Thin Film Solar Panels – A Flexible Solar Solution
What Are Thin Film Solar Panels?
Thin film solar panels are generally more flexible and thinner than conventional PV panels yet they still convert sunlight to electricity like conventional PV panels. Typically, the semiconductor layers on thin film solar panels are just a few millionths of a meter thick, although the name “thin film” comes how they are produced and not from their thickness.
What Can You Expect From Thin Film Solar Panels?
Because of how they are created and the elements in use, thin film solar technology is less efficient than conventional solar panels. As a result, thin film solar panels only reach 6% to 11% efficiency and need more roof space to produce the same amount of electricity as conventional PV solar panels. Thin film solar technology is best used for commercial buildings with lots of rooftop space. The time to install thin film can be longer and more costly because more solar panels and mounting materials need to be put in place to meet the same output as conventional crystalline silicon PV solar panels.
When to Invest in Thin Film Solar Panels?
This technology can make sense if you have a very large roof top and require very little electricity. Thin film solar panels are also appropriate if you have unique architectural needs that limit installation of conventional PV panels. Thin film solar panels can cost less upfront, but it is important to double check to see if the long-term output actually equals a positive return on investment in comparison to conventional PV solar panels. You may decide that paying less upfront only to get less electricity over time may not make sound financial sense.