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The Different Types of Solar Panel

There are three main types of solar panel: Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Amorphous. Sometimes this can be quite confusing, but itís actually quite simple, since it refers to the structure of the silicon that is used in the modules.† The vast majority of commercially available PV systems use one of these three types of panel.


There are three main types of solar panel: Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Amorphous. Sometimes this can be quite confusing, but itís actually quite simple, since it refers to the structure of the silicon that is used in the modules.† The vast majority of commercially available PV systems use one of these three types of panel.

The most widely used panels are monocrystalline also known as Ďsingle crystal siliconí. They are called such because they are cut from a single piece of continuous crystal which is formed into a cylinder. The cylinder is cut into wafers which are then mounted on a board in modules. Because they are cut from a single piece of crystal, they come in a single colour, usually dark blue. These panels have the best power output at around 140-170 Watts per square metre of panel installed. Because they are so efficient this tends to make them more expensive than the other two types of panel but the good news is that they are therefore very well suited to customers who have limited space on their roofs or who want to generate as much electricity as possible.

Polycrystalline panels were introduced in around 1981. They are undoubtedly the cheapest of the three types, but they are also less efficient at around 120 Ė 135 W per m≤ installed. The reason why they are less efficient than monocrystalline is because rather than being available as a single piece of crystal, they are made of melted crystal which is poured into a mould. They are usually made from left-over bits of crystal from other manufacturing. Because they come from a mould they can be cut into a square shape, rather than the hexagonal shape of monocrystalline cells, which helps to reduce excess space.

Amorphous panels are even less efficient than polycrystalline and have generally used in small electrical appliances such as electric calculators, however because amorphous panels do not degenerate in extreme heat, unlike monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, they have often been used in areas subjected to high temperatures.

Increasingly, there are other types of solar panel moving on to the market. One of the latest forms, and increasingly becoming popular is BIPV or Building Intregrated Photovoltaic. This can be applied in the form of thin-film solar PV which is a thin film of PV material laid upon a silicon substrate. One of the benefits of thin film is that it can be laid on flat roofs integrated into a flexible polymer roofing membrane.

Over the years the efficiency of BIPV has been increasing dramatically and it is popular because it can be integrated into the architecture of buildings, for example in the form of glass panels in windows and roof membranes. Existing buildings can also be retrofitted with BIPV and the overall advantage is that this material replaces existing building materials, thereby reducing costs, as well as helping to generate electricity and thus saving on energy bills. Understandably therefore, BIPV is very popular with builders and architects.

ż1 eeHżzżż* useholders when the excess is exported to the national grid. Additionally, with regard to cost, analysis by Queens University in Kingston, OntarioFree Reprint Articles, indicates that in many areas the PV solar panels are approaching price parity with more traditional forms of electricity.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

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