Types Of Solar Panels
The UK has a growing market for renewable energy and is one of the world’s leading countries in the fight to tackle global warming and reduce dependence on fossil fuels and natural gases which cause harm to the environment. The leading source of renewable energy is solar panels and they are becoming more and more common place, both domestically and commercially. The numerous benefits of solar panels are a leading factor in why so many people are turning to them to generate power. Different types of solar panels are used to produce different results, however all solar panels give the benefit of helping to reduce carbon emissions and provide excellent savings on energy bills.
Solar photovoltaic solar panels
The first and most beneficial of the types of solar panels is solar photovoltaic (also known as solar PV). Solar photovoltaic panels are designed to generate electricity; this is done when sunlight shines onto the individual solar cells on a panel. Each cell is made up of two layers of a semiconducting material which release electron to create an electrical field, resulting in DC electricity being produced. The DC electric is then converted into AC for use with lighting and appliances.
There are four main types of solar PV panel, each differs in efficiency and how much of the suns energy they are able to harness to produce electricity. The more efficient a panel, the higher the cost is likely to be. The four types are:
Types of solar panels that are photovoltaic are expensive to install and around £8000-£14000 depending on the efficiency; however, the initial outlay is more than worth the money because of the financial incentives available. A typical solar PV system will save around £200 per year on electricity bills; it will also be eligible for a government scheme known as the feed-in tariff. The scheme is in place for 25 years and rewards owners by giving them the chance to sell unused electricity to the National Grid. The feed-in tariff pays solar PV owners around £1030 per year; this can earn a person around double of the initial installation outlay.
- Polycrystalline- 11%-15% efficiency
- Monocrystalline- 13%-17%
- Amorphous silicon- low efficiency. Commonly seen in calculators and garden lamps
- Hybrid- over 17% efficiency
Solar thermal panels
The most common of the types of solar panels are solar thermal systems; these panels produce hot water that can be used for general purpose. Solar thermal panels come in two variations, the first is flat plate panels which are integrated into roof tiles and heat water by acting like a radiator. The second and most efficient is evacuated tubes which heat water through tubes which have an insulated back plate.
The likely outlay for types of solar panels that heat water is around £3000-£5000 and a typical system can provide savings of around £70-£90 per year on energy bills. Owners of solar thermal systems will need to wait until late 2012 for a reward scheme similar to the feed-in tariff when the government introduce the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.