Buying solar panels can be confusing, and there are several factors you should take into consideration when choosing what type you should get. But we’ll help you shop. This article consists of the three most common types of Solar PV systems: Monocrystalline systems, Polycrystalline systems, & Thin-Film Solar Panels. We’ll provide you with a brief background, and some advantages and disadvantages for each type. Hopefully, this information will help you make the right and economically intelligent decision.
1. Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells
Also known as single-crystalline silicon cells, you can easily identify them with the even coloring and uniform appearance on its exterior, which indicates it’s made out of highly pure silicon. They’re made out of silicon ingots which are cylindrical in shape.
a. According to several surveys, Monocrystalline solar cells possess the highest efficiency rates, due to the high-grade silicon material.
b. They’re space efficient. Monocrystalline Solar Panels produce the highest power outputs compared to the other 2 types. Therefore, they need the least amount of space.
c. They have the highest rate of longevity, with some manufacturers providing a 25-year warranty on their panels.
a. They’re the most expensive type of solar panels amongst the three types of solar power systems.
b. The entire circuit can malfunction when the panels are partially covered with shadow, dirt or snow.
2. Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells
Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells, also known as p-Si, were introduced to the market in 1981. They’re made out of melted raw silicon poured into square molds, cooled, and finally trimmed into square wafers.
a. The manufacturing procedure is simple and affordable (compared to Monocrystalline solar cells).
b. They’re likely to possess a rather lower heat tolerance compared to the first type of solar cells we’ve mentioned.
a. With only a rate of 13-16%, hey aren’t as efficient as Monocrystalline solar cells.
b. You need to have a bigger space where you can properly put the panels.
c. When it comes to the design and structure, it doesn’t look pleasing to the eyes with the speckled blue color.
3. Thin-Film Solar Cells or TFSC
With one or more layers of photovoltaic material onto a surface, Thin-Film Solar Cells are also known as Thin-Film Photovoltaic Cells or TFPV. These are further sub-categorized into four other types: Amorphous Silicon, Cadmium Telluride, Organic Photovoltaic Cell, and Copper Indium Gallium Selenide
a. Producing them in large quantities is simple, making them cheaper to manufacture.
b. The cells’ uniform appearance makes them look aesthetically better.
c. They can be made flexible, allowing you to use them in different possible applications.
d. Their performance will not be easily affected by high temperatures and shading.
a. The panels aren’t useful for residential purposes. You’ll need to have lots of space to generate the right amount of electricity.
b. PV-Equipment expenses will heighten due to their low space-efficiency.
c. They usually degrade at a faster rate. This is the reason why they usually have shorter warranties.