Types of PV Solar Panels
Learn about the different solar panel types.
The solar panel types available vary greatly. You can get them in different quality ranges, however, not every solar application requires the very best quality solar panels.
Most people just aim for somewhere in the middle of the quality scale when deciding on the types of PV panels they will use.
If this decision is based on a good balance of price and power, then this is usually the best choice.
What Types of Solar Panels Are Available?
There are 3 main solar panel types available for the purposes of residential and commercial solar energy systems.
Mono-crystalline Silicon Solar PanelsThese kinds of solar panels which usually have a polka dot or checkered pattern are made of the smallest solar cells and therefore are the smallest, most efficient types of PV panels.
If your building solar panels with mono crystalline solar cells, they are fragile so they must be mounted in a strong, rigid frame.
Mono crystalline solar panels are also the most expensive of all the main solar panel types. This is due to the fact that they provide more energy production per square foot of module, which makes them essential for limited roof space solar applications.
If you don't have a lot of roof space to work with, mono crystalline solar panels are the wisest choice of solar panel types regardless of the higher price. You can learn more about the cost of solar panels by clicking here to go to the Solar Panel Cost section of our website.
Poly-crystalline Silicon Solar PanelsThese kinds of solar panels (made of cells cut from multiple crystals) are the most popular choice worldwide. In fact polycrystalline has now become the standard in Europe.
Although they are a little bigger, less efficient and require more roof space than the mono-crystalline types of PV panels, they are also less expensive and provide an excellent balance of performance and price. Also recent advances in poly-crystalline cell technology have made these solar panels almost as efficient and heat tolerant as mono-crystalline panels, which makes them even more appealing.
Amorphous (or thin film) Silicon Solar PanelsThese kinds of solar panels are made with cells consisting of a micro-thin layer of silicon applied directly onto a sheet of glass or plastic. They are the types of PV panels that are the least efficient because they use the least amount of silicon in their solar cells and thus take up more roof space than the previous two solar panel types.
This is an important consideration if you don't have a big area to work with or want to leave some space for future upgrades (adding more solar panels).
If you do, then you would probably be better off buying poly crystalline solar panels or if your available space is really tight, even mono crystalline solar panels.
Although these types of pv panels make less power per square foot of module, one advantage to amorphous solar panels is that they are more durable / versatile and can be mounted on a larger variety of roof tops such as those of commercial factories as well as building integrated applications involving roofing tiles or shingles. They are also the lowest priced of all the solar panel types.
Solar Roof Tiles
One more option to consider is solar roof tiles (also known as solar shingles). These are much smaller in size and fit onto your roof over or in place of your regular roof tiles.
Choose The Types of PV Panels Right For You
Though, the types of solar panels available each have their own advantages and disadvantages, ultimately the choice is up to you.
If space isn't a huge issue, we would personally recommend poly-crystalline panels (also known as multi-crystalline panels) as they will give you the most flexibility all-round, along with provide you will many competing brands to choose from.
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