A solar panel is a collection of solar cells, with each cell generating current. Panels typically have a light aluminum frame that holds the cells in place, and are covered with non-reflective glass that protects those cells from the elements. Panels come in a range of sizes and vary in the amount of electricity they generate. Generally, the more cells on a solar panel, the more watts of electricity produced.
The amount of watts produced is determined by multiplying voltage by amperage. For example, a solar panel with a rated voltage of 26 volts and a rated amperage of 6.9 amps will produce 180 watts of power. Taking an average of six hours of peak sun each day, a panel using this example would produce 1,080 watts per day – about one kilowatt-hour (kWh). Most homes typically consume between 10 and 25 kWh per day, so a home using 20 kWh per day would need about 19 panels to generate 100 percent of the electricity needed.
This is a pretty high number of panels, so in most homes it is more practical to use a solar energy system to provide part of your energy – not all of it. Contact Poco Solar and we can tell you what percentage of electricity a solar power system can produce by taking into consideration the amount of available panel space that exists on your roof.
Solar panel types
There are several different kinds of solar panels available. Here’s a brief description of a few of them.
- Mono-crystalline – These panels use solar cells made from a large, pure crystal. This is the most efficient type of panel, but also the most expensive. These are typically bluish-grey in color and perform better in low-light conditions.
- Bifacial mono-crystalline – This uses mono-crystalline cells but has glass on both sides so that it can collect energy from both sides. This allows for greater efficiency at about the same cost.
- Poly-crystalline block – Usually, the silicone in these cells is cast from large silicon blocks that contain several small crystals. This is the most common type of solar panel. While this type is somewhat less efficient than single crystal, if put in a frame with an adequate number of adjoining cells (about 35), there is not a big difference in the amount of watts produced per square foot. They have the appearance of shattered glass and have a dark blue color that looks nearly black.
- Amorphous – These are often called “thin film” solar panels because silicon is spread onto large plates of either steel or plastic. This type of panel costs much less but is also less efficient. In order to produce as man watts of energy as possible, they must be quite a bit larger. These kinds of panels are used quite often in applications such as solar backpacks and bags.
About Poco Solar: Poco Solar is a full service solar company that provides solar electric, solar pool heating, solar hot water heating and repair of solar systems in Monterey County, San Benito County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County. With more than 25 years of experience we have been helping Bay Area California residents stay comfortable, save energy and sell excess energy back to PG&E.