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Types of Solar Panels Available Today – AEN News

best solar panels

The best solar panels on the market today.


Are you planning to go solar, but you don’t know what are the best solar panels available today on the market?

Well, in the following article we will show you what types of solar panels you can find on the market today, and what are the differences between them in terms of energy efficiency and quality of the product.

A solar PV (photovoltaic) system is a very good investment for the present and in the future because it will generate clean energy while lowering your electricity bills, and will work for about two or more decades requiring only a small maintenance from your side.

The inverter used by your solar PV system needs to be replaced after a period of 10 to 15 years of usage, and the battery system will require the same replacement after about one decade.

However, the solar panels will work very well for at least two or three decades, they will lose some efficiency in the meantime, but they will keep producing clean electricity for your home.

Types of Solar Panels Used Today to Generate Clean Electricity

Today, we are using several types of solar panels to turn the sunlight into clean electricity, some of them being available on the market while others are suited for different applications (non residential).

1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels or shortly Mono panels, are considered the most efficient solar panels available on the market today because they are made from a single silicon ingot with high purity, which is cut into thin wafers to be mounted in a grid shape.

Being more energy efficient they are more expensive, but they produce more energy than a similar-sized solar panel using a different technology (polycrystalline).

Monocrystalline solar panels look better on rooftops (more aesthetic) because they are black colored, and each individual solar cell (silicon wafer) on the panel has rounded corners, which again looks better.

Due to the fact that the single silicon ingot used to produce the monocrystalline solar cell is very pure, the solar panel built this way will have a pretty high efficiency (around 21.5%).

Being so efficient, monocrystalline solar panels require a smaller space compared to other types of solar panels because if we compare two different panels of the same size, the monocrystalline solar panel will generate a higher amount of clean energy.

Monocrystalline solar panels work pretty well in low light, but they are some of the most expensive panels on the market today.

Even if the monocrystalline solar panels are considered to be premium panels, they generate more waste during the manufacturing process because each edge of the wafer is cut and considered waste.

2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels or shortly Poly panels are using solar cells made from melted silicon that is poured and cut into wafers with a perfectly squared shape.

Melting the silicon is significantly reducing waste during the manufacturing process of the polycrystalline solar cells.

Being produced from melted silicon and not from a single (highly pure) silicon ingot, polycrystalline solar cells will provide cheaper solar panels.

Polycrystalline solar panels have a blueish tint, which is not considered very attractive by some people.

Polycrystalline solar cells can slightly change their color in time (under the action of the Sun) and they can get discolored, which makes them look different.

I mentioned that polycrystalline solar panels are cheaper than the monocrystalline solar panels due to their manufacturing process.

However, a polycrystalline solar panel is less efficient and if we compare the panels of the same size, the polycrystalline panel will generate less energy.

Paying less money on a polycrystalline solar PV system will reduce the amount of clean energy produced by the panels even if they will occupy the same surface on the rooftop or on the land as the monocrystalline solar panels.

These affordable solar panels have an efficiency of around 17%, and they don’t perform very well in low light or extreme heat conditions.

Polycrystalline solar panels are also less heat tolerant, which means that they produce less power if the outside temperature rises, and due to their bluish tint they absorb less heat.

Even if the polycrystalline solar panels represent a newer technology, they are less expensive and less efficient, which means that you can choose to install a Poly solar PV system only if your budget is very tight or you simply like their bluish tint.

3. Thin Film Solar Panels

Thin film solar panels are an alternative to conventional solar panels (mono and poly) and they use a combination of different materials to produce solar cells that are less efficient (around 16%), but more flexible and greener.

Thin-film solar panels are using a combination of materials such as cadmium telluride (CdTe), amorphous silicon (a-Si), copper indium gallium selenide (CIS/CIGS) and they can also use organic PV (photovoltaic) cells.

The advantage provided by these thin film solar panels is created by the fact that in the manufacturing process less expensive materials are used.

