When you think about installing solar panels, you commonly accept factors like price, aesthetics, and energy efficiency. While these are major factors, there is one more key factor in solar panels that will influence all three of these: the types of solar panels you pick out. The types of solar panels on the market today will affect how much installation and manufacturing cost, along with how the panels will look on your roof. It’s one of the foremost vital issues for a solar panel installation. 

There are three types of solar panels, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. The right solar panels will depend on your particular conditions and what you hope solar panels will do for you. In this guide, we’ll discuss the types of solar panels, the advantages and disadvantages of each type, and how to choose the best type of solar panel. 

Types of Solar Panels:

Monocrystalline:

Monocrystalline solar panels are the oldest technology of solar panels and highly developed. These solar panels are made up of 40 monocrystalline solar cells. These solar cells are made up of pure semiconducting material like silicon. In the manufacturing process (called the Czochralski method), a silicon crystal is placed in a vat of liquified silicon. The crystal is then pulled up out of the vat very slowly, allowing for the liquified silicon to form a solid crystal shell around it, referred to as ingot. The ingot is then divided delicately into silicon wafers. The wafer is produced into the cell, and then the cells are assembled to form a solar panel. 

Monocrystalline solar cells are seen black because of the way sunlight interacts with pure silicon. Whereas the cells are black, they have much variety of colors and designs for the back sheets and frames. The monocrystalline cells are shaped like a square along with the corners removed that contain tiny gaps between the cells. 

Advantages:

  • High energy and contains 20% high efficiency.
  • High lifetime value.
  • Optimized for commercial use.
  • Tend to perform better than polycrystalline panels that are similarly rated even at low-light conditions.
  • It comes with an extended warranty of 25years.

Disadvantages:

  • It is highly expensive

Polycrystalline:

Polycrystalline solar panels come with new development technology, but they are rising quickly in popularity and efficiency. Similar to monocrystalline cells, polycrystalline cells are made from silicon. But in the case of polycrystalline cells, they are made from fragments of the silicon crystal melted together. During the manufacturing process, the silicon crystal is placed in a vat of liquified silicon. Instead of pulling it out slowly, this crystal is allowed to fragment and then cool. Then once the new crystal is cooled in its mold, the fragmented silicon is sliced thinly into polycrystalline solar wafers. Furthermore, these wafers are assembled to form a polycrystalline solar panel. 

Here the Polycrystalline cells are blue in color because of the way sunlight reflects on the crystals. Compared to the pure silicon cell, the sunlight reflects off of silicon fragments differently. Usually, the back frames and frames are silver with polycrystalline, but there is often variation. The shape of the cell is a square, and there are no gaps between the corners of cells.

Advantages :

  • Simple manufacturing process.
  • Cost-effective.

Disadvantages:

  • Sensitive to high temperatures
  • Low life span
  • Low-efficiency rate – 15-17% efficiency

Thin-Film:

Thin-film solar panels are developed extremely with the latest technology in the solar panel industry. There is an important feature that to be observed in thin-film panels is that they are not always made up of silicon. They can be made up of a variety of materials, including cadmium telluride (CdTe), amorphous silicon (a-Si), and Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS). These solar cells are created by placing the main material between thin sheets of conductive material with a layer of glass protection on the top. The a-Si panels do use silicon, but they use non-crystalline silicon and are also covered with glass on the top.

As the name suggests, thin-film panels can be identified easily by their thin look. These panels are nearly 350 times thinner than other solar panels that use silicon wafers. But sometimes thin-film frames can be large, and that can make the entire solar system look similar to that of a monocrystalline or polycrystalline system. These thin-film cells can be blue or black in color, which depends upon the material they were made from.

Advantages:

  • Mass production is simple.
  • Homogeneous in nature, hence they are attractive
  • Flexible
  • Relatively low costs

Disadvantages:

  • Shorter Warranties
  • Short life span
  • 11% efficiency

Which is the Best Type of Solar Panels?

The best type of solar panels depends on the purpose of the panels and where they’ll be installed. For residential properties with a large roof space or property, the best choice of panels may be polycrystalline. These panels are the most affordable for large spaces and will provide enough efficiency and power. For residential properties with smaller spaces, monocrystalline may be the best choice. These panels work well for those who want to maximize their energy bills in a small space. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are good fits for homes and other similar buildings. Thin-film solar panels are never used in homes because they are lower inefficiency. Instead, thin-film solar panels are perfect for commercial buildings that can’t handle the additional weight of traditional panels. Though thin-film is less efficient, commercial roofs have more space to cover more of the roof with panels. 

If you’re not sure which of the types of solar panels will work best for your project or you want some guidance on understanding solar panel technology, our experts at Qwik Power Industries India LLP can help you determine the right panels for your unique project. You can visit our blog for more details on solar panels and their maintenance.