Many Australian homeowners are investing in a solar system of their own to help manage the costs of electricity. With a growing need to stay at or work from home, it’s an investment that’s become incredibly valuable today. It pays to have your own system, for a multitude of reasons.
But for a better idea on the system you require, it’s important that you first understand what types of solar systems are out there.
Luckily our installers at Solar System Australia run you through all you need to know before you can start your journey to greater savings.
The 3 Types of Solar Systems
There are generally three types of solar systems that you can implement for your home or business.
- On the Grid
Best for: Homes, offices, and businesses in city or urban areas.
On the grid solar systems are connected to the grid. The importance of this is that you are able to draw from the grid at any time in conditions where your solar panels stop producing power. Your solar system will also be able to send excess electricity back to the grid in which case you will then receive credit on your next power bill.
- On the Grid + Battery Storage
Best for: Busy working professionals and greater energy needs.
This type of solar system is an ideal option for those that don’t use all that much power their solar panels produce during daylight hours. Like an on-grid solar system, your energy will first draw power from your solar panels and use the grid as a backup. However, instead of excess solar power going back to the grid it can be stored for later use into a battery for night time usage.
- Off Grid
Best for: Homes or businesses in rural areas where connecting to the grid is impossible or a priced-out option.
Off the grid solar systems aren’t connected to the grid, and therefore stand alone. They might also be supplemented by other clean energy systems or an electricity generator, as well as battery storage systems. Solar systems that are off the grid can’t rely on the grid for a backup source of power, therefore more careful monitoring and usage is required to ensure that there’s no outage of power.
The 3 Types of Solar Panels
- Monocrystalline silicon wafers
Stand out feature: most efficient solar panels
Most solar panels today are made with silicon PV cells. Monocrystalline solar panels are made with pure silicon crystals that are finely cut. Monocrystalline solar cells make the most efficient solar panels on the market today.
- Best performance in high heat
- Lower rate of light induced degradation
- Less susceptible to forming micro-cracks
- Polycrystalline silicon wafers
Stand out feature: more sustainable production
Polycrystalline solar cells are also made with silicon but are made with a blend of different silicon pieces together instead of being cut from one piece. Polycrystalline cells are slightly less efficient than monocrystalline but are easier to make and more sustainable to produce.
- Cheaper silicon panels
- Uneven blue colour and texture
- A bit less efficient
- Thin Film Solar Panels
Stand out feature: cheapest production
Instead of silicon, thin film solar panels are created with a thin layer of a conductive material such as cadmium telluride (CdTe) on a backing layer of glass or plastic. Thin film solar panels are a lot less efficient than monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels, but as they are much cheaper to produce, they make a suitable option where there’s a wide roof space. They are also more flexible and are the types of solar panels that you may see as a result on boats or RVs.
- A lot cheaper
- More flexible
- Much less efficient
- Used for large scale utility and speciality applications
The 2 Types of Solar Cells
Whether your silicon-based solar panels are made with monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon, each type is treated with chemicals to allow them to facilitate an electrical current.
There are generally two types of chemicals used to treat solar cells, and two categories of solar cells as a result:
- P – type
P-type solar cells are silicon wafers that are doped with boron. With one less electron, boron produces a positive charge in the cell.
- Most common solar cell treatment
- More susceptible to light-induced degradation (LID)
- N- type
N-type solar cells are created by doping the silicon wafers with phosphorous. As phosphorous has one more electron than silicon, the solar cell is negatively charged.
- A premium option in solar cells7
- Less susceptible to light-induced degradation (LID)
Either P-type or n-type solar cells can also be cut in half, to provide your solar panels with added special features:
- Half Cut Solar Cells
Half cut solar cells have become a game change in the solar industry.
Traditional solar panels have solar cells in a series of circuits to direct the electrons through a connected electrical current. However, half cut solar cells need to be installed in a parallel circuit. The significance of this change is that there is an increased output that the panels can generate, and the solar panels are also more resistant to interference with shade. Half cut cells are an ideal option for homes that have surrounding trees or structures that would cast a shadow that reaches your roof during some hours of the day.
Get Expert Assistance with Selecting a Solar System
There are also some other ;factors that you might consider when purchasing a solar system, such as:
- How large is your roof? And/or, how much weight can your roof support?
- What is the expected average temperature of your location based on the season?
- How well will your solar panels work depending on different conditions?
- What is your budget?
- What are your energy needs?
Our solar installers at Solar System Australia are the experts when it comes to helping our clients get the best outcome with their solar systems. If you need any assistance, we provide a free solar assessment to all our clients: new or returning. So that you can have the assurance of an expertly devised solution.
We use LONGi solar panels, reputed for their monocrystalline N-type solar panels with half cut cell technology; so, you can be assured of the high calibre of our products. As a CEC approved solar retailer, you can also trust that our customer experience and workmanship will provide an installation that fits with the best practices of the industry.