Distinction Between Solar PV and Solar Thermal Panels; Which One is Better?

Distinction Between Solar PV and Solar Thermal Panels

Sun is a fundamental energy source, and many energy markets depend on and are based on that. Many companies rely on either indirect or direct solar energies.

Indirect solar energy sources include:

  • Wind
  • Low-grade geothermal
  • Tidal and waves

Direct solar energy sources include:

  • Solar photovoltaics (solar PV)
  • Solar thermal

What are PV Panels?

PV panels or solar panels capture the energy from the sun and convert it into electricity, which is then used to power household appliances and equipment. The most commonly used system is grid-connected, which is connected to the national grid; when solar panels are not working at night, the electricity can be used from the national grid. On top of that, if the solar panels generate more power than required, one can sell the surplus to the national grid and earn from solar panels.

Another solar panel system called a stand-alone system, is not connected to the national grid; instead, it comprises solar batteries that provide electricity at night. This system is ideal for places that do not have another alternative to electricity.

What are Solar Thermal Panels?

Unlike Solar panels, solar thermal panels convert sunlight into heat, utilising the heat to warm houses or water.

What are the Pros & Cons of Solar PV Panels?

What are the Pros & Cons of Solar PV Panels?


A Clean Energy Sources

One of the great benefits of PV panels is that they provide clean and green energy; they do not emit or produce any harmful gases like carbon dioxide.

Free Raw Material

With PV panels, one does not have to spend on raw materials; as PV cells depend on sunlight to produce electricity, it is completely free and can generate electricity anywhere in the world. Furthermore, whether travelling or camping, you can benefit from PV panels.

Reduced Energy Cost

Using PV panels can reduce energy bills and fossil fuel consumption by 70%. It’s the most cost-effective solution compared to other energy sources.

Low Maintenance

Unlike other energy systems, PV Panels are popular for their low maintenance and operating cost. Not only that, they have a long lifespan and can provide energy for at least 40 years.

Ease of Installation

PV panels can be installed on the rooftops or the grounds.


Less Reliable Due to Intermittency Issues

One of the biggest issues with solar panels is that they cannot provide electricity continuously, such as during the night or on a cloudy or rainy day. They are unable to provide electricity on demand; hence less reliable.

Additional Investments

PV panels require additional investment, such as batteries and inverters. Inverters are required to transform electricity for use via a power network. On the other hand, storage batteries are required to supply continuous electric power.

Requires a Larger Area

A vast area or field is required for land-mounted PV panel installation. Therefore, it is vital to choose the right spot. Otherwise, one would have to install the panels on the rooftop.


Though PV panels do not need high maintenance, they are extremely delicate and can be easily damaged.

What are the Pros & Cons of Solar Thermal Panels?

What are the Pros & Cons of Solar Thermal Panels?


Renewable Energy

Solar thermal energy never runs out due to its sustainability and renewability, meaning we can use it as long as the sun shines. Moreover, solar thermal energy also reduces fossil fuel consumption.

Environmentally Friendly

Solar thermal is environmentally friendly because one can utilise heat without burning natural resources. As a result, the levels of emission of greenhouse gases are reduced; in doing so, one can reduce carbon footprint and improves the overall air quality.

Reduces Energy Bills

Like solar panels, solar thermal also helps in reducing bills. Solar thermal cuts your bills in half whether you use natural gas or electricity to heat your home or water.

Requires Little space

Solar thermal panels can be easily installed on the house rooftop.

Cheap to Run

Though the solar thermal system is expensive to install, it is cheaper to run.


Costly Installation

Solar thermal installation is highly expensive as other expenses are involved during installation.

  • Plumbing work
  • Storage tank installation
  • Heat exchange system’s integration

Unusable at Night

Solar thermal panels also cannot be used at night or on a rainy day like PV panels. However, hot water can be stored for later use.

Less Efficient in Winter

Due to less sunlight in winter, there will be less heat production. Though this is a disadvantage for both types, it is more crucial with solar thermal energy.

Limited Storage

Whereas electricity can be stored in batteries, storing hot water for a long without losing heat is challenging.

Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing one definite answer is difficult because both systems provide renewable, sustainable, environmentally friendly green energy solutions.

Here are some of the facts that help to choose the right system accordingly:

  • Solar thermal is space efficient.
  • PV panels have better technology development
  • PV panels are made from the latest technology therefore, they are relatively successful.
  • If needed to heat water, solar thermal is ideal.