There are many benefits to making the most out of solar electricity…
Solar panel systems, known as photovoltaics, are able to absorb energy from the sun using photovoltaic cells. These kinds of cells don’t require direct sunlight and are still able to work during cloudy days. The collected sunlight is then converted into electricity for you to use in your home.
It doesn’t need to be said, but sunlight is free. Once you’ve paid your initial costs, any electricity you generate will be absolutely free of charge. And once your system has paid itself off, you can look forward to continuous free energy.
Not only that, but solar power is also a great way to offset some of your carbon footprint. Solar energy is green energy—it is renewable and doesn’t release any harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. With solar, you can rest easy knowing that your power needs aren’t destroying the planet.
How do solar panel cells work?
Each cell in a solar panel is made up of a semi-conductive material which is usually made of silicon. When sunlight makes contact with the cells, an electric field is created across its various layers.
The amount of energy produced is directly proportional to the amount of sunlight that hits the cells. The power created is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). This measurement is equal to the rate at which your solar cell generates energy when operating at its full capacity.
Silicon is the go-to material to create photovoltaic cells—almost 90% of all solar panels use at least some form of silicon. The silicon used in solar cells takes many forms and they vary in terms of purity.
But what does that mean?
Depending on how the silicon molecules are aligned, each solar cell will be better or worse at converting energy from the sun into energy you can use.
The efficiency of your solar panel is directly related to the purity of the silicon used to make your photovoltaic cells. While this is an important factor to consider and be aware of, efficiency probably won’t be your main concern. More often than not, cost and space will be the main contributing factors to your purchase.
Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline
The silicon in solar cells comes in two main varieties: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline solar cells will typically be dark black in color, and the corners of the cells are usually missing as a result of the production process and the physical nature of monocrystalline silicon.
Monocrystalline silicon cells are created using ingots of silicon that are cylindrical, which makes them more efficient. They are easily recognizable as the external surface will have a uniform and even color and look, unlike its polycrystalline counterpart, which is indicative of a high quality.
- Monocrystalline has the highest efficiency rates and typically range from 15-20%
- Because they yield the highest power outputs, they are the most space efficient and require less space than other cells
- Longest lifespan and usually come with long-term warranties
- They are the most expensive kind of solar cells on the market
- If the solar panel is partially covered with shade, dirt, or snow, the entire circuit can break down
- There is some silicon waste in the production process
- Performance drops as the temperature goes up, but less so than polycrystalline solar panels
On the other hand, polycrystalline can be identified by its signature light or dark blue color; there will usually be some patches that are lighter than others.
Polycrystalline silicon was first brought to the market in 1981 and, unlike its counterpart, there is no intricate silicon crafting process. Rather than individually crafting each solar cell, the raw silicon is melted together and poured into square molds, which when cooled create uniform square solar cells.
- The production process is simpler, making them cheaper to produce
- Less silicon is wasted compared to monocrystalline cells
- Lower efficiency, usually between 13-16%
- Lower purity means they are worse
- Less space efficient
- Less aesthetically pleasing, although this is obviously subjective
This Renogy solar power starter kit has specifically been created with new users in mind. This offering is ideal for any off the grid applications including RVs, boats, sheds, and cabins.
This starter kit doesn’t just help you to gain grid independence, it will also operate so quietly that you’ll barely know it’s there.
This solar kit comes with everything you need to set up a new system: the Renogy 50W 12V Polycrystalline Solar Panel, an accompanying 10A PWM charge controller, a 20’ 12AWG MC4 adaptor kit, an 8’ 12AWG tray cable, and a set of Z-brackets to mount them.
- Perfect if you are new to solar
- One 10-Amp PWM charge controller with uniquely designed Z brackets for mounting
- One pair of 20’ MC4 connector adaptor kit with MC4 male and female connectors
- Added tray cable for connection between charge controller and battery
- 25-year transferable power output warranty
Like its polycrystalline counterpart, the Renogy 50W Monocrystalline Starter Kit is specifically designed for those customers who are new to solar.
This small kit is perfect for small-scale off-grid applications like trailers, boats, and when out camping. With this one purchase, you will have everything you need to get you going in the world of solar, including the Renogy 50W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel, a 10A PWM charge controller, a 20’ 12AWG MC4 adaptor kit, an 8’ 12AWG Tray Cable, and a set of Z-brackets.
- High solar cell efficiency: Monocrystalline 18.4%
- EL tested solar modules; no hot-spot heating guaranteed
- LCD readout on controller for easy monitoring
- UL 1703-certified Grade A high-efficiency solar panel
- 25-year transferable power output warranty
· 25-year transferable power output warranty