Solar Panels – The 3 Best Solar Panels For Your Home And Commercial Building
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Converting your home to solar power may have been a challenging decision. However, solar power is not only beneficial for the environment, but it also helps reduce the use of fossil fuels and can assist in managing electricity bills.
Solar panels are constructed with numerous photovoltaic cells that absorb sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. To power a home, most solar systems include an inverter that converts the DC electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity.
If you are considering converting your home to solar power, it’s important to be aware of the different types of solar energy available to make an informed decision.
1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are the most well-established type of solar panel, and they are made up of single-crystal silicon solar cells. To create these cells, pure silicon is moulded into bars and then sliced into wafers, with the edges of the cells being trimmed and smoothed to maximize their energy output.
Although this process is time-consuming and wasteful, it gives monocrystalline cells a distinctive look. Monocrystalline solar panels are considered a high-end option, made from the purest silicon.
Although they are more expensive than other solar panels, they tend to have a longer lifespan and higher efficiency. Because they are composed of a single crystal and produce more power, additionally, they have a sleek black appearance that many homeowners desire.
Some examples of companies that manufacture monocrystalline solar panels include JA Solar, Longi Solar, and QCELL.
2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline solar panels, or “multi-crystalline” panels, are often considered a mid-range option due to their lower efficiency than monocrystalline solar panels. They are, however, a more affordable option.
These panels are also made from silicon, but instead of a single crystal, they are composed of many fragments of silicon crystal that are melted together. This results in lower efficiency and shorter lifespan than monocrystalline panels, as there are many crystals in each cell, which restricts the movement of electrons and reduces electricity generation.
Manufacturing polycrystalline panels involves melting raw silicon and pouring it into a square mould to create wafers. Unlike monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline cells do not require cutting each of the four sides, resulting in less waste and a faster, cheaper manufacturing process. These wafers are then assembled to form a polycrystalline panel.
Polycrystalline cells are easily identifiable by their blue finish, rectangular shape, and speckles. The speckles are due to the many crystals present in each cell, which also causes the cells to appear blue and reflect sunlight in a particular way.
3. Thin-Film Solar Panels
Thin-film solar panels differ from monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels because they are slim, adaptable, and low profile. This is because the cells in thin-film panels are roughly 350 times thinner than the crystalline wafers in other solar panels.
Several layers of semiconducting materials are used to manufacture thin-film panels, such as silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide. The semiconductor layer is placed between transparent conducting layers and covered with a layer of glass to capture sunlight.
Although silicon is sometimes used, it is not in the form of solid silicon wafers but rather a non-crystalline type of silicon. Thin-film panels have lower efficiencies and power capacities compared to crystalline panels, with efficiencies reaching around 11 per cent.
This means they require more roof space to generate much solar energy. Additionally, they tend to degrade more quickly, resulting in shorter warranties.
Despite their limitations, thin-film panels have unique features that make them useful in the solar industry. They are more flexible, allowing them to be moulded into shingles or solar roof tiles, which is ideal for property owners who prefer a more discreet solar energy system.
Among The Above Mentioned Solar Panels, Which Is The Best For You?
The best solar panel for a project largely depends on the specific needs and budget of the project. Polycrystalline solar panels are a popular choice for residential properties due to their affordability.
However, monocrystalline panels may be a better option if the property has limited roof space due to their higher efficiency. Thin-film solar panels, on the other hand, are typically not used in residential properties but can be useful for larger commercial or listed building projects due to their lightweight and flexible nature.
Ultimately, the choice of solar panel will depend on the specific requirements of the project and the available budget.