One of the most common considerations for any solar homeowner is what solar panel types are available and which is the best option for you. This question comes up when considering the efficiency, aesthetics, and of course the cost of the system. Generally speaking, there are three different types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. So what is the best type of solar panel for your home? Read on to find out the advantages and disadvantages of each type.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are the oldest type of solar panel and offer the greatest efficiency of the three types. These panels are called monocrystalline because they have solar cells made from a single crystal of silicon. This is actually what makes these panels more efficient as it allows a flow of electricity to have more room to move and they can achieve efficiencies of over 20%. They also create even more electricity because they come in higher wattages than other panels, usually over 300 watts and sometimes even over 400 watts.
Monocrystalline cells are also commonly regarded as the most appealing solar panels aesthetically. They look sleeker and come in a single flat black color. As you may expect, these superior looks and output do come at a higher cost. It can be worthwhile in the financial long term, however, especially in cases of limited roof space. In these cases, the premium panels can give you a greater return in the long run, which is the most important thing to consider when looking into solar.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline solar panels are a newer development in the history of solar and are made by melting many fragments of silicon crystals together, thus the name ‘poly’. Efficiency is lower with polycrystalline but still reaches about 15%-17% on average. They also look cool and can be identified by their more recognizable blue color. As with monocrystalline panels, they appear this way due to the way sunlight interacts with the different forms of silicon.
The main advantage of going with polycrystalline panels is the cost. The many crystals of silicon are less expensive to produce than the solid silicon ingot required for the monocrystalline panels. It can often be a better choice for this reason, especially for homeowners on a budget. This of course comes down to the best trade-off for you between cost and efficiency, so it is important to have a comparative analysis done by a solar expert before you begin.
Thin-Film Solar Panels
Thin-film solar panels are very different solar panels from the other two types and can be ideal in specific situations. As far as appearance, as the name suggests, these panels can be very thin but can be thicker depending on what type of casing they come in. They only produce at about 10% efficiency. They also do come at a much lower cost, but tend to not produce enough for most homeowners.
One of the best times to use thin film is generally considered to be when you have a large commercial roof that cannot handle the weight of traditional panels. Another great use is for mobile solar projects, such as on RVs and boats.
What is the best type of solar panel?
To summarize, the primary considerations when choosing a type of solar panel are efficiency, aesthetics, and cost. Monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels will be the best choices for most homeowners, while thin-film is generally best only for very specific circumstances. Monocrystalline is the premier, higher efficiency, and sleek-looking panel. Polycrystalline offers a lower price point sacrificing efficiency and in some people’s opinion aesthetics.
Regardless of your situation, a Rooftop Solar specialist can show you multiple options for your solar system today. It is important that you pick a company that has multiple options for solar panels, and that will compare them for you rather than pick an option for you regardless of your circumstance. Rooftop Solar can help show you the different options today, so don’t hesitate to reach out!