The fantastic thing about energy from the sun is that it is never-ending. Over the years, people have learned to harness it to power a diverse range of machines useful in homes and industries alike. Research is still underway to understand how much more can be harnessed.
A growing number of people worldwide are now opting to have solar panels installed in their properties, commercial and residential both. And, there are many reasons for doing so.
For instance, such panels can help reduce your electricity bills, cause little to no environmental damage, and are super easy to maintain. They also have an incredibly long shelf life.
Studying the subtypes of these panels and the factors that make them most efficient will help you understand why they are worthy of investment.
Of the numerous types of panels, the following three are most commonly used and highly efficient.
- Monocrystalline panels – Also referred to as single-crystalline cell panels, these are made from the purest possible silicon. The complex manufacturing process involves a crystal of this silicon being treated to form a long rod. This rod is then broken down into wafers that make the solar cells.
Reportedly, this type of panel is said to deliver the highest efficiency under standard test conditions compared to other types.
- Thin-film panels – These types of panels are typically low in weight and flexible. They are made by covering a substrate film of plastic, glass, or metal with a layer or more of photovoltaic material.
They can deliver between fifteen to twenty percent of the panel energy efficiency. Also, they are increasingly being used on large-scale projects and solar power plants.
- Polycrystalline panels – These are also called multi-crystalline cell panels and are marginally less efficient than monocrystalline models. Unlike single-cell panels, they are grown as a block of cells which are then cut down to wafers that produce solar cells.
These panels are easy to recognize because of their blue speckled color and square cut.
What determines their efficiency?
Listed below are some key factors that are responsible for determining the efficacy of solar panels.
- Design and construction – Most panels have a thick layer of protective glass over the solar cells. And sunlight must pass through this glass for the energy to be harnessed. If there is a reduction in glass reflectivity, the energy efficiency of the panels will be higher.
- Angle and position – The more heat and light they can capture, the greater their efficiency. Therefore, it is important to angle the panels in such a way that they are fully exposed to the sun.
Ensure there are no imposing trees, walls, or other obstructions casting shade on the system.
- Roof pitch – In roof-mounted panels, the slope can impact the amount of sunlight that hits the panels. To minimize this and compensate for the movement of the Earth, several large corporations invest in solar tracking systems. But they may not be a viable option for residential use because of their high cost.
- Temperature and weather – Weather conditions and temperature are critical factors in determining the overall output of solar cells.
For example, high temperatures can decrease efficiency and reduce output. Therefore, panels made for warmer climates are specially designed to maintain efficiency as temperatures soar.
The worldwide solar energy market is estimated to increase at an annual rate of over twenty percent from 2019 to 2026. At this rate, the market value is expected to reach a whopping $223.3 billion by the target year.
This estimate is powerful proof of the increasing demand for solar rooftops and other devices across the globe.
And the reason more people are opting for solar-powered homes and offices is the fact that the benefits from going solar are endless. However, it is advisable to buy good-quality devices from reliable solar companies and hire professionals to get them installed.