What Are the Different Types of Solar Panels?
Solar panels are growing in popularity among Escondido homeowners. This environmentally friendly option can help you to heat and power your home without totally relying on electricity generated by fossil fuels. Especially in the dry, sunny California climate, solar panels are surprisingly useful and efficient. If you’re considering solar panels for your home, you may be largely unacquainted with what they actually are, and what different types are available.
What Are Solar Panels?
The workings of solar panels are scientifically complex. Essentially, solar panels work using what’s known as the “photovoltaic effect”: some materials emit electric current when exposed to light. This happens because the energy in the photons, or particles of light, excite valence electrons in the atoms of the material, which become free and jump into a conduction band. Although the photovoltaic effect was first described in 1839, efficient and useful photovoltaic (solar) cells are a far more recent development. Nowadays, technological advancement has led to affordable solar panels that can be used on people’s homes—an important step in humanity’s process of moving toward more sustainable sources of energy than coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.
The 4 Main Types of Residential Solar Panels
Here’s a brief summary of the main types of solar panels, with a bit of information about their relative benefits and how each one works.
- Monocrystalline silicon panels. Also known as “single silicon” solar panels, these are often considered to be the most efficient type of panel currently available for harnessing solar energy. The panels themselves are cut from single bars of crystalline silicon. The crystal lattice is uniform and uninterrupted, hence the name. They work best in bright sunshine, with the sun shining directly onto them.
- Polycrystalline solar panels are made out of several cuts of silicon, arranged together in blocks. They’re less perfectly aligned than monocrystalline panels. This is an advantage since, with pieces having slightly different orientations, they can work better than single silicon panels in low light or at different lighting angles. However, the losses and joints between pieces of silicon also detract from the efficiency of this type of solar panel.
- Hybrid panels have an extra, amorphous layer directly behind the monocrystalline silicon. They’re highly efficient and space-saving, since the extra layer absorbs extra energy, including in low light. They’re a popular choice for residential solar panels.
- Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPVs). This type of solar panel can be made to look more like regular roofing material than other types of panels. However, they’re also less efficient and more expensive than other solar options.
Solar panels are an excellent option for homeowners interested in an efficient but environmentally friendly energy solution. To find out more about installing solar panels for your home, talk to an electrician about pricing, solar cell options, and more. In the Escondido area, Far West Electric is the premiere company for great solar cell installation work, excellent customer service, and reasonable pricing. Call today to find out more about solar panels for your Escondido home.