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The Common Types of Solar Panels: A Guide for Homeowners

seoexpert August 23, 2021

Did you know that solar panels in the U.S. offset more than 100 million metric tons of CO2 every year? The nation now produces enough solar power to meet the needs of 18.6 million homes. 

If you’re thinking about buying solar panels, you’ll have plenty of choices, but what’s the best option for your home? We’re here to help. Let’s look at the different types of solar panels so that you can make an informed decision. 

Monocrystalline Solar Panels 

These are probably the most common solar panels. They consist of pure silicon crystal, which gives them their black color. These are often considered the best solar panels because they have the highest efficiency rating, often reaching 20%. They also come in higher wattage ratings, so they can produce more power than the other two types we’ll discuss. 

Of course, this comes with a high price tag. Monocrystalline panels are the most expensive, but long term, homeowners will save money due to their higher efficiency and longer life span. The good news is that even though these panels give you more power, they’re the same size as the next most popular panels, polycrystalline. 

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Both polycrystalline and monocrystalline consist of cells made with silicon wafers. The difference is in the name. Monocrystalline cells come from a single silicon crystal, while polycrystalline cells use fragments of silicon crystals. Companies melt those fragments together in a mold and then cut them into wafers. 

This might not seem like a big difference, but it has a noticeable impact on the efficiency rating of polycrystalline panels. Their ratings run between 15-17% and come in lower wattages. Since they’re the same size as monocrystalline panels, you’ll need more of these panels to produce the same amount of power. 

To offset this, these panels cost a little less than monocrystalline panels. If you have less money to spend up-front, these aren’t a bad option, but if you have the extra cash, you’ll save more money in the long run by going with monocrystalline panels. 

Thin-film solar panels

Unlike the previous two options, these panels consist of a variety of metals, although cadmium telluride is the most common. They can also consist of amorphous silicon or copper indium gallium selenide. Many people prefer these panels even though they have the lowest efficiency rate (around 11%) because of their low profile. They’re thinner than the other types, making them more portable and flexible. 

If you’re going to move in the next few years, these panels are probably your best bet. The biggest issue with these types of panels is that you’ll need more of them to power your home, so even though they’re thinner, they could end up taking up more space. 

Talking to a professional company, like This is your best bet when deciding which of these solar panel options is best. They can walk you through the pros and cons of each, give you price estimates, and tell you more about the benefits of solar panels. 

Deciding Between These Types of Solar Panels Comes Down to Personal Preference

The most important factor when deciding between these types of solar panels is what you’re most comfortable with. What fits your budget and gives you the most bang for your buck? Which of these options add value to your home and life? 

If you’re looking for more information on ways to help the environment and save money on utilities, bookmark our page and check back often for new articles! 

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