Pros and Cons: Solar Panel Technology

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With Amendment 1 on the ballot this year in Florida, solar power was brought to the forefront of everyone’s minds. If you’re thinking about installing a solar power system on your home, you may be wondering what the differences are and which type of panel will work best for you. Here is a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of 3 popular photovoltaic systems.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels: This is the original solar technology from the 1950s which involves each cell being cut from silicon and each cell looking like a wafer. Several wafers are placed together to create the entire panel. The advantages are mainly longevity as these panels are made from very high-quality silicon which gives them the highest performance ratings. Making intelligent use of the space on your roof, they provide a strong power yield per square foot.

The downside of monocrystalline panels is primarily the cost. Because the materials are of such high-quality, these panels are very expensive. Also, the manufacturing process leads to a lot of waste.

Polycrystaline: Similar to monocrystalline, these panels are made from silicon. However the difference is that polycrystalline is poured into a mold instead of cut into wafers. The manufacturing process results in less waste and makes them more cost-effective. These panels, however, are less efficient than monocrystalline and require more space on your roof to produce the same amount of electricity.

Thin Film Solar: Though working well in low-light conditions and costing less per panel, thin film solar panels come with a number of disadvantages. As they yield far less power than the heavier panels they are best used in commercial applications. Because you’ll need to purchase more of them to cover a larger amount of space, the cost benefits quickly diminish. These are also the less-rugged of the group and quickly succumb to the effects of weather.