Millie HennickSeptember 4, 20186440
For those looking for the most efficient solar panels for their PV system, the main thing you need to know is how to compare efficiency parameters for different brands. Stated simply, efficiency (expressed as a percentage) quantifies a solar panel’s ability to convert sunlight into electricity. Given the same amount of sunlight for the same amount of time on two solar panels with different efficiency ratings, the more efficient panel will generate more electricity than the less efficient panel. In real terms, when comparing two solar panels of the same physical size, if one has a 21% efficiency rating and the other has a 14% efficiency rating, the 21% efficient panel will produce 50% more kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity under similar conditions as the 14% efficient panel. Therefore, maximizing energy use and bill savings is heavily reliant on solar panel energy efficiency.
Many people in the solar industry consider efficiency to be the most important factor when assessing a solar panel’s quality. While it is an important criterion, there are other matters to consider when you evaluate whether to install a particular solar panel. Solar panel efficiency relates to the ability of the panel to convert energy at a low cost and high output.
The most efficient commercially available solar panels on the market these days have efficiency ratings as high as 22.5%, whereas the majority of panels range from 15% to 17% efficiency rating. SunPower panels are generally known for being the most efficient solar panel brand available on the market. Though they come with a higher price tag, SunPower will often be the consumer favorite for anyone concerned with efficiency as a major metric of interest.
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If your goal is to maximize the amount of electricity your system produces or want to ensure you buy the least amount of electricity from the utility, you may choose to install higher efficiency solar panels. This will ensure you get the maximum power generation from your solar panel system.
More efficient solar panels tend to cost more than their less efficient counterparts. You may want to study whether that initial cost difference is justified by the increased saving achieved by generating more electricity over the lifespan of your solar energy system. Increased electricity generation means you have to buy less power from your utility and in some states, may also generate higher SREC income.
How efficient are today's solar panels?
Most panel manufacturers make several solar panel models which range in efficiency ratings. The leading brands in this category will be those that utilize high-efficiency solar cells such as LG and SunPower (who have battled back and forth over the years for the world solar efficiency record). However, it’s important to understand the difference between setting a maximum efficiency record and maintaining strong and consistent average solar energy efficiency ratings. Solar efficiency is only one of the crucial factors when considering investment in a solar energy system for your home or business. A little research goes a long way and it pays to compare not only the type of solar panels to be installed but solar installers as well. There can be a wide difference in the quality of the installation work. Online sources such as Yelp and other sites can help steer those interested in solar to more reputable and reliable installers and solar companies. It always pays to do your homework when making a solar investment.
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