In the United States, the majority of solar panels are crafted from silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells. However, these silicon PV cells are not suitable for all applications. An emerging alternative is thin-film solar panels, which are becoming increasingly popular, especially in scenarios where traditional rigid PV panels are not feasible.
MiaSolé, located in Santa Clara, is a manufacturer of thin-film solar panels. This company is a subsidiary of Hanergy, a large Chinese multinational company specializing in renewable energy. MiaSolé specializes in producing flexible thin-film solar panels composed of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), offering a distinct solution in the solar energy industry.
- MiaSolé’s Thin-Film Solar Panels: MiaSolé, part of Hanergy, produces flexible CIGS thin-film solar panels suitable for curved structures and metal roofs. Their panels are lightweight and compete with traditional PV cells in efficiency, boasting a 17.5% rate.
- Cost and Installation: CIGS solar modules from MiaSolé, though pricier than standard silicon panels, save on installation costs due to no need for racking or brackets. Total installation costs are about 80% of those for silicon PV panels.
- Warranty and Availability: MiaSolé offers a 5-year workmanship warranty and a production warranty, ensuring panels retain 90% capacity after ten years and 80% after 25 years. Products are available through resellers in the U.S. and directly from their website.
MiaSolé Solar Panels
In the realm of solar energy, the standard dimensions for a typical solar PV panel are about 3 feet by 5 feet with a thickness of approximately 1.5 inches. These dimensions are generally suitable for most rooftop or ground-mounted solar systems. However, there are specific scenarios where a more compact, lighter, and adaptable solution is required.
MiaSolé provides a solution to this need with their innovative flexible CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) solar modules. These modules are designed to seamlessly adhere to various surfaces, making them an excellent choice for curved structures and metal roofs where rigidity is a constraint. Their lightweight nature is a significant advantage, particularly for structures that cannot bear the weight of traditional solar panel systems. This is a stark contrast to other thin-film modules often encased in glass, which can diminish some of the thin-film technology’s advantages.
While many thin-film solar panels typically exhibit lower efficiency compared to silicon PV panels, MiaSolé’s CIGS thin-film cells are an exception. They align closely in efficiency with conventional silicon PV cells. Among thin-film options, CIGS panels stand out for their efficiency, with MiaSolé’s cells averaging an efficiency rate of 17.5%, marking them as a highly efficient choice within the thin-film solar panel category.
When it comes to cost, it’s observed that CIGS solar modules, like those produced by MiaSolé, generally carry a higher price tag compared to standard silicon PV panels. However, one of the cost-saving aspects of these modules is that they don’t necessitate the use of racking or brackets for roof mounting, which can lead to lower installation expenses. MiaSolé has noted that the overall installation costs for their products are usually about 80% of the cost associated with installing silicon PV panels, despite the modules themselves being pricier.
MiaSolé operates a manufacturing facility at its headquarters in California and also engages in manufacturing processes in China. For the U.S. and European markets, the panels are typically sourced from the Santa Clara headquarters. For buyers for whom the manufacturing location is a significant factor, MiaSolé allows the specification of this preference during the ordering process.
Solar panel manufacturers typically offer two key types of warranties: a workmanship warranty and a production warranty.
The workmanship warranty serves as a commitment from the manufacturer against defects in the product. While the industry standard for such warranties is ten years, and some manufacturers extend this to 15 or even 25 years, MiaSolé offers a workmanship warranty of 5 years.
On the other hand, the production warranty assures that the solar panels will maintain their electricity production capacity over time, acknowledging that a decline in generating capacity is natural. MiaSolé’s promise under this warranty is that their panels will retain at least 90% of their initial production capacity after ten years and a minimum of 80% after 25 years. This commitment is in line with what is typically offered in the industry. However, some manufacturers provide more detailed warranties that outline yearly production capacities.
MiaSolé’s products are accessible through a network of resellers across the United States, and customers also have the option to order directly from MiaSolé via their website. It’s important to note, however, that the availability of MiaSolé’s thin-film solar panels, as with other thin-film solar products, may not be as widespread as standard silicon PV panels.
Choosing Between Thin-Film and Silicon PV Solar Panels
When deciding between thin-film and silicon PV solar panels, your specific needs and the characteristics of the installation site play a crucial role. Thin-film solar panels, like the flexible ones offered by MiaSolé, might be the ideal choice if you have an unconventional roof or structure for solar installation and prioritize aesthetics, despite the potential for a higher cost. A prime example of a suitable application for thin-film solar panels is properties with metal roofs. These panels can seamlessly integrate between the seams of the metal roof, offering both functional and aesthetic benefits. For a more comprehensive understanding of thin-film solar panels and to assess their suitability for your property, you can contact 8MSolar at 919-948-6474.
Embark on Your Solar Exploration with 8MSolar
To ensure you make a well-informed decision about your solar installation, whether you’re considering thin film, silicon PV, or both, the most effective approach is to evaluate offers from local solar installers. At 8MSolar, we understand the importance of having a local installer, which is why we’ve worked hard to become the best local solar installer in North Carolina and Virginia. Our team at 8MSolar has over two decades of experience, and we’re excited to help you on your solar journey. Contact us today.