3 Types of Solar Panels For Your Home

types of solar panels thin film vs monocrystalline versus polycrystalline panel

The use of solar panels to generate electricity is the most suitable way to reduce any household’s dependency on the national grid since the energy they produce is clean. Many solar panels in use by companies and households today fall under three categories. Namely; 

Monocrystalline Solar Panels 

Their look makes monocrystalline solar panels the most commonly used panels for residential homes. These panels have solar cells that are single, flat, and black, making them very appealing to many customers. 

Mono panels are cut from a single and pure crystal of silicon. Mono panels have multiple colors for their back sheets, including black, silver, and white, while the frames are often black or silver. 

Mono panels are very powerful since they have energy efficiencies of up to 20%. They also involve power capacities of up to 400W, which is the highest among the three types. 

Due to their high efficiency, power, and even complex manufacturing process, mono panels are very expensive to purchase and install. 

Polycrystalline Solar Panels 

The mono versus poly solar panels debate has ensued for the longest, with many people arguing about which type is worth the cost. Poly panels are widely used by homeowners or companies who have adequate space and don’t want to spend more on mono panels. 

These panels are made from fragments of silicon crystals molded together to form wafers. The reflection from these silicon fragments makes poly panels appear blue. These solar panels also have silver frames, and their back sheets are either silver or white. 

Poly panels have a lower efficiency of about 15% to 17% and generate less electricity than mono panels. However, recent technological advancements have seen a great improvement in the poly panels’ efficiency, getting them closer to the mono panels. 

Nowadays, the standard 60-cell poly panels can generate upwards of 300W. The poly panels’ lower price makes them very popular among people with bigger spaces for installation. 

Thin-Film Solar Panels 

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is the compound widely used in manufacturing these panels. To get the thin-layer, manufacturers place a layer of CdTe between transparent layers to capture the sunlight while also using a glass layer on top for protection. 

Thin-film panels can also be made from amorphous silicon (a-Si) and Copper Indium Gallium Selenide compounds. These solar panels are usually thinner than poly and mono panels because their cells are 350 times thinner. 

Depending on what compound they are made from, thin-film panels can be either blue or black. These panels also have an efficiency of 11% and are more suitable for bigger spaces. These panels however, cost less compared to mono and poly panels. 

Also, a thin-film panel’s price will depend on the compound used for manufacturing, with CdTe panels being the cheapest and CIGS the most expensive among them. 

Solar Panel Purchase

When you go out to purchase a solar panel, it’s important to consider your energy needs, budget, and the amount of space you have at your disposal. But solar panels can help your utility bills, home value, and taxes all at once, so they are an amazing asset!

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