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How do Solar Panels Work?
How does a solar panel produce energy? Photovoltaic solar panels consist of cells made of silicon.The panels have Both positive and a negative layers which creates an electric field.When the panels are hit by sunlight, they create an electric current.
The current collected by the solar panels then feeds into a charge controller which will control how much energy will go into the inverter and charge the battery bank.
Choosing your Solar Panel:
While studying and shopping for solar panels, you may have noticed that there are two main aesthetic differences between panels. Some are dark gray (almost black) and others have light blue tint. These almost black panels are known as monocrystalline, and the light blue tinted panels are known as polycrystalline. There’s a few key differences between these tow types of panels, and below you will learn the differences.
Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels serve the same general function of collecting energy from the sun. Both are made from silicon, but the main difference is the type of silicon solar cell they use.Monocrystalline, as their name suggests, have cells made from a single crystal of silicon. Polycrystalline solar panels have solar cells made from many silicon fragments that are melted together.
Monocrystalline Vs Polycrystalline:
Monocrystalline Panels, which are darker in color and made out of the highest grade silicon, are more energy efficient than Polycrystalline panels.This makes them more space efficient since you can use fewer panels to achieve the same level of output of a larger polycrystalline system.
Monocrystalline panels also typically have the longest lifespan. Many manufacturers put a 25-year warranty on their monocrystalline solar panels.
Manufacturers make monocrystalline panels by shaping the silicon into bars and cutting them into different wafers.Each solar cell is composted of only one crystal which makes it so the electrons are free to move around and generate the flow of electricity.As a result, they are more energy efficient than polycrystalline panels, but also more expensive to produce.
Additionally, the manufacturing process to create monocrystalline panels is typically more wasteful than polycrystalline panels. Monocrystalline panels are cut from square silicon wafers and the corners are shaved off and disposed of.
Polycrystalline panels, which have a light blue tint in color, are less efficient than monocrystalline panels, but they are also typically more budget friendly.
Manufacturers produce polycrystalline panels by melting fragments of silicon together to form the wafers for the panel.Because there are multiple crystals in each cell, there is less moving room for the electrons to produce the energy.
This makes them less efficient than monocrystalline panels. It’s important to note that manufacturers continue to research and develop new polycrystalline technology that is becoming more and more efficient every day.One day, efficiency rates for polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels could be almost equal.
Which type of Solar Panel is Right for You?
Deciding what panel to buy depends on what is most important to you:
Aesthetic Preference: Many people prefer the look of the darker monocrystalline panels over the polycrystalline panels because they can blend in better with the dark shingles of a roof. So if aesthetics is the most important factor, monocrystalline may be the way to go.
Space Constraints: If space is an issue, say on the roof of a van, you may want to consider purchasing monocrystalline panels because they are more energy and space efficient. In many cases, you’ll need fewer solar panels to get the same solar output of polycrystalline panels.
Budget Constraints: If you are on a budget and money is the deciding factor in making decisions around your solar panels, you may choose to go with the less expensive polycrystalline panels.
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