Knowing the Different Types of Solar Panel – A Quick Guide

With the increasing popularity of solar power in New Zealand, it becomes more important to know a
thing or two about it. For starters, it would be nice to learn the solar energy fundamentals, such as how you can harness the sun’s energy and convert it into a usable form for your household. Nowadays, there are three types of technologies used to capture solar energy. Among the three, the use of solar panels remains the most widely used option.
Essentially, you can think of a solar panel as an energy harvester of some sort. It has solar modules comprised of solar cells that can catch sunlight then shortly, convert it into usable power. Now as the solar cells in each solar module get energized, electrons flow, producing an electric current.


Types of Solar Panels and their Uses

Over the years, various types of solar panels have been made available to the public – each featuring varying pros and cons. If you’re planning to switch to solar power in the near future, knowing the differences between the solar panel types can help you decide the best option to install in your house or commercial space.

Generally, we classify solar panels into three, namely thin film, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline. Out of the three, the monocrystalline type is the top choice of many consumers. Let’s get to know a bit more about these three main solar panel types below:

  1. Monocrystalline

As the name suggests, monocrystalline solar panels comprise one pure silicon crystal. It’s the oldest type of panel, and it’s widely recognized for its efficiency in converting solar power into electricity. The main advantages of using this type of panel are its high energy yield, durability, and eco-friendly material. However, if you choose to use this type of panel, you will need to shell out a bit more money compare when using the other two options.

  1. Polycrystalline

Polycrystalline panels feature a mosaic of silicone crystals. They’re molted into one and shaped using a cast. They make the perfect option especially if you’re looking for a budget-friendly setup. Many residential properties make use of a polycrystalline panel to power their homes. The only setback of this option is its low energy efficiency. In fact, compared to a monocrystalline panel which has an energy efficiency of about 22 percent, this type only has around 15 to 17 percent.

  1. Thin Film

Unlike the two options discussed above, the thin-film type doesn’t come with a silicone cell outline. This is why, it’s flexible and ultra-lightweight, making it quite convenient to install on virtually any surface. This type also doesn’t cost a lot of money. However, it’s crucial to note that they’re quite short-lived and less efficient compared to monocrystalline and polycrystalline.

Choosing the right type of solar panel – Practical Tips

Now that you know a bit more about the key types of solar panels, let’s deep dive into how you can select the best option for your property. What factors should you consider? Should you choose a foreign or a local brand? What about the tier system?

When shopping for a solar panel for your property, here are the critical things you need to look into:

  • The energy efficiency – Select one that best suits your household or property’s energy demands. Don’t forget to take into consideration the roofing space available when you look into the efficiency of the panels.
  • The cost – Solar panels can be quite an investment especially if you’re serious about transitioning to a cleaner and greener form of the power source. Hence, it’s a good practice to think about the overall costs of the options available to you.
  • Product quality and warranty – Needless to say, you should spend your budget on a product that can last long and has at least a 10-year product warranty. And, make sure that the product warranty doesn’t tie you to a costly service contract.
  • Brand and make of the panels – Sometimes, it pays to note the brand and make of the product you will purchase. At times, there are brands that are made with better materials than the rest. Some are also more cost-effective compare to other options.
  • Tier system – The tier refers to the ranking of the manufacturers. It’s a system designed by Pike Research to determine how well a manufacturer controls the materials used. Tier 1 installers are at the highest level and they have their own R&D team. Their products are also well-known for the quality and designs and have at least 5-years of experience and background in the industry. To know the tier system of your chosen product, you can inquire from your chosen solar panel supplier or installer.

Solar power continues to grow more and more popular in New Zealand. If you wish to install a solar power system on your property, we at eSolar can help you find the right choice. Get in touch with us today for more information about a solar panel installation!