What are the major classifications of solar panels?

There are 3 major types of solar panels:

1. Monocrystalline
2. Polycrystalline
3. Thin Film

1. Monocrystalline

Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient solar panels. They are made out of silicon ingots of very high purity. The silicon ingots are cut into thin wafers which are mounted in a grid shape. One can easily recognize them from the uniform dark look and the rounded edges. The silicon’s high purity causes this type of solar panel to have the highest efficiency rates. Monocrystalline panels have higher efficiencies, occupy less space but that also means they are the most expensive solar panels.

 

2. Polycrystalline

Polycrystalline panels use melted silicon, which is poured and cut into perfectly square wafers. This melting process uses just about all the material, eliminating abundant waste during manufacturing. Polycrystalline panels  are the most commonly used type of panel for both residential and commercial installations. Their efficiency is slightly lower and are lesser expensive as compared to monocrystalline panels.

3. Thin Film

Thin-film solar panels are not necessarily made from silicon like other panel varieties. These solar panels use alternative photovoltaic mediums that are deposited in a thin layer over a substrate. Thin-film solar panels are most often manufactured from cadmium telluride (CdTe), amorphous silicon (a-Si), copper indium gallium selenide (CIS/CIGS) etc. They are not as efficient as polycrystalline or monocrystalline panels and have large space requirements but can be made flexible, thus have numerous potential applications. These types of solar panels are the easiest to produce and economies of scale make them cheaper than the alternatives due to less material being needed for its production.

[Source: Youtube]
[Publisher: Solar Power World]

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