Monocrystalline, polycrystalline, amorphous silicon, CIGS … if you’ve begun investigating solar roofing panels for your home or organisation, you have actually most likely encountered a lot of terminology you don’t completely comprehend. Here’s a fast breakdown of the major types of solar roofing you’re likely to encounter, and some fundamental info about what they involve and how they perform.
Crystalline Silicon Solar Roof
Photovoltaic panel need a semi-conductive material to transform light into electricity, the majority of commonly silicon. There are 2 basic kinds of crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels: monocrystalline (single crystal) and polycrystalline (multi crystal). Monocrystalline solar cells are dark blue or black and octagonal or rounded in shape. (Solar roof panels made of these cells will have white diamonds between the blue octagons.) Wafers are sliced from a single large silicon crystal and have greater effectiveness (15% and up) than polycrystalline and amorphous silicon. However, the intricate procedure through which this silicon crystal is produced makes monocrystalline photovoltaic panels more expensive. Polycrystalline silicon cells are rainbowlike or mottled blue and are formed from numerous smaller sized crystals that are more affordable to produce however a little less effective (13-15%) in converting sunshine into electrical power.
All solar roof made of crystalline silicon modules is rather fragile and must be secured by a layer of glass or other substance, which contributes to its weight and bulk. However, life span for both types has actually been well developed to be a minimum of 25 years.
Amorphous/Thin Film Solar: a-Si, CdTe, CIGS
In amorphous silicon cells (a-Si), instead of being formed into crystals, silicon is deposited onto a thin, economical surface like glass, plastic, or foil. Amorphous silicon needs much less of the expensive semi-conductive product and is easier and faster to produce.The lightweight support material can be bent and is for that reason more flexible. Nevertheless, the efficiency of a-Si solar hovers around 10%, so it requires a lot more roofing system area to generate the same amount of power. It is mainly fit for commercial solar structures.
Another kind of thin film solar is multi-junction solar batteries, made from semi-conductive products aside from silicon. These include cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium telluride (CIGS). Unlike silicon based solar roof, multi-junction solar batteries have several different layers of semi-conductive materials to absorb more of the solar spectrum. Initially established for satellites, multi-junction cells are effective and lightweight, integrating the effectiveness of crystalline solar with the versatility of amorphous solar. However, they are less commercially offered, do not have the strong track record of crystalline solar, and often consist of toxic chemicals that should be dealt with at the end of the solar panels’ lifetimes.