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Solar panels and solar PV (photovoltaic) systems are two of the most popular choices. This blog article will compare solar panels vs solar PV and help you decide which is the best option for your home or business.

While photovoltaic and solar thermal collectors have both been used in Ireland for a long time, many potential investors are still confused by these two systems built around different operating principles. For many, solar panels and photovoltaics are one thing. We will explain the reason why this notion is incorrect.

Solar Panels Vs Solar PV – Similarities

Before we jump to the complicated details of solar panels vs solar PV, let’s take a look at what they share in common.

Solar panels and solar PV both use sunlight to generate electricity and are both renewable energy sources. Solar panels and solar PV can both be used to offset your energy costs and are both eligible for government incentives.

However, this is the point where the similarities end since the solar energy produced by thermal radiation is absorbed by two systems to serve different reasons. 

Solar Panels Vs Solar PV – Differences

Photovoltaic panels are designed to convert thermal energy into electricity while solar panels convert sunlight into heat. This is the reason why these options don’t compete and instead complement each other.

Solar Photovoltaic Cells Operating Principle

We’ll begin by looking at the role of photovoltaic cells inside the solar PV systems. Solar cells generate electricity through the photovoltaic process, in which sunlight generates electricity in certain materials by knocking their electrons out of their bodies.

The photovoltaic cells can be composed of monocrystalline or polycrystalline materials. These are comprised of multiple layers, and the most significant are the semiconductors located in the center. The topmost semiconductor has a negative layer since the material’s atoms are filled with additional electrons, which have a negative charge. Contrarily, the lowest semiconductor can be characterized as a positive one because the material’s atoms contain no electrons.

When sunlight strikes in the upper semiconductor electrons that are loose get exuberant, they are dislodged and are attracted to the positive semiconductor below. A barrier between the two layers forms because conductors on both layers force electrons to move around in the cell, generating the electric charge.

The conductors force this current from the cell to an electrical load which absorbs the energy from the photovoltaic cell and generates electricity. The electrons eventually return to the cell, and the process continues.

Solar Panels Operating Principle

Since photovoltaic cells generate a limited energy source, many cells are connected to form a solar panel. When they work together, the solar cells can generate more current and thus more energy.

Additionally, by securing the cells together, the panel functions as a protective shell for the cells to live within. The solar cells you have installed are less prone to damage caused by external influences such as severe weather conditions like hail.

The DC power generated by your solar panels is later directed into your central inverter (or micro-inverter depending on the configuration of your system). It is transformed into AC electricity that your appliances and your home can utilize.

The number of cells within your panel will vary based on the specific model and brand you pick. Between 60 and 72 cells on one solar panel are typical.

Another term you might have encountered is “photovoltaic array” which is a system made up of several PV panels.

Solar Panels Vs Solar PV Installation Cost Comparison

The other aspect of Solar Panels vs Solar PV is the operating expenses of both systems. The initial cost has to be taken into consideration in both instances.

Solar panels generally have lower expenses than photovoltaics. The final cost of an investment will depend on many variables, such as the type, number of cells used, the total capability of the system, and the quantity of energy that will be generated to the collector by solar energy. It is important to remember that flat collectors can be much less expensive than vacuum collectors. Polycrystalline panels are more costly than monocrystalline cells.

While both systems are maintenance-free, operating expenses will include an annual check-up of your system’s maintenance and the replacement of the used batteries or cells. From an economic standpoint, payback time is essential. The payback period will depend on the kind of system and whether the purchase was backed through a subsidy. Purchase of solar panels or photovoltaics could be repaid in twelve or more years.

Is Solar Power worth the investment?

Solar power is an environmentally friendly renewable energy source that can help offset your energy costs. Solar power is eligible for government incentives and rebates in many countries. Solar power systems have a very low maintenance cost and are designed to last for many years.

Solar power systems can increase the value of your home or business. Solar power is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help make the world a cleaner place for future generations. 

Solar PV is dependent on sunlight to create energy. It’s important to be aware of the effects of cloudy weather on the effectiveness of solar energy production and how other factors like partial shade may affect the solar system’s output. Also, solar panels can still function even in cloudy Irish weather conditions. However, they may produce less power, depending on the efficiency and quality of the panels. 

If you have purchased your solar system from EcoPlex, you can be sure that the solar panels installed are functioning efficiently.

In general, 1 sq/m of solar panel produces the equivalent of over 100 liters of petroleum. A solar panel could save you more than €600 annually on heating expenses. The installation of solar panels in Ireland is certainly worthwhile since they generate energy all year long. Additionally, the expenses for solar panel installation will be paid for in 8-10 years and will generate free energy after that. Get a quote today.

Solar Panels Vs Solar PV – What Should You Pick?

It is clear what the distinction is between solar panels and photovoltaics and the advantages and disadvantages of both options. It is time to decide if it is best to go with solar thermal collectors and when the photovoltaic method is more effective. 

If your main concerns are heating domestic hot water, you are looking for a solution to aid in the operation of the heating system, and you’d like to integrate the solar system and the use of a heat pump or a condensation boiler, the investment in photovoltaic collectors is an excellent idea. 

If your primary goal is to get out of the grid’s electricity supply and reduce your electricity costs and find a green renewable energy source that could be utilized for various reasons, you should consider purchasing a home photovoltaic system.

Final Thoughts on Solar Panels Vs Solar PV

The answer to the question of Solar Panels Vs Solar PV depends in large part on the particular requirements of every investor. The most crucial element of making a decision is the usage of the system and also the analysis of the value-cost ratio. Solar thermal collectors are installed to produce domestic hot water in the summer months without heating equipment. A residential photovoltaic system allows you to use all-year-round electricity and then store surplus energy in the grid. Whatever decision you make, it must be well thought out.

EcoPlex Energy Solutions will help you analyze your needs and make the best decision for you. Contact us today and we’ll be glad to assist you in your solar panel or solar PV installations in Ireland!

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