The 3 Most Common Solar Panel Designs

March 7, 2018

At Urban Solar, we are passionate about educating our customers so that they are making the most informed decisions possible when the time comes to execute on their solar power generation system. We believe that the more you know about solar power technology, the more confident you will be when choosing to install solar on your home or commercial building. To that end, this week’s blog post is dedicated to the three most common solar panel designs.


Solar panel construction begins with a determined layout of how the solar cells will be arranged. Most photovoltaic solar panels use silicon as the ‘parent’ material, and it’s just a matter of how that silicon is formatted for the ideal panel to be made. Bearing that in mind, these are the three most common panel designs:


Monocrystalline – Monocrystalline solar panels use a grid matrix of thinly-cut silicon wafers to produce the most energy efficient solar cells among all the most common solar cell types. Monocrystalline panels are fairly easy to spot, as the wafers themselves have rounded corners and the panels are black in appearance. These panels are generally more expensive than the others, and they’re better at producing electricity in lower light.


Polycrystalline – The costs to manufacture polycrystalline solar panels are far lower when compared with monocrystalline panels. Because of this, polycrystalline solar panels are easier to obtain for those with lower budgets. Most polycrystalline solar panels use melted silicon that is formed into square sections, taking advantage of more area on the panel. Even though they are less expensive, they aren’t as efficient as monocrystalline panels and don’t perform as well in lower light conditions.


Thin-Film Solar Panels – Thin-film panels don’t use silicon as their principal PV material. Instead, these panels take advantage of the photovoltaic capabilities of other materials like cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide, and other mediums that fall into a category called Organic Photovoltaic Cells (or OPC’s). Thin-film solar panels are fairly inexpensive to manufacture, but they don’t have as high of an efficiency rating as their monocrystalline or polycrystalline cousins. However, they are flexible which makes them ideal for installation on rounded or irregular surfaces.


Would you be interested in learning which of these three solar panel styles are best for your home or business? Contact Urban Solar today and inquire about a free energy assessment. We’ll tell you which solar panel design is ideal for your situation, and we’ll even tell you how much you can expect to save on your energy bill after the installation is completed. Contact us today – we’re standing by to answer all of your questions.