Solar panels
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Everything you need to know about solar panels

Types, brands and sizes: Would you like to install a photovoltaic solar panel? Why not? It's an excellent idea! Solar panels allow you to power your home with green energy! But choosing a solar panel isn't easy, because photovoltaic technology is constantly improving. So take a look at the different types, brands and sizes of photovoltaic solar panel to avoid making a mistake! Let's start by discussing different new solar technologies for 2023:

1-What are the new solar technologies for 2023?

As we know, the field of solar energy has been booming. This year, 2023, will be another flourishing one. New technologies are already on the way, with the aim of increasing the efficiency of solar panels and reducing costs. Via this article, we tell you about the hottest solar technologies to come in 2023.

Integrated Maxim technology:
Let us tell you about Maxim. Ready? Maxim is a Californian company that develops innovative analogue circuits for the automotive, industrial, healthcare, mobile consumer and cloud data centre markets. Looking to expand its business, it designs and manufactures solar panels using Maxim's new cell string optimisation technology, which enables photovoltaic (PV) panels to harvest much more energy. Solar panels gain 30% more power with the Maxim cell string optimizer. It's a revolutionary innovation, isn't it?

Bifacial solar panel:
As the name suggests, these solar panels have two sides, or rather, they can capture sunlight on the front and back which is why they are considered to be an interesting new solar solution. Compared with traditional solar panels, the bifacial solar module features a unique, reinforced design. What's more, it's manufactured using LG's CELLO cell technology. In addition, thanks to its reduced weight, the bifacial panel can be installed on a flat or pitched roof.

Solar window technology:
Soon, your home will be able to generate solar energy from places other than your roof. But how? Is it possible? Ah, yes, researchers are developing solar windows using transparent films that act like solar panels. You can then install these windows on your building to generate electricity by absorbing ultraviolet rays. It's a revolutionary technology that allows building owners to gain partial independence from the electricity grid.

Tesla solar roof:
With a new ray of hope, Tesla has developed a new solar roof technology. The Tesla Solar Roof is a Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) product that takes the functionality of solar panels and integrates it into shingles. But what are the advantages of Tesla solar roof tiles? Aesthetically, Tesla solar tiles look like ordinary roofing tiles, which could significantly increase the value of your home. In addition, one of the reasons to invest in Tesla roofing is that it is cost-effective and maintenance-free.

Split cell panels:
Split cell technology presents a real power breakthrough in solar energy. In terms of design, split-cell panels are more robust than traditional modules. What's more, they still offer the following advantages:

Cutting the standard cell in half and blocking it, which increases efficiency

  • Increase the stability of the back sheet of the panel and reduce costs.
  • Higher absorption in the P-type layer.

So there you have it! We're talking about some of the solar technologies that will be making their mark in 2023 (bifacial solar panels, Tesla roof tiles, solar windows, split-cell solar panels). But are there any other advances in solar panels on the horizon? Yes, of course there are! There are researchers working on a new "thermo-photovoltaic" solar technology and others on solar panels with perovskite cells. So we can see that researchers are very interested in the field of green energy, which opens the way to innovation.

So if you want to power your home with green energy, think about these revolutionary technologies, which will certainly increase the efficiency of your solar panels and guarantee your self-consumption of renewable energy.

2- What are the different types of solar panel?

There are two types of solar panel on the market that are commonly used in residential installations:

Monocrystalline solar panels (mono-silicon or single silicon):
What do I need to know about Monocrystalline photovoltaic panels? First and foremost, you need to know that monocrystalline solar panels are made up of monocrystalline cells, which are the most efficient photovoltaic cells (14 to 19% efficiency). This is why monocrystalline silicon panels are currently the most common and efficient type of solar panel. However, these solar panels are expensive. If you are thinking of installing a photovoltaic system to benefit from solar energy and save money, order a solar panel from Alma® and get the best value for money!
Polycrystalline silicon solar panels:
Did you know that polycrystalline photovoltaic panels are used in residential and commercial installations? They are the most popular choice worldwide because they offer a better balance between price and quality. On the other hand, polycrystalline photovoltaic panels are less efficient and require more space on the roof. So what are you waiting for? Switch to solar energy to save money! A photovoltaic system is a good investment!
3- What are the different sizes of solar panels?
If you're thinking of installing a solar panel system on your home, there's one important factor to consider: size! So take a look at the different sizes of solar panel available on the market:

60-cell solar panels :
60-cell photovoltaic solar panels are often used in residential and commercial systems. Most 60-cell panels measure approximately 66x40" and offer power ranging from 270 up to 320+ watts. All 60-cell modules weigh 41.45 pounds.

72-cell solar panels:
72-cell solar panels are designed specifically for larger systems. However, they can also be used for projects. Also, a 72-cell solar panel is generally larger and produces more electricity than a 60-cell panel.

