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Types of Solar PV Cells

In terms of the solar technology used, there are 3 main types of solar PV cells available. All 3 are built out of silicon and each has its advantages and disadvantages. An experienced installer will be able to help you choose which technology is best for your home and answer any questions you may have.

Monocrystalline Solar PV Cells

monocrystalline solar pv cells

Monocrystalline solar PV cells are produced from a single crystal of silicon (grown from highly pure molten silicon). This crystal is then cut into thin wafers between 0.2mm and 0.3mm thick, which then form the basis of the solar PV cell. These solar PV cells are the most efficient, however, they also tend to be the most expensive to produce. They are rigid and are mounted in a rigid frame for protection.

Polycrystalline Solar PV Cells

polycrystalline solar pv cells

Polycrystalline solar PV cells are made from a slice cut from a block of silicon, but unlike monocrystalline solar PV cells, polycrystalline solar PV cells contain multiple silicon crystals. This gives them a blue marbled appearance (rather than the much darker colour of monocrystalling solar PV cells). Polycrystalline solar PV cells are slightly less efficient than monocrystalline cells, however, they are also less expensive to produce .These solar PV cells also need to be stored in a rigid protective frame.

Amorphous or Thin Film Solar PV Cells

Amorphous solar PV cells, are a type of ‘thin film solar cells’ and are made from a thin film of amorphous (non-crystalline) silicon. This can be placed on a wide range of different surfaces and, because the amorphous silicon layer is flexible, if placed on a flexible surface, then the whole solar PV cell can be flexible. These panels are the least expensive to produce but are also the least efficient. When buying amorphous solar PV cells, you should be aware that a characteristic of this type of solar PV cell is that the power output decreases over time – typically the largest decrease is in the first few months, after which the power output stabalises. This means that the quoted power output of amorphous solar PV cells should always refer to the maximum power after this stabalisation.

Other Solar PV Cells

These are the 3 main types of solar PV cells, however there are a variety of other solar PV technologies including various different forms of thin film solar PV cells made from different materials. For more information on the various types of solar PV cell, and help choosing the right technology to suit your budget and requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0116 2987467

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