Solar industry research indicates that it’s now 70% cheaper to install solar panels than it was 10 years ago. That’s because of rapidly advancing solar panel technology that’s making this type of sustainable energy more accessible than ever before. Now, homeowners can choose from a range of prices when it comes to installing home solar panels, each offering different pros and cons.  These are the most widely used types of solar panels available today. 

Solar Panel Science

It’s important to understand how solar panels work if you want to get the most out of buying solar panels. The basic science is:
  • Solar panels capture the energy from the sun in solar cells
  • This incoming energy knocks electrons loose from the material in the cells
  • Wiring siphons these electrons to an inverter
  • The inverter changes this flow into usable electricity
Different kinds of solar panels use various materials to achieve this more or less efficiently. 

The Three Main Types of Solar Panels

Although modern technology has seen a few new types of solar panels emerge on the market, the three main types still dominate the residential and commercial solar landscape. These are:

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels comprise solar cells made from chips of silicon melted together and molded into shape. They have a blue coloring. They’re cheaper than monocrystalline solar panels but also less efficient. 

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Manufacturers make monocrystalline solar cells by slicing slivers off ingots of pure silicon.  According to Blue Raven solar power company, these black-on-black panels are the premium choice for residential use, although they cost more to manufacture and install. That’s because pure silicon gives the electrons more room to move, so they can harvest more energy faster.

Thin Film Solar Panels

Thin-film solar cells comprise a substrate such as plastic, metal, or glass, with a thin layer of photovoltaic material spread on top. Manufacturers typically use one of three photovoltaic materials, namely:
  • copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS)
  • cadmium telluride (CdTe)
  • amorphous thin-film silicon (a-Si, TF-Si)
These panels are much thinner than crystalline solar panels, and thanks to modernization, are now more efficient than polycrystalline panels. 

Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are the most expensive option when it comes to solar panels. These crystalline or thin-film panels look like shingles, and you use them in place of regular asphalt shingles on your roof. They create a more pleasing aesthetic than regular solar panels do and are as efficient as the type of panels they’re made from. You’ll need a specialist installer to put these in place for you. 

Bright Ideas for a Better Future

With new types of solar panels coming to the fore, a future without fossil fuels seems like an achievable ideal after all.  Sustainable energy, like solar, is infinitely renewable, pollution-free, and emits no carbon emissions. It helps prevent further global warming, creating a better outlook for the Earth and its inhabitants.  Would you like to discover more ways that technology is helping shape a better future for mankind? Browse our blog for the latest information.