When talking about solar panels, we should not confuse photovoltaic solar panels and thermal solar panels, since both types of panels have a different task, then we analyze the DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOLAR PANEL
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOLAR PANEL
Photovoltaic solar panels generate electricity and thermal solar panels produce hot water for sanitary use.
There are different types of solar panels. And they are not necessarily placed on the roof. Most are fixed, but there are also mobile solar panels. A summary.
What is the difference between photovoltaic solar panels and thermal solar panels?
The term «solar panels» is often used for both «photovoltaic panels» and «thermal panels». However, there is a difference …
Photovoltaic solar panels
They catch the light of the sun’s rays to produce electricity. The conversion is made through a semiconductor material, such as silicon, which is found in the solar cell.
Thermal solar panels
They capture the heat of the sun’s rays to produce sanitary hot water. Therefore, this type of panels is typically used in a solar boiler system for sanitary water use.
Mono or polycrystalline solar panels
First, there are 2 important types of solar panels for your home: monocrystalline solar panels and polycrystalline solar panels. These 2 types of solar panels are made of silicone (in the form of glass). And although they offer the same return, there are still some differences …
> Monocrystalline solar panels
The cells in monocrystalline silicon are black, which makes the roof look flatter. All crystals are also in the same direction. Therefore, they produce more electricity in direct sunlight.
> Polycrystalline solar panels
The cells in polycrystalline silicon exist in different shades, but are generally bluish. The crystals are directed outwards as impellers, which facilitates their absorption of ambient light. In general, they are also a bit cheaper than monocrystalline panels.
> High efficiency panels
Recently, there are also high efficiency panels (300 Wp) on the market. These are monocrystalline and have an efficiency higher than 18%. They are especially suitable for ceilings with a limited surface, since you have to install fewer panels to achieve the same performance. The other side of the coin: they are also more expensive!
Solar panels for your roof … or not?
You do not necessarily have to install solar panels on your roof. They can be fixed or mobile. We list the different options …
Solar panels placed on top.
This is the most common solution. The solar panels are placed on mounting rails a few centimeters from the sloping roof. They are suitable for almost all roof types, as long as the slope is at least 20 °. As a reminder: a south-facing roof with an inclination of 30 ° is ideal for optimum efficiency.
Do you have a flat roof? Then, the solar panels can be placed on rails with a slope of between 15 and 35 °.
The rails can be weighted or fixed depending on the support structure. Keep in mind that for a good drainage of rainwater, a flat roof must have a slope of at least 2 °.
A sun awning
If your roof is poorly oriented, it is possible to place solar panels on an awning. Thanks to this solution, you can continue using solar energy and at the same time you have a covered terrace. The slope is systematically 30 ° and the solar panels are placed on a metal structure.
Solar parks already exist at this time, but due to their high price, they are usually reserved for companies.
Or mobile solar panels. Their biggest advantage is that they automatically adjust their orientation depending on the position of the sun, just as a sunflower does, which produces a higher performance compared to fixed solar panels. The solar panels are programmed according to the day and seasons. These special structures have a surface area of 16 to 65 m² and can reach a capacity of 2 to 9 kWp. As the foundations must be cast in concrete, a construction permit is also required. In other words, it is a complex and quite expensive solution that is not so interesting for individuals.
It is also possible to install fixed solar panels in the garden if the surface of your roof is not large enough or if your roof is poorly oriented. Then, the panels are placed in a fixed aluminum structure and optimally oriented. As for a solar tracker, concrete foundations and a construction permit are required.