4 Most Common Types of Solar Panels Explained

Did you know that the earth receives about 1,366 watts of direct solar radiation per square meter? The Sun is a very reliable source of energy, which makes solar panels installation a growing trend.

However, not all solar panels are the same. There are various types that are being installed, with various characteristics that are linked to them. To understand the world of solar panels better, here are 4 most common types of solar panels.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels (Mono-SI)

Monocrystalline solar panels are made of monocrystalline silicon. Their characteristic look is a dark color and rounded edges. They are very efficient due to the silicon’s purity. This is why their efficiency rate can reach above 20%.


Monocrystalline silicon makes them more durable when it comes to high temperatures. They also have a high power output. However, that makes them more expensive.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels (p-Si)

Polycrystalline solar panels have a distinctive look. Solar panels with squares and uncut angles, mostly blue. Their production is somewhat faster and cheaper because it is done by melting raw silicon.

They are cheaper but have a slightly lower efficiency rate that goes about 15%. They are not so durable when exposed to hot temperatures for a longer period of time.

However, the difference between them and monocrystalline panels is not that drastic. Monocrystalline panels do come with a bit of higher space efficiency, but when it comes to power outputs, they are fairly similar.

Thin-Film: Amorphous Silicon Solar Panels (A-SI)

Thin film solar panels have thin-film solar cells and are mostly used for smaller solar power systems.

These panels are made by placing materials like silicon, cadmium or copper on to a base. They are easy to produce which makes them a cheaper option than the other kinds of solar panels, regarding the fact that they require less material for their production.

Apart from being affordable, they are flexible as well. This makes their application much easier and decreases their sensitivity to high temperatures.

Amorphous silicon solar panels use triple layered technology, best among the thin film variety.

Considering that they are easily produced and have a low cost, their lifespan is shorter, as well as their warranties.

Concentrated PV Cell (CVP)

Concentrated PV Cell panels are a multi-junction type with an efficiency of 41%. They are so efficient due to their curved mirror surfaces, lenses and cooling systems.


With their high percentage of efficiency, they are the most efficient type of solar panels. However, to reach their maximum efficiency, they need to face the sun at a specific angle. To achieve that, inside the solar panel can be found a solar tracker that follows the sun.

Now that you are familiar with the most popular types of solar panels, get familiar with how much you could save by switching to solar.