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Types of Photovoltaic Panels

Solar panels sometimes referred to as photovoltaic (PV) modules, have developed significantly since they first emerged. Efficiency, durability, and cost-effectiveness have all improved because of these advances in technology evolution. In this section, we’ll examine the different types of solar PV panel technologies in-depth and give you an understanding of their unique features and uses. 

Monocrystalline Silicon (Mono-Si) 

One of the most well-known and often-used solar technologies is monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV)  technology. They are renowned for their great efficiency, which normally ranges from 15% to 22%.  

Mono-Si cells have a consistent look and a lengthy lifespan since they are manufactured from a single crystal structure. They work effectively for locations with constrained areas and high energy demands, such as rooftops for homes. 

Key Features: 

– High Efficiency 

– Uniform Appearance 

– Long Lifespan 

Polycrystalline Silicon (Poly-Si) 

Solar photovoltaic (PV) modules made of polycrystalline silicon are renowned for being affordable. They are constructed from a variety of crystal shapes, which are less effective than monocrystalline cells yet provide excellent performance at a reduced price. Efficiency ratings for polycrystalline panels are generally in the 13– 16% range, which is lower. It indicates that out of the whole amount of sunlight hitting the solar panel, 16% is turned into power rest is wasted. Blue coloration makes Poly-Si panels easy to spot. They are frequently employed in applications for homes and businesses where price is a major factor. 

Key Features: 

– Cost-Effective 

– Slightly Lower Efficiency than Mono-Si 

– Blue Appearance

Thin-Film 

Amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) are a few of the materials used in thin-film PV modules. Due to their flexibility and lightweight, these modules are well suited for applications where conventional rigid panels are impractical. Thin-film panels often perform better in a variety of applications, including building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and portable solar chargers. The efficiency is generally lower than Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Solar Panels. The Thin-Film system’s efficiency varies based on the kind of PV material used in the cells, but in general, they have efficiencies between 7% and 18%. 

Key Features: 

– Lightweight 

– Lower Efficiency 

– Versatile Applications 

Bifacial Modules 

Bifacial PV modules can collect sunlight from both the front and back surfaces because they have cells on both sides. The reflected sunlight from the ground or other adjacent surfaces can be used by these modules to provide extra electricity. They offer flexibility in installation because they may be incorporated into buildings, slanted, or set on the ground. Although bifacial modules are more expensive up front, they may be worth the investment in open areas with reflecting surfaces due to their better efficiency. According to research, bifacial systems can improve energy efficiency over standard solar panel systems by 11%. In addition, the efficiency of bifacial solar cells can reach 27% when used in conjunction with a solar tracking system that continually tilts solar panels toward the sun. 

Key Features: 

– Efficiency Boost from Reflective Surfaces 

– Versatile Installation 

– Higher Upfront Cost 

PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) Technology 

PERC technology has become more and more common because it can improve the efficiency of silicon cells made of monocrystalline and polycrystalline materials. With the addition of a passivation layer at the cell’s back,  performance is increased while electron recombination is decreased. In a variety of applications, including residential and commercial installations, PERC modules are the go-to solution because of their improved low 

light performance and higher efficiency. PERC solar cells are modified versions of standard solar cells that can produce 6–12% more energy than standard solar panels6. PERC cells have a maximum efficiency of approximately 23%, compared to standard monocrystalline silicon cells’ maximum efficiency of 21%7

Key Features: 

– Improved Efficiency 

– Enhanced Low-Light Performance 

– Back-Surface Field Design 

Heterojunction (HJT) Technology 

Amorphous and crystalline silicon layers and cells are combined in heterojunction technology. Higher efficiency often greater than 22% is a result of this. Higher efficiency – The majority of HJT panels now available have efficiencies ranging from 19.9% to 21.7% 9. The low-temperature coefficient of HJT modules, which allows them to function effectively even in hot conditions, is widely recognized. They work well in systems where maximum energy output is important, such as utility-scale solar farms. 

Key Features: 

– High Efficiency 

– Low Temperature Coefficient 

– Increased Energy Yield 

Conclusion 

There are many distinct PV module technologies available, providing a variety of solutions to meet various energy needs, installation considerations, and financial restrictions. The choice of technology is influenced by a number of variables, such as efficiency objectives, space constraints, financial constraints, and environmental circumstances. We may anticipate more improvements and developments in PV module technologies to spur the adoption of clean and sustainable energy solutions as solar technology continues to advance. 

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