Light is a power that does not end, but is transformed from one form to another. To transform light into electricity, a device such as a solar panel is required; This is a device that can transform sunlight into electricity. Astronomers call it “Sun”, which means the sun. On the other hand, some scientists call it “Photovoltaic”, which means “light-electricity”.
In a solar panel, there is a collection of solar cells. These small-sized solar cells are located throughout the panel, and the more light the panel receives, the more electricity it can produce.
What to consider when buying a solar panel
When you have decided to buy a solar panel, the first question that arises is what criteria or characteristics you should consider. This article will help you suggest some crucial points, which will help you with your purchase.
cost: The cost of a solar panel depends on several factors, such as its size in watts, its physical size, longevity, the quality of the products and the suitability for its purpose.
The three levels of solar panel.: In addition to the cost, you should consider two other topics; These are the method of manufacture and material used. There are three types of quality. These are:
- Level one: At this level, the main manufacturers of photovoltaic solar energy are located at 2%. These panels are vertically integrated, which means that each step of the manufacturing process is controlled. In addition to that, these companies invest large amounts of money to improve the product and use advanced technology to produce solar panels. The silicon they use is of high quality and, as a result, their products are the best on the market without a doubt.
- Level two: This level includes some of the good companies, which produce comparatively better products in the market. They invest a certain amount of money to improve their products and are applying modern technology for some years. They also provide the product at a reasonable price.
- Level three: Includes more than ninety percent of solar panel manufacturers. One of their main tasks is to assemble the panels only; They do not produce any product and research on it to improve it. Their production method is not modern and they can produce the products at lower prices.
Tolerance: The solar panel must have positive tolerance. Positive tolerance means that a solar panel not only produces the number of watts of electricity mentioned in the package, but can also produce more in a standard situation.
Temperature efficiency: It is essential to determine, since it is necessary to verify if the temperature has any impact on the panel.
Longevity: Durability is important because it shows if you can trust the product of a particular company. In general, reputable companies give a 25 year guarantee.
Choose a type of solar panel
There are several types of solar panels on the market and it can be confusing to choose one for your purpose. This article will guide you to choose the types of solar panels that you can use in your residence. These are:
- Thin film
At the beginning, let’s find out what crystalline silicon is.
Crystalline Silicon (c-Si)
Among all the photovoltaic devices in the world today, more than 85 percent of them are made of silicon, although there are some varieties of this element. In an investigation conducted in 2011, more than 95 percent of all shipments made by US producers to residential areas were solar panels made of crystalline silicon. This silicon can have several forms. The differences between these forms depend on the purity of the silicon.
Now you can ask that: how is it possible to determine the purity of silicon? Well, scientists believe that, if the silicon molecules are perfectly aligned, silicone can be considered pure. The more perfect this alignment, the better the solar panel cell that can convert solar energy or sunlight into electricity.
However, it should be noted that, if you want to improve purity, you will have to pay some extra money. The crucial issue about this type of panel is that efficiency is not your main concern. Rather, the cost and space will be the two issues that concern you later.
Monocrystalline silicon solar cell
Also known as monocrystalline silicon, it is very easy to recognize. To identify, you will have to look at its external part. Try to find out if the color is uniform and uniform. If so, then it indicates that the solar panel has highly pure silicon.
The solar cells in this panel are generally made of silicon ingots, cylindrical in shape. To improve panel performance and reduce cost, silicone wafers are manufactured. To make silicone wafers, four sides of the cylindrical ingots are cut. As a result, the monocrystalline solar panel gains its particular appearance.
You can differentiate the monocrystalline solar panel from the crystalline crystalline solar panel by observing its external appearance: the polycrystalline solar panel cells are perfectly rectangular and have no round edges.
Benefits of using the monocrystalline solar panel.
There are several benefits of using the monocrystalline solar panel. Some of them are mentioned below:
The monocrystalline solar panel. has the highest efficiency rate. The reason behind this is that, it is made of high grade silicone. Its efficiency ratio is very impressive (from 15% to 20%).
SunPower manufactures the most efficient solar panel in this category and the name of its latest series is E20. This is able to converse up to 20.1%. Another popular series is the X series. It reached the market in April 2013 and has a record capacity to convert sunlight: the percentage is 21.5. These are the panels that got the most positive feedback from users in the US market.
Sufficiency of space It is another crucial feature of this type of solar panel. The monocrystalline solar panel can provide the highest power and requires a much smaller area amount compared to other types of solar panels. This solar panel is capable of producing up to four times electricity compared to the thin film solar panel.
