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.