Getting to Know the 4 Types of Solar Panels

Solar energy is among the most abundant and commonly used renewable energy sources in the world. It’s a clean energy source that can be tapped by using solar panels. In the earlier years, solar power was only utilised in a commercial setting. The expensive costs of installing the systems and the limited option were among the few reasons why only business could afford to invest in such as energy source.
Fast forward to modern day, solar power has amassed great demand and support from residential customers. If you’re among the many who want to switch to solar energy, it would be best to learn more about the main types of solar panels. This way you get to select an option that would cater to your needs.

Most Common Types of Solar Panels

The effectiveness of a photovoltaic technology highly depends on its ability to convert sunlight into a usable form of energy. Over the years, manufacturers were able to develop various types of solar energy panels. Below are the four main types of solar panels you can find in the market today.

Concentrated PV Cells

The concentrated PV cell or CPV was introduced back in 1970s but has only gained more traction in the recent years. The CPV system is mostly used in a residential setting when installed on roofs. But they can also be utilised for large commercial projects located in remote sites. It offers a number of advantages including high energy efficiency rate, zero thermal mass and scalability. However, for it to be efficient, you need to install it in a spacious area that’s completely exposed to the sun.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Some of the key distinguishing characteristics of the polycrystalline panel is its rectangular shape, speckled appearance and blue colour. The panels are made from melted silicone crystals so they’re cheaper and more eco-friendly compared to the monocrystalline solar panel. However, because the material isn’t made from pure silicone, it has a relatively shorter lifespan. Also, it is not as energy efficient and heat tolerant compared to the monocrystalline type.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Mono-SI or monocrystalline solar panels are made from 100 percent single crystal silicone. It is best distinguished by its dark color and rounded edges. Unlike the polycrystalline type, it’s has a higher energy efficient rate. Also, it has the highest heat resistance and durability. This ensures that you get to use them for a very long time. The only disadvantage of using this type of solar panel is its expensive cost. You may need to shell out a large sum of money for the panels and the installation. But, if you’re looking for an excellent long-term investment, it’s definitely the perfect choice.

Thin Film Solar Panels

If you are keen on using the least expensive option, you can try the thin-film solar cells (TFSC). Among all the types of solar panels, the TFSC is the easiest to make. As a result, they’re cheaper alternatives especially if you’re new to solar energy and you’re still considering it as your power source. Even with its cheap price, this type of panel is made more flexible and heat resistant, so it offers good value for your money. The only cons to using it are its large size and short lifespan and product warranty.   

How do you choose the best type of solar power panel?

Picking a solar power system is a great investment regardless if you need it for a house or a commercial property. When you consider any of the options above, it’s crucial that you weigh in on some factors. Focus on these main deciding factors:

  • Solar panel energy efficiency – It should be no less than 16 percent, the industry standard.
  • Costeffectiveness of the product – Check the product’s energy efficiency against its pricing. Does the pricing work for you? Is it worth your money? Which one makes more financial sense to you? You can compare the costs by asking for a free solar panel quote.
  • The product warranty – The majority of manufacturers of solar panels provide offer warranty anywhere between 10 to 25 years.
  • Your peak power consumption – Each type of panel can produce a maximum amount of energy. Hence, when you shop for a solar panel, make sure to compute for your household or building’s average peak power consumption.

How installation of solar panels works

Once you know which type of solar power panel you should use, you need to figure out how you want to install the system. Would you need it to be grid connected? The grid connected solar system is suitable if your annual energy consumption amounts to around 2600 to 3000kWh. It includes includes an inverter, Wi-Fi monitoring system and mounting frames.   

If your average daily energy consumption amounts up to 2kWh or if you have a small property, you can opt for a off grid power system. Besides the PV panels, the system includes an inverter, back-up generator, battery bank and solar controller.

Are you looking to use your solar panels for water heating? You can opt for the solar water heating system. The sunsaver collector is connected to a system which includes a temperature sensor, pump, digital controller and water cylinder.

Here if you need assistance for your solar panel system

If you wish to switch to solar energy for a cleaner and greener power source for your home or commercial property, our experts can help. Esolar.co.nz can assist you regardless of what type of panel you choose or how you intend to use them. Contact us today for more information!

