cheaper to manufacture as compared to cast polysilicon panels.
Amorphous Solar Panels
These panels consist of thin-film that is made from molten silicon. The silicon is spread on large stainless steel plates. These solar panels are not very efficient as compared to the two above-mentioned types as they would take more room for the same power. However, unlike the other two, they are shadow protected, that is, they would continuously charge when even part of the solar panel cells are in a shadow. The solar panel efficiency for Polycrystalline solar panels is 10 percent.
When selecting a solar panel for your home, consider factors like cost, durability, size, and amount of electricity needed before investing in one.