Solar panels are a great way to reduce your energy costs and carbon footprint. Photovoltaic (PV) systems are the most common type of solar panel system used in the UK. These systems convert sunlight directly into electricity. When considering adding solar panels to your home, it's important to consider not only the potential savings, but also the type of solar panel that is best for you.
There are several types of solar panels to choose from, including monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin film, and solar roof tiles. Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient type of solar panel, with an efficiency of 20% or more. They are also the most expensive to manufacture, so they cost more than other types of solar panels. Polycrystalline lenses are less efficient than monocrystalline ones, producing around 250 watts of power each instead of more than 300.
They look similar to monocrystalline panels and last almost as long, with warranties in the 25-year range. Thin film solar panels have some advantages over monocrystalline and polycrystalline. They are lightweight and malleable, making them easier to install than thicker and heavier varieties. They are also much more affordable to manufacture and install.
Amorphous Silicon Thin Film (a-Si) is one type of thin film solar panel. It consists of three very thin layers: a silicone layer, a heat-conducting layer, and a protective layer. Amorphous panels work well in warmer climates because they can withstand intense heat and generate energy on darker days. Unfortunately, they don't last as long as other types of solar panels, with an expected lifespan of 10-20 years.
They also have an efficiency of around 7%. Cadmium Telluride Thin Film (CdTe) is another type of thin film solar panel produced with cadmium, a toxic heavy metal. CdTe thin film has an efficiency of 9-11%. Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) thin film has a higher than average efficiency but is very expensive.
It has an efficiency of 13-15%. Solar shingles are another option for those who don't like the look of traditional solar panels. Solar shingles allow you to get many of the benefits of solar panels without altering the look and feel of your roof. They are manufactured using the same technology as solar panels and are available at various prices depending on the brand.
Unfortunately, they are almost always more expensive than other types of solar panels and may not be available in your area due to short supply. In terms of efficiency, they have an efficiency of between 14% and 18%, which is lower than monocrystalline panels but higher than amorphous ones. Solar shingles do not necessarily work on all types of roofs either, so it's important to consider this when making your decision. When deciding which type of solar panel is right for you, it's important to consider not only the potential savings but also the type that best suits your needs and budget.
Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient type with an efficiency of 20% or more, but they are also the most expensive to manufacture and install. Polycrystalline lenses are less efficient but still offer good value for money. Thin film solar panels are lightweight and malleable, making them easier to install than thicker and heavier varieties, but they don't last as long as other types and have lower efficiency ratings. Solar shingles offer many benefits without altering the look and feel of your roof but may be difficult to find due to short supply.