Each solar panel serves to convert solar radiation into electricity. However, they each have different price tags and characteristics that must be taken into account. Fortunately, to help make your selection easier, here are some tips on what you need to know about choosing solar electricity panels:
There are four main types of solar panels to consider that each have their pros and cons:
1. Thin film
Amorphous silicon (aka “thin film”) is the cheapest and least efficient solar panel on the market. The panel is made by covering glass, metal, or plastic with a thin layer of silicon. With their flexibility, thin film panels can be bent without breaking. Examples of items that use such a solar panel include solar-powered watches and calculators.
Thin film solar panels are typically used in hotter countries given that they are suitable for high temperatures and are cheap enough to cover large areas. However, given that the technology requires a large surface of area to begin with, it may not be the best choice. In fact, you may be required to use nearly twice as many solar panels than any other method to achieve decent efficiency. Thin film solar panels also degrade more quickly over time than other panel types.
Despite their inexpensive price tag, thin film solar panels are not yet popular in the UK.
Polycrystalline solar panels consist of a number of small silicon crystals that are typically cut into slices known as “wafers.” Polycrystalline solar panels are widely available in the UK due to the moderate price tag and how effective it is. However, when compared to monocrystalline and premium panels, polycrystalline panels still don’t outperform them in terms of efficiency.
Monocrystalline panels are made up of a single, and very pure, silicon crystal, and the system is more efficient than the previous two types since the technology is considered to be more “pure.” The panels are also popular because of how durable they are and with how long the technology has been around. However, monocrystalline solar electricity panels are more expensive than both of the precious types due to the process used to make them.
Premium solar panels refer to HIT (Heterojunction Incorporating Thin film) or hybrid technology. Premium panels incorporate monocrystalline materials covered with a thin film layer. Given the combination, premium solar panels are often considered to be the most efficient (but also expensive) option.
When installing solar panels to make your home more efficient, it’s important that you choose the right installer to work with. Unfortunately, if you don’t take the time to find a reputable and experienced installer to work with, your system may not perform at its best. Fortunately, to help find the right installer to install your preferred solar electricity system, here are just a few points to remember:
1. Ask what the benefits for different systems are.
When deciding between different solar panel systems, you can make an informed decision by asking about your options. If you are working with a knowledgeable source, you should be able to easily learn what system will best fit your financial and energy needs.
2. Ask about the size of a system.
As it was pointed out earlier, some solar panel systems may require more surface area than others to be efficient. By asking and learning about size requirements, you’ll be able to discover what will work best for your home and budget. However, just remember to consider how strong your roof is when selecting solar panels as well since they are quite heavy.
3. Compare quotes.
Before you choose any installer to work with, it’s crucial that you compare as many installers as possible to get the best products and rates. Fortunately, you can find many Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) approved solar panel installers online through the MCS website. If you intend to make use of Feed-in Tariffs, you absolutely must work with MCS accredited installers and products.
When improving your home to save money and protect the environment, carefully weighing the pros and cons of different solar electricity systems is a must. With the right product and installer, you can become more independent with ease.
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