Different names of solar pannels.
Good, better, best.
What is the difference in the performance and longevity of
Differences in warranty?
asked 5 years ago
on "Sunforce Amorphous Solar Panel/Charge Controller Combo - 50 Watt, Model# 50043"
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Basically we are looking at two different types of panels. The first is crystaline. crystaline panels are broken into two categories: Monocrystaline and Polycrystaline.
Monocrystalline cells are cut from a chunk of silicon that has been grown from a single crystal. Monocrystalline cells offer the most efficiency, and are typically the most expensive.
Polycrystalline cells are cut from multifaceted silicon crystals and due to the flaws in the crystal generally require more surface area to generate the same amount of current. Polycrystalline cells have a look to them that is like shattered glass.
While Monocrystalline cells are the most efficient, the technology of polycrystalline cells has come a long way and the performance gap between the two has narrowed quite a bit. The lifespan is similar when comparing the two. It is reasonable to expect 25+ years of service from a crystalline cell.
Cigs (copper indium gallium selenide) cells are "thin film cells" and are typically not as efficient as crystalline cells. They are used in many portable and "roll up" applications. The lifespan of a Cigs cell is typically about half of what could be expected with a crystalline cell.
Typically there is a longer warranty on crystalline panels because the applications that they are used in are usually less destructive to the material. The differences in warranty are due not only to the type of material and construction of a given panel, but also due to manufacturer preference, so the warranty should be evaluated on each individual panel.
All of this taken into consideration the rating of a given panel (in watts) can be compared apples to apples. For example any panel that provides 50 Watts is making more power than any other kind of panel that provides 25 Watts. The difference that you will see however is that a Monocrystalline panel that is producing the same wattage as a polycrystalline panel will typically be smaller in size and a Cigs panel will be larger than either.
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The crystalline panel's output drop when they get hot. If possible it is better to mount them on a pole or other rack so they get plenty of airflow. Sitting on your roof on a rack or rails they will still heat up. However thin film panels are not affected by the heat so the will produce more when they are hot. They are bigger in size though. Sometimes the thin film will tolerate shading better. It is very important that all of the panels be in the sun, partial shading on part of the array (multiple panels hooked together) will severely reduce the output of the whole array.
answered 3 years, 11 months ago
- Dayton, Ohio
5out of 5found this answer helpful.