Small solar panels:
Are power sources for small devices that don't have robust energy needs such as cameras, torches and watches and laptops. The advantage of mini solar panels is that they are easier to handle and manage.

4- What are the different brands of solar panels?

I'M. SOLAR®
is a European eco-responsible company that manufactures high-tech solar panels. Particularly concerned about the quality of their products and their performance, all photovoltaic panels are manufactured and assembled in their factory located in Lithuania. The products in the I'M.SOLAR® range are part of a community. The members of the community share the same eco-citizen vision of respect for the environment. I'M SOLAR has developed a range of panels: The I'M.SOLAR solar panel series is a high-quality solar panel that offers great flexibility for all types of projects. It offers both a beautiful finish and high efficiency. With its cells, the I'M SOLAR series is capable of producing up to 3% more than other solar panels. The I'M CONNECTED solar panel is one of the first solar panels to be connected to the internet. Thanks to an intelligent junction box, it optimises your production to gain up to 30% extra performance (if shading is present). Your solar panels are independent of each other.

SunPower®:
Is a more innovative and sustainable US energy company that designs and manufactures crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and solar panels based on a full-contact solar cell. It has 30 years of experience in renewable solar energy. SunPower® is known for its range of E-series direct-current solar panels, as well as its X-series solar panels. Thanks to their high-performance cells, SunPower solar panels are the most efficient panels currently available on the market. While the majority of solar panels offer between 14% and 18% efficiency, SunPower's products are much more efficient (between 19.1% and 22.2%). On the other hand, SunPower solar modules are the most expensive!

BISOL®:
BISOL® is a European manufacturer of high-end photovoltaic modules and mounting systems. Bisol has launched a range of BISOL modules with a power of up to 330Wp!

5- Which type of solar panel is best?

Crystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency of all panels. Monocrystalline panels have an efficiency of between 15 and 20%, making them the most efficient of all crystalline panels. Polycrystalline panels have an efficiency of between 15 and 17% and can be the most cost-effective option. Thin-film solar panels are best for unorthodox roof styles and are the most durable. When choosing your solar panel, take these criteria into account:

Solar panel specifications

Like most products, solar panels can have different specifications indicating their technical attributes. This can be quite a confusing area, but there are some specifications that should be particularly considered when making your choice: Power tolerance (i.e. do you get 300W or 300W +/- 10%?) Some are much better than others.
Nominal voltage and temperature coefficient: Panels should be rated at 100 V DC minimum for safety reasons. A good temperature coefficient may indicate a solar panel that performs slightly better at higher temperatures.
Who is the original manufacturer? Some companies buy solar panels and brand them themselves. You need to know who the original manufacturer is and how the company will support you.

Aesthetics of the solar panel

Some people choose the appearance of certain types of solar panels over others - it just depends on personal preference. As a general rule, thin-film panels look more uniform and some people find them more attractive. However, they take up a lot more space due to their low conversion efficiency - and are not widely installed in Australia these days anyway. Some suppliers can integrate the panels into your roof, others can supply solar tiles. And if you have a weird, curved roof, you can even get flexible solar panels! As a general rule, going for a more 'utilitarian' look will be cheaper, as super clever integrated systems can cost a lot more.

What do the different types of solar panel look like?

Differences in materials and manufacture lead to differences in appearance between each type of solar panel:

Monocrystalline solar panels: the most efficient option

If you see a solar panel with black cells, it is most likely a monocrystalline panel. These cells appear black because of the way light interacts with the pure silicon crystal. While the solar cells themselves are black, monocrystalline solar panels have a variety of colours for their back sheets and frames. The back sheet of the solar panel will most often be black, silver or white, while the metal frames are usually black or silver.

Polycrystalline solar panels: can be a more cost-effective option

Unlike monocrystalline solar cells, polycrystalline solar cells tend to have a bluish tinge due to light reflecting off the silicon fragments in the cell in a different way to that reflected off a pure monocrystalline silicon wafer. Similar to monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels have different colours for the back sheets and frames. In most cases, the polycrystalline frames are coloured in the same way as monocrystalline panels.
What are the different solar panels made of?
Solar cells are made from a semiconductor material that converts light into electricity. The material most commonly used as a semiconductor in the solar cell manufacturing process is silicon.

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels have cells made up of silicon wafers. To build a monocrystalline or polycrystalline panel, the wafers are assembled in rows and columns to form a rectangle, covered with a sheet of glass and framed together. While both types of solar panel have silicon cells, monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels vary in the composition of the silicon itself. Monocrystalline solar cells are cut from a single crystal of pure silicon. Alternatively, polycrystalline solar cells are made up of fragments of silicon crystals that are fused together in a mould before being cut into wafers.

6- Solar panel prices: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin-film

Monocrystalline panels are more expensive than polycrystalline panels. Thin-film solar panels are cheaper but less efficient than monocrystalline and plycrystalline panels.

