A Quick Comparison Between Thin-Film Solar Panels And Standard Solar Panels

With emerging breakthroughs in the solar technology industry, homeowners are presented with a lot of solar panel options to choose from. Among the many innovations that have recently hit the solar panel manufacturing space, none is more appealing and exciting than the thin solar films.

But what’s the difference between these solar panels and the standard panels? Well, before delving deeper into this, it is important to first understand what thin-film solar panels are.

What are thin-film solar panels?

Essentially, these are solar cells that have light absorbing layers that are about 350 times smaller than those of standard silicon panels. They have a narrow design, making them one of the lightest PV cells that you can find in today’s solar panel market.

Thin-Film Solar Panels versus Standard Solar Panels

When comparing thin-film solar panels (or simply solar panel films) with standard solar panels, there are a lot of factors that you can look at. However, to make things as simple as possible, let’s concentrate on two of the biggest distinguishing factors between these two solar systems: carbon offset and efficiency.

1. Carbon Offset

The silicon required for the traditional panels is much more significant than thin films, which implies that the emissions required to develop thin-film panels are much lower than their standard panel counterparts. However, this important ‘environmental benefit’ of thin-film solar panels is often cancelled by the fact that they come with moderate amounts of Cadmium, which is believed to be carcinogenic. Nonetheless, there are manufacturers such as CIGS that take care of this and produces thin-film panels with practically no cadmium.

2. Efficiency

This is the ultimate deciding factor that has been limiting solar panel films from gaining a significant foothold in the residential solar panel market. While today’s conventional solar panels have efficiencies of between 15 and 16 percent, thin-film solar panels are cited to hold a median closer to 11 and 13 percent. This considerably low efficiency can impact your solar system’s physical size as well as your overall electricity output. Nonetheless, tests that have been carried recently (2017 onwards) have indicated 25 percent efficiencies, and more manufacturers have promised to remedy this efficiency lag that solar panel films are associated with.

Final Verdict

If aesthetics is a strong priority for your solar panel installation needs, then solar panel films are the most cost-effective way to get what you are looking for. As the efficiency of these solar panels continues to increase, thin-film solar panels are expected to make a strong entry into the residential solar panel market. Only time will tell.

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