Solar Power System: The 3 Generations of Solar Panels

Photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules are solar devices that collect sunlight and convert it into electricity. This technology began with mono and polycrystalline solar panels. However, with advancements in technology, people now have additional options other than those two. Continue reading to learn more about the unterschied poly monoPV module and the others, focusing on their efficiency and the materials used by generation.

First Generation

The 1st generation of solar panels is made of a PV module, mono oder poly, and is commonly used in conventional settings. They’re now referred to as the traditional types.


You can easily recognize them because of their uniform dark look and rounded edge. Monocrystalline units have the highest silicon purity, which gives them a prominent efficiency rate, with the new ones reaching over 20%. This model has a top-notch power output, occupies less space, and lasts the longest. Another advantage is that it’s less affected by high temperatures.


Polycrystalline is made by melting raw silicon. It’s characterized by its blue and freckled look and uncut angles. Its power output is the same as its monocrystalline counterpart;however, it has a lower efficiency of approximately 15% and a shorter lifespan, since it’s more affected by hot temperatures.

Second Generation

The 2nd generation is mainly used for PV power stations or smaller solar energy systems.


This type is manufactured by placing films of PV materials such as cadmium, copper, or silicon on a substrate. Thin-films are considered lighter and cheaper because they don’t need as many components for production. They’re worthwhile for large roofs where many modules can be mounted.

Amorphous Silicon

Amorphous silicons (A-Si) are mainly applied in pocket calculators and have a 7% efficiency rate. They use a triple-layered technology, which is the best in the variety of thin-films. They perform well in low light levels. A-Si units are also known to be so flexible that they can be rolled up and put away when not needed.

Third Generation

The 3rd generation includes a variety of thin-film technologies.


The idea behind the new technology is to imitate the natural process of photosynthesis. Their materials are similar to components in the traditional models with one marked difference. They combine multiple layers of photosystem 1, an integral membrane protein complex that uses light energy to produce high-energy carriers. Their power outputis more efficient, converting chemical energy to electrical at a ratethat’s up to 1000 times more than the 1st generation.

Cadmium Telluride

Out of all the solar energy technologies, this is the only one that requires the lowest amount of water for production. That enables a relatively low cost, meaning a shorter payback time. Cadmium telluride keeps your carbon footprint as low as possible.

Concentrated PV Cell

Concentrated PV cells (CVP) operate just like how conventional photovoltaic systems do. They have an efficiency rate of up to 41%, which is the highest so far. Lenses, curved mirrors, and even cooling systems are used to collect the sunrays. They also have a built-in solar tracker, as the CVP model needs to face the sun at a perfect angle.

Most of the 3rd generation is still in the developmental and research phase. These cells and modules used in solar panels can be a cost-effective choice and an investment. Why? Because every day, the sun generates far more energy than what the entire population needs to run. If you’re planning on installing a solar panel, take note of the unterschied poly mono PV module and the other units before you contact your local solar panel contractor.