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What You Should Know About the Types of Solar Panels

When you decide to go solar, you may not realize how many options you have. There are many different types of solar panels. Each type varies in performance, capabilities, energy-efficiency levels, and total installation costs. Here are the most common types of solar panels, so you can decide which one is best for your home.

Monocrystalline panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are cylinder-shaped, dark black and uniform in color. They are one of the most popular types because their solar cells are made of a single silicon crystal. Silicon is a material with low toxicity, long-term durability, and optimal thermal expansion properties. Since monocrystalline panels use pure silicon, they tend to achieve higher levels of efficiency, with an efficiency rate of 15-20%. During manufacturing, the smoothing and rounding of the cell edge also helps them produce more electricity. This means your home will need fewer panels. While monocrystalline solar panels have a higher cost, they usually last longer and often come with more extended warranties. Solar panel manufacturers LG and Q Cells, which were SolarReviews top two solar panel picks in 2021, manufacture monocrystalline panels.

Polycrystalline panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are made from many different pieces of silicon instead of just one which results in a cheaper cost. However, they are less efficient, producing around 50 watts less than monocrystalline panels. They are also not as heat tolerant. The most significant benefit to these types of panels is the cost. Monocrystalline panels range from about $1 to $1.50 per watt, while polycrystalline solar panels are around $0.90 to $1 per watt.

Thin-film panels

Although newer and used less frequently, thin-film panels are rising in popularity. These are not crystalline solar panels. Instead, they are made by rolling layers of semiconductor material out on a surface to create a film. They are the easiest solar panels to manufacture, generate less waste than crystalline panels, and are more flexible. However, they are also less efficient and degrade quicker.

How to decide which solar panel is right for your home

When deciding which type of solar panel you prefer, you should consider several aspects:
  • Roof space
  • Budget
  • The panel’s access to sunlight
  • Desired energy efficiency
You should consider monocrystalline panels if you have little space since you will need fewer of them. However, if your budget is tight, polycrystalline or thin-film panels might be right for you. An essential factor in your choice is your solar sun number score. A sun number score is a rating between 1 and 100 that represents your home’s solar power potential. This score is based on factors such as your home’s structure and electricity rate. If your house has a higher number and more potential for solar power, you might be able to have a system with less capability for productivity, like polycrystalline. If your score is lower, you might want a system with higher efficiency. Whatever you choose, remember that even with a less capable system or a lower sun number score, you will still be saving money in the long-term. Need advice about your solar panels? Want to get some expert advice on which solar panels will best fit your needs? Call J Ferg Solar to get a professional opinion. Qualify today to get the first 12 months on us!

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