Different Forms of Solar Power For Kiwis

Over the years, experts have established different technologies that help convert sun rays into energy. Photovoltaic technology helps convert sunlight into electricity, while solar thermal heat helps in harnessing the heat. These technologies are standard in New Zealand and across the globe.

Solar energy is widely available to meet your needs. However, the main challenge involves collecting a share of radiant heat and converting it into electricity. Here are the various types of solar power that serve as a viable solution.

1. Photovoltaic Solar power (PV solar)

 

PV solar power technology helps in converting sunlight directly to electricity. This process uses panels made of semiconductor cells that get the job done. These solar power plants cover large areas; therefore, they can be fed into power grids.

This solar power works by following the electric current occurs in cases where the electrons are displayed principle. Moreover, the photons exited the other atoms of the specific semiconductor element. This panel is made of several cells converting light into current.

Photovoltaic solar powers are reliable and valid for large and small areas.

2. Thermal solar power

Thermal solar power generation systems collect and concentrate sunlight to generate electricity. They are designed. It increases the high temperatures needed for making power. These power systems have reflectors to capture sunlight and focus it on the receiver.

Thermal solar power has tracking systems that allow them to concentrate on focusing the sunlight on the receiver. The feature is essential since the tracker helps reflect the sum to the receiver even as the sun changes positions. They also have advanced technology that increases solar heating.

This solar power has a parabolic trough collector technology important in increasing the rate at which the sunlight is converted into electricity. Moreover, they are designed to last for a long time giving you long term service. After purchase, you will live for long time-saving money that would be used to pay bills.

3. Off grid solar power and ongrid solar power

The ongrid solar power system uses standard inverters connected to the public electricity grid. The excess solar power heat is transferred to the electricity grid. In case your area has a blackout, you cannot generate electricity for safety reasons.

When the solar system stops operating, you will start consuming electricity directly from the public grid.

The off-grid system, on the other hand, is not connected to any electricity grid. For this reason, it requires a battery to aid with the storage. This system is becoming outdated with time; however, it plays an essential role in ensuring cells have enough energy even during winter.

The off-grid solar panels cost $2.96 per watt while the on the grid is much cheaper.

Five hours of light in NZ are enough to charge the batteries or ensure that the on grid solar power operates effectively. These solar panels play an important role in saving thousands, which could otherwise be used for electricity bills.

Bottom Line

Sunlight can easily be converted into electricity using solar panels. They are designed in different ways to help meet your needs. These NZ solar power systems offer potential energy savings for you and are available at low prices.

 

Types Of Solar Panels

So you have your heart set on solar energy, but what kind of solar is best for you? When you first start investigating Solar and how it works and what you need for an effective system you will very quickly read about the various types of solar panels available. How can you make a good decision? Below you can find some top benefits and information regarding the four most popular types of solar panels available in the New Zealand market:

PV (Photovoltaic) Solar Panels

  • PV solar panels generate no harmful greenhouse gas emissions therefore solar PV panels are environmentally friendly.
  • PV solar panels do not interfere with your lifestyle and can be installed easily on rooftops or on the ground.
  • PV solar panels have very low, almost negligible, operating and maintenance costs compared to other renewable energy systems
  • PV solar panels have far less breakages or require less maintenance than other renewable energy systems due to have minimal or no mechanically moving parts.
  • PV solar panels produce no noise and so they are a perfect solution for suburban areas.

Solar PV electricity will allow you to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your annual electricity bills. You will minimise the impact of ever increasing energy costs and generate a tax free income for at least the next 20 years.

What is more, Solar PV systems are environmentally friendly as they draw on sunlight to produce zero carbon electricity. Solar PV electricity systems don’t release any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) or other pollutants and the majority of Solar PV panels are made using silicon which comes from sand – one of the earths’ most plentiful natural resources.

Once installed, a typical PV system will produce around 50% of the electricity your household will use in a year. This means your energy costs will be greatly reduced.

Another reason to install PV Solar panels is if you are attracted to reducing your carbon footprint and would like to become carbon, you can choose to store excess electricity in batteries for use when you need it.

