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The Types of Solar Panels Explained

When you’re beginning your solar journey, there’s a lot of information and terminology that can be difficult to understand if you’re new to solar energy. To start, you need to know the basics, like what types of solar panels are available to you. There are currently four types of solar panels on the market that homeowners can choose from to find the right solar system for their unique needs.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline (meaning single crystal) solar panels are made of one singular silicon crystal that’s cut into several layers. This composition is what lends them their signature appearance of being extraordinarily dark in color. These are the most space-efficient and longest-lasting type of solar panel due to the fact that monocrystalline panels use pure silicon. This, however, makes these panels very expensive, as a significant amount of silicon is often wasted while producing a single crystal cell.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

In contrast to monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels are created using multiple different silicon crystals rather than just one. The fragments from the different crystals are melted, poured into a mold, and then solidified into a square panel. Their production involves little to no waste, which makes these panels more affordable than monocrystalline solar panels. However, being made from multiple crystals means that they have lower silicon purity; as a result, polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient at energy conversion and can be more vulnerable to inefficiency in high-temperature environments.

Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell Panels

Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) panels are a new technology compared to monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. PERC panels are like an updated version of monocrystalline cell panels. These panels have an added passivation layer on the rear surface of the cell. This improves efficiency by reflecting light back into the cell, which increases the wavelength of light that can be reflected. While PERC panels are marginally more expensive to produce than their traditional counterparts, they’re less costly long-term because of their improved efficiency per watt.

Thin Film Solar Panels

Thin film solar panels are made out of extremely thin, flexible layers of materials. These panels don’t require the frame backings that other varieties of panels need, which makes them light and easy to install. Their sizing is also much more flexible and customizable than with other panels, so they work well for small homes with limited roof space. However, thin film solar panels are less efficient than other traditional types of solar panels.

Bright Eye Solar

Bright Eye Solar is a Lancaster, PA-based solar company servicing Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. Our solar experts conduct energy audits and consult with homeowners to find the right solar panels and systems for their home’s energy needs. Reach out today to get your free quote.