Solar energy is the clean alternative par excellence for home use. Despite this, and the growth it is experiencing around the world, ignorance about it is still widespread. This makes it difficult for many people who could benefit from this renewable source to take advantage of it. So that this does not happen to you, we stop at one of the basic elements of the machine to know the types of solar panels that exist and therefore the power getting the most out of clean energy.
Before you start thinking about installing a solar panel system, you need to make sure that your home, specifically your roof, is prepared for such an installation. Your roof must be in good condition; If you know your roof needs to be repaired, you should make these repairs before installing solar panels. Otherwise, you will need to remove and replace the panels during future repairs or replacements.
You should also make sure that there are no large shaded areas on most of the roof for most of the day, especially during the hottest hours of the day. Shading prevents solar panels from operating at their maximum efficiency.
Once you know your roof is compatible, it’s time to consider which type of solar panel is best suited to your home and what you want to use it for, generate electricity, heat water …
The classic: the photovoltaic solar panel.
Before that, let’s start with the basics. What photovoltaic panels do is capture the energy that comes from the sun so that from there, it becomes an alternating current suitable for supplying the various household equipment. In this sense, it is important to keep in mind that a solar panel of this type, by itself, will be of little or no use. Indeed, the plates are only one of the necessary components for a domestic solar installation which, in addition, will require an inverter and, depending on the use you want to give it, storage batteries.
In all cases, the signs are the key and the starting point. Therefore, it is important to know that there are many types. To begin with, we must distinguish two fundamentals: monocrystalline panels and polycrystalline panels. The choice of one or the other will have consequences, both on the price of the installation and on the level of efficiency, among others.
One point where the previous two panels coincide is the material they are made of: silicon. Just as photovoltaic panels dominate the market, this material does so in the solar cells of this technology. So much so that we estimate that 9 out of 10 photovoltaic panels use silicon.
However, innovation in this area does not stop, so we must continue to complement the previous typologies. Biophotovoltaic panels like these, from the University of Cambridge, or others like thin-film ones are starting to gain traction in a world where, moreover, many other alternatives are yet to come.
Those who are not yet involved in the world of clean energy may not know that it is versatile. Thus, in addition to producing electricity, solar energy can be used to heat a house, heat a swimming pool or do the same with domestic hot water (DHW). All of the above, of course, as long as the proper installation is available.
Which? Which, before conventional photovoltaic panels, goes to the thermal solar panels or solar collectors. In this case, what would be achieved is that the energy recovered from the sun is converted, not into electricity, but into usable heat for one of the listed uses.
Although it is a universe of constant innovation, in general, solar collectors that can be found on the market are divided into three classes, ranging from low to high temperature. Between the two, the average temperature sensors, which manage to reach 90 degrees thanks to a cover that prevents heat loss.
A little less, specifically 50 degrees, reach the low temperature thermal panels which, with this, would make it possible to take advantage of solar energy for home heating and meet the needs for domestic hot water. The same uses would be given to medium temperature sensors, which would be suitable for homes and commercial areas.
Finally, there would be the high temperature sensors, which can trump the previous ones well. This typology is oriented towards the production of electricity in thermal power stations, it is therefore out of residential use. By the way, for this purpose, the manufacture of a home solar collector is possible for those who like DIY (Do it yourself or do it yourself).
2 x 1: hybrid solar panel.
To squeeze the best of one (the photovoltaic) and the best of the other (the thermal collector) arises the 2 × 1 solar panel or, as it is officially called, the hybrid solar panel. As the name suggests, in this case what is on offer is a solution that combines the previous two to, in a single panel, capture the energy of the sun to produce electricity and, also, produce heat to heat domestic hot water or heat a house.
Thus, the musculature of this type of panel is obvious, because it favors both the uses and, also, because it supposes a significant reduction of the space necessary for the installation. Indeed, by opting for this type of mixed panel, you go from two installations to one.
Therefore, this alternative is ideal for those who want to make the most of the sun, but find it difficult to do so due to the lack of space. In addition to owners, those of any other establishment (schools, hospitals, etc.) can also use hybrid solar installations. In addition, these panels can be very suitable for your industrial application.
Hit it? Which are not yet as widespread as photovoltaic solar modules and thermal collectors. However, little by little. In Spain, in fact, initiatives are already underway to extend the use of this option, such as the hybrid solar panel which, when activated, promises an improvement in the performance of photovoltaic panels by up to 15%.