Solar panels, also called photovoltaic cells are devices that convert sunlight into electricity. Today, solar energy is widely used for domestic as well as commercial purposes.
The advancement of technology has made it possible to produce solar energy equipment at low cost. The modern equipment is more efficient than the earlier ones.
There is a huge advancement in solar panel technology – Crystalline solar panels, Thin Film technology and Multi-junction technology are considered the best performers in power generation. We will read more about these technologies in this article.
Crystalline solar panels
They are made of silicon and are based on the arrangement of silicon crystals. There are two types of crystalline solar panels – Mono-crystalline and Poly-crystalline.
- Mono-crystalline solar panels
These are the most efficient and popular used solar panels. They are made using single coating of silicon. A square meter mono-crystalline solar panel can generate 110-220 watts of electricity. These panels are more reliable as their life time ranges between 10-30 years. The performance of mono-crystalline panels are best during high and low light conditions. They are 11-22% efficient in harvesting power. They require low maintenance and are easy to replace on small area or roof. The disadvantage of this technology is its cost. Though it is made from silicon (sand), purifying cost of the mineral makes it highly expensive.
- Poly-crystalline solar panels
Poly means many. Poly-crystalline solar panels are made using different crystals. Different types of crystals are fused together to make a single device. A square meter poly-crystalline solar panel can harvest 120-130 watts power. Manufacturing cost is very low and thus is the cheapest source of solar energy. Panels are 13.5% efficient in energy conversion. Poly-crystalline panels require less space than mono-crystalline to setup on the roof. The only disadvantage is their less efficiency when compared to mono-crystalline solar panels.
Thin Film technology
This technology makes it possible to produce thin solar panels that can be easily incorporated in the building’s envelop. However, this technology is less efficient in power generation compared to crystalline panels. A square feet thin film solar panel could harvest 60-70 watts power. These panels can produce more power in hot conditions, thus, are ideal for hot climate and where place is not a limiting factor to install. Disadvantage with these panels is they are difficult to replace.
Multi-junction solar panel technology generates 50% more power when compared to other solar panel technologies. This technology absorbs maximum sunlight compared to its counterparts. This technology is reliable in its performance with 25 to 30 years of life time.
Solar energy is perennial and non-polluting. Solar panels were invented recently and have shown their efficiency and reliability in power generation. They are getting popular day by day across the globe.