Did you know that the solar panel in the US offsets the equivalent of 2 billion trees in carbon? And there are many other benefits of solar power.
You are not just reducing your environmental footprint. Other solar panel benefits include increasing your property value, receiving tax incentives, and long-term savings.
Buying solar panels is a great decision. But before you start shopping, it is important to know the different types of solar panels. Then you can pick the best solar panels for your home.
Read on to learn your solar panel options!
What Are Home Solar Panels?
Home solar panels are panels for residential properties. They absorb energy from the sun to make electricity. Every hour the sun produces more power for Earth than what it needs to meet global energy needs for a year.
The solar panels are made up of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells. When the sunlight hits the solar panels, an energy field is created. It flows through the panel to the conductive wire, and then the inverter transforms the energy into AC to power your home.
After this, the energy reaches your home. The energy you do not use gets sent to the utility grid through the meter, and you receive credit. If you need more power, it depends on if you are using the electrical grid or have another off-grid system.
Types of Solar Panels
There are three main types of solar panels for your home. They do not only look different, but they also perform differently too. You can also get other forms of solar energy, such as solar roof shingles!
Here are the three common types of solar panels on the market right now.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are one of the most popular solar panel options, and they are the oldest! The solar cells are made of silicon wafers, and manufacturers use the Czochralski method to make a single silicon crystal. This is when a seed of silicon crystal gets put on a molten vat of pure silicon to create a single silicon crystal.
Monocrystalline solar panels are distinctive because they are black in color, with silver, black, or white backs and metal frames in black or silver. They are usually installed on your roof or solar panel mounts on land.
There are different types of monocrystalline solar panels. You can pick the newer Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact cells (PERC), which produce even more electricity. Sometimes people categorize them as a different type of solar panel.
Another option is Bifacial solar panels, which produce electricity on both surfaces. Monocrystalline panels are one of the best solar panels because they are efficient and long-lasting. Their form means they make a good amount of energy, but they are more costly than some solar panel options as a result.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
The main difference between polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar is the cooling part of the manufacturing process. With polycrystalline, it is more straightforward. They allow the crystal to cool without pulling it out slowly, so a polycrystalline solar panel has multiple silicon crystals instead of just one.
The sun reflects and reacts with these panels differently, so the panels are blue. There can be different colored frames and backs, but usually, they are silver or white. They are cheaper than monocrystalline solar panels, but you need more panels to get the same energy efficiency.
Thin-Film Solar Panels
Thin-film solar panels have significantly smaller solar cells, but they can still have thick frames. Although they are a lot lighter, they can still be durable. They are less common for home solar panels, but they are growing in popularity, like the industry.
They are made of semiconductor materials such as amorphous silicon or calcium telluride. Manufacturers roll them out in layers of film onto the surface. Their colors tend to be brown, black, or grey.
Thin solar panels need more space, so they do not work in small areas and are less efficient than other solar panels. However, it could be a good option for a community solar installation for homes. It is expected that their efficiency will improve with solar panel technology developments.
Solar Panel Options
You may also see some different names for types of solar panels. Sometimes home solar panels are categorized based on their generation.
For example, monocrystalline and polysilicon solar panels are the first generation. Thin-film is one of the second-generation options.
Buying Solar Panels
So how can you decide what are the best solar panels for your home? You can consider a few factors: efficiency, cost, space, power capacity, and weather protection.
Monocrystalline cells tend to have the best efficiency at around 20% or more with PERC technology, and they can tolerate lower temperatures. They also do not need much room, as you need fewer panels. However, they cost more because of this and their energy-intensive manufacturing process.
Polycrystalline solar panels also have good temperature efficiency, and they are cheaper. Their energy efficiency and power capacity are behind monocrystalline cells. But they are catching up thanks to improvements to the technology.
Thin-film solar panels are an option to watch as technology improves, but right now, they are the least effective in most cases.
It is best to consult with a professional solar panel company for advice, such as https://simplysolarcalifornia.com/. They have the expertise to look at your case and advise on the best solar panels for you.
The Best Solar Panels
The best solar panels for your home depend on several factors. However, right now, monocrystalline comes out on top of the types of solar panels commonly used for homes.
However, the solar panel industry continues to develop thanks to environmental awareness and investment. Costs have become a lot cheaper now too, which means it is often more affordable now than new fossil fuels. There will be even more solar panel options and more advanced technology in the years to come.
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- About the Author
Alex Grigoryan is a Professional Home Improvement and Lifestyle Writer. He has been in the industry for over 6 years and has been writing for Chique Home Living since 2019. His work has been featured in prestigious blogs such as Spruce Home, Better Homes & Garden, and more.