Solar Tribune

Which Solar Panels are Best for My Home?

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Your needs and goals will determine the best solar panels for your home.

There are three primary types of solar panels, which vary in terms of space needed and cost. Some solar panel types have a higher return electricity rate – the amount of sunlight that is converted to electricity – whereas others are less expensive but require more roof space.

Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Panels

single-crystal-cells

Also known as single-crystal silicon solar panels, monocrystalline panels are the most expensive but most efficient solar panel. Monocrystalline solar cells are rounded and cut from one crystal of silicone, creating panels that are uniform in color (usually dark blue or black).

  • lasts 25+ years
  • return electricity rate of 15-17%
  • best option for limited roof space

Learn more about monocrystalline solar cells.

Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Panels

multicrystalline solar cell

Also known as multi-crystal silicon solar panels, polycrystalline panels are made by fusing cells from multiple silicon crystals and then pouring the hot silicon into a mold. The square solar cells take up less space than the rounded single-crystal cells on the panel itself, but they are less efficient than the monocrystalline panels.

  • lasts 25+ years
  • return electricity rate of 12-14%
  • less expensive than monocrystalline

Learn more about polycrystalline solar cells.

Thin Film Solar

solar-tiles

Thin film solar is cheaper than solar cells because they are made by coating a piece of glass or steel with a thin layer of amorphous (non-crystalline) silicon, cadmium telluride, copper indium, or diselenide . But since thin film solar is less efficient, more are needed to produce the same amount of electricity as a crystalline panel.

  • return electricity rate of 9-13%
  • panels are lighter, more flexible and versatile but less durable
  • requires more surface area than crystalline panels

Learn more about thin film solar panels.

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