Ever wonder if you can get triangular solar panels?
Afterall, why should they all be that same boring rectangular shape…
Well, triangle shaped solar panels have been invented!
And they have their uses beyond just being a little bit different.
If you look around the rooftops in your neighborhood, you’ll notice that most of the solar panels are rectangular and leave large gaps.
Now with triangle solar panels, you can use roof space even more efficiently for increased energy output.
Or if you have an off-grid space on a van, boat, or tiny home you might decide to use an odd shaped solar panel for a better fit.
Can You Get Triangular Solar Panels?
Yes, you can buy triangle shaped solar panels but the availability is still rather limited.
You’ll find a growing number of installers and manufacturers are using triangle solar panels.
The trend is quickly growing in areas with irregular shaped roofs such as the UK and Japan.
This is because the three sided shape of the panels makes it easier to cover a higher percentage of a roof.
It allows the installer to place solar panels at narrow corners or in awkward gaps in the array. A bit like a jigsaw puzzle.
What is a Triangle Solar Panel and Why Use Them?
A triangular solar panel is mounted in a frame with three sides rather than 4.
The aluminum frame which holds the solar cells in place is specially designed to create this triangle shape.
Often, they are designed for unique roofs and spaces that won’t fit traditional 4 sided panels.
When you have an obstacle, like a chimney or skylight, it can be hard to fit a rectangle solar panel around this part of the roof. Using a special triangle panel enables you to cover these tricky areas to reduce the gaps in the system. This means you can more optimally use the space available to generate increased amounts of electricity.
Can You Mix Triangle and Rectangle Solar Panels?
Yes, you can use a combination of triangle and rectangle solar panels. You don’t need to choose one or the other.
Many people will advise you not to mix different types of solar panels, so you should ensure your installer knows what they’re doing. Wired up correctly, the two panel types can work well together.
How Much Do Triangular Solar Panels Cost?
Triangular solar panels will cost more than normal ones of the same power. This is because they are less common and not as widely manufactured.
Adding to this, they might even need bespoke design to fit a particular roof space. In this case, the cost would be a lot higher.
That being said, expenses have come down a lot in recent years across the industry. In fact, as the popularity of solar panels has grown over the last decade, cost per kW of electricity has reduced by over 30x.
For example, you can get a monocrystalline 100W triangle solar panel for between $150 – $200. Comparatively, a 100W rectangle solar panel can cost you less than $100.
Advantages of Triangle Solar Panels
Let’s take a look at the benefits of triangular solar panels.
Use More Roof Space
The main reason to use triangle solar panels is to cover more of your roof. Buildings are never geometrically square, plus they tend to have obstacles built in such as chimneys. You might also find there are odd angles and pitches which need to be accounted for.
All of these oddities can limit how much of the roof you can cover with a simple square or rectangle panel. Triangles can be built in different formats to fill awkward areas on a building such as narrow pitches or gaps between other panels.
Increased Electricity Production
The ability to fill a roof more optimally leads to the most important benefit – increased electricity production. The more solar cells you can install (no matter the shape of panel) the more of the sun’s energy can be absorbed. Of course, this increases energy production.
Despite major advances in technology, solar panels are still not hugely efficient especially when there’s cloud cover. So the more panels you can install the better off you’ll be.
Design and Aesthetics
The three sided style of the panels can also be very aesthetically pleasing and compliment architecture nicely. Adding to this, you’ll get a more pleasing coverage of your roof so there’s no ugly gaps in your solar array.
When it comes to design, triangle solar panels have also been used to deliver unique products such as this flower styling:
Disadvantages of Triangle Solar Panels
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, there are some drawbacks to triangle solar panels too.
Despite the benefits, it can be very hard to find triangle solar panels. This is because the manufacturing process is more complex and rarely carried out. The majority of companies don’t make this type of panel and only particularly installers will use them on request.
Due to the limited numbers manufactured, the cost is much higher. This comes down to the complications in building the shape and the economies of scale. Rectangle solar panel production has skyrocketed over the past decade. This enables manufacturers to improve processes and reduces cost of materials. Contrastingly, triangle panels are still very rare and often made to order. This makes it tough for them to compete on price.
Installers Won’t Work On Them
Even if you order your solar panels independently, many installers won’t carry out the work. This is because they refuse to work on equipment they don’t provide or are not used to working with.
So be careful before you order any and ensure you have someone to carry out the installation and maintenance.
Are Triangular Solar Panels Right for You?
So will solar panels be right for your needs?
That’s for you and your installer to decide. To be honest, most people get on perfectly well with traditional options.
Triangle solar panels tend to come into use if you have a unique structure or unusual roof space. In addition, if you are struggling to meet your power targets you can optimize your roof and fill gaps.
Of course, you’ll need to balance the cost of adding these bespoke solar panels. If you’re on a budget, you’ll need to calculate the potential electricity increase to offset energy bills to make it worthwhile.
Where to Buy Triangular Solar Panels
It can be a little tricky to find suppliers of triangular solar panels. So take the time to evaluate the best to suit your requirements.
To point you in the right direction here’s a selection of companies that provide them:
Trienergia – This Italian manufacturer makes high-end products with the latest high-efficiency solar cells. You can choose between triangle and rectangle panels in various unique colors.
All in solar – You can buy complete solar panel packs here that will be shipped around the world. For example, its ‘self-consumption 1800 watt kit’ includes 6 triangular 100W solar panels 6 and 200W rectangular solar panels.
Hi, I’m Michael, the editor here at Watt A Lot.
After years of experience with off-grid power like solar panels, inverters, and batteries I decided I should share my hands-on knowledge with you. In my professional and personal life, I’ve needed to find electrical solutions for remote situations from owning a food truck, to running events at the top of mountains, to my converted campervan. So whether you’re looking for the best products or fixing an electrical problem, you can rest assured my advice comes from real hands-on experience.