Many people confuse photovoltaic solar panels with thermal solar panels, both types of panels were created for completely different functions. Photovoltaic panels were created to generate electricity using sunlight through a process called the photovoltaic effect and solar thermal panels were created to heat water using the sun’s rays.
Differences between photovoltaic and thermal solar panels
When you are looking for information on photovoltaic solar panels, many times, if you are not familiar with the subject, you may have doubts about the types of panels that exist and their differences.
At the application level, there are two types of solar panels :
- Solar panels/thermal solar panels.
- Solar panels / photovoltaic solar panels.
Both types are called the same, “solar panels”, or simply panels, but their operation and applications are very different.
Thermal Solar Panels:
Its operation is simple: They have inside some tubes through which liquid circulates (depending on the type of model, it can be water, water with antifreeze, alcohol…) and when sunlight falls on them, the internal liquid heats up and transmits that heat to a tank, exchanger… etc.
Solar thermal energy mainly for heating and domestic hot water.
Photovoltaic Solar Panels:
As we have already explained on several occasions, the photovoltaic panels that are installed on roofs are made up of silicon cells ( monocrystalline or polycrystalline) and transform solar energy into electricity.
You can use photovoltaic solar panels for all types of systems that serve to power any type of application that needs electrical energy.
Advantages and disadvantages of thermal panels:
|Advantages of thermal panels||Disadvantages of thermal panels|
|They can take advantage of up to 70% of the incident solar energy||In winter months you may have freezing problems|
|Very simple and robust technology||Its applications are very limited, only for heating water|
|Excellent for heating water||Less durability than photovoltaic panels|
Advantages and disadvantages of photovoltaic panels:
|Advantages of photovoltaic panels||Disadvantages of photovoltaic panels|
|If they are of good quality, they can work for 30 years or more||The initial investment is important|
|It can represent an energy saving in a house of 50-60%||Excess supply in the market with very different quality levels|
|no freezing problems|
|Valid for any type of electrical application|
Due to the lower prices that photovoltaic technology has experienced in recent years, thermal panels are used less and more photovoltaics every day.
You can also get more information from the point of view of its application in a home at: Price of solar panels for a house .
SunFields is a solar energy company with more than 10 years of experience in the distribution of photovoltaic equipment. If you are a photovoltaic installer, contact us and we will be delighted to help you.