A solar cell or photovoltaic cell is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity. It can also be defined as a device whose electrical characteristics, such as current, voltage, or resistance, vary when exposed to light.
Solar cells are described as being photovoltaic irrespective of whether the source is sunlight or an artificial light. They are used as a photo detector (for example infrared detectors), detecting light or other electromagnetic radiation near the visible range, or measuring light intensity.
Best Solar Panel Type for Home Use
For those who don’t have enough space for thin-film solar panels, or if you want to limit the amount of space the PV-system takes up, crystalline-based solar panels are your best choice.
The 180, 200 and 220-watt rated solar panels are usually physically the same size. They are manufactured exactly the same way, but under- or over perform when tested.
Both mono- and polycrystalline solar panels are good choices and offer similar advantages.
Monocrystalline solar panels are slightly more expensive, but also slightly more space-efficient. If you had one polycrystalline and one monocrystalline solar panel, both rated 220-watt, they would generate the same amount of electricity, but the one made of monocrystalline silicon would take up less space.
If you want the lowest costs per rated power, or in other words, pay as little as possible for a certain amount of electricity, you should investigate in crystalline solar panels.
Thin-film solar panels are in general not very useful for in most residential situations. They are cheap, but they also require a lot of space.
Low space-efficiency also means that the costs of PV-equipment (e.g. support structures and cables) will increase.
Thin-film solar panels tend to degrade faster than mono- and polycrystalline solar panels, which is why they typically come with a shorter warranty.