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There are four different types of solar panels. New and trendy solar roof shingles look like asphalt shingles but have solar capabilities. Unfortunately, they can be pricey to install. Rectangular polycrystalline panels are less efficient than monocrystalline panels, which are more expensive, but tend to last longer. The fourth type of solar panel involves semiconductor materials rolled into a thin film. These are less efficient, but less expensive and more flexible. There are also three types of solar inverters: string (the most common), micro inverters, and power optimizers. These serve to convert electricity from DC to AC. A final decision is choosing relates to mounting. Fixed is more common, but those with flat roofs may select tracked mounting, where the panels can move to follow the sun.

Key Takeaways:

  • Solar shingles are a new type of solar panel. They look like your roof shingles.
  • There are solar panels made up of crystalline cells called polycrystalline solar panels.
  • Thin film solar panels are another alternative to the regular solar panels.

“But it’s not just a cosmetic difference — solar panels don’t all perform the same way.”

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