23 MARZO 2021

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Types of solar panels for self-consumption systems

Que tipos de paneles solares para autoconsumo existen

Solar panels are modules that are used to capture the energy emitted by the sun’s radiation. This makes it possible to fully exploit sun-generated resources, such as: Water heating, battery charging, use of electronic devices and many other functions.

What types of solar panels are available for self-consumption systems?

Solar panels have become very popular and necessary for facilities and places where self-consumption systems  are the norm. This type of energy consumption was implemented as a great solution for supplying electricity in self-consumption systems, thanks to its more economical and practical functions.

Like almost everything else in this world, depending on the needs and requirements of users, solar panels can come in different types: Photovoltaic solar panels, thermal solar panels and hybrid or mixed solar panels.

Photovoltaic solar panels:

Thanks to the photovoltaic processing in these panels, solar energy is converted into electricity. Among general aspects, the following are worth noting:

  • Their operating technology is quite complex.
  • They are used mostly to produce electricity.
  • They have an operating life of up to 30 years.

These modules are made up of silicon cells and particles, so in turn, photovoltaic solar panels are divided into:

  • Single-crystalline cell modules: These consist of a single silicon crystal, of a dark blue or black color with an efficiency of approximately 20%.
  • Polycrystalline or multi-crystalline cell modules: These consist of several silicon crystals, with a much more intense blue color and their performance, which is a little lower than that of single-crystalline cell modules, reaches a 16% efficiency rate.
  • Amorphous cell modules: These cells are much less efficient than the 2 other module divisions. Since they are usually cheaper, they can be used for small electronic devices, such as calculators or clocks.

On the other hand, depending on the number of cells, there are three types of photovoltaic panels:

  • 12V: These consist of 36 cells set progressively. They are used mostly for isolated facilities that need to meet basic needs, such as a motorhome.
  • 24V: These consist of 72 cells. They are also used in isolated facilities that require higher consumption.
  • Power grid connection: These consist of 60 cells and are typically used for facilities that require power grid connection but can also function in isolated facilities.

Thermal solar panels:

These solar panels are also known as solar collectors. They operate by absorbing solar energy to heat domestic water, switch on the heating system or for heating swimming pools. Their general features include:

  • Their operating technology is quite simple.
  • Their sole function is for thermal purposes.
  • These panels have an operating life of at least 15 years.

There can be 2 subtypes:

  • Solar collectors: They heat water through progressive circulation which is then stored in the heater. It is very common to see these panels installed inside homes or in establishments that require hot water.
  • Solar thermal panels: These are known as solar heaters and thermal storage tanks. They operate by storing hot water so that it can be used during the night or in emergency situations.

Solar thermal panels typically have a 90% efficiency rating , making them an economical and sustainable alternative for heating water or spaces.

Hybrid or mixed solar panels

As can be understood by their name, they are a combination of photovoltaic and thermal solar panel technology. They produce electricity for uses such as space and water heating.

This is possible because a photovoltaic panel is installed on a thermal panel, thus linking their functions. Among their main features are the following:

  • Transformation of 10% to 15% solar radiation into electricity.
  • Transformation of 85% to 90% solar radiation into heat for heating systems and water heating.

These types of solar panels offer a great advantage, since they make it possible to pay off the initial investment and installation in a fairly short period of time. All this, thanks to the dual function and reduced space they use.

 

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