The monocrystalline solar panel is also famous for its longevity. The producers could even grant a twenty-five year guarantee on this type of solar panel.
Provides Better performance in low light situations.. For that reason, users maintain this monocrystalline solar panel considerably compared to other types of solar panels.
Disadvantages of using the monocrystalline solar panel
However, there are some flaws in the monocrystalline solar panel. Here we discuss some of them in detail.
High price It is one of the most common reasons, why users generally do not recommend buying a monocrystalline solar panel. For that reason, consumers, concerned about money, should consider polycrystalline silicon as suitable for its purpose. In some cases, you can also choose a thin film to save your money.
Another problem with the use of the monocrystalline solar panel is that, If it is covered in shade or snow, the whole circuit can be disabled.. This can even happen if the monocrystalline solar panel is partially covered. If you consider that, even partial coverage can be a problem for you; in that case, you can consider the use of micro inverters as an alternative to central chain inverters. The micro inverters will ensure that if a part of the monocrystalline solar panel is covered, the entire panel will not be affected.
Waste of its significant portion of monocrystalline solar panel. It is another negative side of it. The name of the process used to produce monocrystalline silicon is the Czochralski process. Cylindrical ingots are produced in large quantities. However, as mentioned above, as part of the manufacture of silicone wafers, four sides of the ingots are cut. This is a significant waste of the original silicon.
The monocrystalline solar panels are sensitive to temperature or climate. It works best in warm weather. However, if the temperature rises, it affects the performance of the monocrystalline solar panel. It is noteworthy that, most owners do not care about the temperature.
Polycrystalline silicon solar cells.
In 1981, for the first time, a solar panel based on polycrystalline silicon was commercialized. It is also known as Polysilicon (p-Sci) and multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si). It should be noted that this type of solar cell does not need any Czochralski process. For these solar cells, square wafers are used.
The process of making square wafers is very simple. Silicon in raw form is taken at the beginning, then melted and then poured into a square-sized mold. After cooling this, all the material is cut into square shape. Square wafers are made in this way.
Benefits of using the polycrystalline silicon solar panel.
You will find several benefits of using the polycrystalline silicon solar panel. Some of them are mentioned below:
- The manufacturing process of polycrystalline silicon is very simple and cheap. In addition, the silicon residues are lower than with the monocrystalline silicon solar panel.
- The performance of the polycrystalline silicon solar panel can be affected by the temperature. In addition, its tolerance to heat is lower than that of the monocrystalline silicon solar panel. It can be serious, since it can decrease the performance of the panels. In addition, the heat can even shorten the life of the solar panel. However, most of the time it is not the main concern of consumers, since the effect in many cases turns out to be less.
Disadvantages of using the polycrystalline silicon solar panel
However, there are several drawbacks in the use of the polycrystalline silicon solar panel. Some of the crucial disadvantages are the following:
- A lower efficiency is one of the main disadvantages of using this type of solar panel. The percentage of efficiency is from 13% to 16%. The reason behind this lower efficiency is the lower level purity of the silicon. Apparently, it is not as efficient as monocrystalline solar panels.
- It is not efficient space too. A large amount of area is required to provide the same amount of electrical energy produced by the monocrystalline solar panel. It should be noted that this does not mean that the performance of all monocrystalline solar panels is better than polycrystalline solar panels.
- Some consumers have complained about the appearance of the polycrystalline solar panel. In his opinion, the polycrystalline solar panel is less aesthetic, since its appearance is less uniform and its color is mottled blue.
String Ribbon solar cells
Polycrystalline silicon is also used to make other types of solar cells. His name is String Ribbon Solar cells. The name of this type of solar cells is derived from the name of the manufacturing technology: String Ribbon solar cells. The silicone tapes used here are very thin and the manufacturing process is very simple. Through the molten silicon, the temperature resistant cables are dragged. However, this type of solar panel looks similar to traditional types of polycrystalline solar panels.
The alarming fact is that the manufacturer of this solar panel, Evergreen Solar, is now bankrupt. As a result, it is now unclear what the future of String Ribbon technology would be.
Benefits of using the String Ribbon solar panel
As the String Ribbon Solar Panel is made of polycrystalline silicon, it will have the same benefits as mentioned above. However, the most positive side of this solar panel is that it uses only half the amount of silicon used to produce monocrystalline. As a result, the cost is lower.
