The main 4 types of solar panels

Sorts of solar panels

You have several types of solar panels, all different types, sizes and brands. The type of panel is mainly determined by the material the solar cells are made of. We describe the four best known types on this page:

  • Monocrystalline
  • Polycrystalline
  • Thin film
  • Glass panels

types of solar panels

Monocrystalline solar panels

These panels are often identified by their black color. A special manufacturing process is required to produce the solar cells for monocrystalline panels. As a result, although the cost is higher, the panels last longer with a relatively high efficiency of 20 percent or more. For the current cost of these and other types of solar panels, request here free and easy quotes.

Polycrystalline solar panels

Polycrystalline panels can be recognized by their blue color. The purchase price is lower than monocrystalline panels, as is the efficiency. Do you have a lot of roof area? Then choosing polycrystalline can be a good choice.

Thin-film solar panels

Thin-film panels are composed of thin layers of solar cells. Feature of these panels is that they are flexible and lightweight. Thin-film panels have the advantage of having less drop in yield when there is partial shadow. They are widely used on curved surfaces and are lightweight.

Glass-glass solar panels

New are the glass-glass solar panels. Instead of a plastic film on the back of the panel, this type of solar panel has glass on the back. This means that the influence of moisture and temperature fluctuations on the panel is much smaller than with the glass-film panels. The solar cells are therefore safely sandwiched between 2 sheets of glass.

Over the years, glass-film panels sometimes allow moisture to pass through the film. And moisture in solar panels is not a good combination. To prevent glass-glass panels from becoming unmanageably heavy, they are made from much thinner glass than traditional panels. The glass used for glass-glass panels is safety glass of only 2 mm. This is in contrast to the glass used in the glass-film panels which is up to 4 mm thick.

Because glass-glass solar panels are more expensive to buy, a good calculation must be made in advance to determine whether this additional price is sufficiently compensated by the expected additional yield. Because they are now being produced in larger numbers you can expect prices to fall quickly, making them more interesting. Compare current prices? Ask here but a free quote.

Degradation of solar panels

All types of solar panels produce less as they age. In general, thin-film panels degrade slightly faster than mono and polycrystalline panels. The power guarantees given by manufacturers on the different types of solar panels teaches us more.

For example: The warranty for many thin-film panels is 10-year product warranty, and power warranty of 85% for the first 10 years, and 75% for the remaining years through year 25.

The warranty of many mono and polycrystalline panels is 25 years product warranty, and power guarantee of 95% for the first 5 years, then a decrease of 0.4% per year for the remaining years until year 25.

Note that the thin-film solar panels are a smaller size and have a lower watt peak per panel. So to get the same yield, more panels are needed than with the glass types of solar panels. Depending on the Watt peak of the panel, thin film panels can require up to 50% more roof area than mono and polycrystalline panels. This can also mean that the installation costs of the thin film panels are higher. On average, you should expect at least 20% less efficiency from these panels per m2.

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