Comprehensive Guide to Solar Panel Types
Comprehensive Guide to Solar Panel Types December 02, 2022 | Green Living, residential solar panels, Solar Panels

Solar panels can be helpful to reduce your carbon footprint and save on energy costs. But with so many different types of solar panels in the market, it can be difficult to select the right one for you. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover four common types of solar panels so you can make an informed decision about which one is best for your Virginia home or business.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are made from silicon that has been melted and cast into ingots. The ingots are then cut into wafers and assembled into a panel. Polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient than many alternatives, but they’re typically quite affordable. They’re a proven middle-of-the-road choice for homeowners who want to switch to solar without breaking the bank.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Manufacturers make monocrystalline solar panels by purifying silicon and growing it into large crystals. Then, they process the crystals before cutting them into wafers and assembling them into a panel.

So how does this technology differ from monocrystalline alternatives? As you might have guessed based on their name, polycrystalline solar panels are made up of many small crystals, while monocrystalline solar panels are fabricated from a single large crystal.

This difference in construction affects both the efficiency and price tag of the two types of solar panels:

  • Polycrystalline solar panels are lesser efficient than monocrystalline solar panels.They’re also less expensive to manufacture since you can build up larger devices from smaller seed crystals.
  • Monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient, but they’re costlier to produce. After all, it’s not exactly easy to maintain the high-pressure, high-temperature conditions required to grow silicon crystals – so creating larger versions is no walk in the park.

These features make monocrystalline panels a fine choice for homeowners who want some of the most efficient solar panels on the market. Of course, whether the distinction makes a practical difference depends on numerous factors – like the conditions on your property and which Norfolk solar panel company you choose. Since monocrystalline panels only beat polycrystalline ones by a few efficiency percentage points, you might not even notice the difference unless you’ve got a lot of panels.

Thin-film Telluride Solar Panels

Thin-film telluride solar cells are made from cadmium telluride (CdTe) deposited on a substrate such as glass or metal. This semiconductor material generates electricity as it absorbs sunlight, making it a good choice for solar devices.

The fundamental thing to remember about thin-film solar panels is that calling them “thin” is no exaggeration. The semiconductor material that comprises these devices is typically only a few micrometers (millionths of a meter!) thick.

The primary advantage of thin-film solar panels is that they can be manufactured very cheaply and easily on a large scale. This is due to their lower material costs and the reduced amount of time required to build a panel. However, thin-film solar panel devices usually have quite low efficiencies compared to polycrystalline and monocrystalline alternatives.

Make no mistake; thin-film panels are an excellent choice for homeowners who want to go green on a budget. They just might not be the most effective option for capitalizing on your installation space.

PERC Solar Panels

Passivated-emitter rear contact (PERC) cells contain an additional layer between the back contact and the active current-generating region. This special design feature helps reflect light onto the active region, increasing the cell’s efficiency. PERC cells are more expensive than standard crystalline silicon, but they offer higher efficiency and better performance in low-light conditions.

Why would anyone choose the costlier option? If you spend much time in the coastal Mid-Atlantic region, you probably already have an idea.

Panels that function better in reduced lighting are ideal for the overcast seasonal weather here in the Chesapeake Bay area. Choosing the right technology could improve your odds of generating electricity consistently year-round.

Choosing the Right Panels for Your Property

Picking a solar panel installation option isn’t just about choosing the most efficient or cost-effective hardware. It’s equally crucial to find a company that knows the area – and how to tailor custom systems to specific properties.

Why work with an experienced team? Finding high-quality help makes it way easier to tackle the challenges common to solar projects:

  • The amount of sun the property gets: If your property doesn’t receive much sun, then your solar panels won’t be as effective, no matter what type they are. Lots adjacent to taller buildings, trees, and hills may spend more time cast in shadow, so be mindful of your placement decisions.
  • The size of the property: Larger properties have more space for panels, so they have more power-generating potential. The tradeoff is that these lots also tend to contain bigger homes and businesses that consume more electricity.
  • The project budget: Solar panels can be expensive even with grant programs and tax credits, so be sure yours fit into the budget. While nothing is stopping you from setting your sights on a bigger project that generates ROI right away, the reality is that most property owners have to work within their means.

Fortunately, Expert Solar Pros Team will help you to make the right decision. Expert Solar Pros offers professional solar panel installation services that make it easy to start generating your own electricity in Chesapeake, VA.

Not sure where to put your panels – or even which panels to choose? No sweat – We work with all types of homes and businesses, including those with unique rooflines or tricky shading issues.

No matter how complex your installation gets, our team of certified installers can guide you through the process with ease. Find the best solution for your power needs and wallet. Contact us today to get started.


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Looking for solar installation services in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk? Give us a call at 757-988-7777 today! Our experienced team is ready to help you with the Federal Tax Credit and guide you through our low-interest financing option.

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