Over the last decade, solar technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in terms of efficiency and affordability. However, despite this multitude of improvements, the basic construction of solar panels has remained basically the same since their invention. These components are:
- Silicon Solar Cells
- Aluminum framing
- Tempered glass
- Eva Encapsulant
- Plexiglass backing
- Junction box
There are obviously variations in the quality and manufacturing of all of these panel components, with the most essential being the silicon solar cells. These cells make or break the efficiency of panels, the quality of such is a significant point of competition between solar panel manufacturers. There are three main types of panels depending on the quality and make of silicon used in the construction of these panels. These are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film panels.
Monocrystalline cells are constructed from singular sheets of cut silicone. These cells are made by forming silicone into bars and slicing it into wafer-thin panels. The fact that these panels are a single clean piece means that the flow of electrons is much less obstructed than polycrystalline panels, leading to higher efficiency. These panels are also more aesthetically pleasing to many consumers due to their uniform coloring and a generally neater appearance. This form of production is more expensive than polycrystalline panels as it required higher quality silicone. As a result of these are typically the most expensive type of panels on the market.
Polycrystalline panels are manufactured by melting multiple pieces of silicon into a single panel. This method of construction is much cheaper, however, the fact that these cells are made of multiple smaller silicone crystals means that the flow of electrons is less smooth than in monocrystalline panels, leading to inferior efficiency. These panels are also generally considered less aesthetically appealing than monocrystalline panels. Many of the most affordable panels on the market utilize this production method, meaning that they are very common within the Australian market.
Thin Film Panels
Unlike the two-panel types above, thin-film panels are made by pouring silicon directly onto a backplate, as supposed to creating individual cells. These panels are less efficient than monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels and are typically less common within the Australian solar market. While they can be more creative in shape and orientation, there is a large number of factors against this panel type, such as less choice when it comes to inverters and the fact that it takes time for these panels to settle, resulting in inconsistent production for the first year of your installation.
To conclude, as these panel types become cheaper, their efficiency tends to decrease. Typically monocrystalline panels are the preferred choice, however, it is always best to talk to a certified solar professional. If you would like to explore our range of panels and find out what would be best for you, feel free to get in touch here!
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