Different types of solar panels for businesses

Article posted

27th Jun 2024

Read time

4-8 min read


Mollie Pinnington

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As businesses across the UK increasingly seek sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions, solar panels are emerging as a popular choice. The technology has evolved significantly, offering a variety of options tailored to different needs and environments.

This guide explores the different types of solar panels available for businesses in the UK and suggests which might be the best fit based on various factors such as efficiency, cost, and specific use cases.

Types of solar panels


Monocrystalline solar panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single, pure silicon crystal. They are recognisable by their uniform dark appearance and rounded edges.


  • High Efficiency: These panels have the highest efficiency rates, typically ranging between 15% and 20%.
  • Space-Saving:  Due to their higher efficiency, fewer panels are needed to produce the same amount of energy.
  • Durability:  They tend to have a longer lifespan and often come with extended warranties.


  • Cost: They are usually more expensive than other types of panels.
  • Size: The size of this type of solar panel is limited meaning that larger buildings might require more panels.

Best For

  • Businesses with limited roof space or those seeking maximum efficiency and longevity.
  • Businesses that want to be efficient but also have a smaller roof space.


Polycrystalline solar panels

Polycrystalline panels are made from silicon crystals that are melted together. They have a bluish hue and a more speckled look compared to monocrystalline panels.


  • Cost-Effective:  Generally cheaper than monocrystalline panels.
  • Performance: They offer a good balance of efficiency and cost, with efficiency rates ranging from 13% to 16%.


  • Space Requirements:  They are slightly less efficient, so more panels are needed to produce the same amount of energy.
  • Heat Sensitivity: Their efficiency can drop at higher temperatures.

Best For

  • Businesses with ample roof space who are looking for a cost-effective solution without compromising too much on efficiency.
  • Businesses that are looking to stay within a specific budget for their solar installation.



Thin-Film Solar Panels

Thin-film panels are made by depositing one or more layers of photovoltaic material onto a substrate. They are lightweight and flexible, making them versatile for various applications.


  • Versatility: Can be used on curved surfaces and in a variety of applications, including building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).
  • Performance in Low Light: They perform better in low-light conditions and are less affected by high temperatures.


  • Lower Efficiency: Typically have lower efficiency rates (around 10% to 12%) compared to crystalline panels.
  • More Space Needed: Due to lower efficiency, more panels are required to meet energy needs.

Best For

  • Businesses with large roof spaces or those interested in innovative applications like solar windows or facades.
  • Those with a lower electricity consumption that don’t need a lot of electricity replaced by solar generation.


Bifacial Solar Panels

Bifacial panels can capture sunlight from both sides, increasing their overall energy generation. They are typically made with monocrystalline cells and are often used in ground-mounted installations.


  • Higher Energy Output: Can produce up to 30% more energy compared to traditional panels.
  • Durability:  Often built to withstand harsh environmental conditions.


  • Higher Cost: They tend to be more expensive due to their advanced technology.
  • Set-up: these types of solar panels are not suitable for rooftop solar.

Best For

  • Businesses with suitable installation areas that can take advantage of the increased energy output, such as ground-mounted systems or areas with reflective surfaces.
  • Businesses that have a large open space that they would like to make use of, e.g. a farmer’s field.


Which Solar Panel is Best for UK Businesses?

Choosing the best solar panel depends on specific business needs, budget, and site characteristics. Here’s a quick recommendation based on typical scenarios:

  • For Small Businesses with Limited Roof Space: Monocrystalline Solar Panels are the best choice due to their high efficiency and space-saving properties.
  • For Cost-Conscious Businesses with Adequate Roof Space: Polycrystalline Solar Panels offer a balanced mix of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
  • For Innovative Architectural Integration: Thin-Film Solar Panels are ideal for businesses looking to integrate solar power into their building design, offering flexibility and better performance in various light conditions.
  • For Maximising Energy Output in Large Installations: Bifacial Solar Panels are perfect for businesses that can leverage their surroundings to enhance energy production, particularly in ground-mounted setups.


Investing in solar panels is a strategic decision that can significantly reduce energy costs and contribute to sustainability goals. By understanding the different types of solar panels and their respective advantages, UK businesses can make an informed choice that best fits their unique requirements. Whether prioritising efficiency, cost, or innovative applications, there's a solar solution available to meet every business need.

If you're ready to improve your energy efficiency whilst driving down energy bills then why not get in touch? With our carbon management plans we will give your business everything it needs to reduce consumption and maximise on savings. . Request a free quote now and start reducing your carbon footprint and energy bills today.