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Three Flavors of Photovoltaic Solar Panels

As we explained in our previous post titled, Solar Arrays Explained a group of solar cells make up a solar panel. Not all solar cells are created equal, in fact there are three major flavors of solar cells that most solar panels that we see on homes and businesses are made from. Solar cells come in the following three flavors, as you can tell from the pictures each solar panel has a unique look:

Single-crystal (Monocrystalline)

Monocrystalline solar panels produce the most electric power per square meter and are mounted in a rigid frame.

Multicrystalline (Polycrystalline)

These solar panels are made up of solar cells that are cut from multiple crystals grown together in an ingot. These solar cells are built very strong structurally although are slightly less efficient then Monocrystalline solar cells.

Amorphous Silicon (Thin Film)

Thin Film solar panels are made through a deposition process or printing photovoltaic material on glass, metal or plastic substrate. Solar Roofing Shingles are made up of Amorphous silicon because the ability to print solar cells right onto the shingles. They are significantly less efficient than Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline solar cells therefore to generate the same power you would need more than double the surface area. Although they cost much less than traditional solar panels. Depending on the substrate the thin film solar cells are printed on they can be very robust and flexible.

Author: Deep Patel

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