Do you want to harness the sun’s power to heat your home, power your appliances, and reduce your energy bill? If so, installing solar panels is a great idea. These panels are an attractive option for those who want a greener lifestyle.
In 2021, roughly 4% of homes in the U.S. are powered by solar energy.
Do you think it’s time for you to join them? Keep reading to learn more about the different types of solar panels to help you decide what to get.
Different Types of Solar Panels
There are three types of solar panels for your home: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. You can find unique differences in their aesthetics as well as in their functions. Check out the breakdown we have on the different types of solar panels.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline is the most efficient solar panel and the most popular for residential use. They are from a single crystal silicon ingot cut into individual cells. Manufacturing monocrystalline solar panels involve grouping together several cells to make one material.
This type of solar panel is the most durable and has a longer lifespan. This type performs well in hot and cold weather and is not as susceptible to shading.
The appearance of these solar panels appears black as it is the result of the interaction of sunlight with pure silicon. Its color may appear black, but you should know that the shades would differ on the back part of its sheets and frames.
Monocrystalline solar panels are a good choice for homeowners who want the most out of their solar panel investment. This type is likely to be the most expensive among other options. They are costly because of the single silicon crystal used in their panels.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline solar panels are from silicone that has been melted and poured into a mold to create solar cells. They’re made of many smaller silicon crystals, making them less efficient than monocrystalline panels. Polycrystalline solar panels are a good option for affordable solar panels.
This type of solar panel produces a blue color when the sun’s light reflects on its crystals. The reflection is different from a pure silicon cell as it is made of various molded crystals. The back part of polycrystalline solar panels has a silver color, but we can also find other variations.
This type of solar panel can be a lot cheaper as it is made up of silicon fragments compared to monocrystalline solar panels made up of a pure silicon crystal. Melding several pieces together is not that costly as it is a much simpler process.
Thin-Film Solar Panels
This type comes from a newer technology that is becoming more popular as they are more efficient than traditional solar panels and less expensive to manufacture. They are also more flexible and offer accessibility to various roof types.
Thin-film solar panels are made from a variety of materials, including cadmium telluride (C.T.), copper indium selenide (CIS), an amorphous silicon (a-Si). Among these, a-Si solar panels have the lowest energy conversion efficiency, around 6-9%. However, a-Si solar panels are the lightest and most flexible, making them ideal for portable solar chargers and integration into building materials.
CIS solar panels have an efficiency of around 11-13%, making them an excellent middle ground between a-Si and C.T. solar panels. CIS solar panels are also less expensive to manufacture than C.T. solar panels.
C.T. solar panels have the highest energy conversion efficiency of the three types of thin-film solar panels, around 15-20%. However, CT solar panels contain toxic cadmium, making them more difficult and expensive to recycle.
The amount of money you will spend depends on the type of thin-film panel that you will use. C.T. thin-film solar panels are cheap to manufacture compared to CIGS solar panels. But all-in-all, the installation of thin-film solar panels is still much more affordable than monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels as they have fewer labor requirements.
The materials used in thin-film solar panel installation are a lot lighter and can easily be maneuvered. Installers will have no problem carrying them on our rooftops and in other secure places where you want them installed.
Solar Roof Shingles
These are the newest types of solar panels on the market. They are perfect for people who want a more aesthetically pleasing look on their roofing as they look like a regular roof shingle. Many people prefer solar roof shingles as they are much more durable than traditional solar panels.
This solar panel can produce about 13 to 67 watts of solar energy for every solar shingle. They can last longer and are resistant to harsh elements, but we should also know that the installation will take a lot of time.
If money is not an issue, you may want to consider solar shingles for your home. It is the most expensive type because of the number of materials used in the installation. The average price of solar roof tiles costs between $15,000 to $20,000, but some would cost up to $70,000.
The installation period is going to be a lengthy process because of the complexity involved. It would be best if you did proper planning with the installation company you are dealing with to avoid wasting your time and materials.
Bifacial Solar Panels
Bifacial solar panels can capture sunlight from both the front and back sides, which results in higher efficiency than traditional solar panels. While bifacial solar panels may be more expensive than conventional solar panels, they may be a good option for those looking to maximize the renewable energy potential of their home.
You may want to deal with a contractor that can offer multiple options to determine which type of solar panel is best suited for your home. The features of these solar panels can affect the energy-efficiency that you can get.
If you are looking for professional services, check out EHS Solar as they offer different kinds of solar energy solutions. Aside from the solar system installation, we can deal with them for our energy storage, roofing and energy saving HVAC solutions. Visit their website to access the free evaluation for their services for us to know how much this project is going to cost us.
Different Types of Solar Inverters
When choosing solar panels for your home, you must consider the type of solar inverter you will use.
String inverters are the most common type of solar inverter and work well with crystalline silicon solar cells. Microinverters are less common but more efficient and work well with thin-film solar cells. There are also a variety of specialized inverters for specific applications like power optimizers.
Here are a few things that you need to learn about the different types of solar inverters:
Home solar energy systems commonly use string inverters. It is the most cost-efficient inverter. Using string inverters in roofing that are well-lit and have a flat plane is ideal.
The term string comes from how the solar panels look when connected with this type of inverter. The arrangement of the solar panels is combined with a string that is then tied to the inverter.
Compared to other types, string inverters are older technology.
Microinverters are a type of inverter that converts A.C. to D.C. power. They are used in P.V. systems to increase the efficiency of the system. Microinverters are more expensive than other inverters, but they offer the best performance.
Some solar panels come with embedded microinverters, and you may add them separately. Their efficiency is much higher because panels found in shaded parts of the roof dodo not block the energy flow of those in a sunny portion. They can cause an autonomous function on each board you have.
Power optimizers are a type of inverters that help increase the solar system’s output by tracking the sun and maximizing the panels’ power output.
They are similar to microinverters as they are also embedded in the solar cell of our panels. Although, electricity passing through a power optimizer undergoes a different process. The power that exits a power optimizer cell undergoes a conditioning process that leads to better efficiency of the cells.
Get the Best Solar Panels for Your Home
Solar panels are a great way to save money on your energy bill and can also help you be more environmentally friendly. When you’re ready to install solar panels, it’s essential to consider the different types of solar panels and know what will work best for your home.
Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient but also the most expensive. Polycrystalline panels are less efficient, but they’re less expensive. If you’re unsure which type of panel to choose, ask a solar panel expert for advice.
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