Evacuated Tube

  • Evacuated tube Solar panels are a great option if your climate is subject to freezing conditions. They contain no water are not affected by -0c temperatures.
  • Evacuated tube Solar panels have a curved tube shape. This allows thermal absorption from a greater range of sun angles. This also means that they absorb sunlight for a greater portion of the day
  • Evacuated tube Solar panels have a high heat retention ability. This means that during overcast days and through the night the heat collected through high sun hours can be used.
  • Evacuated tube Solar panels have their tubes fitted independently into the header pipe. This means that repairs and replacements can be made to individual tubes without having to decommission the entire system
  • Evacuated tube Solar panels are ideal for high temperature applications such as boiling water and steam production and because they have a large bore header-pipe, they are reliable if you are in a hard water (high calcium hardness) area.

Compared to some of the other solar panels available in the market, evacuated tubes have only been available since the 1970’s. Like the other types of Solar panels, there are more than one variety of evacuated tubes, however the most commonly used type employs the use of a heat pipe surrounded by a glass tube that is under a vacuum. The tubes consist of two walls of glass. In between the two walls, all the air is removed, resulting in a vacuum. This vacuum is a way of insulating and it gives the evacuated tubes a much better heat retention than just air space.

The heat pipe in the middle of the glass tubes is also pressurized. This allows the liquid inside, usually water, to boil very rapidly at a very low temperature (usually between 23C and 26C). As the water boils, the heat that is generated is carried to the top of the collector, where the heat is then collected by water or heat transfer liquid that flows around the top of the heat pipe, and then transferred to a storage tank or elsewhere in the system.

Flat Plate

  • Flat Plate Solar panels have a greater surface area than other Solar panels and so capture sunlight better.
  • Flat Plate Solar panels are more efficient in transferring heat than other Solar panel options.
  • Flat Plate Solar panels although work most efficiently in high temperatures are also effective in sub-zero temperatures
  • Flat Plate Solar panels are known for their durability and, like Evacuated Tube panels, if a tube should be broken, it can be easily and cheaply replaced.
  • Flat Pate Solar panels provide excellent performance in overcast conditions

Flat Plate Solar panels have been in production since the early 1900s. As one of the earliest forms of solar energy producers they are now time-tested, shown to be reliable, and currently dominate the market.

The principal component of a Flat Plate Solar panel is the absorber plate, which consists of an assembly of a copper sheet and copper tubing.

The top surface of the absorber plate is coated with either a dark coloured material or with a selective absorbent coating that is designed to extract as much as 15% more heat for the same active area.  The solar radiation that strikes this surface is converted to thermal energy that’s used to heat the fluid flowing through the tubes.

 Flat Plate Solar panels are a popular choice for homes that house large families or in situations where hot water demand is excessive. Flat Plate Solar panels are often installed in commercial premises like laundromats, car washes, and restaurants.

Poly Ethylene

  • PolyEthylene Panels are single polymer panels that are leak resistant due to having the riser tubes connected to the manifold header in a unique injection process.
  • PolyEthylene Panels are extremely stable mechanically due to having an individual tube design.
  • PolyEthylene Panels have spacer bars to prevent warping over time, this increases the lifespan of your panels.
  • PolyEthylene Panels are able to be installed over any type of roof due to the easy modular structure and easy connection ability between panels.
  • PolyEthylene Panels have no sharp edges or angles and all parts are rounded.

Solar panels that are made of polyethylene (a type of plastic) are the most robust on the market. Because they are super strong, you are not stuck with placing them only on your roof space. They can be positioned anywhere – horizontally or vertically.

Polyethylene as a material is relatively cheap to buy and easy to work with. When it is used in solar panelling, this means that adding more piping is inexpensive. Because of the flexibility of use, it means that if you have Polyethylene solar panels and you need to change or modify the size of panelling it is easy to modify the panels to any size or length required.

To make a solar panel, polyethylene pipes are enclosed in an anodized aluminium box and protected with a polycarbonate cover. Polycarbonate is hail resistant so your solar panels do not get affected by bad winter weather.