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Types of solar panels, advantages and disadvantages and importance of solar power in industry

Intro to solar: Chapter 2

Types of Solar Panels

By the end of this module, you should be able to identify the types of solar panels. Skip to quiz!

Types of Solar Panels

At present, there are four different main types of solar panels, and they are as follows:

  • Solar Shingles

  • Monocrystalline Solar Panels

  • Polycrystalline Solar Panels

  • Thin Film Solar Panels

Let's discuss them one by one.

Solar shingles, also called photovoltaic shingles, are solar panels that look and work like asphalt shingles or slate but also generate electricity. Solar shingles are a type of solar energy solution known as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).

Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are photovoltaic materials used in places like roofs, skylights, and facades where traditional building materials would normally be used.

Here are some essential things to know about solar shingles: 13 to 17 watts of energy can be generated by solar shingles. With a life span of 25–30 years and a 10%–12% efficiency. It costs somewhere between $21 and $25 per square foot.

Monocrystalline silicon is also called single-crystal silicon or, for short, mono c-Si or mono-Si. Mono-Si is the base material for silicon-based discrete components and integrated circuits used in almost all modern electronic equipment.

Mono-Si is also used to make solar cells because it absorbs light and is photovoltaic. Recall that the photovoltaic effect is the generation of voltage and electric current in a material upon exposure to light.

Monocrystalline solar panel cells are usually more efficient because they are made of pure silicon. The round shape of these cells also helps them do their jobs better.

Here are some essential things to know about monocrystalline solar panel: Monocrystalline panels have higher efficiencies in the range of 15-20%. It usually costs between $1 and $1.50 to get 1 watt of power from a monocrystalline solar panel. And a life span of 25 years.

Polycrystalline solar panels or Multicrystalline have more than one silicon crystal in a single PV cell. Pieces of silicon are melted to make the wafers used in polycrystalline solar panels. These solar panels are square and bright blue because they are made of many silicon crystals.

Polycrystalline solar panels can operate from -40°C to 85°C. Polycrystalline solar panels are better than monocrystalline panels when it comes to heat.

Here are some essential things to know about polycrystalline solar panel: Polycrystalline solar panels have efficiencies in the range of 13-16%. The cheapest option is polycrystalline solar panels, which cost $0.90 to $1 per watt.

Polycrystalline solar panels can last up to 25 years, but as time goes on, their efficiency may go down.

A thin-film solar cell is a second-generation solar cell made by putting one or more thin layers, or thin films (TF), of photovoltaic material on a substrate like glass, plastic, or metal. Recall that the photovoltaic effect is the generation of voltage and electric current in a material upon exposure to light.

A thin film is a layer of material that can be as thin as a few hundredths of a nanometer or as thick as a few micrometers. One nanometer can be expressed as 1×10-9 m. And one micrometer can be expressed as a 1×10-6 m.

Thin-film solar panels are usually less efficient and take up more space than monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels. Thin film solar panels also tend to degrade more quickly.

Here are some essential things to know about thin film solar panels: The efficiency of the Thin-Film system depends on the type of PV material used in the cells. But generally tend to be between 7% and 18% efficient.

On average, thin-film solar panels cost between $1 and $1.50 per watt. Thin-film cells only last 10 to 20 years, which is the least amount of time.

In this module, you have learned about the following:

  • Learned about the types of solar panels, and

  • Some important factors about each type of solar panel


Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Power

By the end of this module, you should be able to identify the advantages and disadvantages of solar panels. Skip to quiz!

Advantages of Solar Power

There's no doubt that solar energy is important. The return on investment for going solar is very high, and not just in terms of money. It is also good for public health and the environment.

Every year, more people learn about the many benefits of solar energy, and the cost of installing it goes down. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Environment Friendly: Solar energy differs from regular electricity because it doesn't use fossil fuels, doesn't pollute the air or water, and doesn't add to global warming. Solar energy doesn't use or hurt the Earth's natural resources like regular electricity.

Energy Independence: You can make your own power with solar panels. So, you can use the fact that you don't need to worry about energy. You don't have to use electricity from the grid.

You are in full control of where your energy comes from. But you can't cut off the grid supply because solar energy depends on the Sun and varies depending on whether it's sunny or cloudy.

Reliable Energy Source: The Sun is an energy source that never runs out. It is always there and can be used in many different places worldwide. Solar energy is different from other types of energy because it will never run out.

Cost-Effective Energy Source: Fossil fuels will run out at some point. Because of this, solar power is very safe. And Sunlight is free, while fossil fuels are hard to find and use and cost money. Solar equipment only needs to be set up once before it starts giving you benefits.

Return on Investment: The price of installing solar panels or a solar electric system has decreased over the past few years. Some people may still be afraid to invest in solar energy for the first time.

The most important thing to remember is that installation only happens once. Electricity costs keep increasing, making paying for it a regular, ongoing, and expensive task.

You will save a lot of money in the long run if you use solar energy to power your home or building. If a user has a solar energy system installed in his home, he can enjoy low maintenance costs and a generous warranty from most manufacturers that last 10 to 25 years.

So, what are the pros of solar panels? Solar panels cost less than other ways to get energy. The price of solar keeps going down. The price has decreased by 70% in the last ten years, making it cheaper than before. A user can also use government incentives to lower the cost of installing a solar energy system.

Solar energy is the best way to get a modern, sustainable, reliable, and inexpensive energy source. Solar energy is suitable for homeowners and business owners. Solar energy can be used repeatedly and doesn't hurt the environment.

Disadvantages of Solar Power

So far, we've discussed the advantages of solar energy. Now is the time to learn about the bad things about solar power. Solar power has some problems, like everything else. Let’s discuss them one by one.

