What are the 4 Types of Solar Systems?

If you’ve already begun shopping the different types of solar panels, you’ve probably noticed that they don’t all look exactly alike. But it’s not just a cosmetic difference — solar panels don’t all perform the same way. Each of them have different capabilities, energy-efficiency levels, and total installation costs. The 4 most popular types of solar panels you can have installed include:

  • Solar Shingles
  • Polycrystalline Solar Panels
  • Monocrystalline Solar Panels
  • Thin Film Solar Panels

1. Solar Roof Shingles

The newest solar panel option is the growing trend of installing solar roof shingles. They are the modern answer to having a beautiful roof that can mimic architectural asphalt shingle roofs. But they offer he added benefit equipping your home with a solar energy system.

Solar shingles are as durable as regular asphalt shingles and protect your roof and home just as effectively. For each solar shingle installed, they can produce anywhere from 13 to 67 watts of solar energy. They can also withstand just about any weather elements. But keep in mind that the cost to install solar shingles will be more than installing standard asphalt shingles.

2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Solar panels are made up of crystalline cells. A typical home rooftop solar panel contains up to 40 solar cells. There are two main types of solar panel cells: polycrystalline and monocrystalline. It’s important to understand the difference between the two, because your choice will determine cost and amount of roof space your solar installation requires.

3. Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panel cells tend to achieve higher levels of efficiency because they are made of more pure silicon. You will notice a uniformity in their coloring. Their cylindrical shape also helps these cells achieve higher efficiency. When choosing between a monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panel system, it will be important to find your solar sun number score. This will allow you to find out how much potential your system will have with your location and the amount of sunlight it receives.

4. Thin Film Solar Panels

You may have heard of thin-film types of solar panels. They are a newer type of solar panel and are less frequently used for homes. But they are growing in popularity.

The thin-film panel gets its name from how it’s produced. Layers of semiconductor materials (silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide) are rolled out as a film on a surface.

Thin-film solar panels tend to be less efficient than crystalline solar panels, and it requires a lot of roof space. They also tend to degrade more quickly, so companies may offer shorter warranties to homeowners.

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