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Types of solar panels that transform sunlight into energy

Los paneles solares se fabrican de diferentes maneras y distintos materiales por cual existen muchos tipos de paneles solares y algunos tipos de paneles solares mas eficientes que otros

Types of solar panels that transform sunlight into energy

Not  all solar  panels  are the same  or offer the same benefits . Depending on our needs, the type of property and the final result we want to obtain, we must choose between one solar panel or another.

The  classification  of solar  panels is  therefore based on the main uses  that we give them : generate electricity, heat water or both.   

Depending on their purpose,  the main types of solar panels are divided into:

  • Photovoltaic solar panels.
  • Thermal solar panels.
  • Hybrid solar panels: Photovoltaic + thermal.

Let’s see each type of solar panel in detail below to check in this way which is the one that may interest us the most depending on the needs and characteristics of the property in which we want to install it.

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Photovoltaic solar panels

This panel is responsible for  transforming the energy from the sun into electricity .

They are  made up of silicon photovoltaic cells  that, through a process, transform the energy from sunlight into electrical energy.

This occurs when photons (particles present in sunlight) hit the silicon that the solar panel is made of. When the photons hit the silicon atoms, the electrons are broken and some of them are released, which are the ones that generate the electric current.

We  can classify photovoltaic solar panels  based on how the photovoltaic cells are composed :

  • Monocrystalline Panels:  Very useful for places where there is little sun exposure during the day because they offer very good performance in low light conditions.
  • Polycrystalline Panels:  Although they are less efficient than monocrystalline panels, they were the most widespread in the residential field.

The  difference between a monocrystalline and a polycrystalline panel  lies in its transformation process, by which the silicon ingots obtained are cylindrical to obtain monocrystalline silicon, or square to obtain polycrystalline silicon.

thermal solar panels

The  thermal solar panel solar collector  or thermosyphon  allows the transformation of energy from the sun into thermal energy, that is, into heat . 

They are used  to heat water, and  can be used in multiple cases, such as heating, swimming pool heating, domestic hot water (the water we obtain through the boiler in a home), steam creation, among others.

There are also  various types of solar thermal panels :

  • Low temperature collector or unprotected flat solar collector.  It reaches up to a maximum of 50ºC. They are mainly used for heating and domestic hot water.
  • Medium temperature collector.  They incorporate a transparent cover that prevents heat loss from the solar panel and thanks to it, the panel can reach up to 90ºC.
  • High temperature collector .  Add another cover between the previous one and the converter, generating a vacuum between the two covers so that a temperature of up to 150ºC can be reached. These types of solar thermal panels are commonly used to produce steam that drives turbines to generate electricity.

Thermal solar panels  can also be divided into:

  • Flat collectors:  Low, medium and high temperature. The former are capable of heating up to a maximum of 50 degrees centigrade, the medium temperature ones up to 90 degrees and the high temperature ones up to 150 degrees centigrade.
  • Vacuum tube collectors .

The  difference between these two types  is that flat collectors resemble photovoltaic panels in terms of their appearance, while vacuum tube collectors have a cylindrical shape and are always placed in parallel.

hybrid solar panels

These panels are the  result of  joining the two previous panels. It is  a mixture of a photovoltaic panel  and  a thermal  panel that combines the two technologies in a single panel. Through these panels  we can produce  electricity and heat simultaneously.

The main advantage of these panels is the  reduction of the space needed to take advantage of solar energy  by combining two panels into one.

Hybrid solar panels are divided into:

  • Generation 0 panels.
  • First generation panels.
  • Second generation panels.

Generation 0 hybrid panels were the first to be manufactured and the temperature they reach is low since they do not have any type of insulation, which causes heat to be lost.

The first generation hybrid solar panels have a back cover that allows them to retain heat. And the second generation plates, which are the most modern, also offer a transparent front cover.

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