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) is the main material used to produce thin film solar cells and is recommended by the fact that produces solar panels that have surpassed traditional mono and poly panels in therms of cost efficiency, which means that the thin film solar panels produced using CdTe are less expensive and greener.

The advantages provided by the thin film solar panels are represented by the fact that they are light weight panels and they are also more flexible than conventional solar panels.

The disadvantages of the thin film solar panels are represented by the fact that these panels are less efficient, so you will get less energy for the same surface area on your rooftop.

4. Solar Window Blinds

This is a very fresh technology (2017), and consists of window blinds that are blocking most of the sunlight from entering the room, but at the same time they generate clean electricity.

These solar window blinds rely on slats containing monocrystalline solar cells, and they are using a tracking system that follows the Sun in the sky and automatically adjusts the angle of the slats for a maximum absorption of the sunlight during the day for maximum efficiency.

SolarGaps is the name of the California-based startup company that has built and is selling these solar window blinds, and they say that by using their solar technology you can save up to 70% on energy bills.

Solar Panel Manufacturers in the U.S. after the Average Efficiency of their PV Modules

The list starts with the less efficient PV panels (most of them manufactured in China, Taiwan and South Korea) and ends with the most efficient PV modules and the most expensive ones (some of them being manufactured in Japan, the U.S. and Malaysia).

1. Stion is a California-based (San Jose) solar panel manufacturer of thin film frameless panels established in 2006.

The average efficiency of their thin film solar panels is only 13.2%.

2. Green Brilliance, established in 2007, covers Maryland, DC and Virginia, and the average efficiency of their PV panels is 15.03%.

3. Hyundai, established in 1972, is a large company with the headquarters in South Korea that entered the solar market in 2005.

Hyundai produces today both monocrystalline and polycrystalline PV panels with an average efficiency of 15.37%.

4. Kyocera Corporation established in 1971 is a large company based in Kyoto, Japan.

In the U.S., Kyocera has the operating headquarters in Scottsdale, AZ and several regional sales centers in the U.S., Australia and Brazil.

The company provides polycrystalline solar panels and energy storage systems.

The average efficiency of the PV panels sold by the company is 15.42%.

5. REC Solar is a European solar manufacturer established in 1996 in Norway.

In the U.S., the company has the headquarters in San Mateo, CA, and provides polycrystalline panels with an average efficiency of 15.62%.

6. SunSpark Technology, is a solar panel manufacturer with the headquarters in Riverside, CA.

The company manufactures solar panels, but also provides services like installation, repair and maintenance for solar PV systems.

The average efficiency of their PV modules is 15.65%.

7. CSUN – China Sunergy, is a leading manufacturer of solar cells and modules established in 2004 with the headquarters in Nanjing, China.

The company produces PV modules in China and Turkey with an average efficiency of 15.78%.

8. ReneSola, established in 2005, is a solar manufacturer company with the headquarters in San Luis Obispo, CA.

The average efficiency of their PV panels is 15.91%.

9. Amerisolar, established in 1993, is a professional solar module manufacturer with the headquarters in South San Francisco, CA.

The average efficiency of their PV panels 15.97%.

10. AXITEC, established in 2012, is a solar manufacturer company with the headquarters in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

The company provides German engineered solar PV modules and energy storage systems for solar.

The average efficiency of their PV modules is 16.1%.

11. SunEdison, established in 1959, is a large manufacturer of solar PV cells and solar PV modules, and also a developer, builder, owner and operator of solar and wind power plants.

The company has the headquarters in Maryland Heights, Missouri, and the average efficiency of their PV modules is 16.12%.

12. Centrosolar, established in 1995, is a solar manufacturer company with the headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The company produces polycrystalline solar panels with an average efficiency of 16.21%.

13. Trina Solar Energy, established in 1997, is a solar manufacturer company with the headquarters in San Jose, CA.

The company produces both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels with an average efficiency of 16.3%.

14. ET Solar, established in 2005, is a solar manufacturer company with the headquarters in Pleasanton, CA.

This solar manufacturer produces monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels with an average efficiency of 16.51%.

