Solar Energy

Types of Solar Panels

Mainly, the solar panels can be divided into 3 categories:

  • Monocrystalline solar panels
  • Polycrystalline solar panels
  • Thin-Film solar panels

Each solar panel has different qualities and efficiencies.

Monocrystalline is considered to be highly efficient, Polycrystalline as moderately efficient, and Thin-Film as least efficient. But each has its own pros and cons.


Let’s understand each of them:

21% max efficiency16% max efficiency12% max efficiency
Black coloredBlue coloredBlack or Blue colored
-0.3%/C to -0.5%/C Temperature Coefficient-0.3%/C to -0.5%/C Temperature Coefficient-0.2%/C Temperature Coefficient
Made from Single crystal of SiliconMade from Multiple crystals of SiliconMade from Amorphous Silicon
25-30 years of life span20-25 years of life span15-20 years of life span
Best performance at standard temperatureBest performance at moderately high temperatureBest performance at high temperature
Requires least area for a given powerRequires less area for a given powerRequire large area for a given power
Performance decreases in low-sunlight conditionsPerformance decreases in low-sunlight conditionsPerformance is less affected by low-sunlight conditions
Large amount of Silicon means high embodied energyLarge amount Silicon means high embodied energySmall amount Silicon means low embodied energy

1. Monocrystalline solar panel

Monocrystalline solar panels have cells cut from a single silicon crystal. Since each cell is made from a single piece of Silicon, these are considered the purest form of solar panels.

And, since they are in the purest form, they are more likely to produce the rated output in the less ideal conditions (low-sunlight).

However, they are more costly to have.


2. Polycrystalline solar panel

Polycrystalline solar panels are made from multiple pieces of Silicon blended together. To create a solar cell, similar bits of pieces of Silicons are molded together.

This process of making solar cell doesn’t create any wasteful material because all pieces of Silicon is used for making the next cells.

Because of the imperfect and uneven surfaces, these solar panels are slightly less efficient than Mono panels.

However they are cheaper than the Monocrystalline panels.

3. Thin-film solar panel

Thin-film solar panels are created by depositing a thin layer of conductive material onto a backing plate made of glass or plastic.

However, these are not used in domestic solar installation. This type of solar panel is mainly used in large-scale utility projects and some specialty applications.

The majority of solar panels installed today are either Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline type.

Source: 123

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