Solar: Amorphous vs. Monocrystalline.

A place to discuss all things involving power and technology (including cameras). Generator tips, alternative energy, lighting your camp/bike/art/self, sound systems and more.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:28 pm
Location: Venice, CA

Solar: Amorphous vs. Monocrystalline.

Post by Goz » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:25 am

So every year I say I'm going to start building a solar generator (by *start* I mean go basic, upgrade parts as needed). This year I gotta go for it.

I have some questions that seem basic but I can never find conclusive answers online. I'm not drawing a lot of power -- I have a BMorg-endorsed photography project that requires a ton of fancy-pants batteries for lights, laptops, and cameras (said project is at -- shameless plug... say hi if you see me). Checked out AEZ's website (as I do every year when I get this itch lol) and I'm all set for "how to build it" so now it's more like... Suggestions on brands / types of gear that work best on the playa?

Biggest question is, what type of panel? I'm most intrigued with those foldable panels from a storage-when-not-in-use point of view. They open up from something laptop-sized to something that could cover half of my car roof (which is where I plan on mounting it). Most use Amorphous thin film cells, which I've read are way less efficient -- but much more efficient in hot weather and when covered in dust than other types. The other option seems to be mono crystalline panels which seem to be more efficient but efficiency drops in hot weather.

Can anyone point me in the right direction? Or is it just sorta trial and error... get something and see how it works? I guess I want to know if anyone wants to steer me away from thin film... Danke!
on the playa in 2010:

User avatar
Posts: 955
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:04 pm
Burning Since: 2020
Camp Name: Black Rock Weather
Location: Nevada

Re: Solar: Amorphous vs. Monocrystalline.

Post by Just_Joe » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:03 am

For low power needs, the James Bond approach (briefcase) may be the best - as long as you intend to live within its means.

My 110W polycrystalline panel has a slightly smaller footprint than a 45W Harbor Freight thin film kit.
I shied away from mono panels when i learned that any shade (dust?) at all would cut their output to nothing.
My poly panel puts out 6-7amps in 90 degree temps and keeps the two RV batteries topped out throughout the week.

User avatar
Posts: 15457
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 6:01 pm
Location: ΦάÏ

Re: Solar: Amorphous vs. Monocrystalline.

Post by gyre » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:36 pm

There is a solar camp that has been there in the past.

I watched them producing 20 kilowatts in real time.
Very impressive.

They might know something.

User avatar
Posts: 3693
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:55 pm
Burning Since: 2001
Location: Gold Country, CA

Re: Solar: Amorphous vs. Monocrystalline.

Post by Token » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:31 pm

The whole heat thing: it's not about daily air temperature or weather. It's about; you mounted the panel to a tin roof in direct sunlight and the roof temperature at the surface is 250 degrees etc.

You can mitigate that by airgap and placement on suitable surfaces.

Roof of car is probably the worst place to put one.

Post Reply

Return to “Power & Electronics”