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Types of Solar Panels

Monocrystalline vs polycrystalline solar panels

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels both capture energy from the sun and turn it into electricity. They’re made from silicon because it is an abundant, durable element.
The main difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels is that the former is composed of a single crystal of silicon while the latter is formed from many small fragments that are melted together.

All Monocrystalline solar cells are known for their increased efficiency. All Monocrystalline panels have sleek aesthetics and all Monocrystalline products come with a 25-year linear power tarrantee.
To make solar cells for monocrystalline solar panels, silicon is formed into bars and cut into wafers. These types of panels are called “monocrystalline” because the cells are composed of a single crystal. Because the cell is composed of a single crystal, the electrons that generate a flow of electricity have more room to move.

Polycrystalline panels come at a cheaper price than monocrystalline panels. However, they’re less durable than the monocrystalline counterparts. Polycrystallines have a bluish hue, different from the black of monocrystalline panels.

What are monocrystalline solar panels?

​​Generally speaking, a monocrystalline solar panel consists of monocrystalline (single crystal) solar cells. These cells are called monocrystalline because they are made from a cylindrical silicon ingot grown from a single crystal of silicon, in the same way as a semiconductor. The cylindrical ingot is sliced into wafers, then formed into individual cells.

To maximize the utility of the cells, the circular wafers are wire cut to an octagonal shape. This process also adds a unique look to these cells and they have a uniform colour too.

Monocrystalline solar cells are a renewable energy source made up of thin silicon layers. The panels harness the sun’s energy during the day and turn it into electricity to power your home at night.

What are polycrystalline solar panels?

​​Polycrystalline or multi-crystalline solar panels are made by rays of sunlight that penetrate through the crystalline materials. This spreads over a solar panel. Such solar panels are made by grouping powdery sheets together. Many high tech machines complete the task of grouping these sheets
Created through a process of photovoltaic manufacturing, which requires a lot of time and energy, polycrystalline solar panel systems are created when silicon is melted down into liquid form at an extremely high temperature. These solar panels have a unique textured surface that can be recognized by its mosaic appearance.

Polycrystalline panels are made of multiple photovoltaic cells called polycrystalline. Each cell contains silicon crystals which makes it function as a semiconductor device. When the photons from the sunlight fall on the PN junction (junction between N-type and P-type materials), it imparts energy to the electrons so that they can flow as electric current.

Thin-film solar panels

The thin-film solar panel is the most sought after technology for commercial buildings and homes. Thin-film solar panels are flexible, lightweight and portable, making them ideal for rooftop installations. The past five years have seen a solar revolution, and leading the charge are thin-film solar cells. Compare rock-bottom prices, high efficiency ratings, and reliability with thin-film solar panels and you’ll see why these offerings are becoming the hottest technology on the market.

One of the main advantages of thin film solar panels is that they are produced on a flexible, light and thin-film. This reduces the overall weight of solar panels, compared to traditional silicon mono or polycrystalline panels.

With a higher efficiency of electricity generation, thin-film panels continue to be implemented in multiple industries and give a promising vision for the future.

The efficiency of solar panels is one of the primary factors that determine how much electricity they’ll produce. Thin-film solar panels have lower efficiency than standard silicon solar panels, which can be a deal-breaker for those with limited roof space or a large power demand. While there has been debate on the efficiency of thin film solar panels, in 2016 tests demonstrated 25% more efficiency than standard panels.

The roof space needed for a thin-film solar system is quite large, so a larger area of roof space will be required compared to more standard systems.

Do Solar Panels Increase Home Value?

The answer to the question “do solar panels add value to your home?” is still not a definitive yes or no. It all depends on so many different factors that can influence a buyer’s decision to purchase your property over another.

If you’ve got a newer system (3+ years old), with several years lifespan left on the panels, and you own both them and your feed in tariff then your panels shouldn’t negatively affect the value of your home. This is because the positives (the government subsidy) tend to balance out with the negatives (increased administration and installation costs).

Whether they add much value is debatable. It will depend on the area you are in, and as to how desirable renewable energy in the home is. If most of your neighbours have solar panels, it may mean that solar panels are a ‘must-have’ for any new owners.

Solar panels are becoming more and more common, and so in 10-15 years time, their effect on property prices may have changed. Therefore, if you are still deciding whether to add solar panels to your home, our advice would be to do it, but only if you plan on living there for the next 10-15 years. In this time, your savings will probably outweigh your costs.

Commercial and industrial solar

Theoretically, efficiency improves as scale increases, but there are additional considerations. And offering C&I solar products and services requires a different approach than serving residential customers. Clients in this sector tend to be more savvy about energy and technology. Many have specific requirements that dictate the technology they use and how it’s deployed. Commercial solar projects are also often more complex to plan, design, build, and finance.

Commercial and industrial solar photovoltaic systems are typically ground mount systems that provide multiple individual power demands.

The main difference between residential and commercial solar is the location of the project. When it comes to installation, commercial property owners can either install their systems themselves or hire a professional company to do so.

With the exception of large-scale electric utilities, businesses of all sizes as well as governments, schools and universities, and nonprofits can use solar energy to dramatically reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy costs.

The commercial solar space is a rapidly developing sector. While the residential and utility-scale segments have seen enormous growth in recent years, the commercial space has lagged behind. The market represents plenty of potential for developers looking to deploy clean power and earn healthy returns.