Solar panel is a popular alternative energy globally. A large number of US citizens have embraced solar technology due to the climatic changes and depletion of non-renewable resources. The annual growth rate of solar is 49% in the past decade and the cost has gone down by 70%, which accounts for its wide consumer base.
The installation cost for an average-sized solar installation is only around $12,000 after solar tax credits. Due to the technological advancements there are flexible solar panel options available that differ in size, efficiency, and size. Reduce your building’s energy bills by opting for solar panel technology.
How do solar panels work? To explain it broadly, these panels are made of photovoltaic cells which harness the sunlight and convert it into energy. Solar generated power can be used directly or stored in batteries for extended use.
Popular solar panel types:
Firstly, it is important to educate yourself about the types of solar panels available, so that you can decide on the right fit for your building. All these types make use of the semi-conducting materials like silicon, cadmium telluride etc. The different types are:
Monocrystalline solar panels comprise of solar cells made from a single pure silicon crystal. Its manufacturing process is quite complicated. The long silicon rods are cut into 0.2 to 0.4mm thick wafers that are later processed into different cells and cabled together. The solar panels are quite fragile, but dependable and easily available.
- Highest efficiency of more than 20%
- Power capacity of 300 watt to 400 watts
- Ideal for long-term solar projects
- Minimum lifespan of 25 years that extends to an average of 50 years
- Smaller when compared to other types and suitable for people with space issues.
Fragments of silicon crystals are melted together and then cut into wafers to make polycrystalline solar panels. The manufacturing process of silicon wafers is easier which brings down the manufacturing cost. This is inexpensive when compared to monocrystalline panels.
- 15 to 17% energy efficiency
- Power efficiency ranging between 5 to 250 watts
- Lifespan of 25 years but last longer than 25 years
- An affordable alternative to monocrystalline solar panels
Thin-film solar panels:
The materials that go into the making of thin-film solar panels include cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide, gallium arsenide, amorphous silicon etc. The material is sandwiched between two transparent conducting layers to capture sunlight. In terms of aesthetics they are several times thinner than other models.
- Portable and flexible
- Low energy efficiency of 11%
- Power capacity varies widely depending on its size
- Lightweight making it suitable for a wide range of residential and commercial buildings
- Involves the lowest installation cost
This is the newest in the market and the most aesthetically appealing option. Also known as photovoltaic shingles these solar panels appear and function like conventional roofing in addition to generating functionality.
- Power efficiency of 13 watt to 63 watts
- Durable and withstand weather elements
- Ideal choice if you are renovating your home
- Suitable for light-weight roof
Each of these types has their own set of disadvantages and disadvantages. Assess the features of every solar panel type and decide which works to the needs of your building. Install suitable solar panels and make your home eco-friendly.