Once the decision is made to install a solar energy system, the highly trained Orange County solar energy contractors will review with you the various types of suitable solar panels. They will discuss the features of these systems that include the size in Watts, the physical size, the various brands, the durability/longevity of the different panels, the warranties, and the certifications. Reputable solar panels have a warranty for 25 years.
There are basically three different types of Photovoltaic solar panels that are used in Orange County.
Monocrystalline Silicon Panels -are single crystal silicon solar panels with pieces of metal nailed to the edges. They are cut from a silicon ingot (wafer) grown from a single large crystal of silicon. These wine-bottle sized crystals look like slices of salami that have had their edges slightly squared. The wafers must be mounted into a rigid frame and look a bit like tiles in the panel.
The metal frames excite the electrons and return an electricity rate of 14 to 18%. They are the most expense type of solar panels because of the cost of the silicon crystal and they tend to be more expensive to maintain. If they are damaged the whole panel must be replaced.
Polycrystalline Silicon Panels – these multi crystal silicon panes are made from many smaller crystals. The cells have metal conducting materials nailed to the sides. The individual cells are connected together in a rigid frame. They are slightly less expense than the monocrystalline silicon panels and return a 12 to 14% electric output.
Because they are less expensive to make and less expense to maintain –individual cells can be replaced instead of a whole panel, they are a good balance of performance and cost.
A type of polycrystalline silicon panel is a Cast Polysilicon. The silicon is cast in a large piece then cut into the wafers. The cells are then placed in a panel and conducting metal strips are placed over them. The metal strips connect to each other to form a continuous electrical charge.
Polycrystalline Silicon Panels are the standard used in Europe.
Amorphous Silicon Panels – are composed of pieces of semi conductive metal like copper or cadmium that has had a thin film of silicon put on the top. They have the lowest return of electricity at 5 to 6%. They need more roof space.
They are flexible and can be bent. They perform better at lower levels of light than the others. They can be combined with a single layer of crystalline silicon to increase their effectiveness. Their production will decrease in the first few months and then they will stabilize.
In Orange County solar systems building integrated photovoltaics are being used. These panels look like roof tiles and are considered solar shingles. They are expensive but they blend into the roof and are esthetically pleasing. They are less efficient than the panels and need a sunny spacious roof to be effective.
New on the horizon are Hybrid Solar Panels. These panels have a monocrystalline core with amorphous silicon deposited on the top and bottom. This combination of materials is suitable for low light areas and will perform 10% better at high temperatures. Because they have highest efficiency rate a smaller size is necessary for the same amount of electrical output.
The use of solar energy for residential and commercial buildings is relatively new and is encouraging new products to be developed. Engineers are looking at Multi-junction solar cells that are tuned to different wavelengths of light. This development would see the panels improve to 87% efficiency. Photolithography is being explored to increase the efficiency of producing solar cells.
Orange County solar system contractors are familiar with the latest developments in solar panels. Their expertise will help you decide on the best solar panels to be used for your project.
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