The designs available today offer a solar panel efficiency rating that ranges from 6 percent all the way up to 20.4 percent. There are a couple popular models being installed in commercial and residential environments. Each of the models available offers its own savings percentage depending on the manufacturer and the materials used.
The materials required to build the crystalline unit cause this model to cost more to manufacture. The different types of silicon that manufacturers use gives the unit a higher rating versus a thin film model. Ribbon silicon, mono-crystalline silicon and poly silicon are the most common designs sold in the world today.
A mono-crystalline design is quite expensive to manufacture making it not as popular as other designs. Because the piece is cut from a cylindrical shape of material, it does not stretch to cover the entire surface area. In order to fill the gaps additional materials must be used, this adds to manufacturing cost so most units do not have the gaps filled.
Poly-crystalline silicon is cast from large blocks of silicon material which is cooled and left to solidify. This process is less expensive to manufacture but offers lower rating percentages than other types because the material is very dense. Even though the rating is lower, this model is the most popular model purchased out all crystalline models.
Another silicon model is the ribbon silicon model, this design uses molten silicon to create ribbon formed pieces that are then attached to the conductive frame. Since the procedure utilizes molten silicon instead of hardened varieties, the process creates less waste than other designs. It is also quite popular since the cost is lower to manufacture, the companies who make them can offer consumers better prices.
A design that is overall less expensive than any of the crystalline models is the thin film design. The process used to create these types of models does not utilize crystalline in any of the designs. Due to the lack of crystalline, this model is not as efficient as other models. With that said the model is still quite popular because of the initial cost involved.
As technology advances in the field of solar panel efficiency, the overall savings also increase. The proof of this lies within the fact that the newer designs are showing to be up to 20.4 percent efficient, this is up from the thin film models that boast a rating of 6 percent. The advancements being currently made and future breakthroughs will make this type of power source a viable alternative to electricity in the future. [youtube:vqKCh9GHdR0?fs=1;Solar Systems USA [link:Product Line];http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqKCh9GHdR0?fs=1&feature=related]