There are few types of PV panels, according to production material and method. All of them have their own properties, which we will try to shortly and simple discuss in this article. We will also mention latest PV panels technology, called as „second generation”.
This kind of PV panel is made from monocrystalline silicon cells, which have octagonal shape and their efficiency reaches 14-17%. This type of solar panels are the most expensive, because their production costs. They are stif and must be mounted in a rigid frame to protect them. Monocrystalline panels are made from single crystal of silicon. They have characteristic dark color.
Polycrystalline cells have square shape, its efficiency reaches 12-14%. Just as efficiency, their price is a little bit lower than in monocrystalline panels. They are made from a silicon block, consisting of large number of crystals. Just like in monocrystalline cells – they also need to be mounted in a rigid frame. Usually they have blue color and clearly outlined silicon crystals.
Those are PV panels with lowest (6-10%) efficiency and price. They are made by placing thin, amorphous silicon layer onto a wide panel surface. In opposite to panels mentioned before, this kind of panel can be flexible – it depends only from it manufactured carrier surface. Amorphous panels have slightly maroon color, without any outlined crystals.
“Second generation” panels
To this group we can include CdTe cells, made with cadmium telluride semiconductor or copper, indium, gal and selenium mix, known as CIGS cells. Both of this panel types have similar features – medium efficiency (10-12%), low price and often in this technology – whole module is build from single cell. This latest PV panels technology is still developing.
Chose of the panel type depends on many conditions. If we have large surface for installation – we can decide to buy monocrystalline panels (because of their shape, module takes more place), but if we don't want to buy PV panels in highest price – we can get polycrystalline panels. Good solution are also “second generation” panels, offering low price and medium efficiency.