There are several types of solar panels. The major types are:
– Solar shingles
– Roll out panel
– Mono Crystalline
– Poly or Multi Crystalline
Most agree that crystalline panels are most efficient but still some debate on which panel, mono or poly, are more efficient. The difference between the two is so negligible that either one is an excellent choice.
Thin film companies had a benefit in the market place when there was a shortage on the supply of silicon wafers for silicon solar panels. Since then, millions of square feet of manufacturing capacity have been added around the world increasing substantially the amount of silicon wafers. Hemlock Semi-Conductor in Hemlock, Michigan is one that has doubled in capacity over the last several years. This has caused the price of silicon panels to plunge. Thin film companies like Solyndra and Uni-Solar could not decrease their prices as fast so many of them have gone out of business as a result.
Panel Efficiency vs. Panel Energy Production
Click here for a detailed study – Solar Panel Efficiency vs. Energy Brief recap of study – Solar panel manufactures that sell their solar panels as more efficient, charge a large premium for their panels. They achieve the majority, if not all, of their increased efficiency by a design that decreases their output! Efficiency is measured by the output per square foot of the panel in controlled laboratory flash tests. Their solar panels are smaller because they do not have a “dirt ring” around their panels. SolarWorld has a 1” dirt ring around their panels. This 1” ring allows the solar cells to be free from shading caused by the frame and the hold-down hardware during early day and late day sunlight. This ring also allows the grime that accumulates to accumulate in this ring and not on the solar cell. Solar panels are a group of individual solar cells (typically 60 or 72) wired together in series. A series wired circuit is substantially affected by shading. Remember the old Christmas lights, where when one bulb went out it caused all the rest of the lights down circuit to also go out? Although this 1” ring may not seem like much, it will substantially increase the panels output. However, the increase in the size of the panel is not enough to decrease the amount of panels on your home. Not having the dirt ring is enough to decrease the results of the controlled laboratory flash test output per square foot. SolarWorld has been around since 1975, they have panels they manufactured thirty-seven years ago that are still in the field producing within factory specifications!
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MI 48382 Mark Hagerty - 248-520-2474