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What are the different types of photovoltaic panels?

The use of photovoltaic solar panels has increased considerably in recent years. Every time we can find more homes and neighborhood communities that have solar panels in their facilities. The reason for this is because they are available at more affordable prices (because they are easier to manufacture).

What are the different types of photovoltaic panels?

But not only that, also because we can find various types of solar panels that fit perfectly to what we are looking for and what we need in our home. The type of solar panel is decisive when carrying out the installation —in addition, the options are very varied— that is why in this article we explain what type of solar panels are and their characteristics. Read on to clear your doubts!

Tapes of solar panels: depending on the material

If we focus on analyzing solar panels according to the material with which they have been manufactured, then we can identify two different types. These are:

  • Monocrystalline solar panels : Monocrystalline solar panels, or monocrystalline silicon, are currently the most expensive as they are more efficient and more difficult to manufacture, and also have a greater amount of silicon. Its composition is single crystal, it has a crystalline structure of great purity, continuous, rounded edges and without grain limit.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels : These are more recent, they began to be manufactured in the 1980s. The manufacturing process of these photovoltaic solar panels (polycrystalline type) is much faster and they continue to offer great performance. Polycrystalline glass plates are the most widespread worldwide. The appearance is lighter than that of monocrystalline.

Solar panels types: depending on the installation

Now that you know what type of solar panels are according to the material, we are going to delve into the types that exist according to the installation. In this case we find two different photovoltaic solar panels (types or installations):

  • Solar panels connected to the network : They are those that are connected to the general electrical network. These plates are connected to other elements of the installation, such as the inverters and optimizers (not essential) and from there to the network of the electricity company, as well as to the electrical installation of the home.
  • Isolated solar panels : These are photovoltaic solar panels that are not connected to the general network. Many times, because it does not reach the place where the installation is carried out. For example, in isolated homes and on farms with solar pumps for extracting water. These solar panels, in addition to the elements included in the network installation, also have charge regulators and batteries.

Solar panels types: according to function

If we focus on analyzing what type of solar panels are according to the function they perform, then we find three different types. These are the following:

  • Photovoltaic solar panel : The photovoltaic solar panel works thanks to the photovoltaic effect. This means that it takes advantage of solar radiation to generate energy thanks to the semiconductor materials with which it has been manufactured. These solar panels generate an electric current due to the photons of light that collide with the conductive material and push the neutrons of the atom in question. In addition, the hole that is free is used by the protons of other atoms that jump from one side to another to occupy them. This decompensation that is generated is known as the electric current that is later used to obtain electricity. They are the most used solar panels.
  • Thermal solar panel : The thermal solar panel, also known as a solar collector, allows the use of energy from the sun to convert it into heat. At a domestic level, these solar panels have several uses, such as to obtain hot water through boilers, but also for home heating. Solar thermal panels can be used, on the other hand, to heat swimming pools and to generate electricity with a complementary mechanical system.
  • Hybrid solar panel: The hybrid solar panel, or hybrid solar panel, is a combination of a photovoltaic solar panel with a thermal one. The two combined technologies allow to produce both electricity and heat simultaneously. These are solar panels that are very unknown to many users, although they have been evolving positively in recent years.

Solar panels types: according to uses

Solar panels can also be differentiated according to uses. Now, in reality, there does not have to be a significant difference between one and the other – sometimes the difference is only in the number of solar panels included in the kit. And it is that on many occasions, when talking about solar panels according to uses, we refer to solar kits . Some of the most popular photovoltaic solar panels, types and kits in this case are solar panels for boats, solar panels for pumping water, solar panels for caravans… Also solar panels for heating or solar panels for Sanitary Hot Water (DHW). In these last two examples we talk about thermal solar panels.

Solar panels types: according to power and cells

Last but not least, we can make a final distinction based on power and cells. The most common is that we find photovoltaic solar panels with a power of 250W to 300W , however, we can also find devices with lower power —such as 150W solar panels— or higher power —the highest powers, to date today, they reach up to 500W—. When talking about cells, which are the small parts in which the glass of the solar panel is made up, the most common is to find a quantity of 60 per product , although we can also find them of 24 and 70. The power of each cell depends , in general, of the material with which it has been manufactured.