Solar panels investigated. Which will suit your needs?
 

Are you thinking about investing in solar panels, but are confused about which type to go for? Then you have come to the right place! When it comes to solar panels for the home, although there are many variations, the two most common types are those made of crystalline silicon and those made using thin-film technology.

 

Before we can accurately investigate different solar panel solutions, we need to first understand the basic solar power process. The photovoltaic (PV) array is made up of hundreds of solar cells. These solar cells contain materials with semiconducting properties, allowing their electrons to be turned into electrical current when struck by sunlight.

 

Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells (c-Si)

 

Silicon solar panels are the most common type found today, with almost 90% of all solar cells on the market being based on some variation of silicon. While there are numerous variations, the two main types of crystalline silicon solar panels are monocrystalline and polycrystalline.

 

Silicon panels are mostly distinguished by the purity of the silicon. Purity refers to how perfectly aligned the silicon molecules are. The better aligned they are, the more efficient the solar cell will be at converting sunlight into electricity.

 

It is important to remember that efficiency isn’t necessarily your primary concern. Cost as well as space-efficiency are often the main determining factors for most people.

 

Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells

 

Monocrystalline Solar Panels, also known as “single crystalline”, hold the title of most efficient in their output of electrical power. This is thanks to it being made from a very pure type of silicon, as well as the unique design. Single crystalline solar cells are made out of “silicon ingots” which are cylindrical in shape to optimise performance.

 

As a result of its high efficiency, monocrystalline solar panels are also the most space-efficient relative to their generation intensity. Another huge advantage is the fact that they last the longest of all types. Many manufacturers offer warranties of up to 25 years.

 

The main disadvantage is that the superiority of these solar cells come with a price tag to match. As the most expensive of all solar cells, from an investment standpoint, many consumers choose polycrystalline or thin-film as their preferred choice for home power.

 

Polycrystalline Solar Cells

 

Also known as multisilicon cells, this technology was the first cell ever introduced to the industry. Due to the fact that they do not go through the cutting process of monocrystalline, and are rather melted and poured into moulds, polysilicon panels are much more affordable, since hardly any silicon is wasted.

 

Efficiency is less, operating at a 13-16% efficiency compared to monocrystalline’s efficiency at upwards of 20%. Because of this, polycrystalline is less space-efficient. Another drawback is the lower heat tolerance of these panels, meaning that they do not perform as efficiently in high temperatures.

 

Thin-Film Solar Cells (TFSC)

 

Thin-film solar cells are up and coming in the world of renewable energy. They are characterised by the manner in which semi-conducting materials (including silicon in some cases) are layered on top of one another to create a series of thin-films. Efficiencies vary between 7-13%, although much research is being done, hoping to push efficiency up to as high as 16%.

 

The main advantage of thin-film technology is their cost-effective nature, allowing for mass production. Their low efficiency means that these panels require a lot of space, making them less ideal for residential application.

 

Thin-film technology uses various photovoltaic substances. The main two we’ll discuss are amorphous silicon and cadmium telluride.

 

Amorphous Silicon

 

Traditionally this was used for smaller-scale applications such as calculators and travel lights. An innovative technique known as “stacking” allows for several layers of amorphous silicon solar cells to be combined, resulting in efficiency rates of around 6-8%.

 

Cadmium Telluride

 

Cadmium telluride is one of the few thin-film technologies to become cost-competitive with crystalline models. Efficiency levels range between 9-11%.

 

Solar Power Inquiries

 

If you still have any further questions about solar panels for your home, please do not hesitate to contact Soventix here.

 

 
 
 
Previous Posts
 
Solar power Africa: Morocco’s World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Plant
   
Going Solar: Solar Impulse 2 – Back in the Air and Breaking more Records
   
Easy and Effective ways to reduce your Carbon Footprint
   
Current Load Shedding Situation in South Africa
   
South Africa on Track to becoming Global Leader of Green Energy
   
Solar Impulse 2 Around-the-World Flight Update
   
A Guide to going Solar
   
Farming and Solar Power – Go Together like a Horse and Carriage
   
Solar Power FAQ
   
Considerations when Finding the Perfect Solar Installer
   
Soventix Solar Projects: Gauteng Grid-Tied Solution Taking Shape
   
Soventix Large Scale Solar Project Kicks Off in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
   
V&A Waterfront set to implement huge solar power project
   
South Africa ranks in Top 10 globally for solar power
   
South Africa on track for more utility-scale solar power plants
   
Robben Island set to run on solar power
   
Kenyan mall switches on largest solar carport system in Africa
   
What happened to load shedding
   
Understanding electricity consumption
   
Solar power advantages
   
How solar technology is improving informal settlements
   
Home solar options
   
Green Festivals – How Rocking the Daisies plays hard while treading lightly
   
Eskom turns to solar power to beat load shedding
   
Cutting fuel costs with innovative solar powered motorbikes
   
Why use solar power for home security?
   
Why do I need solar power?
   
Solar solutions for businesses
   
Installing solar on my roof
   
How to start my solar project
   
How much can I save with solar?
   
Commercial solar system project completed at ACA Threads, Cape Town
   
Large scale outdoor PV system completed at Quiver Tree Apartments, Stellenbosch
   
South Africa’s power crisis driving mines to renewable energy
   
New lithium battery technology could change solar power industry
   
How to finance your solar power systems
   
Comparing solar systems and generators
   
Understanding solar power language
   
Solar Impulse completes its historic solar energy flight to Hawaii
   
How to calculate the solar system size for your needs
   
Beating load shedding with photovoltaic solar systems
   
5 Solar tips for farmers to beat load shedding
   
5 Solar power tips to get through load shedding with ease
   
Solar cell breakthrough brightens the future of solar energy
   
How to beat load shedding. Solar power vs. Diesel Generators
   
Solar panels investigated. Which will suit your needs?
   
How farmers save money through solar energy
   
5 Clever ways agriculture can use solar power
   
Comparing solar power systems for your home
   
The Ecocapsule, a revolution in green design
   
Polycristalline vs. Thin Film Solar Panels
   
Everything you need to know when upgrading your solar power system
   
South Africa’s Solar Power Farms
   
Seamless Solar – Solar Panels that add to the beauty of your home
   
Solar powered cars – are they the future of motoring?
   
Solar power, battery – vs no battery backup system
   
Is solar energy expensive energy?
   
Load Shedding – How does it affect agriculture?
   
Ten easy steps for creating a green home
   
5 Things you didn’t know about solar cookers
   
Green power from the sea – harnessing wave energy
   
Selling electricity to Eskom. Can it be done?
   
Load Shedding – Is There An End In Sight?
   
Five Simple Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Bill at Home
   
Eskom’s Rebate Scheme for Small-Scale Renewable Energy – Is it for You?
   
Three Ways To Get Your Business Off The Power Grid
   
The Latest In Solar Power Technology For Your Home
   
Five ways farmers can reduce their carbon footprint
   
Why is solar power becoming more affordable?
   
Seven Facts About Owning A Solar Power System
   
Vrede en Lust leads the charge in the Cape’s solar-powered wine farms
   
Carbon Neutral Homes: Can they Exist?
   
Five easy steps for creating a green office
   
Solar Power and Agriculture
   
Different Sources of Renewable Energy
   
Solar Power and its Global Effects
   
Discover The Benefits of Household Solar Panels
   
Yingli Solar Panels
   
Solar PV Diesel Hybrid Solutions
   
Small-Scale Renewable Embedded Generation
   
Beat the Darkness of Load Shedding With Solar Backup Power!
   
Net Metering in the Cape Town Domestic Market