Table of Contents
- 1 Monocrystalline Solar Panels
- 2 Polycrystalline Solar Panels
- 3 String Ribbon Solar Cells:
- 4 Thin-film Solar Cells
- 5 Hybrid Panels
- 6 Looking for the Solar Panel that is Perfect for you
Various and different types of solar panel are available nowadays on the market. The range of manufacturers also develops.
And of course, each of them does his best to promote their products and everyone claims that they are beyond comparison and have no competitors. There are different reasons why a product can be considered a good and worthy one. Clients and buyers are given much information, but it can be also false and misleading. We are unbiased, so we can recommend the best solar panel taking into consideration many factors. Your project deserves a proper solar panel.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline panels have special solar cells which represent slices made out bars of silicon. The cell itself has one direction that is why everything has explanations. When it is sunny outside and sunlight falls across them at a definite angle, they show a great level of efficiency. The sun should shine directly on the panels as you are expecting them to show their best. Their color can be named a uniform blacker by the reason of their light absorbing capabilities.
Cells have eight angles that create some space in its corners during the process when a solar module is made up by a great number of cells. Monocrystalline panels have some differences with polycrystalline panels and one of them is their size. Poly installations are a bit smaller even if they produce the same amount of power. The installations of industrial scale can prove the existence of this difference and only, in this case, it can be noticed.
Monocrystalline panels are available approximately at the same price as polycrystalline ones. Generally speaking, the cost of production nowadays doesn’t differ much that can be taken as an opportunity in many ways.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels are crafted with the highest quality silicon available in the market. This renders them a high-efficiency rate that typically ranges between 15- 20%. In fact, monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency rate, when compared to all other different types of solar panels.
Till date, SunPower has succeeded in producing the highest level of efficiency in such solar panels in the United States. As per the reports based in April-2013, SunPower’s E20 series solar panel had a conversion efficiency of 20.1%. Now, SunPower has broken its own record to reach the maximum efficiency level of 21.5%, in their X-series Panel.
Some Advantages of Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells are as follows:
- Highest conversion efficiency rates: Ranging between 15-20% on an average.
- Space Efficiency: These solar panels require the least amount of space when compared to any other type of solar panels.
- Highest Power Output: These solar panels have the highest power output. In fact, when compared to the Thin-Film Solar Panels, Monocrystalline Solar Panels are approximately four times more efficient at yielding electricity.
- Highest Life: These panels have a long life. Most monocrystalline solar panel manufacturers give a 25-year warranty on their panels.
- Efficient Even In Low Light Conditions: These panels perform better in low light conditions, when compared to similar Polycrystalline Solar panels.
However, these panels have a few drawbacks:
- Cost: These types of solar panels come with a hefty price tag. Hence, some homeowners tend to invest in Polycrystalline Silicone as an alternative to Monocrystalline Solar Panels. Some even opt for the Thin-Film Panels.
- Circuit breakdown: If the panel is even partially covered with dirt, shade or snow, it can cause the circuit to break down. In such a case, one must prefer micro-inverters over central string inverters. These will ensure that instead of the entire solar array being affected, only the one with the shading issues is affected.
- Wastage: Monocrystalline Silicone, which is manufactured using the “Czochralski Process”, requires the silicone to be fed into large cylindrical ingots. Silicon Wafers with four sides are cut out from these ingots, thus wasting a significant quantity of silicon.
- Weather: The Monocrystalline Solar Panels are more efficient in the warm weather conditions. But, this efficiency is compromised with the increase in temperature. However, this drawback is worse in Polycrystalline Solar Panels- but most homeowners tend to disregard this issue.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline panels are also known under the name of multicrystalline. They are produced using the silicon off cuts which take a form of blocks. They are used to create a cell that consists of many bits of pure crystal. Not all the crystals are obligatory to be aligned together in a perfect way. Some of them can lose the connection between them and it affects the efficiency. Individual crystals can be perfectly aligned and it should be remembered.
