Solar panels: Things you should know about
Almost 90% of the World’s photovoltaics in solar panels today are based on some variation of silicon. The silicon used in them takes many forms with the main difference in the purity of the silicon.
Here are some quick digestible facts about solar panels you commonly see in the market here on our sunny little island.
We’ll be touching mainly on the commonly seen Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Panels (cells), Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Panels (cells) & BIPVs.
Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Panels (cells)
Monocrystalline, also called single crystalline silicon solar cells, are easily recognizable… because they’re black in color.
The mono solar cells are made out of cylindrical silicon ingots. The four sides are cut out of the ingots to make silicon wafers giving them their characteristic rounded edge look.
A good way to separate mono and polycrystalline solar panels is that polycrystalline solar cells look perfectly rectangular with no rounded edges.
- Highest efficiency rates (15-20%)
- Space-efficient. More POWER per sqm.
- They live the longest! Usually has a 25-year warranty
- Perform better than polycrystalline at low-light conditions
- More expensive option
- Wastage during manufacture
Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Panels (cells)
Polycrystalline are also known as multi-crystalline solar cells. Unlike monocrystalline solar cells, the melted silicon is poured into a square mould, cooled and then sliced into square wafers. That is the reason they all look so SQUARE!
These polycrystalline cells are also predominantly all blue with tonal speckles.
Half cell polycrystalline cells have sharp angled edges too.
- IT IS cheaper.
- There is no silicon waste.
- Lower efficiency due to low silicon purity.
- Lesser power per sqm which means more space needed for similar power rating
Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) can be facades, roofs, windows, walls, canopies and many other things that is combined or built in with photovoltaic cells. Both mono and poly crystalline cells are used in them with wide ranges of cuts and sizes. Strips, squares, translucence and full on opaque; you name it, it has been done.
Architectural aesthetics may call for seamlessly integrated solar cells/panels with the building or home to maintain a certain panache of the facade.
- Requires architectural expertise and knowledge
- Usually more pricey than normal installations depending on type of integration (full BIPV roof, BIPV glass walls, etc)
Ready to make the switch to solar energy? Drop us your details and our Solar Consultants will help you on that journey . Do drop us an email or contact us if you have enquiries.