Solar panels are a crucial component of any solar lighting system, and there are several types of solar panels commercially available today. In this post we will discuss the main differences between the types and styles of solar panels and explain what led Hapco to their vertical cylindrical offering.
Solar Panel Types
The three common types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film.
Monocrystalline solar panels are made from single-crystal silicon with a high efficiency rate of up to 25%, making them the most efficient solar panels on the market today. They require less space to generate the same amount of energy as other solar panels and this is critical considering the limited room on a light pole. They also have a long lifespan of up to 25 years and are durable. However, they are also the most expensive type of solar panel available today.
Polycrystalline solar panels are made from multiple silicon fragments that are melted together, leaving imperfections on the panel surface. While less expensive to manufacture, the result is less efficiency and lifespan than achieved with monocrystalline alternatives, with maximum efficiency rates of approximately 18%.
Thin-film solar panels are the least expensive type of solar panel but come with much shorter lifespans and require more space to generate the same amount of energy as monocrystalline solar panels. They are also the least efficient type of solar panel, with an efficiency rate as low as 7%.
Solar Panel Styles
The two predominant solar light pole styles are flat panel form and cylindrical form.
Flat solar panels are usually fixed in one position, either mounted on rooftops or installed on the ground. They capture sunlight throughout the day but do not have the ability to track the sun’s movement. Panel sizes necessary for power generation are large, contributing to poor aesthetics and wind load rating limitations.
Cylindrical solar panels (CSP’s) have a significant advantage in terms of sun tracking. Due to their cylindrical shape, they can capture sunlight from multiple angles and have a wider acceptance angle. This means they can generate electricity even when the sun is not directly overhead, such as during early morning or late afternoon. With superior aesthetics
Hapco’s Monocrystalline, Cylindrical Solution
Monocrystalline solar cells provide unequalled efficiency and durability. Cylindrical solar panels (CSP’s) provide full use of available sunlight and low cost of ownership. Combining this type and style of solar panel allowed Hapco to play to their strengths as an engineering and manufacturing industry leader.
Other advantages to Hapco’s monocrystalline, cylindrical solar poles include:
- CSP’s aerodynamic shape meets the toughest of wind load ratings nationwide.
- CSP’s are much more aesthetically pleasing and adopt the more traditional form of a standard light pole.
- CSP’s allow for Decorative project designs utilizing Post Top fixtures that are not available with flat panel alternatives.
- CSP’s are mounted vertically and when coupled with the smoothness of the borosilicate glass exterior allow the panels to resist dirt, dust and snow accumulation. This pole design is essentially “self-cleaning” as typical rain and the force of gravity are continuously prohibiting performance-reducing accumulation. These panels will last over 25 years and it’s important to eliminate the maintenance of having to clean or remove any accumulated debris.
- Hapco’s solar modules are over 24% efficient, allowing them to be smaller in size and diameter. This also allows them to be placed higher up on the pole and out of the typical vandalism range.
- Each of the CSP’s have (4) Maximum Power Point Trackers. This helps extract the most power from the sun at all points 360 degrees around the panel. The vertical nature also performs at its best when the system needs it most during long winter nights. Flat panel products are fixed at a tilt angle and struggle when the sun does not get high in the sky.
- Hapco’s battery technology is the best in the industry. They utilize Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt providing the highest energy density in the industry at 231Wh/kg. Up to 1250-Watt hours of capability in a compact unit that allows the battery to conveniently fit behind the locked handhole cover. Battery theft is eliminated by being out of sight inside the pole and behind a locked cover! Not to mention the plug-and-play connectivity installation is a breeze. Paired with most efficient solar technology, our high-density battery powers LED lighting and SMART Accessories for an interval that is unmatched by industry competitors.
- CSP’s modular design was another important feature. For increased power requirements, flat panel alternatives require larger and larger panels at the top of the pole. Wind loading with large panels can become an issue and contribute to even worse aesthetics. Being able to install up to (4) CSP’s at 110W peak power each gives the flexibility to optimize the design required for each specific project without costly overdesign. Extremely low EPA’s of the solar modules contribute to designs that work in even the highest wind rating areas.
- Every Hapco Solar Pole comes with 5 years of cellular remote system monitoring. You have access to the solar panel, lithium battery and led performance data through either an API or a website login. This is not Bluetooth-powered, which requires you to program on a pole-to-pole basis or to be standing in proximity to the pole to gather your performance data. You can be anywhere in the world and check up on your solar poles. Hapco likes to call it performance peace of mind!
- Building codes continue to be more demanding of exterior lighting control. Hapco solar poles have advanced capability built into the all-in-one Solar Control Unit. LED’s can be programmed to dim at a certain time of the night or based on area occupancy with a sensor option. You have all the flexibility needed to meet ASHRAE or IECC code requirements.
- Hapco offers the only aluminum pole lifetime warranty in the industry. It does not make sense to spend money doing the right thing with sustainable solar lighting only to put it on an inferior column. Their solar poles are a complete solution with no corners cut. All serviceable lifetimes were strongly considered when choosing to pair these systems with the only correct choice of pole – an aluminum pole with lifetime warranty.
Optimization is at the heart of Hapco Pole Products as they continually work towards doing more with less. Providing sustainable solar solutions today ensures we can have a brighter tomorrow!