But anyway everything can have its own positive sides and even this misalignment can be named useful in various conditions, situations, and circumstances. The cells can show high levels of work from the sunlight at all angles, even when it is limited. The conditions of the UK and its geographical position should be taken into account and the choice of polycrystalline panels will be the best, but even, in this case, the difference will be minimal. Their look and esthetic appearance can vary. Sometimes crystals are arranged randomly and it gives them a shade of blue color and the capability of light reflection.
They come in a form of rectangular blocks and space is not wasted that can be seen as a great advantage. You won’t see little cells, for this type it is not typical, unlike monocrystalline and hybrid. Some people give preferences to diamonds, but other prefer more neutral and uniform look. The only one person to chose and make the decision is you, because the sizes, costs and the quantity of pros are quite similar.
Polycrystalline solar panels are crafted with a lower quality of silicon when compared to the monocrystalline panels. This allows a reduced cost of production, but the efficiency is also compromised. However, the good news is that the efficiency loss is made up with their construction design, making them a good choice for roof installation.
- Simple Manufacturing Process: The process of producing these panels is simplified.
- Cost Effective: The lower quality of silicon used in the manufacturing process allows a significant amount of cost reduction in the manufacturing process.
- Less wastage of silicone (compared to Monocrystalline Solar Panels)
- Lower Efficiency: These panels are not as efficient as the monocrystalline panels. Their output efficiency ranges between 13-16%. This is because of the lower quality of silicon used in the manufacturing process of polycrystalline solar panels.
- Reduced Space Efficiency: When compared to the monocrystalline panels, a larger surface area is required to obtain the same amount of power output using polycrystalline panels. However, this does not imply a better performance of monocrystalline panel over every polycrystalline panel.
- Weather Conditions: These panels do not perform as well as the monocrystalline panels in high-temperature conditions. Heat can compromise on their performance and also reduce their lifespan in the long run. However, most homeowners tend to overlook this drawback.
- Aesthetics: Polycrystalline solar panels have a speckled blue color, which makes it look shabby when compared to the uniform appearance of the thin-film and monocrystalline panels.
String Ribbon Solar Cells:
Also manufactured using polycrystalline silicon, the String Ribbon Solar Panels are produced using a method called the “String Ribbon” Technology. In this process, molten silicon is taken and temperature resistant wires are pulled through it. This results in an extremely thin silicon ribbon production. The solar panels thus produced have a striking similarity to the traditionally produced polycrystalline solar panels in appearance.
Pros of String Ribbon Panels:
- Silicone Quantity: The String Ribbon Technology requires only half the amount of silicon to manufacture the panels when compared to the monocrystalline panels manufacturing. This cuts down the costs significantly.
Cons Of String Ribbon Panels:
- High Cost and Energy: This technology utilizes a great deal of energy, thus making the process more expensive.
- Efficiency: The efficiency of these panels ranges between 13-14%. However, researchers in Research Laboratories have managed to push the efficiency of these cells up to 18.3%.
- Space Efficiency: The String Ribbon Solar Panels have the lowest amount of space efficiency when compared to any other crystalline-based panels.
These solar panels were first manufactured by the Evergreen Solar company, using the String Ribbon Technology. However, the company has now gone bankrupt, and the future of the String Ribbon solar panels is obscure.
Thin-film Solar Cells
Thin-Film solar cells or TFSC are also popular as Thin-Film Photo-Voltaic (TFPV) Cells.
In these solar cells, a single or several layers of thin, photovoltaic material are deposited on a substrate. Based on the type of photovoltaic material deposited, the thin-film solar cells may be classified into:
- Amorphous Silicon or a-Si
- Cadmium Telluride or CdTe
- Copper Indium Gallium Selenide or CIS/CIGS
- Organic Photovoltaic Cells or OPC
Of these, the amorphous silicon, copper indium gallium selenide, and cadmium telluride are the only commercially available thin-film technology based solar panels on the market.
Based on the technology used, an efficiency level of 713% has been reached by the thin film module prototypes. Production modules are operating at approximately 9%. However, in the future, the module efficiencies are expected to reach a whopping 1016%!
