Choosing Proper Solar Panel Type, Part 2
In part one of this two-part blog series, we discussed the three common types of solar panels you will generally have available to you today. Modern solar panels come in a couple different styles, and while these share certain characteristics, it’s their unique qualities that really help define which will be best for a given property or solar need.
At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we’re happy to offer a wide range of solar power options and services, both for residential and commercial solar needs. Our solar technicians will be happy to walk you through your various choices and which of our solar panels will be best for your property given your budget, power needs and other factors. Today’s part two of our series will look at some of the important practical areas in which to consider these varying options as you make your choice for an optimal solar panel installation.
We know price is a big variable for many homeowners, and there’s nothing wrong with considering cost atop your list here. Of the three options we went over, thin-film solar panels are definitely the cheapest to manufacture – but some of the materials used to make them, including CIGS, can be very expensive. However, their installation costs tend to be relatively low as well due to their limited size.
Monocrystalline panels are likely the most expensive, but they provide fantastic value for this price. Polycrystalline panels were designed to help limit the costs of silicon manufacturing somewhat, and they’ve succeeded – as these advances continue, experts in the field expect the price of these silicon methods to drop over time and become closer to thin-film panels.
When we talk about panel efficiency, we’re really referring to how much energy a given panel can create based on the amount of sunlight it receives. Put another way: What percentage of the sun’s energy can each panel type absorb consistently. Here are the general maximum efficiency levels of each of the three solar panel types:
- Monocrystalline: Up to 20% efficiency
- Polycrystalline: Up to 17% efficiency
- Thin-film: Up to 11% efficiency
As you can see, the two bulkier types involving silicon are significantly more efficient than thin-film. However, some thin-film formats do produce more than 11%, as they can vary based on size and model type.
A couple other areas to keep in mind while choosing solar panel type:
- Temperature coefficient: Refers to the way solar panels produce power as the temperature rises. Ask our pros about how the types vary.
- Fire and hail ratings: You also need to factor in fire and hail ratings – silicon options can usually handle falling hail to a certain level, but it’s worth being sure here.
For more on how to choose ideal solar panel type for your installation, or to learn about any of our solar power company services, speak to the staff at Intermountain Wind & Solar today.