There are three main types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Here is a brief overview of each one:
Monocrystalline solar panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single large crystal of silicon. They are the most efficient and expensive type of solar panel. They are also the most durable, with an expected lifespan of 20-25 years.
Most solar panels installed in US homes are this type and they are flat, dark in color with rounded edges.
They are made from between 60 and 72 pure silicon solar cells and they have high rates of efficiency of 15- 20%. Most brands such as Renogy, Top Solar, and Apollo use monocrystalline solar cells.
They are relatively more expensive than other types of solar panels, but they generate more electricity per square foot than any other type.
Polycrystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline solar panels are made from multiple small crystals of silicon. They are less efficient than monocrystalline solar cells, but they are also less expensive to manufacture. They have an expected lifespan
Polycrystalline solar panels are made from multiple small crystals of silicon. They are less efficient than monocrystalline panels, but also less expensive. They have an expected lifespan of 15-20 years. Unlike monocrystalline panels which are black, polycrystalline panels have a blue hue which is caused by the light refracting off the silicon pieces in the cell differently than it does on a pure monocrystalline silicon wafer, thus causing a different spectral absorption rate.
Suniva is made up of polycrystalline silicon with an efficiency of 14.5%. They have an efficiency range of 15-17% efficiency.
Amorphous solar panels
Amorphous solar panels are made from a non-crystalline material and are the least efficient type
They are recognizable by their multi-sided shape and blue/purple color.
They are made from between 36 and 44 solar cells and have 15-17% efficiency.
Amorphous solar panels are made from silicon that has not been crystallized. They are the least efficient type of solar panel, but they are also the cheapest. They have an expected lifespan of 10-15 years.
They are often used in small solar applications, such as calculators or solar-powered garden lights. They are made from between 12 and 18 solar cells.
Thin-film solar panels
Thin-film solar panels are a type of amorphous solar panel. They are made from a very thin layer of silicon, just a few micrometers thick. Because they are so thin, they are less durable than other types of solar panels and have a shorter expected lifespan of 7-10 years.
They are also less efficient, with conversion rates between 3 and 8%.
They are the most flexible type of solar panel and can be bent or curved to fit onto irregular surfaces. They are often used on RV roofs or in marine applications.
Q: What is the most efficient type of solar panel?
A: Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient type of solar panel, followed by polycrystalline and amorphous panels.
Q: What is the most expensive type of solar panel?
A: Monocrystalline solar panels are the most expensive type of solar panel, followed by polycrystalline and amorphous panels.
Q: What is the lifespan of a solar panel?
A: Solar panels have an expected lifespan of 20-25 years for monocrystalline panels, 15-20 years for polycrystalline panels, and 10-15 years for amorphous panels
My name is Alex Landry and I am an experienced solar PV engineer and an editor here at Tru Solar Score. I am an accomplished solar PV expert with over 12 years of installing off-grid solar systems in various states in the US. Between 2015 and 2019, I led a small team of energy audit analysts for a company based out of Oregon. I currently run this site full-time and when I am not testing a new solar PV product in the market, I am offering customized consulting on solar systems installations. You can reach me directly using firstname.lastname@example.org