Which type of solar panel do I really need?
Understanding technology seemed to be easier before, take home energy production for example. You may want to profit from solar panels, maybe you want to benefit from a greener environment on this planet, maybe you don’t want to pay for energy and on top utilize one of the governments’ rebate programs.
Whatever the reason, solar panels are sprouting up like mushrooms (some examples: mono or polycrystalline, cadmium telluride solar cells, amorphous silicon solar cells - and the list goes on), and you are left with a lot of work in terms of researching and understanding what you actually want and need for your property.
Worry not - this article will boil it down for you. We will go through:
The most important technical lingo to know, when looking for solar panels.
The most common types of solar panels with their respective advantages and disadvantages.
The most important technical lingo and things to know, when looking for solar panels:
Conversion Efficiency: Means the final power output of your solar panel.
Temperature Coefficient: This talks about how effective the solar panel can be due to the temperatures of the surrounding area . Usually, the lower, the better.
PID-Resistance: Spelled out, it says potential-induced degradation; normally, this happens due to certain weather conditions. Many solar panels are better equipped against this issue, so little or no degradation occurs.
LID-Resistance: Light-induced degradation resistance. After installation, this process will take place because of the light that hits your panels. Although this degradation comes to an end after a short period of time, there are many panels out there that have a more favourable degradation coefficient.
Sizing and Output: Naturally, the size of the solar panel you will be able to install will depend on a few factors:
Space available on your roof.
General state of your roof, and the stability of the construction.
Your available budget and what you want to reach with your solar panels.
The more space available on the roof for building solar panels on, the more power you can generate with your solar system and the more of your electric consumption you can offset
The most common types of solar panels with their respective advantages and disadvantages
All in all, most installers will give you the choice of these four types:
Advantages: Usually yield the highest efficiency, as the silicon used in them is of highest quality. Also need less space on the roof; warranties longer due to longest life expectancy among panels.
Disadvantages: More expensive than other panel types; if partially covered by dirt, snow, or shadow, the whole panel might stop producing.
Verdict: should rather be used in areas without too much snowfall, or with a higher amount of sunny days.
Advantages: Production costs are considerably less.
Disadvantages: Lower efficiency; need more space for an output comparable to polycrystalline panels.
String-ribbon solar panels:
Advantages: Although polycrystalline, in their making companies use only half the amount of silicon needed for monocrystalline panels, resulting in lower costs.
Disadvantages: Lower space efficiency; lower cost efficiency in production.
Thin-film solar cells:
Advantages: Easier mass production; flexibility (can be bent to a certain degree); not as much affected by shadow/dirt, etc.
Disadvantages: Only viable with colossal amounts of space available; conversion efficiency not as good as with other panels.
To sum this all up: The solar panel system you need depends on where you live, the budget you have at your disposal, and the amount of space available.
However, now you should know the basics, so you can actually start making more educated choices in terms of what might better for you. If you feel that you want to know more, you can visit www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog for a plethora of articles about various solar panel topics. Despite the blog concentrating on the United Kingdom as its main market, the topics discussed apply to potential buyers around the globe as well.