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What are the different types of Panels for Solar Energy?

Although there are many different types of materials and manufacturing processes used to produce Solar equipment, there are ideally three types of Solar Panels in the market: 


(1) Monocrystalline: High in Efficiency, Expensive, Highest Concentration of Crystalline


(2) Polycrystalline: Medium Efficiency, Effective, Moderately Priced


(3) Thin-Film: Low Efficiency, Inexpensive, Flexible


These are considered to be the most efficient and advanced type of Solar Panel. Monocrystalline panels are made from single (Mono) crystal (crystalline) silicon solar cells, (hence the name, "Monocrystalline"). In order to produce this kind of panel, the pure silicon crystals must  be formed into bars and cut into wafers. During this process, these cells are precisely cut and smoothened to give the monocrystalline pv cells the most exposure possible. 


In addition, not only are these the most expensive, premium solar panels for sale, but they are also known to be more wasteful and time consuming to produce compared to the other panel options. That makes them the least “eco-friendly” and affordable option.  However, despite these differences, Monocrystalline panels typically last far longer and are the most efficient at producing solar power. For every individual Monocrystalline panel, you can expect an average of 2 - 3 Kilowatt Hours (kWh) to be produced each day. And finally, Monocrystalline panels are uniformly black when finished, making them the optimal choice to match any aesthetic on your property.


As the name suggests, these panels are made from not one, but many different fragments of silicon crystals that are melted and welded together. Polycrystalline Panels are considered mid-level, intermediate panels in the market because they offer some of the same high qualities of  Monocrystalline panels while maintaining a lower price and waste point. 


Because the process for producing Polycrystalline Panels is not as precise, they have both a lower efficiency level and shorter lifespan compared to alternatives. Yet, unlike Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline is made from melting these metals together, which reduces waste and saves a significant amount of time. Thus, this type of panel is seen to be more ecologically sound and more available due to the cheaper manufacturing process. 


To contrast against Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline solar panels, thin-film solar panels are not rigid, heavy, nor high in profile. Rather, they are flexible, portable, and adjustable to fit any area. That makes them the best for unorthodox roof sizes and shapes. In addition, Thin-Film is also made from a variety of different materials compared to the other solar panel hardware. So, even though Thin-Film is affordable, the lack of crystalline materials cause its efficiency level to be lower at producing solar energy.


Because Thin-Film is made from a variety of materials and melted together, this makes it the most eco-friendly option. The manufacturing process produces very little waste and costs a fraction of the time and resources. However, Thin-Film is inefficient at producing PV energy, which makes it the least optimal solution for reducing your utility bill.

So which panels are best for my property ?

The solar industry as a whole recognizes that Monocrystalline Solar Panels are the best for residential properties because of their durability and high concentration of silicon crystals - which allow them to generate more power with fewer panel space. These key advantages make them ideal for limited rooftop space and for generating enough energy to drastically reduce your utility bill. In fact, it is likely that most Solar companies will strongly recommend (if not require) you to use Monocrystalline panels on your home. 

However, if you require a commercial solar installation and/or a residential property with an abnormally large or oddly shaped roof-space, then Polycrystalline and Thin-Film panels may be another alternative to consider. Because Polycrystalline panels are less expensive and because Thin-Film panels are highly flexible, there may be a combination between these two panels for your solar system. It all depends on the property and what you want to get our of your solar panel system.

All of that to say, it is usually best to contact a professional solar energy consultant because every property is different and each panel offers a unique advantage to the system. It is important to us that you install the right hardware onto your roof to accomodate your living style without breaking the bank.

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