Residential Solar Powered Products & Information


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Residential Solar Cells & Panels


Probably the most important part of a residential solar energy system is the solar panel (sometimes also referred to as 'module').  These are comprised of individual solar cells connected together, in a series, to produce a higher voltage.  The solar panels themselves can also be wired in conjunction with one-another, called an array, to produce even more power.  In simple terms, a solar cell captures the suns rays and transfers that electricity to be immediately used by a device or to be stored in a battery for later use.  The amount of power that a panel can capture varies by the material they are constructed from and is very dependent on environmental conditions such as amount of sunlight and position of panels relative to it.  They can be placed in a fixed position or motorized to track the suns movement.  The main types of residential solar cells (photovoltaic) are...

Crystalline Silicon (c-Si)

Silicon is the most widely used material in the production of solar cells, accounting for 90% of the worlds distribution.  There are two primary types and are differentiated mainly by the purity of the silicon and efficiency in capturing power.


Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells (mono-Si) - These are smaller in size and produce more energy (up to 20% efficient) than poly.  They have longer life spans (around 25) but cost more.


Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells (mc-Si) - These cost less but efficiency only goes up to around 16%.  They will also require a larger space to produce the same power as mono.


Thin-Film Solar Cells (TFSC)

This technology involves placement of photovoltaic material on different substrates.  Energy efficiency typically averages about 9%.  This type of solar cell can be made into flexible sheets and be inexpensive compared to crystalline variations.  They will not last as long and are not commonly used in home solar electricity applications.


The two factors that people consider most when buying solar panels are the cost and space required for the energy that's needed.  Energy Informative has a great section about how to calculate the total cost of a residential solar energy system setup.

For some additional information visit the sites below. (you may want to bookmark this website first? :)

National Renewable Energy Laboratory is a government agency (DOE) that provides allot of valuable information on solar cells and related subjects.

Planning a Home Solar Electric System (


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