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Types of Solar Panels

What are the different types  of Solar Panels are there? 

If  you have ascertained what size solar panel system  you want , the next step is to judge what kind of solar system  will meet your household requirements  . This should not be a decision based purely  on budget  , because solar panel efficiency  , longevity,warranty , and space needed are all important factors. Too often customers base there purchasing decisions on price only and wonder why no-one picks up the phone from the “fly by night company” you purchased  your solar panels from when in  3 years your inverter dies or your output is halved or significantly reduced . But its also important to  understand  that there are different qualities of solar power brisbane systems  on the market and you should compare “apples with apples”, not apples with oranges. So although there are 3 main types of panels ; Mono crystalline, Polycrystalline, and thin-film or Amorphous  its important to recognize the advantages and disadvantages of all of them  . If your main hurdle for purchasing panels is price, then I suggest you compare “like with like” so its silly to compare the price of Mono with the latest Amorphous panel and make your  buying  decision based from price alone.

One of the most important distinctions to make regarding Solar panels is the different Watts available. Watts are related to the output of the  panel, so a 200W solar panel would output 200 watts per hour. Expect to pay double the price of a 100W panel .


Solar power panels come with a  performance warranty as standard  that may last up to 25 years and a guarantee of five to ten years. As well,  solar power companies  can provide a warranty on workmanship , typically five years.  So why not ask your solar power company  who is providing the warranty–the importer or the manufacturer–and what happens if something breaks or malfunctions .

There are three  different  types of  solar panel systems  available, each with their own benefits.

Mono crystalline cells 

Mono crystalline  solar panels  are proven and reliable technology, used over the past 50 years and  is still common in every day solar power applications . They have the  highest  conversion efficiency, at 12-18% of all sunlight. Because these have the highest power to size ratio, they’re  one of the best  options  if you’ve got limited roof space. They also degrade very slowly, generally losing 0.25 – 0.5% per year. Their lifespan can be 25 years, even up to 50 years if they panels are being taken care of and maintained and cleaned on a regular basis  .
Disadvantages: Mono crystalline cells don’t perform as well as other  solar panels  in shady conditions and they are quite fragile. They are more expensive to manufacture because of their complexity.

Polycrystalline cells

Polycrystalline compares well in performance and longevity to mono crystalline, and provide efficiency of 12-13%. Well known brands include BP SX, Sharp and Kyocera .
Both crystalline panels have great longevity (around 25 years). Both work optimally at 25oC and will lose some efficiency at higher temperatures (over 50oC) – common in our summer .

Amorphous Thin Film

Thin film panels  mostly  have a much lower efficiency at 6%, however,Cadmium Telluride Thin-Film panels (CdTe) have progressed to 11% efficiency. These are more suitable for inland Australia conditions where space is no problem  and temperatures are hot . Amorphous panels do not lose energy in higher heats.
Disadvantages are: expected lifespan is less, there is a 3-6 month  running in or warming up  period, and they typically require 2-3 times the  roof area  for the same output of crystalline cells.
When choosing, remember to focus on the goal of recouping your initial costs through savings in electricity . The more efficient and higher Watt panels will do this faster .  However, if you are looking at solar farms in Outback Australia where temperatures routinely get above 40 degrees Celsius and there is a bit of cloud cover as these panels work much better in the shade also then these panels  would be well suited to you .