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3 types of solar panels

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The global solar panel market is flooded with different kinds of solar modules, of higher quality, brand, size ect, so it is important to know the 3 most common types of solar panels .

Solar or photovoltaic panels are an invention that contributes to ecology efficiently. They are modules (monocrystalline, polycrystalline or amorphous) that use the energy that comes from solar radiation and transform it into electrical energy, by taking advantage of a process called photoelectric effect.

3 types of solar panels

They owe their appearance to the aerospace industry and are the most popular solar source in small installations or buildings. The experience in production and installation, the technological advances that increase the efficiency of solar cells, economies of scale in a market that grows 40% annually, together with increases in fossil fuel prices, make it begin to contemplate photovoltaic energy for basic electrical production, in power plants connected to the grid.

The photovoltaic panels are divided into:

Crystalline panels

    • The  monocrystalline panels  consist of sections of a silicon single crystal, recognizable by their octagonal or circular shape where the four short sides are curved because the circular cut is a cell.
    • The  polycrystalline panels  when formed by small crystallized particles.3 types of solar panels


Amorphous panels

The amorphous silicon solar panels  are manufactured by steaming a silicon film on top of a steel surface. Because of their lower power density, they require at least twice as much space as other solar panels to get the same power in watts.

That is, for a polycrystalline 100W 12V solar panel measuring 117 x 67 cm, in amorphous solar panel it will have a size of 141 x 111 centimeters to achieve 100w of power. Therefore, the efficiency of the amorphous solar panel is not as high as in crystalline panels.

3 types of solar panels

For this reason they are recommended as long as you have plenty of space to place them. They are cheaper panels, but against their performance it decays faster over the years compared to crystalline panels. It should also be borne in mind that, having larger dimensions, the costs in structures and in electric cable will be higher.

These are manufactured by placing a thin layer of amorphous (non-crystalline) silicon on a wide variety of surfaces. They are the least efficient and least expensive type of produce.

When choosing between monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon panels, the decisive parameters are cost and efficiency.

Monocrystalline panels have higher performance and need less space, while polycrystalline panels, despite being cheaper, are less efficient and need to cover more space with which more material must be used to produce the same amount of energy.

Today there are numerous services and sectors in which photovoltaic panels are used. In addition to the mostly known; power plants connected to the grid and  photovoltaic self-consumption systems , also have widespread use in the electrification of villages in remote areas and country houses ( rural electrification ), emergency communications systems, pumping for irrigation systems and drinking water in rural areas, emergency roadside phones … among others.

Undoubtedly, there is still a long way to go in solar panel technology, especially in terms of efficiency, but this energy is considered one of the cleanest energy sources available today, and is becoming increasingly competitive against other types of energy, which predicts a great development in the solar panel industry in the future.

Solar panels according to the power

In the solar panel market it is important to differentiate and know the 3 types of panels that exist. We are talking about 12V solar panels, 24V solar panels and the so-called network 24V solar panels. Each of them has its peculiarities that will affect the rest of the components of the solar installation.

The 12V plates are composed of 36 silicon cells and cover a range of powers from 5W to 140W. These plates are usually used in low or medium power installations where there is reduced consumption or sporadic use. An example of a 12V solar panel is the 140W solar panel  .

For the operation of these panels it is sufficient to use a normal charge regulator, that is, the so-called PWM, which are the standard models. While in regard to the storage of the generated energy, a 12V solar battery or several 12V batteries connected in parallel must be used (which keeps the voltage at 12V but adds the storage capacity of the connected batteries).

The 36 cells that make up this type of board are connected creating an operating voltage close to 18V. This is done because in the electrical circuit there are voltage losses in this way it ensures that when the voltage reaches the battery it will be greater than 12V and the energy will be stored correctly.

24V solar panels work in the same way as 12V insulated panels but at a voltage of 24V. They are formed by 72 cells with which their size is larger and generate powers ranging from 150 to 195 watts (W). It also uses a conventional PWM regulator and batteries connected to 24V, that is, 12V batteries connected in series are used forming 24V assemblies.

The cells of these solar panels are connected creating an approximate voltage of 37V, which guarantees that the energy generated by these solar panels will reach the batteries at a voltage greater than 24V. Thanks to this, not only the charging is done well, but also the battery is equalized by cleaning its corrosion plates and extending its useful life.

The 36 and 72 cell solar panels (12 and 24V) are known as isolated solar panels since they have been designed for use in isolated or autonomous installations, that is, in installations that operate autonomously with batteries.

3 types of solar panels

In third place we find the solar panels of 24V network. These types of panels were initially designed for use in solar grid gardens where the energy produced was distributed directly to the power grid.

This type of panels are composed of 60 cells instead of 72, connected with the aim of producing high power penalizing a low voltage close to 29V. In autonomous solar installations, the mains cannot be used with normal PWM regulators because of their low voltage and losses in the electrical circuit, since the energy that would reach the batteries would be less than the 24V needed for proper charging. To use this type of plates it is necessary to install an MPPT regulator instead of the PWM classic.

The function of the MPPT regulator is to amplify the voltage up to 37V, just like a 24V solar panel would have. This will charge correctly and the batteries will equalize. The  MPPT regulators  are more expensive than the PWM because they are more complex, which should be taken into account when calculating the total cost of installation.

It is common to find facilities where, due to ignorance or bad advice, network boards with normal charge regulators (PWM) have been installed. Because of this, the batteries will not be able to store energy well with a voltage less than 24V and this stress will cause their useful life to be drastically reduced to a few months. For this reason at Damia Solar we always recommend using mppt maximizers for the correct operation of the installation.

Thus, knowing and differentiating each of the panels will allow you to choose correctly which one is appropriate according to the type of solar installation you want to carry out. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Damia Solar by calling 973 972 533, we will advise you the most appropriate solution for your needs.

Read more : How much do solar panels save

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