3 Different Types of Solar Panels

With alternative energy sources becoming more and more popular, solar panels are a highly efficient means in which to power your home. An added beauty of solar is you can send any unused electricity back to the grid, resulting in energy bill credits, which will reduce your combined energy costs. This can only lead to smiles and a happier you!

But which to choose?

Making the decision to convert to solar is admirable to say the least. Complications do arise once you’ve made that decision however. Shouldn’t ‘going green’ be made easy? A, B, C rather than π = mc2?!

With the three solar panel choices being Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Thinfilm, you may be wondering how to decide. Big words can be simplified, so the fear of the unknown becomes well informed confidence.

Monocrystalline panels, black in colour, are formed from individual cells made up of silicon wafers. With Monocrystalline, wafers are cut from one single piece of silicon and it is these wafers that do all the magic of absorbing sunlight. This seems like unnecessary information…..I would totally agree, however it does explain the higher price tag. With the highest efficiency of the three, a higher price is definitely more palatable if you have a large family home.

Polycrystalline panels, bluish in colour are pretty much the same as Monocrystalline in make up. Though the silicon wafers are made up from bits of silicon melted together……again with the nitty gritty information, but it does make this choice more affordable than above with little difference in efficiency. For me, this is the choice to go for in many cases, creating enough energy for an average sized home whilst saving a few pennies.

And finally we have Thinfilm. This is exactly what it sounds like, thin flexible film-like solar panels. Cells roughly 350 times thinner than the previous options, adhesive Thinfilm panels are ideal for those who are put off by cumbersome looking panels on the roof of their pretty, perfectly prim and proper cottage in the countryside……I digress…..This cheaper, flexible alternative comes with a down side. The efficiency is greatly reduced compared to Mono and Poly, although this may be perfect for those seeking a taster of that greener life before taking the plunge. Or even if you only need an energy boost.

What are bifacial solar panels I hear you cry?! Well these are primarily made from Monocrystalline panels. A translucent back plate with cells on either side allows the light to be processed from both sides. With sunlight streaming through the top, reflecting off the ground/roof and streaming straight back though the underside means a double whammy of Solar Future solar panel capturing lovliness.

To conclude, three choices with an additional option of bifacial, may still seem a confusing and scary prospect. To make this even simpler, the choice is highly based on cost VS efficiency.

Monocrystalline – Costs the most but also has the highest efficiency.

Polycrystalline – Cheaper than above but not quite as efficient. A substantial saving with only a 3-5% loss in efficiency.

Thinfilm – The cheapest of the lot with a greater loss in efficiency, around a 5-10% loss. Ideal for portable needs.

A confusing choice made a little less daunting.