Roof Solar Panels - 3 Types to Consider

The main function of roof solar panels is to convert the sun's energy into usable electrical power for your home or office. These panels or modules are mounted on a steel frame and positioned on the top of your roof. Power produced by solar modules or panels is converted from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) through the use of an inverter. AC current is the usable electrical power that we need to bring power to our homes and businesses.

There are several kinds of roof solar panels on the market. They vary in efficiency, price and size. With more efficient roof solar panels, it is possible to generate the same amount of power with fewer panels than less efficient panels, taking up less space and possibly lowering costs.

All solar modules or panels are built from solar cells. There are a number of ways to make solar cells and each has its own benefits. There are three types of cells that make roof solar panels.

1. Monocrystalline - These are solar cells that are created from a single crystal. These cells are sliced from a silicon boule that is grown from a single crystal, or a crystal that has grown in one direction. These types of roof solar panels are more efficient in their ability to absorb the energy from the sun and convert it electricity. They are more expensive to manufacture as well. These panels can be made into smaller panels but with the same wattage as other types of cells.

One thing to keep in mind when looking into solar modules: 100 watts of power from monocrystalline cells, is the same as 100 watts of power from any other type of cell whether it be polycrystalline or amorphous.

2. Polycrystalline - These are solar cells that are created from multifaceted crystalline also known as mulitcrystalline. These cells are sliced from a silicon boule that is grown from a multifaceted crystalline product or a crystal that has grown in different directions. Polycrystalline roof solar panels are less efficient thus needing to make larger cells for the same wattage as the monocrystalline panels. With the development of silicon nitride multicrystalline however, they are now as efficient as the monocrystalline solar panels with similar sized monocrystalline cells.

3. Amorphous - These are panels made from thin film technology where molten silicon is spread across plates of stainless steel or other material. These are lower in efficiency and require a significantly larger panel to equal the wattage of both the monocrystalline and polycrystalline cell panels. I wouldn't dismiss this technology however, because these cells have been very successfully engineered as flexible solar panels for the outdoor adventurer. They have been used to power items such as cell phones, walkie talkies and ipods. These are also manufactured inside of backpacks and athletic clothing and jackets.

When looking into solar modules and panels, remember to keep in mind that 100 watts of power from monocrystalline cells, is the same as 100 watts of power from any other type of cell whether it be polycrystalline or amorphous.



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