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Are there different types of solar panels: Mon: Mono, poly and thin film

The solar market is flooded by solar panels, where you can find different types of brands, materials, quality and power. In this article we will talk about whether Are there different types of solar panels.

Are there different types of solar panels

BBefore deciding to install photovoltaic panels on the roof of your house or on the ground with the use of a suitable frame, you should, among other things, know, are there different types of solar panels, know the types of photovoltaic cells. What do they offer and how do they differ?

Each photovoltaic installation consists of individual elements combined into a larger structure. These elements are cells or photovoltaic panels, whose task is to generate electricity. There are different types of photovoltaic cells on the market and they can work differently.

Are there different types of solar panels

What are photovoltaic cells and how do they work?

The cells are combined into panels or modules. They are made from a semiconductor, which is often silicon, hence the name silicon cells. This semiconductor is responsible for the process of converting the energy of the sun’s rays into electricity, in the form of direct current, with the participation of a special device called an inverter.

Are there different types of solar panels y sus células.

  are there different types of solar panels? There are at least several criteria for selecting types of photovoltaic cells. Among other things, they can be divided into three generations, the first generation including silicon-based cells, including monocrystalline or polycrystalline. However, there is also the second generation of photovoltaic cells where an element other than silicon is used in their construction. It is usually gallium arsenide or indium copper diselenide. The third generation type of photovoltaic cells is the least common.

First generation photovoltaic cells

When listing different types of cells, it is worth mentioning the division of photovoltaic cells into first or second generation cells. The first of these are  silicon cells  , which use silicon crystals in their structure, a well-known element used in many different ways. Its design is based on the so-called  PN connectors.

Advantages of silicon cells

The advantage of photovoltaic cells classified among silicon cells is high availability: many companies produce these photovoltaic panels. The types of solutions used here allow them to be tailored to your individual needs and requirements, and silicon cells have relatively high efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, their advantage is that they can work with any inverter (inverter).

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You can opt for two types of silicon photovoltaic cells:

  • monocrystalline cells;
  •  polycrystalline cells.

Why are monocrystalline cells characterized?

As the name implies, monocrystalline cells are made of a single large monolithic silicon crystal with a round shape, resulting in each cell having a perfect internal structure and a high operating efficiency of more than 20 percent. Manufacturers of this type of photovoltaic modules give them the shape of polygons to better adapt them to the rectangular shape of the finished photovoltaic panels. 

What are polycrystalline cells?

Polycrystalline cells are also made of silicon, but not a single piece of crystal, but a mass of small crystals. Thanks to this, they can be given a rectangular shape that evenly covers the entire surface of the photovoltaic panel. Here there are no losses in its construction. If you look closely at the panels with  polycrystalline cells,  you will notice that they have visible silicon crystals. They are characterized by a relatively high efficiency, up to 18%, although not as high as monocrystalline photovoltaic cells. However, their production costs are lower, which automatically makes this type of photovoltaic panels cheaper.

Second generation photovoltaic cells

The characteristic of second generation photovoltaic panels is that they have an extremely thin active layer responsible for the production of electricity. It is up to a hundred times thinner than a silicon wafer, that is, 1 to 3 microns. Such panels are lightweight, cheaper to produce and sell than other types of photovoltaic cells, but their efficiency is lower: on average, it is 10 percent or less. They are based on the PN joint, as in the case of 1st generation panels, but they use in their construction:

  • Amorphous silicon: cheap to produce, characterized by high efficiency in absorbing solar radiation;
  • CIGS – is a mixture of copper, selenium, indium and gallium;
  • CdTe: cadmium telluride.
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Second-generation photovoltaic cells work best in places where they are exposed to high temperatures, exceeding the optimum temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, and with lots of sunlight. They lose their power more slowly when installing photovoltaic panels in tropical areas. They are not expensive, but have a lower resistance to shadow effect. Few manufacturers offer second generation photovoltaic cells.

Third generation cells

The latter, that is, the third generation of photovoltaic cells, include the type of photovoltaic panels that are based on non-toxic materials and are generally available, so they are quite cheap. They can be made of polymers that act as semiconductors in silicon cells. Polymers are applied to the plastic substrate in print form, where the molecule has alternating single and double bonds. They do not have a PN junction, so they cannot work with the classic semiconductors used in generation I and II panels. Unfortunately, these panels have very low efficiency and durability. They are very thin and light, and at the same time malleable and flexible.

What kind of solar panels to choose?

With the increasing number of types of solar cells, it can be difficult for you to correctly choose the type of solar panel that best suits your needs. Most of the time, these will be the first generation solutions, that is, silicon cells. If you want to minimize the investment costs of photovoltaic panels, choose polycrystalline cells. The division of photovoltaic cells according to their efficiency shows, however, that monocrystalline cells will be better in this respect.

As you can see, there is no definitive answer as to which type of solar panels will be the best. However, arguably the most important issues are price and performance. If they are combined in a certain cell type, it is worth going for that solution.

We have reached the end of the article, Are there different types of solar panels, I hope the concepts expressed in the post have been understood.