Between 2002 and 2007, the market for the thin film photovoltaic cells grew at an annual rate of 60%. About 5% of the photovoltaic module shipments comprised of thin-film technology based panels to the residential sector in the United States.
- Mass Production: The production process is simple, allowing cheaper mass production when compared to any crystalline-based solar panels.
- Aesthetics: Their uniform appearance enhances their aesthetic appeal.
- Flexibility: They have a high potential for a wide range of applications due to their flexibility.
- Weather: Shady conditions or even high temperatures do not compromise their performance levels.
- Space Requirements: The TFSC panels are cheap but require a huge amount of space, making them not so useful for residential purposes. Monocrystalline Solar Panels by SunPower are four times more efficient for the same amount of space compared to the TFSC panels. When extensive space is available, these panels are a good choice.
- Cost: Low space efficiency renders higher PV equipment ( eg. cables and support structure) costs.
- Shorter Lifespan: These panels tend to degrade faster than the mono and polycrystalline counterparts, hence, they are typically available with shorter warranty.
Hybrid panels are mainly manufactured by Panasonic Company, formerly called Sanyo. HIT module consists of the thin amorphous solar film layer. You will extract more energy with the help and affection of sunlight intensity regardless of light conditions outside. These panels are considered the most practical, space-saving and cost-efficient. They are available in the market in a great range of types. But you’d better use any other type than a hybrid if you have small space on the roof and you need the maximum of generated energy. Remember that extra costs also exist and you will be paying more money generation the electricity.
Pay your attention to completely black panels which can be found in the UK market. It is not a traditional type. They will look quite beautiful unlike another type of panels. Each solar panel has its own pros and cons, pluses and minuses, positive and negative characteristics. Consider all the factors and think over the best panel for you house or enterprise.
Looking for the Solar Panel that is Perfect for you
Our advice is professional, independent and is suggested by true experts in the field. Let’s examine different panels and may be after you will be able to distinguish good from bad, reality from fiction.
People who are connecting with sales can say what the best is and why it is so. They completely believe that their product is the number one, try to invent as many reasons as it is possible in order to assure you.
Each type of solar panels has its own peculiarities and specific features. They all mean a lot and it is very important to know them, but eventually, the decisive moment and aspect is total overall power generated. A system of 3kW will help to produce electricity regardless of their types either it is poly, mono, hybrid. Panel efficiency is a special term invented by manufacturers, but it doesn’t significantly affect the annual amount of power generation. If you want, you may read a full definition of this term and you will understand how it works.
Let’s sum up the main differences between various types and examine them in detail. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline modules which generally can be called crystalline are easy to use and it will be a practical decision for the population of the UK and the USA. It won’t take much space on your roof. Sales promotion is better to be ignored, pay attention to the reputation of chosen manufacturer. You need to be confident in it and its professionalism; you should be given advantageous warranty terms, precise information about the company’s history and reliability reviews of customers.
Hybrid panels have a lot of advantages and experts consider that they are more efficient than crystalline panels. Their capacities are out of any doubt, they produce a higher amount of power even when the area is small. Although they are expensive and demand costs, they are more popular than worthwhile crystalline type.
If you live in the UK and its climate affects you and your life, so you should choose thin film modules. They can bear any weather conditions, even if they are dull and diffuse. They occupy much space, but their cost is considerably lower. The chance of buying a thin film is very small because the majority of the UK distributors stock crystalline modules.
Appearance also plays a great role. If it is so for you, pay your attention to the modern black framed panels and innovation all black panels which look much more attractive than common aluminum framed panels. The color of your roof is also significant because black looks good only with dark colors of tile roofs, but with red roofs they look ok, but not perfect. But take into consideration that black panels are good only with appearance because they will easily get hotter and the efficiency of their work will be lowered and as a consequence less electricity generated.
The payment for panels will increase; the amount of generation will be reduced. The idea of fitting black-backed panels will be the best for you only in the case when you are concerned about their look and this question occupies all your thoughts. If you are ready to accept their imperfections and special features that are far from perfect ones, buy them without doubts and hesitation.