Which is the Most Efficient Solar Panel: N-Type or P-Type?
The solar system industry has advanced with time, making solar panel selection a daunting task. Before buying, most customers don’t bother to find out if the solar panels are right for them or not, and why. Most miss important information, such as whether your solar panels have N-Type or P-Type solar cells.
These terms may look too technical initially, but it is essential to know if the solar panel you are buying has N-Type or P-Type solar cells because it affects the overall solar panel output and efficiency. As a smart user, you should note these important details about your solar panels beforehand so you don’t regret your decision later.
You don’t have to look for this guidance anywhere else; we have explained everything in this article to help you understand which is the most efficient solar panel: N-Type or P-Type?
What are N-Type and P-Type Solar Cells?
Every solar panel has a different solar cell composition which causes variation in its efficiency. Some use N-Type Solar cells because of their advantages, while others use P-Type solar cells due to their cheap cost.
A solar cell is a crystalline silicon (c-Si) wafer doped with different chemicals and materials to increase energy production. All solar cells have an N-Type wafer and P-Type wafer in layers which creates a positive-negative junction and allows the electricity to flow in the cell. The only differentiating factor that makes a solar cell an N-Type or a P-Type is the different order of the layers in them.
Difference between N-Type and P-Type Solar Panels
The bulk layer of the P-Type solar cell is the silicon wafer doped with boron, which consists of one less electron than silicon, causing a positively charged cell (hence P). Its top/emitter layer has the negatively charged thin coating of phosphorus (N-Type).
The bulk layer of the N-Type solar cell is the silicon wafer coated with phosphorus, which consists of one more electron than silicon, causing a negatively charged cell (hence N). Its top/emitter layer has the positively charged thin coating of boron (P-Type).
The shift in the popularity of solar panels
N-Type was the first solar cell invented by BELL Labs in 1954 and showed its efficiency in the initial years. Yet, the P-Type gained popularity because of its usage in space-related solar equipment, as it offered better resistance and degradation in space.
This process continued until this research and development evolved to prepare panels for terrestrial use. It instantly received popularity because of its low cost and earlier use in space applications.
This perception is now slowly changing. More manufacturers are switching to N-Type panels because of their numerous advantages. Let’s look at an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of N-Type and P-Type solar cells.
P-type Cells and N-Type Cells: Advantages & Disadvantages
P-Type solar panels have dominated the market for a long time. Its affordable price and availability made it the most popular solar cell for residential and business properties, but not the most durable option.
Disadvantages of P-type solar cells:
- Boron-oxygen defect:
P-Type cells have boron-doped wafer that face an issue known as a boron-oxygen defect. It causes light-induced degradation, which reduces the efficiency of solar panels.
- Prone to impurities:
P-Type solar cells are sensitive to metallic impurities that reduce their lifespan.
Are N-Type Solar panels worth it?
N-Type solar cells have various advantages.
- Resistant to Light Induced Defects
N-Type Solar cells have phosphorus-doped wafers, making them resistant to light-induced degradation. It means there won’t be any boron-oxygen defects due to lack of boron.
- Less sensitive to impurities
N-Type Solar cells are less prone to metallic impurities in the raw silicon. It means manufacturers can still achieve high efficiency with low-quality silicon wafers.
- Warranty period
N-Type comes with a 20-year product warranty and a 30-year performance warranty. It proves that manufacturers can trust this technology.
- Temperature resistance
N-type solar cells can resist high temperatures ensuring durability.
The only significant factor that makes P-Type panels dominant over N-Type is their price. The price, however, is not as important now because durability and efficiency are key benefits you need when it comes to solar panels. Thus, even with higher costs, N-Type solar panels are now becoming popular.
Growing Trend of N-Type Solar Panels
N-Type Solar Panels use valuable technology that makes them quite popular today. Due to their conversion efficiency, this technology has broken new records in the last three years.
- In 2021, Jinko solar broke the efficiency record in the last quarter with 25.4% efficiency.
- In 2022, Trina Solar broke the efficiency record in the first quarter with 25.5% efficiency.
- In 2022, Jinko solar broke the efficiency record in the second quarter with 25.7% efficiency.
It made N-type solar panels a better option and gave it an edge in the market. If the popularity continues to rise, N-type solar panels will hold around 70% of the market in 2032.
As CEC-certified solar installers, we recommend our customers use N-type solar panels. We have only the best solar panels from top manufacturers to offer you the best services.
We hope this article has helped you to understand the efficiency of N-Type and P-Type solar panels.
N-Type solar panels are more efficient and undoubtedly a better choice. If you look over the price factor, it offers all the benefits you need in solar panels, making your investment worth it. So if you are planning to replace or buy solar panels, make a wise decision and pick N-type solar panels.