High Initial Cost: One problem with solar energy is that it is expensive to buy and set up. Part of this is the wiring, the batteries, the inverters, and the solar panels. The price of a solar energy system depends on where you live and government incentives.

Weather Dependence: Although solar energy can still be collected during cloudy and rainy days, the solar system's efficiency drops. So, a few cloudy or rainy days can affect the energy system that is easy to see.

Weather Dependence: You should also remember that you can't get energy from the Sun at night. Solar panels must be facing the Sun to collect energy from the Sun.

Solar Energy Storage is Expensive: Solar energy has to be used right away, or it can be stored in large batteries. These batteries are used in solar systems that don't connect to the power grid.

Solar Energy Storage is Expensive:

They can be charged during the day to be used at night. This is a good way to use solar energy all day long, but it costs a lot of money.

Solar Energy Storage is Expensive: Most of the time, it's better to just use solar power during the day and get power from the grid at night (you can only do this if your system is connected to the grid). During the day, when you need the most energy, you can get most of it from the Sun.

Use A Lot of Space: You will need more solar panels to gather more sunlight to make more electricity. Solar panels don't have as much power per area as fossil fuels do. You need a larger area to get the same amount of power from solar panels.

Use A Lot of Space: Don't forget that this only looks at your property. In this case, the amount of land used by fossil fuels is not considered. This means that solar panels have a huge advantage in saving space.

Associated with Pollution: Even though pollution from solar energy systems isn't as bad as other types of energy, it can still happen. Transportation and installing solar power systems have been linked to greenhouse gas emissions.

Associated with Pollution: Solar photovoltaic systems are also made with some dangerous and toxic materials, which can indirectly affect the environment. Still, solar energy is much better for the environment than other alternative forms of energy.

In this module, you have learned about the advantages and disadvantages of solar power.


Importance of Solar Power in Industry

By the end of this module, you should be able to identify the importance of solar power in the industry. Skip to quiz!

Use of Solar Energy in Industry

Solar panels are quickly becoming a popular way for people worldwide to get clean power. Let's talk about some benefits industrial businesses can get from installing solar PV systems. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Reduced Electricity Bill: The price of electricity seems to keep going up. Usually, a warehouse's energy costs take up about 15% of its operating budget. Solar power is being used to light up a lot of factories. Because of tariff rates, solar energy costs 20–25% less than electricity from the grid.

Reduced Electricity Bill: Solar power has become a good and affordable option for commercial property owners because it has a fixed price and lasts for 25–30 years. Let's say a business needs a lot of electricity for things like machinery and lighting inside and outside. In that case, users can save money by running the lights on solar power.

Increases the Value: If you want to sell your business in the future, putting solar panels on the roof will make it more beneficial and appealing to buyers. Because solar panels can provide at least some of a building's energy needs, they lower the building's operating costs over its lifetime compared to panels that don't produce energy.

Low Maintenance Cost: Unlike other energy sources, solar panels rarely need to be cleaned or repaired. The industry standard for solar panel warranties is between 20 and 25 years.

Low Maintenance Cost: There is no breakdown because there are no moving parts. After 5-10 years of constant use converting solar energy into electricity and heat, the inverter is typically the only component that has to be replaced.

Reduce Carbon Emissions from Industries: Every new generation learns more about how important it is to protect the Earth and reduce pollution and fossil fuel use. Solar panels are a better option for the environment than traditional power plants because they don't release harmful emissions.

Reduce Carbon Emissions from Industries: Also, nothing else is needed besides sunlight, and neither ash nor other waste products are made. There has been a recent rise in the number of businesses looking for suppliers with low carbon footprints.

In this module, you have learned about the importance of solar power in the industry.


Question #1: Which of the following is NOT a type of solar panel?

  1. Solar Shingles

  2. Monocrystalline Solar Panels

  3. Thin Film Solar Panels

  4. Photoelectric Panels

Scroll down for the answer...

Answer: Photoelectric Panels

Types of solar panels are as follows; Solar Shingles, Monocrystalline Solar Panels, Polycrystalline Solar panels, and Thin Film Solar Panels.

Question #2: What is a monocrystalline solar panel made of?

  1. Silicon Alloy

  2. Pure Silicon

  3. Pure Iron

  4. Iron Alloy

Scroll down for the answer...

Answer: Pure Silicon

A monocrystalline solar panel is made of pure silicon.

Question #3: What is the range of efficiency for thin-film solar panels?

  1. 7% to 18%

  2. 18% to 28%

  3. 28% to 38%

  4. 38% to 48%

Scroll down for the answer...

Answer:7% to 18%

The efficiency of the Thin-Film system tends to be between 7% and 18%.

Question #4:Which of the following is NOT an issue with solar panels?

  1. High Initial Cost

  2. Weather Dependence

  3. Energy Storage is Expensive

  4. Low Maintenance Costs

Scroll down for the answer...

Answer: Low Maintenance Costs

The issues with solar panels are as follows: they have a high initial cost; are weather dependent; solar energy storage is expensive; they use a lot of space; are associated with pollution.

Question #5: What is the lifespan of solar panels which are used in industries?

  1. 5 - 10 Years

  2. 15 - 20 Years

  3. 25 - 30 Years

  4. 35 - 40 Years

Scroll down for the answer...

Answer: 25 - 30 Years

The lifespan of solar panels is around 25 to 30 years.

Question #6: Solar energy has many benefits for factories, but which of the following is not one of them?

  1. Reduced Electricity Bill

  2. Increase the Value of Energy-Efficiency

  3. Reduce Industries Carbon Emission

  4. High Maintenance Costs

Scroll down for the answer...

Answer: High Maintenance Costs

Solar panels have many uses in industry, such as lowering the price of electricity, making energy use more efficient, cutting maintenance costs, and lowering carbon emissions.


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