Curious about odd-shaped solar panels? This article offers you the whole story about triangular solar panels.
Their uses, applications, pros and cons, and also whether you should install solar panels of triangular shape – you will find answers to all your questions on the topic here.
Why do we need triangular solar panels?
If you want to take advantage of the sun shining on your rooftop, solar roof tiles are the best bet. Solar roofs can capture all the sunlight reaching the roof while a regular rooftop solar installation can manage this only partially.
However, roofs come in all odd shapes. If using only rectangular or square tiles to install solar panels on complicated roofs, the task will be challenging. For instance, if you have a gable or hipped roof, there are bound to be triangular portions left out after covering it with square/rectangular solar tiles.
Leaving them out will spoil the look. You will also be wasting the sunlight falling in this area.
This is where you will find triangular solar panels handy. They are specifically designed to fill the leftover roof edges and corners. You can optimize energy generation by integrating triangle solar panels in a solar roof.
A triangular solar panel is designed to cover difficult and unwieldy shapes and angles of the rooftop. They are indeed helpful when there are impediments like skylights and chimneys on the roof. By using triangular solar panels, you can cover the entire rooftop without leaving a single gap, thereby maximizing solar power production.
Efficiency-wise, triangular solar panels are as good as their rectangular or square counterparts. They are just shaped differently to suit your purpose while the principle remains the same.
Triangular solar panels make it possible to have a visually-pleasing rooftop solar installation.
Can triangular solar panels be combined with rectangular ones?
Of course, you can. For all practical purposes, triangle solar panels are the same as rectangular or square solar tiles. The difference is only in the shape. They are specifically designed to fill up rooftop corners and edges left out after installing the standard solar panels.
As rectangular and triangular solar panels are meant to be installed together, you won’t face any compatibility issues. Just as in the case of rectangular and square solar panels, triangular ones are also available in various shapes, sizes, and configurations. You will be able to find one to fit the exact gap remaining on your rooftop.
Can triangular solar tiles alone be used to cover the entire roof?
Yes, why not. After all, these are also solar cells that are equal in every way to standard solar panels. The difference is only in their shape.
If you can manage to cover your whole rooftop with triangular solar panels, you will generate the same amount of energy.
However, this is not a great idea as triangular solar panels are costlier than regular rectangular ones. So, if you want to keep the expenditure to a minimum, you should use rectangular tiles as much as possible and fill in the remaining with the right-shaped triangular tiles.
Typically, when you are covering the roof with solar tiles, you begin with rectangular ones. Once you have used rectangular tiles as much as you can, you can use triangle solar panels to cover the remaining portions. This way, the number of panels will be minimal, bringing down the cost of the solar system as well as the installation and maintenance costs.
Why are triangular panels expensive?
As their use is limited, only a few manufacturers make triangular panels. One of the biggest marketplaces for solar cells, Amazon still doesn’t sell triangular panels. This makes it difficult for a buyer to gather more information about various brands and models and compare them to determine the best choice.
Among the few choices available in the market for triangular solar cells are Trienergia and Salcantay Natur S.L.
Trienergia, an Italian company, manufactures triangular modules in red, green, and black colors. To ensure maximum efficiency, Trienergia modules are made from monocrystalline silicon encased in anodized aluminum frames. Each module is made up of 21 M4 solar cells, each measuring 162x162mm. These triangular modules are specifically designed for integrating with rectangular modules.
The modules come with a product guarantee of 20 years and a performance guarantee of 90% for 12 years and 82% for 30 years. A 100-watt module is priced at $150.
Salcantay, a Spanish company, manufactures triangular panels of 95W to 105W. Each module has 21 solar cells held in a black anodized aluminum frame with MC4 connectors. These modules are designed for easy integration with rectangular solar panels.
Pros and cons of triangular solar panels
Advantages of triangular modules
1) Maximum use of rooftop
By combining triangular modules with rectangular ones, we can ensure that the entire roof space is covered with solar cells. This way, we can generate more solar energy than when using only rectangular panels.
2) Better looking roofs
Without triangular panels, the roofs will have many gaps after installing only the rectangular ones. This unfinished look is not aesthetically pleasing. By utilizing triangular panels, we can make sure that the roof is seamlessly covered with solar cells.
Disadvantages of triangular modules
1) Fewer choices
As the demand for triangular modules is low, fewer manufacturers produce them. For a buyer, it is hard to shop for triangular panels. With fewer options, a buyer is forced to choose the available ones without comparing their efficiencies and prices.
2) Not easy to produce
From a manufacturer’s perspective, triangular modules are harder to fabricate than regular ones. The photovoltaic effect is easier to create in square or rectangular panels.
3) Not cost-effective
With fewer manufacturers producing triangular panels, there is no competition in the market. This means their prices remain high. Moreover, manufacturing triangular modules is challenging, requiring unique techniques. Longer manufacturing time and the need for specialized machines all add up to the cost.
4) Substandard and unreliable warranty
With less demand and fewer manufacturers, there is a paucity of long-term data on the performance of triangular modules. The unreliability of these solar cells is a major drawback, especially when they are more expensive.
Now that we have gathered all the information available on triangular solar panels, you must be eager to know whether they are worth the extra money. Should you consider installing triangular modules?
There is no right answer to this question. It is up to you as a buyer to decide. Unless you want to cover the entire roof to maximize solar energy production or are concerned about the aesthetic appeal of your rooftop, you should avoid them. They are not worth the trouble.
In case, you choose to have triangular panels, get them from a manufacturer who can supply both triangular and rectangular ones. This is better for performance, maintenance, and future repair.
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