There is a need to live more sustainably due to the global environmental crisis. One way of going green is to adopt renewable energy-based solutions. They are not only helpful in protecting the environment but also help reduce energy costs. Many people opt for installing solar panels in their homes and offices as they present a promising solution. Therefore, here is a complete guide to help you know about the solar panels along with the best picks for 120-Watt solar panels.
How do Solar Panels work?
A solar panel also called a solar module is made up of a layer of silicon cells, a metallic frame, a casing unit made from glass, and has wires for transferring the electrical current from the silicon. Therefore, due to the conductive properties of silicon, it can easily absorb sunlight and convert it into electrical energy. Following are the working steps of a solar panel:
- The photovoltaic solar cell made up of silicon absorbs solar radiation.
- As sunlight falls on the silicon cells, the electrons start moving which results in the creation of an electric current to flow, termed as the “Photovoltaic Effect”
- The wires capture the electric current and this direct current (DC) is fed into the solar inverter.
- The solar inverter converts the direct current into alternating current (AC) electricity.
Solar Panels: types
There are different ways of categorizing solar panels. The different types of generations of solar panels are as following:
Solar panels of the 1st Generation
Monocrystalline Solar Panels (mono-SI)
The solar panels are constructed from monocrystalline silicon. They have a uniform dark look with round edges. Their rate of conversion efficiency is quite high, with the new ones offering 20% and more. Moreover, these panels have a higher output of power, occupy less space, have high durability, and are able to withstand high temperatures. However, these panels are expensive out of all the available options.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels (Poly-SI)
These panels are made from melting raw silicon as this process is fast and cost-effective in comparison to monocrystalline panels. These panels have a blue-ish, speckled appearance. They have a lower final cost however, their conversion efficiency is also less i.e. around 15%. Moreover, they cannot sustain high temperatures, have lower space efficiency and a shorter lifespan.
Solar Panels of 2nd generation
Thin-Film Solar Cells (TFSC)
These solar panels are for those who want an affordable option. Their construction consists of a substrate on which one or more photovoltaic materials are placed. Since these panels require very less materials, therefore they also cost less. These panels are flexible and do not get affected by higher temperatures. However, a drawback is that they require more space making them unsuitable for residential buildings. their lifespan is also short and therefore, has short warranties.
Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell (A-Si)
These are a bit different in technology and utilize the triple-layered technology. These panels are mainly utilized in solar-powered pocket calculators. These panels are not as effective as the other types since their efficiency rate is only 7% however, their main advantage is that they are not expensive.
Solar Panels of 3rd Generation
Biohybrid Solar Cell
These solar cells are still under study. The idea is that they use photosystem 1 and imitate the process of photosynthesis. The materials being used are similar to the traditional ones but are combined with multiple layers of photosystem 1. The conversion efficiency thus increases by manifolds i.e. around 1000 types more than the solar panels of the 1st generation.
Concentrated PV Cell (CPV)
These cells generate energy in the conventional way however these are multi-junction type solar panels having conversion efficiency higher than 42%. These panels have curved surfaces, lenses and can also have systems for cooling to aggregate the sun rays for greater efficiency. One point to consider is that these panels provide maximum efficiency when they face the sun at a perfect angle.
Buyers guide for solar panels
Size and suitability are extremely important when buying solar panels. You should pick the panels according to the size of the roof or wherever you intend to place the panels.
Panel efficiency is the conversion efficiency of the solar panels i.e. covering input into output energy. The higher the efficiency more will be output. The ideal range is between 15 to 16% whereas 17 to 19% is on the higher end and 20% plus is top of the line.
Solar panels should be durable so that there are minimum replacement requirements. Moreover, they should be able to with a high wind load and should be protected against snow and hail. Solar panels should be durable against various kinds of environmental conditions.
Choose solar panels that have higher warranty periods. Ideally, the warranty period should be on average 10 years. Moreover, some manufacturers provide 12+ and 20+ years warranty as well. Make sure your solar panels have a performance warranty as well. You can replace your device if it does not fulfill the promised performance efficiency.
5 Best Picks for 120-Watt Solar Panels
This is an upgraded version that provides the highest charging efficiency up to 23%. You can efficiently convert solar energy to clean, renewable energy. It is well suited for outdoor activities like camping and unexpected power cuts. Furthermore, Paxcess solar panels are portable, easy to fold, and are equipped with a kickstand. By adjusting the kickstand, you can get up to 25% more solar energy as compared to flat-lying.
- Lightweight and durable
- Conversion efficiency up to 23%
- Connectors are available in 4 different sizes
- Equipped with USB QC 3.0 & Type C outputs (5V/9V/12V 2A max)
- 2X faster charging for smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other electrical equipment.
These solar panels are highly energy efficient with 25% conversion efficiency, therefore, provides higher charging. Moreover, it has three USB advanced intelligent technology and a built-in chip that provides seamless charging. These solar panels are constructed from waterproof and corrosion-resistant materials making them well suited for outdoor use. You can use them for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and picnics. These panels are potable and compact as they can be folded very easily. Moreover, they are equipped with easy to carry handles making them an ideal selection. You can charge electrical charges very conveniently such as smartphones, laptops, and solar generators.
- Wide compatibility
- Waterproof and resistant to corrosion
- Three US advanced intelligent technology
- Conversion efficiency up to 25%
- Portable and easy to fold design
This solar panel has monocrystalline solar cells offering conversion efficiency up to 21%. They come in a suitcase-style design, making them easy to fold and carry. These solar panels are optimal for outdoor activities like camping, hiking and are compatible with boast and trailers, etc. They are easy to operate, come with alligator clips which you need to connect to the battery and you can then simply place them facing the sun. Moreover, they are easy to adjust, have a corrosion-resistant aluminum stand and heavy-duty handle and latches. They are equipped with all the details to provide you reliable and clean energy.
- Potable and foldable
- 2 USB ports for charging your gadgets
- Pre-installed controllers, no need for an extra controller.
- Lightweight panels: 4.45 kg
- Easy operation
- Comes with an 18-month warranty
These are ready-to-use, plug, and play panels that only require you to open up the case and start using them by placing them facing the sun. they come with a pre-installed charge controller provided on the back of the panels. This controller provides protection against over-discharge and over-charge. These monocrystalline panels have a total output of 120-Watt. The package further includes an extension cable, alligator clips, an adjustable stand made of aluminum, handles, and latches. The kit also has junction boxes which are waterproof and protected against dust particles. These panels are easy to carry and transport and well suited for outdoor activities such as climbing, hiking, and picnics.
- Dual USB output with each port having maximum 5V / 2A
- Lightweight and portable and weighs only 4.1 kgs.
- Waterproof and highly durable
- Panels are entirely laminated
- 15 years+ utilization efficiency
These solar panels have a high conversion efficiency of up to 21%, providing endless power. The panels are equipped with advanced intelligent technology. They have a smart IC chip, intelligent circuit and can manage the current accordingly so that the device does not get damaged. The panels are waterproof and corrosion-resistant and can withstand high temperatures. However, the junction box is not waterproof. These panels can be easily folded as a briefcase and are extremely easy to carry.
- It has 10*DC adapters that can work well with the majority of the solar generators
- 3*USB Advanced Intelligent Technology
- 120W output and 21% conversion efficiency
- Waterproof, reliable, and durable
- Portable and foldable
The demand for energy is increasing exponentially all over the world as the population is increasing. The world is now opting for sustainable energy and solar energy has emerged as one promising alternative. Solar panels are key components of solar energy systems. We have provided a complete guide to help you know about solar panels along with the top 5 picks for solar panels of 120-Watt. You can now make a decision according to your requirements.