Know Your Solar Panels: Common types of solar panels

Solar panels or PV panels are used to convert sunlight. Sunlight is made up of energy particles known as "photons" into electricity that may be utilized to power your devices. 

Solar energy is the most abundant source of energy on the planet. At any given time, over 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strike the Earth, which is more than 10,000 times the world's entire energy needs.

Our sun functions as a natural nuclear reactor. It emits photons, tiny packets of energy that travel 93 million miles from the sun to Earth in about 8.5 minutes. Every hour, enough photons collide with our globe to generate enough solar energy to meet the world's energy needs for a whole year.

Currently, solar power accounts for only 5% of total energy consumption in the United States. However, as solar technology advances and the cost of going solar falls dramatically, our ability to harness the sun's abundant energy grows.

You can utilize solar panels for various applications, including remote power systems, cabins, telecommunications equipment, and solar electric systems.

When photons strike a solar cell, they dislodge electrons from their atoms. An electrical circuit is formed when conductors are connected to the positive and negative sides. When electrons move via such a circuit, electricity is produced. 

A solar panel comprises several cells, and many panels (modules) can be linked together to form a solar array. The more panels you can install, the more electricity you can generate.

There are four main types of solar panels.

The 4 Main Types of Solar Panels

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels were the first to be developed. These cells are distinguished inside a solar panel by their rectangular shape, produced when silicon is heated and poured into a mold. Industry professionals manufacture polycrystalline solar panels very efficiently, as little silicon is wasted in the process. This helps to drive down the cost of installing polycrystalline solar panels or even solar leasing.

The downside of polycrystalline cells is that they are not as heat resistant or productive as monocrystalline cells. They do not create as much electricity. If you intend to sell electricity, they aren’t the best choice.

Monocrystalline Solar Panel 

Monocrystalline solar panel cells are made of pure silicon, which causes them to be more efficient than polycrystalline solar panels. 

You'll note that their coloration is consistent. The cylindrical shape of these cells also aids in their efficiency. It is critical to determine your solar sun number score when deciding between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panel systems. This will help you determine your system's potential based on its location and its amount of sunshine.

Solar panel producers slice silicon ingots into wafers and smooth and round the cell borders to make them. You'll need fewer of them because their shape and composition help them generate more electricity.

However, monocrystalline cells are more expensive to produce than polycrystalline solar panels. As a result, they are more costly. They tend to last longer and often come with lengthy warranties. You can install both types of solar panels on your roof or erect solar panel mounts in a specific location of your property.

Thin-Film Solar Panels

Thin-film solar panels are a newer type of solar panel that is less commonly utilized. They are, nevertheless, gaining popularity.

The thin-film panel takes its name from the method it is manufactured. On a surface, layers of semiconductor materials (silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide) are rolled out as a film.

On the other hand, thin-film solar cells are cheaper and more flexible than crystalline solar cells. They can be turned into shingles.

Thin-film is a wonderful alternative for those who do not like the look of solar panels on a roof. Local solar rebate incentives for installing these types of solar panels may exist.

Thin-film solar panels are less efficient than crystalline solar panels, and they take up a lot of roof space. They also decay faster, so corporations may offer homeowners shorter warranties.

Solar Roof Shingles

Solar roof shingles are the newest solar panel alternative on the market. They are the contemporary solution to having a beautiful roof that can replicate architectural asphalt shingle roofs. However, they benefit from outfitting your home with a solar energy system.

Solar shingles are just as long-lasting as traditional asphalt shingles and will protect your roof and home. They can create from 13 to 67 watts of solar energy per solar shingle installed. They can also survive almost any weather condition. However, keep in mind that the cost of installing solar shingles will be higher than the cost of installing ordinary asphalt shingles.

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