Choosing Between the Best Types of Solar Panels

Last updated on June 25, 2022

In the United States, roof solar panels are becoming more prevalent everywhere you look.

With the news of rising costs of fossil fuels and no end in sight, it’s no surprise that people are looking for alternative measures. Solar power, in particular, expects to almost double last year’s output, with 44 gigawatts coming online

Yet if you are new to the solar panels market, it’s challenging to know which is best. So if you want to learn the different types of solar panels and how they work, keep reading.

This guide will help you make informed decisions about the types of solar panels best suited to your installation needs.

Table of Contents

What Are the Types of Solar Panels

solar panels on the roof

Although solar continues to advance technologies in improving output, there are currently three main types of solar panels. All solar panel types are manufactured from silicon but produced with different methods. 

The monocrystalline solar panel is the oldest version of the solar panel types. As a result, the process has become more developed over the years. 

With the monocrystalline process, a molten vat forms a single silicon crystal by slowly removing the material and then cooling. Finally, the column of pure crystal gets cut into thin washers to produce roof solar panels. 

The polycrystalline method allows the silicon crystal to fragment and then melt into columns to make panels. This newer process involves the removal of molten silicon faster so that the crystal breaks up while cooling. Once again, the silicon sheets get cut into wafers for roof solar panels.

Then, as the name suggests, thin-film solar panels can be up to 350 times thinner than silicon solar panels. In addition, thin-film solar panels get produced from various materials other than silicon. Substances such as cadmium telluride and copper indium get encased with a glass layer, and in some cases, the final product is flexible.

Different Types of Solar Panels Features

The main differences between the three solar panel types are their appearance and efficiency. The pure silicon of the monocrystalline type makes the panel appear black. Yet with more development over the years, these roof solar panel types have a greater efficiency potential of up to 20%. 

Polycrystalline panels appear blue and can reach 15% – 17% efficiency. However, these roof solar panels are more cost-effective. The main feature of thin-film solar panels is the lighter-weight solar panels. 

The tin-film method is a growing trend for solar panels, but they only have an efficiency capacity of 11%. These types of solar panels can be blue or black and will save on installation costs because of their weight. If you want to learn more about the solar panel types, click here for more details.

What Is the Best Type of Solar Panel to Buy

Monocrystalline solar panels cost more to install but provide better efficiency. Polycrystalline solar panels are a newer product but more cost-effective. And thin-film solar panels relieve weight stress from roof solar panels but are still developing efficiencies. 

Choosing the best type of solar panel for your home installation depends on your expectations and budget. Yet, these types of solar panels will provide beneficial alternatives to expensive fossil fuels. For more insights into improving your home, visit our website often for valuable tips.