If you’re new on this journey towards sustainability, there must be a million questions on your mind. You know you want to install Solar power panels at your home or business but don’t really know what are your options. You’re not sure how many kinds of panels are available, or what kind would be the best? Or will the answer vary according to your needs? Well, fret not! We’re here to tell you all you need to know!
What Exactly are Solar Panels?
To start off, you need to know what you’re getting into. Basically, every solar panel you see is composed of numerous smaller cells called PhotoVoltaic (PV) cells. (Photo=Light + Voltaic= Electricity/power). Each of these cells is made of special materials (Mostly Silicon) that allow the light to interact with it and release electrons (sub-atomic particles). This flow of electrons is what we call an electric current responsible for powering our homes.
When we say we harness the energy from the sun to produce electricity, we mean the sunlight scatters electrons in the cells, and the current produced is then transferred through the metallic rows present in panels connecting the PV cells, and later converted into Direct current used to operate our electrical gadgets.
Different Types of Solar Panels.
Now that you know the workings of a solar panel, you can understand that making changes in any of these components can create a new type of panel that may have different strengths and weaknesses.
The differences between these panels are generally in the materials and manufacturing of their PV cells. Let’s go over the 4 major types of Solar panels that you should definitely know about before going solar.
1. Mono- PERC Solar Panels
The Monocrystalline PERC Solar Panels are arguably the best, most efficient solar panels available today. Before you’re intimidated by the name, let’s break it down to understand it better.
MonoCrystalline: Means single – Crystal. This means the panel is made of PV cells containing pure, singular Silicon crystals each. This is beneficial because a single silicon cell per panel leaves more room for the sunlight to fall on the panel and emit more electrons, and consequently electricity.
PERC: (Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell) This simply means that behind the layer of monocrystalline silicon PV cells, an additional layer is added so that excess sunlight does not seep through the panel and can also be used in producing electricity.
Some key benefits of this type of solar panel are:
Increased Light Capturing
Enhanced heat resistance (meaning they will still be productive in excessive heat)
Efficient even in Cold/Humid weather
More energy production per unit area than most other panels
Who is it best for?
Owing to its ability this is the best solar panel you could opt for if your site is in an area with some shade, or the weather is cold, and humid with low-light days. This would still give you exceptional power as opposed to other models which may not perform as well.
Even if you’re not in such areas and have good natural light, you can still opt for these panels as they will still perform excellently. However, if you do have ample light, it may be better for you to opt for more economical options that can deliver similar results.
2. Poly Crystalline Solar Modules
Polycrystalline solar modules, also referred to as multi-crystalline solar panels are perhaps the most bought and installed kind of solar panels. The name of this panel also describes its composition.
Poly: Multiple Crystalline: having crystals
Similar to Mono PERC panels, these are also made of silicon, however, in contrast to the same, it is made of multiple silicone particles per PV cell. In this kind of panel, the Silicon fragments are not refined to isolate singular crystals, and instead, they are heated and poured into the panels to cool down as is, thus giving a fragmented and mosaic appearance.
Since the process of manufacturing Poly Crystalline solar panels is relatively simpler and faster than that of monocrystalline panels, it also becomes more sustainable.
Some Noteworthy Benefits of Polycrystalline Panels:
-Manufactured with an in-built frame, reducing mounting & installation costs.
-Give great output (second only to mono panels)
-Provide high power per unit square (second only to mono panels)
Who is it Best For?
For houses or buildings with a decent amount of natural light, these are the best option. Even better than Mono PERC Panels. This is because these panels have a lower initial cost, so you’re saving money right at the shop! And Secondly, even though they may have slightly less efficiency than mono panels, if there is adequate light and temperature, these can more than fulfil your power requirements.
Particularly if someone is seeking solar solutions for open spaces like farms, or big mansions/ farmhouses that are away from the city buildings and thus receive uninterrupted sunlight, buying Poly Crystalline Solar Panels should be a no-brainer. Even for individual self-sustained objects like traffic lights, such panels are a great choice.
3. Bifacial Solar Modules
Bifacial Solar Modules are the next step in solar technology. As the name itself suggests such kind of panes have two faces, meaning both the surfaces of these solar panels can absorb and produce electricity.
In the case of regular solar panels, that only have one functional surface, as sunlight falls on them, some of it is wasted. This is avoided by adding the same panel surface on the posterior side as well which captures the escaping light and efficiently converts it.
Some Key benefits of Bifacial Solar Panels:
-Offer Increased Efficiency
-Work flawlessly even on Cloudy or cold days
-More durable with longer warranties
-Require less space for installation
Who is it Best For?
With their modernized structure and double absorption area, these kind of solar panels would be ideal for sites where both the faces could receive and absorb sunlight. This does not happen in the case of residential rooftops. Instead, your solar panel installation company may suggest it for ground-mounted panels as they are mounted on an angle exposing both sides of the panel to direct sunlight. Similar structures such as Solar carports, canopies, and pergolas also work more efficiently with Bifacial Solar Modules.
While there are obviously many more kinds of Solar panels available, these three are among the most widely accepted and used kinds. If you’re a newbie, this is pretty much the only guide you need. If you’re a veteran with decent knowledge about solar power products or are seeking solutions for high-rise buildings and bigger structures, stay tuned for our other blogs covering those! We’ve got something for everybody here at Inter Solar Systems (P)Ltd.