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What Are the Different Types of Solar Panels?

What are the different types of solar panels? If you decide to take the plunge into renewable energy, it’s time to start exploring your options.

As the go-to expert solar installers in Arizona, we know a thing or two about photovoltaic technology and its many splendid variations. Keep reading as we break down the fine points and help you find your perfect match. If you want to start exploring more options, call Solar Solution AZ at 520-858-0220.

What’s a Solar Panel?

Solar panels work by encouraging particles of light called photons to force electrons free from their usual orbitals. This action generates a flow of electricity. 

Each panel houses multiple individual solar cells, often made from layers of phosphorus, boron, and silicon. The phosphorus and boron provide the negative and positive charge, respectively, and the silicon sandwiched in between serves as the semiconductor.

Panels typically contain 60, 72, or 90 solar cells for maximum efficiency. 

Exploring the Spectrum of Designs

What are the different types of solar panels? We can group them into the following:

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Do you see dark, almost-black panels while cruising around the block? Those savvy property owners have monocrystalline panels named after their single silicon crystal structure.

The pure material makes them the longest-lasting and most space-efficient option today for a higher upfront cost. If you want a long-term investment and don’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks, this might be the system for you. 

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels have silicon as their primary ingredient, but the latter uses multiple silicon fragments melted together. It’s also cheaper because this construction style has less material waste, but it also translates into lost energy and space efficiency. 

Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell Panels

PERC systems increase the solar energy produced through a new passivation layer on the rear surface of each cell. This technology:

  • Reflects light back into the cell for more photon absorption
  • Reduces the natural tendency of electrons to inhibit and recombine the electron flow within the system
  • Utilizes a broader range of light wavelengths, including 1,180nm particles that silicon wafers don’t absorb

Beyond their highly efficient capabilities, PERC panels also have a smaller physical footprint ideal for tight spaces, like city rooftops and small urban properties. 

Thin Film Solar Panels

Thin film models are the new kids on the block that sport very fine and flexible layers. They’re lighter and easier to install because the panels don’t need a frame backing.

Keep in mind that these panels are not as efficient as their silicon-based cousins, and they require a substantial amount of space.

Which One Is Right for You?

What are the different types of solar panels, and which one should you choose? Other features to consider include temperature efficiency, hail and hurricane ratings, power capacity, and warranty conditions. 

Our proficient crew at Solar Solution AZ can guide you through all your options, from polycrystalline and thin film to PERC. Dial 520-858-0220 today or explore our blog for more information on “How do solar panels work?”


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