How to Best Understand Solar Panel Specifications

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You’re ready to install home solar panels. Or maybe, you’d like to upgrade to better quality panels on the market now. Whatever your reasons, it can be perplexing to understand solar panel technology. Understanding home solar panel technical jargon can be a mix of numbers, acronyms, ratings, electrical performance, and industry standards. Before or after you’ve spoken with your local professional installer, here are some basics to understand what you’re buying.

A solar or photovoltaic cell (PVC) is a thin silicon wafer that converts solar energy into electric energy by a physical and chemical process (photovoltaic effect).

A solar panel usually has 60, 72 or 96 solar cells wired together. Residential panels are generally 65 inches by 39 inches. Dimensions of a solar panel are more important than the number of solar cells.

Solar Panel Types

There are three types of solar panels currently available for the home market. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels are widely used for home installations. Thin film modules are the third type.

Monocrystalline solar panels use silicon for solar cells cut from a single, unbroken ingot of silicon. The color of these cells is a uniform black color, preferred by many homeowners. These silicon cells are high in purity and have a higher level of manufacturing complexity. Most panels contain 60 cells. The advantages of monocrystalline silicon cells are higher performance in low light, higher efficiency levels, and less impact from high temperatures. Solar panel efficiencies range from 17% to 22%. The main disadvantage is monocrystalline silicon cells are more costly.

Polycrystalline solar cells are cut from a block of silicon manufactured with smaller grains of silicon. These cells have a blue tinge and a flakey appearance. The advantages of polycrystalline solar cells are a wider range of panel choices and lower costs. The disadvantages of polycrystalline solar cells are lower performance levels in high temperatures and low light, a blue iridescent color, and lower efficiency levels.

Film solar panels are the next generation in solar panel technology. These solar panels are built from lightweight, flexible, and highly adaptable materials. These cells are almost 350 times smaller than monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells. The advantages of thin film solar panels are high resistance to weather and environmental damage (hail, rocks) and higher efficiency in low light conditions.

When you’re ready to save money by installing a new solar panel system or upgrade your current system, call the local installation experts at Cool Blew Solar today at 623-234-2836.