|Polycristalline vs. Thin Film Solar Panels
So, you have had enough of load shedding and decided to look at alternative means of energy. You are not alone. On average, load shedding has taken place at least once every two days this year. As a result, it is no surprise that solar energy has experienced a massive boom since 2007.
Not only have several large scale solar power farms been erected, but residential solar power systems have also become hugely popular.
A question that regularly pops up when it comes to residential installations is whether to go with polycrystalline- or thin film solar panels. Let’s have a look at their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.
Polycrystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline silicon is a very pure form of silicon. It is produced through a process known as the Siemens process.
The purity of silicon comes down to the alignment of the molecules. The more aligned they are, the purer it is and the better it will convert sunlight into energy.
The process used to enhance the purity of silicon is expensive and therefore solar panels made from polycrystalline solar panels are more expensive than thin film solar panels, though not as expensive as monocrystalline ones.
Thin film solar cells
These solar cells are produced by depositing one or several thin layers of photovoltaic material on top of each other over a substrate, like glass. Even though thin film is not as efficient as polycrystalline cells, the production process is less costly.
The characteristics of two types of solar panels makes each ideal for certain types of installations. In areas where space is not an issue, like farms and commercial properties, thin film solar panels will be ideal. They are cheap, versatile and on farmland and commercial property, space is generally not an issue.