What are the different types of solar panels?

Understanding the different types of solar panels is essential for making informed decisions about harnessing solar energy for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes. From traditional monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels to more recent innovations like thin-film and bifacial panels, this article will shed light on the diverse array of options available, highlighting their strengths and best-fit scenarios.

In the ever-evolving landscape of renewable energy, solar power has emerged as a prominent player in the quest for a sustainable and environmentally friendly future. Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, are at the heart of this energy revolution, converting sunlight into electricity.

The different types of solar panels

There are three types of solar panels primarily available in the market: monocrystalline, polycrystalline (also known as multi-crystalline), and thin-film. These solar panels vary in appearance, performance, costs, and how they’re made. Depending on the type of photovoltaic installation, one option may be more suitable than the others. Different considerations must be taken into account, including its cost, materials, appearance and efficiency.

  • Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single crystal of silicon, which gives them a higher efficiency than polycrystalline panels. However, they are also more expensive. This type of solar panels are indicated for extreme weather conditions, as they are more durable have a long lifespan. Monocrystalline panels are also the type with the highest efficiency, with 15-20% efficiency at optimal conditions.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels are made from multiple crystals of silicon, which makes them less expensive than monocrystalline panels. However, they are also less efficient. These panels can be used in a variety of applications, including rooftops and solar parking lots, also guaranteeing durability and reliability.
  • Thin-film solar panels are made from a thin layer of semiconductor material, such as amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). They are the least expensive type of solar panel, but they are also the least efficient and with a shorter lifespan.
types of solar panels

Different types of solar panels serve different needs and purposes. Given that sunlight can be used differently whether on Earth or in space points to the fact that location, itself, is a significant factor when it comes to choosing one of the types of solar panels over another.

Distinguishing between different types of solar panels often means differentiating between single-junctions and multi-junctions solar panels—or first, second, or third generations. Single-junction and multi-junctions differ in the number of layers on the solar panel that will observe the sunlight, whereas the classification by generation focusses on the materials and efficiency of the different types of solar panels.

Also read what solar panels are made of.

Solar energy is the focus of Universal Kraft. Our experience developing and constructing photovoltaic solar systems allows us to assess opportunities and make decisions quickly, providing cost effective solutions for both our own developments, as well as for our partnerships. 

We combine different solar energy technologies, in a way to find the best solutions to each area, in land or on water. We develop installations for local energy production, minimizing grid constraints with decentralized solutions.

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