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What different types of solar panels are there?

Three different types of solar panels

The three most common types of solar panels on the market are monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels and thin film solar panels. Different types of solar panels are developed for different conditions. In this post, we will go through the differences between the different solar panels on the market.

Monocrystalline solar panels

Monocrystalline solar panels have been on the market for the longest time. We usually associate these solar panels with the most common solar panels used for homes. These solar panels are a good fit for our Scandinavian climate, since the solar cells are able to produce solar energy from little amounts of sunlight.

  • Price: Monocrystalline solar cells are slightly more expensive than polycrystalline and thin film solar cells, because the manufacturing process is more complicated.
  • Technical info: Monocrystalline solar cells consist of a crystal. The solar cells are negatively affected by high temperatures, which does not affect us in Sweden.
  • Appearance: Monocrystalline solar cells have a shimmering blue tone.
  • Efficiency: Approx. 15-19%
  • Lifespan: After 25 years, you can expect about 80% of the efficiency.

Polycrystalline solar panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are the most common solar cells in solar panels on the market but are considered to be slightly less efficiency than monocrystalline solar cells. Solar cells are often seen at large plants and farms that have plenty of space.

  • Price: Compared to monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels are slightly cheaper, as the manufacturing process is simpler.
  • Technical info: Polycrystalline solar cells consist of several crystals in each cell and are not as sensitive to heat as monocrystalline solar cells.
  • Appearance: Monocrystalline solar panels have a shimmering blue tone.
  • Efficiency: Approx. 15-19%
  • Lifespan: After 25 years, you can expect about 80% of the efficiency.

Thin film solar panels

Both the appearance and the manufacturing process of thin film solar cells differ from the crystalline solar cells. Foremost, the material can be made to have a flexible texture, which opens up the possibility of using thin film solar cells on rounded surfaces. For example, thin film solar cells can be glued directly to roof tiles.

  • Price: Thin film solar panels are slightly cheaper than crystalline solar panels, but they do also have a shorter lifespan.
  • Technical info: Thin film solar cells consist of a thin layer of silicon that is applied to metal, glass, silicon or plastic. Unlike crystalline solar panels, thin film solar panels are not as affected by high temperatures.
  • Appearance: The solar cells look like black thin film.
  • Efficiency: Approx. 10-15%
  • Lifespan: Generally, shorter lifespan than a crystalline solar panel.

Solar panels of the future

The mission to make solar panels even more efficient is constantly evolving, both when it comes to the manufacturing process and the efficiency. Three new types of solar cells that are under development are perovskite solar cells, nanowire-based solar cells and dye-sensitized solar cells. All have the goal of keeping costs down and increasing efficiency but are still in the research phase.

What type of solar panels should I choose?

Different types of solar panels meet different types of needs. If you have limited amount of space on your roof, you most likely want to get as much solar energy with as few solar panels as possible. In that case, you want to prioritize high efficiency, which can lead to solar panels that are slightly more expensive. If you on the other hand have plenty of space, you have the opportunity to have more solar panels to a lower price, while you may need to compromise on efficiency.

Contact our experts and we will take a look at your circumstances, to find the best option for you!


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