What Are the Different Types of Solar Panels That Exist Today?

Anthony Williams By Anthony Williams 5 Min Read

No doubt, solar panels are an essential source of energy nowadays. But do you know the different types of solar panels that are available today?

There is an ongoing push to make solar panels a major component of our energy infrastructure. This is why there is more discussions around solar power nowadays.

It’s such a popular talking point, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s only a recent invention. Though in fact, the technology that makes modern solar panels possible goes back to the 19th century.

Improved solar panels tech

Of course, there has been improvement in the technology and several types of solar panels are now in use. But what really differentiates these technologies from one another?

With solar power, individuals can easily make their homes greener and save money on their household bills. However, what are the best solar panels for a sustainable home?

To answer both of these questions, let’s take look at the key types of panels you can use in a solar energy system.

Types of solar panels and their uses

There are three main types of solar panels that you’re likely to encounter: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film.

All three run on the scientific principle of the photovoltaic effect: when certain materials are exposed to sunlight, they produce an electrical current.

This current may then be converted into a usable form of energy. What makes the panels different is the type of materials used in their construction.


Some panels are more efficient, for example, letting users generate more power. But this higher efficiency tends to come at a higher cost.

So which panels are right for a user depends on their needs and their budget. This is why the best solar installers will work with clients to come to help them determine the best choice.

To see an example of one of these companies, check out blueravensolar.com/idaho/. Now let’s take a look at each option and how they stack up against each other.

#1]. Monocrystalline solar panels

All solar panels need a semiconducting material to turn sunlight into energy. In a monocrystalline solar panel, that material is a whole, silicon crystal cut into the shape of a solar cell.

Because the material is so pure, these panels have the highest efficiency of any type. Efficiency here refers to the percent of solar energy a panel converts into electricity. Monocrystalline panels can reach efficiency levels above 20%.

The trade-off is that cutting a solar cell from a pure silicon crystal is an expensive undertaking. So if you’re on a budget, you may have a hard time installing an array of monocrystalline cells.

#2]. Polycrystalline solar panels

Polycrystalline cells are made from multiple pieces of silicone, often the scraps left from cutting monocrystalline cells. These fragments are melted together and form into wafers for solar cells.

Solar cells made this way are less efficient, with ratings between 15-20%. But they are often a more financially viable option.

#3]. Thin-film solar panels

Often the least expensive choice, thin-film panels are made from a variety of photosensitive materials. Though about half as efficient as monocrystalline cells, they have certain advantages.

Being about 150 times thinner than crystalline cells, they’re much lighter, which can make them optimal for certain installations.

The Future will be solar powered

That solar power will become a corner of our energy infrastructure is only a matter of “when”, not “if”. Fossil fuel resources are finite, and their value subject to spike depending on world politics.

And that’s not to mention the threat posed by climate change within many of our lifetimes. No doubt we will even see new types of solar panels emerge in years to come.


Looking at the rate technology is advancing, the possibilities seem endless. So until that future arrives, be sure to follow our latest tech news to learn about the newest breakthroughs as they emerge.

What Are the Different Types of Solar Panels That Exist Today?
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Tony is a blogger, content creator, SEO marketer, and internet entrepreneur. He writes articles on various topics. Follow him on Twitter.
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