Solar panel prices: what factors come into play?

A number of factors can have an impact on the price beyond the obvious labour and materials costs.

Three types of solar panel are common in residential areas:

Monocrystalline solar panels are the most common type of solar panel and take up less space than other options. They can withstand high temperatures and last up to 25 years. What's more, they generally come with a 25-year guarantee. But they are generally more expensive than other types of panel.

Polycrystalline solar panels are generally more affordable than monocrystalline panels. However, they do not generate as much power and are not as efficient in areas with high temperatures or low light levels. Polycrystalline solar panels have a lifespan of up to 25 years.

Amorphous or thin-film solar panels are more flexible and lightweight than the first two options, and work well in areas with high temperatures and low light levels. However, they do not last as long as monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels, with a lifespan of just 14 to 17 years.

Region: The cost of solar panels also varies from region to region. Some utilities offer incentives to homeowners who install solar panels.

The warranty is extremely important, especially for a system that is going to be exposed to harsh weather conditions. Paying a little more for a reputable brand will not only mean longer warranties.

Roof characteristics: Several characteristics of your roof can have an impact on the cost of installing solar panels, including

Roof pitch: Installing solar panels on a steep roof is generally more expensive than installing them on a shallower roof.

Roofing materials: Installers need to use different types of mounting mechanisms on both shingle and metal roofs, and these differences can affect the cost of installation.

Roof size: If you have a large house, you may choose to install a larger system. Larger systems require more panels and take longer to install, which can increase the cost compared to a smaller system.

Distance to the incoming electricity grid: If your solar system is installed close to the incoming electricity grid, the cost of labour and materials will be lower than if the system is away from the incoming electricity grid.

The brand affects the price of a solar panel: The price of a solar panel varies depending on the brand. Solar panels that come from a brand renowned worldwide for its robustness and reliability are generally more expensive.

The choice of inverter affects the price of photovoltaic solar panels: The solar panels may seem like the star of the show, but it's your solar inverter that does the heavy lifting. It converts the DC energy produced by your panels into usable AC electricity that runs your air conditioning and washing machine. The inverter is actually the most expensive component of your system. Your inverter will also have a much shorter warranty than your panels as they have a shorter lifespan. Expect to replace your inverter before you have to replace your panels.

Will the price of photovoltaic solar panels fall?

Photovoltaic panel prices go down all the time - a feature of technological advances and economies of scale as production continues to increase. Other components such as inverters and mounting systems are also reducing their costs, and installation companies are becoming increasingly efficient.

7- Can I run my whole house on a photovoltaic panel?

With a modern solar energy system, including energy storage and a photovoltaic panel, you can certainly run an entire house entirely on solar energy. Photovoltaic panel systems and installation costs have continued to fall over the last two decades since the widespread introduction of residential and commercial solar energy. This is despite the fact that local government rebates and tax credits and utility company incentives continue to decline year on year. The significant decline in solar costs is due in part to the wider national and global adoption of solar energy and in part to rapid advances in solar energy system technologies. To determine the cost-effectiveness and other feasibility factors in operating an entirely solar-powered home, start with these initial baseline assessments:

Calculate how much electricity you use per month.

First, determine how much solar energy you would need to produce to power your entire home with 100% solar energy. To do this, you'll need to know how much electricity you use on average each month. This will allow your solar contractor to calculate how much energy your panels need to generate to power your entire home each month. Of course, it's to be expected that the amount of monthly usage and the potential for solar power generation will vary throughout the year. The solution to ensuring a stable power supply for your home lies in the reserve capacity of today's state-of-the-art residential solar battery storage. Your solar batteries allow you to store the excess energy produced by your photovoltaic panel on longer, sunnier days for later use whenever you need it during less sunny periods. During periods of less direct and intense sunlight, solar batteries ensure that you have all the energy you need to run your entire home without the system automatically starting to draw on the public electricity grid.

Assess the solar energy production capacity of your climatic region: The climate in which you live makes all the difference to whether you can expect to generate enough solar energy to power your entire home all year round. Evaluate your region's potential climate for generating enough solar energy to power your entire home continuously. For homeowners living in colder, cloudier regions, running a home entirely on solar power during the winter months can be more problematic. Residents may not see direct sunlight for periods of several weeks, while those living in southwestern states may not see a cloudy day for weeks. These climate differences, along with factors specific to your home and lifestyle, can make the difference between being able to operate entirely off the public power grid or continuing to draw at least some electricity from your utility.

Evaluate your solar production environment in relation to your home's surroundings: Consider the amount and proximity of tall trees growing around and near your home and the height of houses and other structures near your home. Large trees and tall houses close enough to your house to cast a thick shadow over your roof for more than a third of the hours of sunlight can significantly reduce the productivity of your photovoltaic panel.

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