Types of Sunpower solar panels￼
There are numerous advantages to installing solar panels on your home. When considering solar panel installation, you typically consider factors such as cost, aesthetics, and energy efficiency. While these are all significant factors, there is one in solar panels that affects all three: the type of Sunpower solar panels you choose. The types of solar panels available today will affect the cost of installation and manufacturing, as well as the appearance of the panels on your roof. It is one of the most critical factors to consider when installing solar panels.
There are three distinct types of Sunpower solar panels. The best solar panels for you will depend on your unique situation and the purpose for which you intend to use them. We’ll discuss the different types of solar panels, the benefits and drawbacks of each, and how to choose the best type of solar panel for you in this guide.
Types of Sunpower solar panels
Monocrystalline Sunpower solar panel
Monocrystalline Sunpower solar panels are the most frequently installed type of solar panel on rooftops today. Monocrystalline silicon solar cells are manufactured using a process known as the Czochralski method, which involves submerging a silicon seed crystal in a molten vat of pure silicon at a high temperature. This process produces a single silicon crystal, referred to as an ingot, which is then sliced into thin silicon wafers for use in solar modules.
Monocrystalline Sunpower solar panels have an efficiency rating of between 17% and 22%, earning them the title of most efficient solar panel type. Monocrystalline panels’ higher efficiency rating makes them ideal for homes with limited roof space, as they require fewer panels to generate the required electricity.
Monocrystalline panels not only have the highest efficiency ratings but also typically the highest power capacity ratings. The majority of monocrystalline panels available today have a power output rating of at least 320 watts but can reach up to 375 watts or more!
Polycrystalline Sunpower solar panel
Polycrystalline panels, commonly referred to as ‘multi-crystalline panels’, are popular among homeowners wishing to install solar panels on a budget. Similar to monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels are composed of silicon solar cells. However, the cooling process is different, which causes several crystals to form, as opposed to one. Polycrystalline panels used on residential dwellings usually comprise 60 solar cells.
The Polycrystalline Sunpower solar panel efficiency ratings will normally range from 15 percent to 17 percent. The lower efficiency rates are due to how electrons travel through the solar cell. Because polycrystalline cells comprise numerous silicon cells, the electrons cannot move as quickly and as a result, decrease the efficiency of the panel. The lower efficiency of polycrystalline panels also implies they tend to have a lower power output than monocrystalline panels, usually ranging between 240 watts and 300 watts. Some polycrystalline panels have power outputs above 300 watts.
Thin-film Sunpower solar panel
Due to their lower efficiency ratings, thin-film solar cells are typically used in large-scale utility and industrial solar installations.
Sunpower solar panels with thin-film technology are created by depositing a thin layer of photovoltaic material onto a solid surface, such as glass. Amorphous silicon (a-Si), copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), and cadmium telluride are just a few of these photovoltaic materials (CdTe). Each of these materials produces a unique ‘type’ of solar panel, but they all fall under the umbrella of thin-film solar cells.
Sunpower solar panels made of thin-film material have an incredibly low-efficiency rating. Thin-film efficiencies were in the single digits only a few years ago. Although researchers recently achieved 23.4 percent efficiency with thin-film cell prototypes, commercially available thin-film panels typically have an efficiency of 10–13%. To meet your energy requirements, you would need to install more thin-film panels over a larger area than crystalline silicon solar panels.
The best type of solar panels depends on the purpose of the panels and where they’ll be installed. Monocrystalline vs. thin-film panels are good fits for homes and other similar buildings. Thin-film solar panels are perfect for commercial buildings that can’t handle the additional weight of traditional panels because they are lower in efficiency.