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Homeowner’s Guide to Different Types of Solar Panels

Homeowner’s Guide to Different Types of Solar Panels

For the first time in over a decade, solar pieces increased by 18% during 2021, according to the SEIA. That’s largely due to supply chain constraints and other industry uncertainties.

That didn’t stop solar power from being the number one source of renewable energy during the year, though.

Are you still keen to get on board with solar power, despite this temporary hiccup? Keep reading to find out more about which types of solar panels might work best for your home.

Crystalline Types of Solar Panels

Most home installations comprise these solar panel types as they result in the best value for homeowners due to their high efficiency. Thanks to their long history in residential settings, it’s easy to estimate solar savings when you install these types of solar panels.

There are two main types of well-established crystalline PV panels, and one new kid on the block. All these different types of solar panels comprise silicon wafers arranged in arrays and protected by a metal and glass covering that attaches to your roof.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline panels are the best type of solar panel for home installations. They’re 15 to 20% efficient and comprise wafers sliced from a single silicon crystal.

These black-on-black solar panels are also the most expensive of all residential solar panels and the most efficient in low-light situations.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels undergo a slightly different manufacturing process. The wafers used to construct them come from slivers of silicon melted together and molded into an ingot.

The manufacturer slices wafers from these reconstituted silicon chips to create solar panels that are between 15 and 17% efficient. These solar panels are blue, cheaper than monocrystalline panels, and not ideal for shady roofs or places with many cloudy days.

Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) Solar Panels

PERC panels are high-end monocrystalline solar panels. They have an extra layer in the back of the solar cell that:

  • Reflects light back into the cell
  • Prevents electrons from combining and slowing down
  • Reflects greater wavelengths of light

As a result, these PV panels are about 20% efficient, but they don’t cost much more to produce than ordinary monocrystalline panels.

Thin Film Solar Panels

Thin-film solar panels comprise layers of conductive materials arranged into a sheet and protected by a glass layer. They’re much lighter and more portable than conventional solar panels and usually comprise one of three elements, namely:

  • Cadmium telluride (CdTe)
  • Amorphous silicon (a-Si)
  • Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS)

Each of these has a different efficiency level, but most thin-film solar panels are around 10 to 18%. CIGS panels are extremely efficient at 28%, but they’re extremely expensive and rarely used as solar panels for roof installations.

Get on Board With Solar Soon

It’s best to work with an experienced local solar installer to figure out the best types of solar panels for your area. They’ll know how to maximize your solar installation, so you enjoy the best benefits.

Are you keen to discover more useful home improvement advice? Browse our blog for all the best news and tips.

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