15. Seraphim Energy Group, is a solar manufacturer company that entered the solar market in 2009.

The company with the headquarters in Pleasanton, CA, produces solar cells and PV modules with an average efficiency of 16.55%.

16. Canadian Solar, established in 2001, is a world leading solar manufacturer with the headquarters in San Ramon, CA.

The company produces solar cells, solar modules and solar power systems (both on and off grid) with an average efficiency of 16.58%.

17. Mitsubishi Electric, is a large solar manufacturer with the headquarters in Cypress, CA.

The company produces high-performance 100% lead-free solder panels manufactured in Japan, with an average efficiency of 16.6%.

18. SolarWorld, established in 1975, is a solar manufacturer company with the headquarters in Hillsboro, OR.

The company provides additional services such as installation and financing for solar PV systems.

The average efficiency of their PV modules is 16.64%.

19. Grape Solar, established in 2009, is a solar manufacturer with the headquarters in Eugene, OR.

The company produces solar power kits that are sold by large retailers such as Amazon, Home Depot and Costco.

The average efficiency of their PV panels is 16.75%.

20. Silfab Solar is a North-American manufacturer of ultra-high-efficiency solar modules with the headquarters in Ontario, Canada.

In the U.S., the company has the headquarters in Los Angeles, CA and the average efficiency of their 60- and 72-cell monocrystalline PV modules is 16.75%.

21. JinkoSolar, established in 2006, is a Chinese manufacturer of solar PV modules.

The company produces PV modules in countries like China, Malaysia, South Africa and Portugal.

The average efficiency of their PV panels is 16.95%.

22. Hanwha Q CELLS, was established in 2012, and is a solar panel manufacturer with the headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.

The average efficiency of the PV panels sold by the company is 16.97%.

23. Suniva, established in 2007, is a solar manufacturing company with the headquarters in Norcross, GA.

The company produces monocrystalline solar modules with an average efficiency of 17.14%.

24. Mission Solar Energy, is an American manufacturer of advanced solar modules with the headquarters in San Antonio, TX.

The average efficiency of their PV modules is 17.18%.

25. Renogy Solar, established in 2010, is a renewable energy company with the headquarters in Chino, CA.

The company generates clean energy using solar and biomass energy and is also a manufacturer of LED technology.

The average efficiency of the solar PV modules manufactured by the company is 17.3%.

26. Heliene, is a North-American manufacturer of solar PV modules with the headquarters in Ontario, Canada.

The company produces high-performance solar PV modules in factories located in Canada and the U.S.

The average efficiency of their solar modules is 17.31%.

27. Silevo, established in 2007, is a solar manufacturer of very efficient solar PV panels with the headquarters in Fremont, CA.

Their PV modules have an average efficiency of 17.7%.

28. Itek Energy, established in 2009, is a solar manufacturing company with the headquarters in Bellingham, WA.

The company produces high quality, and very efficient solar PV modules with an average efficiency of 17.71%.

29. LG, established in 1958, this global pioneer in electronics and technology with the headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, is a manufacturer of solar cells, solar modules and energy storage systems.

In the U.S., the company is headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and the average efficiency of their PV modules is 18.28%.

30. Solaria, established in 2000, is a solar manufacturer with the headquarters in Fremont, CA.

The company produces high-performance PV modules with an average efficiency of 19%.

31. Panasonic Solar Panels, is a solar manufacturer that entered the solar market in 1975.

The company is headquartered in Newark, NJ, and the average efficiency of their PV panels is 20.3%.

32. SunPower Corporation, established in 1985, is a solar manufacturer with the headquarters in San Jose, CA.

The company provides additional services such as installation and financing, and the average efficiency of their PV panels is the highest on the market 20.58%.

Magda Savin
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Magda Savin

I write about the renewable energy sector, electric cars and climate change issues.
I love nature and good food, so I travel all over the world to see new places and meet new people.
Magda Savin
Magda Savin
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