So, you’re thinking installing solar panels for flats in India ? Great choice! Solar energy is not only good for the environment but can also save you money on your electricity bills. But with so many options out there, how do you know which type of solar panel is right for your flat?
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the different types of solar panels for flats available in India in 2024. From monocrystalline to polycrystalline to thin film, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each type so you can make an informed decision.
Before delving into the types of solar panels let’s understand the basics of solar energy.
Solar energy, fundamentally, is the power derived directly from the sun’s rays—a vast, limitless source that has propelled life on Earth for billions of years. Only in recent decades have we begun to harness its potential as a sustainable power source for our modern world.
The principle behind solar panels is simple yet ingenious. These panels contain cells, typically made of silicon, that capture sunlight. When photons from the sun strike these cells, they dislodge electrons, creating an electric current—an effect known as the photovoltaic effect. The generated electricity can be used immediately or stored in batteries for later use.
The beauty of solar energy lies not only in its simplicity but also in its versatility. Solar panels can be installed on rooftops, integrated into building materials, or even deployed as large-scale solar farms, capable of powering anything from small gadgets to entire homes and communities.
Moreover, the benefits of solar energy extend beyond its renewable nature. It’s a clean form of energy, emitting no harmful greenhouse gases or pollutants, making it a crucial player in the global effort to combat climate change and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Economically, as the technology has matured and scaled, the costs associated with solar installations have significantly dropped, rendering it an increasingly attractive option for homeowners seeking to save on their energy bills. In essence, solar energy embodies a convergence of environmental responsibility and economic sensibility. It stands as a testament to human ingenuity, transforming the sun’s abundant rays into a powerhouse for our daily lives.
Now, finally let’s understand different types of solar panels available in India.
Types Of Solar Panels
As the demand for solar energy has grown, so too has the variety of solar panels available on the market. While they all serve the primary function of converting sunlight into electricity, differences in materials and manufacturing processes give each type its unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s delve into the most common types of solar panels and understand what sets them apart.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels (Mono-SI)
This type of solar panels (made of monocrystalline silicon) is the purest one. You can easily recognise them from the uniform dark look and the rounded edges. The silicon’s high purity causes this type of solar panel has one of the highest efficiency rates, with the newest ones reaching above 20%.
Monocrystalline panels have a high power output, occupy less space, and last the longest. Of course, that also means they are the most expensive of the bunch. Another advantage to consider is that they tend to be slightly less affected by high temperatures compared to polycrystalline panels.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels (Poly-SI)
You can quickly distinguish these panels because this type of solar panels has squares, its angles are not cut, and it has a blue, speckled look. They are made by melting raw silicon, which is a faster and cheaper process than that used for monocrystalline panels.
This leads to a lower final price but also lower efficiency (around 15%), lower space efficiency, and a shorter lifespan since they are affected by hot temperatures to a greater degree. However, the differences between mono- and polycrystalline types of solar panels are not so significant and the choice will strongly depend on your specific situation.
The first option offers a slightly higher space efficiency at a slightly higher price but power outputs are basically the same.
Thin-Film Solar Cells (TFSC)
If you are looking for a less expensive option, you might want to look into thin-film. Thin-film solar panels are manufactured by placing one or more films of photovoltaic material (such as silicon, cadmium or copper) onto a substrate. These types of solar panels are the easiest to produce and economies of scale make them cheaper than the alternatives due to less material being needed for its production.
They are also flexible—which opens a lot of opportunities for alternative applications—and is less affected by high temperatures. The main issue is that they take up a lot of space, generally making them unsuitable for residential installations. Moreover, they carry the shortest warranties because their lifespan is shorter than the mono- and polycrystalline types of solar panels.
However, they can be a good option to choose among the different types of solar panels where a lot of space is available.
Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell (A-Si)
Have you ever used a solar powered pocket calculator? Yes? Then you have definitely seen these types of solar panels before. The amorphous silicon solar cell is among the different types of solar panels, the one that is used mainly in such pocket calculators. This type of solar panel uses a triple layered technology, which is the best of the thin film variety.
Just to give a brief impression of what “thin” means, in this case, we’re talking about a thickness of 1 micrometre (one millionth of a metre). With only 7% efficiency rate, these cells are less effective than crystalline silicon ones—that have an efficiency rate of circa 18%—but the advantage is the fact that the A-Si-Cells are relatively low in cost.
Cadmium Telluride Solar Cell (CdTe)
Among the collection of different types of solar panels, this photovoltaic technique uses Cadmium Telluride, which enables the production of solar cells at a relatively low cost and thus a shorter payback time (less than a year). Of all solar energy technologies, this is the one requiring the least amount of water for production.
Keeping the short energy payback time in mind, CdTe solar cells will keep your carbon footprint as low as possible. The only disadvantage of using Cadmium Telluride is its characteristic of being toxic if ingested or inhaled. In Europe especially, this is one of the greatest barriers to overcome, as many people are very concerned about using the technology behind this type of solar panel.
Concentrated PV Cell (CVP and HCVP)
Concentrated PV cells generate electrical energy just as conventional photovoltaic systems do. Those multi-junction types of solar panels have an efficiency rate of up to 41%, which, among all photovoltaic systems, is the highest so far.
The name of such CVP cells is related to what makes them so efficient, compared to other types of solar panels: curved mirror surfaces, lenses and sometimes even cooling systems are used to bundle the sun rays and thus increase their efficiency.
By this means, CVP cells have become one of the most efficient solar panels, with a high performance and efficiency rate of up to 41%. What remains is the fact, that such CVP solar panels can only be as efficient if they face the sun in a perfect angle. In order to reach such high efficiency rates, a solar tracker inside the solar panel is responsible for following the sun.
FAQ: Solar Panels For Flats In India
How effective are thin-film solar panels compared to other solar panel types?
To be precise, the efficiency of thin-film solar panels is lower than that of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels. However, they are better for some applications because they are lighter and more flexible.
Do bifacial solar panels produce power more efficiently than conventional solar panels?
Yes, bifacial solar panels are superior to conventional solar panels in their ability to produce electricity. In addition, they may generate power from both sides, soaking up more sunshine and producing more energy.
Is it possible to combine several solar panel types in a single solar panel array?
Yes, you can combine various solar panel types in a single solar panel array. However, to prevent any problems caused by incompatible performance, it is advised to utilise panels with comparable specs and performance traits.
As we navigate the complexities of the 21st century, the shift towards sustainable and renewable energy sources becomes not just a choice, but a necessity. Solar energy, with its promise of harnessing the sun’s boundless power, stands at the forefront of this transformation.
Through this guide, we’ve journeyed from understanding the basics of solar energy to exploring types of solar panels available in 2024. The myriad benefits, both environmental and economic, make a compelling case for its adoption.
For homeowners, the decision to transition to solar is not merely about reducing electricity bills or increasing property value; it’s a commitment to a greener planet and a sustainable future.
As technology evolves, costs decrease, and global consciousness rises, solar energy’s radiant promise only grows brighter. It’s an invitation to each of us to be part of a revolution, one rooftop at a time.
Read More – SustVest
Founder of Sustvest
Hardik completed his B.Tech from BITS Pilani. Keeping the current global scenario, the growth of renewable energy in mind, and people looking for investment opportunities in mind he founded SustVest ( formerly, Solar Grid X ) in 2018. This venture led him to achieve the ‘Emerging Fintech Talent of the Year in MENA region ‘ in October 2019.