By Joseph Gichau

Solar panels use a mechanism known as the photovoltaic effect to turn sunlight into electricity. Solar panels use a variety of technologies, each with advantages and restrictions of its own. Following are descriptions of a few of the main types:

  1. Monocrystalline Silicon (Mono-Si): Silicon is crystallized into a single unit to create monocrystalline solar panels. Because of their high-efficiency rate—which is normally between 15% and 20%—they are able to produce more electricity in a smaller space. Mono-Si panels are
    distinguished by their constant black color.
  2. Polycrystalline Silicon (Poly-Si): Multiple silicon crystals are used to create polycrystalline solar panels. Although they cost less to make than monocrystalline panels, they typically have an efficiency of 13% to 16%. Poly-Si panels have a blue color due to the multiple crystals.
  3. Thin-Film Solar Cells: Thin-film solar panels use various materials, such as amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), to create a thin layer of semiconductors on a substrate. Thin-film panels are flexible, lightweight, and can be
    integrated into various applications. However, they have lower efficiency compared to crystalline silicon panels, typically ranging from 10% to 12%.
  4. Bifacial Solar Panels: Bifacial panels can generate electricity from both sides of the panel by utilizing light reflected from the ground or surrounding surfaces. They can capture additional sunlight and potentially increase overall energy production. Bifacial panels can be made using
    both monocrystalline and thin-film technologies.
  5. Concentrated Solar Panels (CSP): Concentrated solar panels use lenses or mirrors to focus sunlight onto a small area, which typically contains a high-efficiency solar cell or heat-absorbing material. CSP systems are mainly used for large-scale utility projects and can achieve high
    temperatures for electricity generation or thermal energy storage.
  6. Perovskite Solar Cells: A novel class of materials known as perovskites is used in perovskite solar cells, a promising technology. Due to their tremendous potential for efficiency, low manufacturing costs, and ability to be produced utilizing straightforward procedures, they have demonstrated considerable promise. To address their stability and long-term performance, more research is necessary.

It’s important to remember that solar panel efficiency and cost can vary, and technology is
constantly improving. The choice of solar panel technology is influenced by a number of
variables, including efficiency, price, space availability, installation requirements, and project-
specific requirements.