Disadvantages of using the String Ribbon solar panel
It is possible to face one of the following problems if you are interested in using the solar panel of the conveyor belt:
- The method to produce a tape solar panel is very expensive. On top of that, it is very extensive in energy;
- The efficiency of low termination polycrystalline solar panels is approximately 13 to 14%. However, scientists have improved the efficiency of the yarn ribbon solar panel and have brought it closer to 18.3%;
- The solar tape of thread tape is not efficient in space too. Considerably, it has the least space efficiency among solar panels made of crystalline silicon.
Thin-film solar cells (TFSC)
Another name for thin-film solar cells are thin-film photovoltaic cells or TFPV. The method of manufacturing this thin-film solar cell is quite different. The essential form of this process is that several layers of photovoltaic material are deposited in a layer.
There can be several types of thin-film solar cells that can be classified according to the photovoltaic material that has been deposited in a layer. These are:
- Amorphous silicon, or a-si
- Gallium, indium and gallium selenide is also called CIS / CIGS
- Organic photovoltaic, alternatively OPC
- Cadmium Telluride, or CdTe
It should be noted that, with the exception of organic photovoltaics (OPC), the rest of the products are commercially available in the market.
There are several technologies, which are used to produce thin film solar cells and the efficiency of these solar cells depends on these technologies. Normally, the efficiency of these solar panels is approximately 7% to 13%. In addition to that, the production modules run at almost 9%. Scientists are trying to improve their efficiency and hope that, in the near future, it will be possible to increase the percentage to almost 10 to 16%.
Interestingly, the market for thin-film photovoltaic has grown up to 60% per year from 2002 to 2007. Based on research carried out in 2011, it has been found that approximately 5% of the photovoltaic module (made in the U.S). ), which have been sent to several residential areas, are made of thin film.
Advantages of thin film solar cells.
- The best feature of thin film solar cells is that it is possible to produce energy in large quantities. As a result, they may be cheaper than other types of solar cells that are based on crystallines.
- His appearance is very attractive too. The basic reason is that its appearance is homogeneous.
- Flexibility is another crucial benefit. As it is flexible, it is possible to have several potential and effective applications.
- It can work in high temperatures. It makes it more efficient compared to other types of solar panels.
- It also works in shadow of earth and snow. The shadow can not affect its performance.
- If space is not your concern, then the thin-film solar panel suits your purpose. This is because it requires a huge area to be viable.
Disadvantages of thin-film solar cells
However, there are several negative aspects of the use of thin film solar cells. Some of the important disadvantages are:
- The most problematic side of the thin film solar cell is that it is not suitable for the residential purpose. Although it is very cheap, it is not suitable for a house since it requires a large area. The monocrystalline solar panel, manufactured by the company SunPower, produces almost four times the amount of electricity compared to the thin film solar panel for the same covered area.
- Because a large area is needed, an additional cost will be required to purchase the photovoltaic equipment, such as supporting structures and cables for connection.
- This type of solar panel normally damages quickly compared to other types. For that reason, companies tend to give a shorter warranty with this product.
Some popular solar panels to buy online
There are several types of solar panels that you can find online. However, the products listed below are considered the best by users.
Starter kit Renogy Mono 100W
The particular reason why you can choose this product is that it is very easy to use, has an excellent appearance and can be used for various purposes (indoor and outdoor). It comes with an excellent charge controller, PWM 30A, and, in addition to that, comes with a unique design support, the Z support.
You will get a pair of twenty foot adapter (MC4 adapter). The ideal performance is 500 watts per hour every day and is capable of charging a battery (a 50Ah battery) within three hours (depends on the availability of sunlight). The company offers a 25 year warranty.
If you like this product, you can find it and buy it on Amazon.
100W Renogy Monocrystalline Flexible Solar Panel
There are several notable characteristics of this product and one of them is its plastic back sheet that can be bent up to 30 degrees. It is possible to use this panel on several surfaces, including a tent, a cabin and / or a boat. You can even use it in crowded places or in narrow areas and it is perfect for non-permanent purposes. The holes in the panel are perforated so you can mount them and secure them very quickly.
In addition to these, you will be given a sealed and waterproof junction box. It will come with a pair of cables (ten inches); MC4 connectors are also available with it. Its price is reasonable since you can buy it for $ 230.
If you like this product, you can find and check its price on Amazon.
Now, you are aware of the basic characteristics that you need to know in a solar panel. It’s time to visit a store and buy a suitable solar panel for your particular purpose. You can also ask for help and advice from your neighbors or friends and family, who already use solar panels. Some additional practical experience does not hurt and will make you feel more secure when buying a solar panel.