Below is a chart that lists the most used solar cell technologies today, their specifications, and how they compare against each other. Thin film solar cells include amorphous silicon, cadmium Telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium selenide (CIS/CIGS).
|Typical module efficiency||18-22%||16-19%||10-12%||9-11%||10-12%|
|Best research cell efficiency||25.0%||20.4%||13.4%||18.7%||20.4%|
|Area required for 1 kW||6-9 m2||8-9 m2||13-20 m2||11-13 m2||9-11 m2|
|Typical length of warranty||25 years||25 years||10-25 years|
|Temperature resistance||Performance drops 10-15% at high temperatures||Less temperature resistant than monocrystalline||Tolerates extreme heat||Relatively low impact on performance|
|Additional details||Oldest cell technology and most widely used||Less silicon waste in the production process||Tend to degrade faster than crystalline-based solar panels|
|Low availability on the market|
Lowest price is based on listings of wholesalers and retailers on the Internet (June 3, 2013). Best research cell efficiency is data collected from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energys National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.