Types of solar panels
Fri May 2022
Solar Panels

In the solar energy industry there are various types of solar panels depending on your needs, which will be decisive for proper use and operation in your home or business.

Before explaining about the types of solar panels that exist, let’s define what a solar panel is, what they are made of and how they work.

What is a solar panel?

Solar panels, solar cells or photovoltaic cells are the names given to devices that have the ability to transform the sun’s radiation into electrical energy when light rays hit the panel.

Thanks to solar panels, many homes and businesses receive clean, renewable energy that helps reduce pollution on our planet and is inexpensive compared to other types of energy sources.

Components of solar panels

Silicon is the main material used for the creation of solar cells, because it is a semiconductor element and there are large quantities for use on our planet.

This material is divided into three categories:

  • Polycrystalline silicon: is made up of tiny silicon crystals and they are recognized by their grainy appearance. Solar panels made of this material are usually cheaper.
  • Monocrystalline silicon: unlike polycrystalline silicon, it has a continuous crystal structure, and its purity is high. It has a dark appearance and round edges. Due to its effectiveness, it is an expensive material for the creation of solar cells.
  • Amorphous silicon: it is characterized because it has a crystalline and sheet form. Its efficiency is very low, but it is one of the best options for the environment.

Before continuing to delve into the subject, it is important to explain a little about the history and creation of solar panels.

In 1839, the photovoltaic phenomenon was recognized for the first time by the French-born physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel. However, it was not until 1883 when the inventor of American origin Charles Fritts created the first photovoltaic cell in the world.

The first solar cell prototype was made of a metal plate, and a layer of selenium was spread over it and covered with a thin film of gold. This generated a direct current with considerable power thanks to exposure to sunlight.

Later, the inventor of German origin Werner von Siemens presented this artifact to the Prussian Royal Academy, which, not understanding how the photoelectric phenomenon worked, simply did not pay much attention to it.

Finally, in the year 1954, at Bell Laboratories it was accidentally discovered that silicon, being endowed with some impurities, was sensitive to when exposed to light.

Thanks to these advances, the commercial era of solar panels began, being used mainly in space projects.

Photovoltaic solar panels

It is responsible for transforming the sun’s energy into electricity and are made up of silicon photovoltaic cells, which through a process called the photoelectric effect, allow the transformation of solar energy into electrical energy. This is in turn divided into:

  • Monocrystalline solar panels: their cells are made of pure silicon, which undergoes crystallization phases until a single type of crystal is obtained. Then, they are treated in the doping process with boron and phosphorus and they take on a cylindrical shape when they solidify. Later they are given a square shape and their corners are rounded.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels: they are manufactured by means of pure silicon cells, which are subjected to fewer crystallization cycles than monocrystalline ones. Due to this, various types of crystals result. These also undergo the doping process and solidify in a perfectly square mold and when cut to obtain the cells, they have that shape.
  • Amorphous solar panels: they are the most modern panels and are composed of uncrystallized silicon, which is deposited in the form of vapor on a film of said element, which is found on top of a metal, plastic or other material surface. As a consequence of their lower power density, they need at least twice the space of the rest of the solar panels to obtain the same watts that you are producing.

Thermal solar panels

These types of panels are used to obtain thermal energy and work by taking advantage of the sun’s radiation in order to produce thermal energy by heating water. First, the heat carrier or liquid that runs through the ducts of the solar cell is heated. This can be water or glycol, or a combination of both, which then continues to the heat exchanger where the energy is transferred to domestic water while the liquid in the panel recovers its normal temperature.

Hybrid solar panels (photovoltaic and thermal)

Hybrid solar panels have the advantage and the ability to generate electricity and heat at the same time, thanks to the possibility of taking advantage of the entire spectrum of light. In this way they manage to provide electricity, hot water and even heating in a single panel. Therefore, if you want to make use of both benefits, this is the solar panel you need.

Zolarzo has a variety of solar panels

At Zolarzo we are at the forefront and offer various types of solar panels. In this way you can enjoy the benefits of clean and renewable energy from the Sun.