Eco-Living Magazine

Choose The Correct Solar Panel Type For Your Project

Posted on the 26 June 2013 by Derick Ajumni
Choose The Correct Solar Panel Type For Your Project You should consider several points when choosing the right solar panel for your project. The most important is the bank account size and the dimensions of the solar power unit you want to install. Another is the amount of electricity you'd like to produce for your requirements. The last and also important point is how much available space you have to affix the panels.
Photovoltaic solar panels come in many types. Your choice should depend on their age, their type, and the quality of the solar cells utilized when they were engineered and built. Newer solar panels could be the same as the older model panels, but because of technical advancements, will quite likely be more efficient. Though you might have two solar panels the same size, the power they generate may be quite different. The most common in the market today are:
  • Mono (Single)-Crystal
  • Poly-Crystalline
  • Amorphous/Hybrid
  • Thin-Film
A detailed description and the pros and cons of using these can be found on this website here.
Mono-crystalline, and Poly-crystalline panel types are used to make rigid solar panels that are used in 90% of all solar installations. As earlier stated, they look very similar but the poly-crystalline panel is multi-faceted. These two have almost the same efficiency which is about 16%. What does this mean? Is it too low? too high? Well this means that you can get well over 300 watts per square meter of panel area -- to put it in perspective a 200 Watt panel is about 16 square feet.
The marker prefers Poly and mono crystal panels because they have high-quality and are preferred by installers for standard installations. Amorphous/Hybrid panels are made by coating glass with photovoltaic material. These are cheaper to produce and have some issues with longevity and consistency of output over time. If made by well-known manufacturers, they can be a good choice.
The latest in the technology market is thin Film. Its more environmentally friendly as it uses only 10% of the materials compared to the others. Its main characteristic is the ability to use it on unconventional surfaces (such as roofing tiles). They are being researched on every day as scientists poke and turn them around to push their efficiency higher. You want to get a warranty if you are thinking this is your choice. Think of these when buying -- good value, warranty and manufacturer reputation.
Image source: c-changes

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