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Founded in 1979, Solar Oregon is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit membership organization providing public education and community outreach to encourage Oregonians to choose solar energy.
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Panels

Semi conductor material used in solar electric systems falls into two broad categories: crystalline (hard/stiff) and amorphous (soft/flexible). Crystalline technology can be mono crystalline grown in a large crucible or polycrystalline, cast into a large ingot. Both of these types are sliced into wafers and printed with electrical circuitry to become photovoltaic (PV) cells. Electrically the cells are connected in a long series. Physically they are assembled into panels into panels. Panel sizes vary, but a 200 watt panel would be about 15 to 20 square feet and weigh 35 - 40 lbs. Conversion efficiency (light energy to electrical energy is in the range of 15 - 18% Amorphous photovoltaic material generally comes in sheets. Several companies are using printing technology to reduce manufacturing costs. Some amorphous material is transparent and can be applied to windows and other vertical surfaces. A more common application is a narrow sheet that fits between the seams of a metal roof. Amorphous PV is less efficient than crystalline panels, meaning for the same area amorphous will convert less energy for the same amount of sunlight. However, much research is being done to improve conversion efficiency.

Semiconductor material used in solar electric systems falls into two broad categories:  crystalline (hard/stiff) and amorphous (soft/flexible). Crystalline technology can be monocrystalline grown in a large crucible or polycrystalline grown and cast into a large ingot.  Both of these types are sliced into wafers and printed with electrical circuitry to become photovoltaic (PV) cells.  The cells are then electrically connected in a long series and assembled into panels. Panel sizes vary; generally speaking, a 200 watt panel would be about 15 to 20 square feet and weigh 35 - 40 lbs.  Conversion efficiency, the ratio of light energy converted to electrical energy, is in the range of 15 - 18%.

Amorphous photovoltaic material generally comes in sheets.  Some amorphous material is transparent and can be applied to windows and other vertical surfaces.  A more common application is a narrow sheet that fits between the seams of a metal roof.  Amorphous PV is less efficient than crystalline panels, meaning that for the same area amorphous panels will convert less energy from the same amount of sunlight.  However, much research is being done to improve conversion efficiency.

Considerations:
  • Amorphous systems require about twice as much space as crystalline panels, however it may integrate better with your roof.
  • Amorphous PV material shows up in many portable applications where flexibility and light weight are advantageous.

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