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Solar panel types – What you need to know about solar panels in Calgary

Solar panel types: What you need to know about solar panels in Calgary

If you’re planning to install solar panels in Calgary, this article will provide an informative guide about the different technologies available and how they work. So, let’s start!

solar panels Calgary


The majority of available solar panel kinds are monocrystalline, polycrystalline (also known as multi-crystalline), and thin-film. They vary in how they’re made, their appearance, performance, prices, and the installations they’re best suited for. One alternative may be more suitable than the others, depending on what installation you’re considering. The type of solar panel that is best for your installation is determined by several factors specific to your property and desired system characteristics.

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequent solar panel questions, and worries, as well as how various panels differ in terms of performance.

What materials are used in solar panels?

Solar cells are created from a semiconductive substance that converts light into electricity. Silicon is the most prevalent material employed in solar cell manufacturing, and it’s used in its most basic form as a semiconductor.

Monocrystalline vs. polycrystalline

Solar panels are made from silicon wafers and are divided into two forms: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Wafers are put together in rows and columns to make a rectangle, covered with a glass layer, and joined together to construct a monocrystalline or polycrystalline panel.

Despite being made of silicon, monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels differ in the chemical make-up of the silicon. Single, pure crystals of silicon are used to make monocrystalline solar cells. Polycrystalline solar panels, on the other hand, are made from dissimilar silicon crystal pieces that are forced into a mold and melted before being sliced into wafers.

Thin-film type

Unlike monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells, thin-film panels are composed of a variety of substances. CdTe (Cadmium Telluride) is the most frequently used material in thin-film solar panels. Manufacturers put a layer of CdTe between transparent conducting layers to create this thin-film panel. The tempered glass layer on the top of this thin-film device serves as protection and offers scratch resistance.

Thin-film solar panels can also be produced from Amorphous Silicon (a-Si), which is similar to the composition of monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. Even though these thin-film panels are composed of silicon, they are not formed from solid wafers. Instead, they’re made out of non-crystalline silicon topped by glass, plastic, or metal.

What do various solar panels look like?

The materials and manufacturing processes differ between each solar panel, resulting in various appearances.

Monocrystalline solar panels

A monocrystalline panel is most likely a solar panel with black cells. Because of how light interacts with the pure silicon crystal, these cells appear black.

Solar cells are black, while monocrystalline solar panels come in a variety of hues for their back sheets and frames. The solar panel’s back sheet is often black, silver, or white, while the metal frames are generally black or silver.

Polycrystalline solar panels

Unlike monocrystalline cells, polycrystalline solar cells have a bluish tinge to them as a result of the light reflecting off the silicon shards in the cell in a different manner than it reflects off a pure monocrystalline wafer.

Polycrystalline panels, like monocrystalline, have distinctly colored back sheets and frames. The frames of polycrystalline panels are commonly silver, while the back sheets are usually silver or white.

Thin-film solar panels

When it comes to thin-film solar panels, the most significant aesthetic difference is how thin and low-profile the technology is. Thin-film solar panels are frequently narrower than other panel types. The cells within the panels are roughly 350 times thinner than crystalline wafers used in monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels.

While thin-film cells may be thinner than traditional solar cells, a complete thin- film panel can be comparable in thickness to a monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panel if it features a thick frame. There are adhesive thin- film solar panels attached as near to the surface of a roof as feasible, but there are thicker thin-film panels with frames up to 50 millimeters thick.

Thin-film solar panels are available in a variety of colors, including blue and black, depending on the material used.

What type of panel is best for your situation?

When choosing a solar panel for your system, a lot will be determined by the specifics of your home and situation. Thin-film, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline panels each have certain benefits and drawbacks. The options you should consider are determined by your home and the goals of your solar project.

Owners with a lot of area for their solar panels may save money upfront by installing less efficient, lower-cost polycrystalline photovoltaics. You may save money on your power bill by putting high-efficiency, monocrystalline solar panels in a small space if you have a limited area available and wish to maximize your electricity cost savings.

If you’re installing solar panels on a huge, commercial roof that can’t handle the extra weight of standard solar technology, thin-film panels are most popular because they have a larger surface area available to them. Solar panel installations can afford lower performance levels because structural limitations do not restrict the energy output of the panels. Thin-film panels may be an excellent option for portable solar systems, such as RVs or boats.

What are bifacial solar panels, and what are their benefits?

Bifacial solar panels, also known as “two-sided” solar panels, can gather more energy than similarly sized traditional solar panels because they absorb light from the front and back of the panel.

The entire back surface of most bifacial panels is transparent, allowing sunlight to pass through the panel, reflect off the ground’s surface, and return upward toward the solar cells on the backside of the panel.

Most solar panels are composed of monocrystalline cells, although polycrystalline bifacial solar panels do exist.

Start your solar journey with Panel Upgrade Experts right away.

We’re happy to see the progress of solar cell technology, particularly in the lovely streets of Calgary. Panel Upgrade Experts remain committed to offering the greatest solar panel installation services to residential renovators and commercial builders. Give us a call if you’re looking for solar panels in Calgary. We’d be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

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