There are three basic types of solar panels. Technology is advancing on new types which include the use of plastics and less expensive production methods. Right now the new types are not efficient enough to be a logical choice for home or typical commercial use
Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient type of solar panels. Efficiency is based on the amount of electricity produced when sunlight hits the surface. Because of their high silicon content they’re slightly more expensive, but you’ll need fewer of them making them great for roofs. Monocrystalline solar panels have nearly square cells. Phillips Solar typically installs this type of panel.
Polycrystalline solar panels are the most common type of solar panels on the market today. They look a lot like shattered glass. They are slightly less efficient then the monocrystalline solar panels and less expensive to produce. Instead of one large crystal, this type of solar panel consists of multiple amounts of smaller silicon crystals.
Amorphous Solar Panels
Amorphous solar panels consist of a thin-like film made from molten silicon that is spread directly across large plates of stainless steel or similar material. These types of solar panels have lower efficiency then the other two types of solar panels, and the cheapest to produce. One advantage of amorphous solar panels over the other two is that they continue to charge while part of the solar panel cells are in a shadow. These work great on boats and other types of transportation.
Thin film is all the talk because it’s really inexpensive to make and it’ll bear the heat from the sun. Right now, thin film is so inefficient, home roof or ground mounting is impractical
BIPV (building integrated photovoltaics)
BIPV’s can often look like real roofing tiles. They typically cost a lot more than solar panels and they are far less efficient than conventional PV. What that means is you’ll need a very large area to make a difference in your electric bill. SunWave Solar does not currently contract for Building Integrated Photovoltaics.