Which Types of Solar Panels Are Best for Your Home? In this article, we’re going to dive deep and unpack all you need to know.
In the United States, 39% of new energy delivered to homes will be solar power.
Solar and other renewables continue to expand their grip on the market. One benefit to homeowners is that it has never been easier and cheaper to get solar power for your home. If you’re ready, you need to know the types of solar panels available and what you should go with.
There are three major types of solar panels that are in common use. The one you pick needs to be the right fit for what you need. Here are the details that you might need to make that decision.
Silicone is the basic building block of all solar panels. The difference between them is the type and size of the silicone used in their construction. Whether they are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin film depends on their construction.
There are several considerations to make when determining mono vs poly solar panels. You need to consider the available space you have as well as your budget and climate conditions. Any solar panel will work better in full light conditions, but some work better than others in low light.
To explain this more, let’s take a look at the three common types of solar panels you’ll be choosing from. Understanding the properties of these solar panels is key to making the right decision for your home. There is also the consideration of power generation and whether you have a stable or mobile home.
As the name suggests, a monocrystalline panel is a solar panel made up of single crystal solar cells. The cells are each made from a single silicone crystal, making them high in quality and efficiency. A side effect of this is that they are all uniform in color and they are sometimes known as mono solar panels.
The production of the crystal is much like a superconductor. Meaning that no other solar system provides as much power for the space required.
The efficiency of a monocrystalline solar panel can be 15-20%. This makes it head and shoulders above any of the other types of solar panels.
Due to modern construction methods, these panels also have longevity on their side. Once installed, monocrystalline solar panels can be the best solar panels. That isn’t to say that they don’t have their own problems.
One downside to mono solar panels is the cost. They are more expensive because they need entire crystals of silicone for each of their cells. Like all solar panels, they will lose efficiency as it gets darker, but even in partial light, they outperform others.
A polycrystalline panel, or poly solar panel, is a type of solar panel that differs from mono solar panels in one key area. Instead of having a single piece of silicone in each cell, poly panels have a combination of silicone crystals put together. These crystals have then been combined, cut, and shaped to fit together.
The result of this procedure is that they lose some efficiency when compared to monocrystalline panels. That efficiency difference is even more obvious once low light conditions arrive. In low light conditions poly solar panels will have a much more noticeable drop in effectiveness.
The technology behind poly solar panels has been around for decades. This means that the panels themselves are easy to find and cheap to produce. This will help save considerable cost vs having more modern mono solar panels.
A poly solar panel doesn’t have the same amount of capacity per square foot at a mono solar panel. This means they are best used by those who have plenty of space but might not have the largest budget.
Thin Film Solar Panel
A thin film solar panel is a solar panel that is built by using multiple thin layers of flexible material. This allows the solar panel to be light and easy to move and install. It is also often cheaper than the other options we have presented.
In the production of the solar panel, a thin film solar panel requires far fewer materials to create than either of the other two. This has implications for the environmental impact of solar panel manufacturing. Less material used, less waste put into the environment.
Thin film solar panels do come with some drawbacks. First, they aren’t going to last anywhere near as long as a mono solar panel. Most thin film solar panels are expected to last no more than 10-20 years. They also produce the least amount of energy for their size out of the three options.
Thin film solar panels are often used by people who live in RVs or intend to boondock. The ease of travel and configuration makes them very useful in off-grid applications.
Residential Solar Panels
When deciding what type of panel is best for your family and home, you need to know how much power you need. How much space you have available for the installation of solar panels and how often you will be contending with low light operations.
If you’re in an area that experiences a lot of storms or long winter nights, your choice might be different. For most homeowners, barring the expense involved, monocrystalline solar panels are the best solar panel types. They offer the most efficiency and provide more power while requiring less panel space overall.
There Are Many Types of Solar Panels to Choose From
As with any major decision, you should make the choice that works best for your home and family. That can mean that polycrystalline panels are what you need, due to cost and available space. If you’re a boondocking RVer, you’re going to want to go with thin film. Monocrystalline panels however have become synonymous with residential applications, and due of significant reductions in price in recent years, these are the best panels for most homeowners looking into solar.
No matter what types of solar panels you choose to go ahead with, solar energy is always the right choice to make. Ease or remove your dependency on the grid and get the power that you need to live life to the fullest.
Contact Opal Energy for help with installing panels and assistance in choosing the best system possible.