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Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline photovoltaic panels are made of extremely pure silicon and are one of the most common found on homes today. This purity makes them the most efficient at converting sunlight to electricity. What’s more, their efficiency helps them generate slightly more electricity in less space than their Polycrystalline cousins. The nature of the technology makes them look more uniform and aesthetically pleasing than the alternative.

monocrystalline silicon solar panels
polycrystalline silicon solar array

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline photovoltaic panels are made from less-pure silicon, but are currently the most common in home solar energy systems. One advantage of using less-refined silicon is that the manufacturing process produces less waste. The tradeoff is that they are slightly less efficient than their Monocrystalline cousins. Their appearance is less uniform and some people consider them slightly less aesthetically pleasing.

Thin-Film Solar Panels

Thin-Film solar panels have historically not been a popular option for the home because of lower conversion efficiency, which means that more roof space is required for similar output to crystalline silicon panels. The appeal of thin-film is that they’re cheaper than crystalline options, are light, thin, and flexible, which makes them perfect for objects such as cars and appliances that will eventually use solar energy.

thin film solar
solar thermal systems

Solar Thermal Systems

Whereas solar PV panels (photovoltaics, the three varieties detailed above) rely on sunlight to generate electricity, solar thermal setups rely on the sun’s heat. Most residential solar thermal systems are used to heat water for household purposes, and can be integrated with your current water heating system. After installing a solar thermal system, homeowners can save between 50% and 80% on the costs required to heat water for their homes.

Photovoltaic Solar Shingles

First hitting the market in 2005, solar shingles serve the role of both roofing material and photovoltaic cell.  They use the same basic technology as traditional solar panels and their main appeal has been that they are more aesthetically pleasing than traditional solar panels. As nice as they look, the problem is that they lack efficiency, are expensive to install, and require a complete roof replacement to implement. The technology is expected to improve, however, and will likely be a viable alternative when your kids are moving into their first home.

solar shingles

The Best Home Solar Energy System

… is one that suits the unique energy needs of a home. This is different for every home, and every family. The truth about home solar is that the cost per watt of the system you install must make you cash-flow positive if it’s going to make sense for you. This means that—when all is said and done—your monthly expenses are less after installing a solar energy system than they were before. With near-zero down deals that are widely available today—this is something that could absolutely be the right move for you. Fill out the form at the bottom of your screen to get a free solar quote today.