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How to choose the right solar panels for your home

Francisco CastroMay 31, 20191280


The costs for solar panels can account for about 25-30% of the total price of a home solar energy system and this equipment is of vital importance, transforming sunlight into electricity to power your appliances and keep the light on in your house.

They will also be on top of your roof or some other place in your property for 25 years or more, so you want to make sure that you get solar panels that are reliable, have the highest efficiency and quality. 

Here’s a brief guide to choosing the right solar panels for your installation. 

Your budget

Money is always a consideration when switching to solar energy. It’s an investment that will lead to savings in your electric bill and it’s money that you want to recuperate as soon as possible and that will continue to offer returns for more than two decades.

Luckily, when it comes to solar panels, you don’t have to. As technology advances, the prices for solar energy equipment has come down more than 70%. 
There are dozens of different deals to choose from, meaning it’s always possible to find something to suit your budget. Shop around, compare prices, and don’t fall for the myth that you need to bankrupt yourself in order to go green.

Fortune Energy offers a wide variety of high-quality solar panels from a number of reputable companies with a long-standing track record of the highest efficiency and outstanding warranties. 

Mono or poly?

There are two main types of solar panels used in domestic solar power systems, monocrystalline and polycrystalline. The decision of which to use for your solar array will depend a lot on aesthetics, efficiency, lifespan, and cost. 

Mono panels are defined by their black color and by their higher levels of energy efficiency. They capture more energy and so you don’t need to install as many in an array. They also tend to have a longer lifespan and will continue to generate power longer. However, they tend to have a higher price.

Poly solar panels have a blue hue and come with a smaller price tag. They produce less energy and have relatively shorter lifespan. 

Energy efficiency 

Energy efficiency has to do with how much of the light received is converted into electrical energy, so the higher it is, the better.

In practical terms, for 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 the same conditions as the 14% efficient panel.

Higher efficiency panels require less area which is perfect where roof space is limited and can also allow larger capacity systems to be fitted to any roof. But efficiency also has to do with real-world factors, such as location, time of year, shading, dirt and cell temperature. So it can vary widely. 

Temperature coefficient

Something else to consider is the temperature coefficient of a solar panel. As a solar panel increases in temperature, the power output of the solar panel decreases. Generally, monocrystalline solar cells have a temperature coefficient of -0.5%/degC. This means a mono solar panel will lose half of one percent of its power for every degree the temperature rises.

When you are choosing the best solar panels for your home, you can think of how hot your panel may get and use that to estimate how efficient they will be on your rooftop. The good thing is that unless your solar panels are exposed to an exorbitant amount of heat, the decrease in efficiency will likely be negligible, even on a hot summer’s day.

If your roof is designed to absorb a massive amount of heat, and you are also living in a location that can see temperatures of 110°F or higher frequently throughout the summer, the loss will be greater, but still not so severe that it will make a long-term impact on your energy savings.

If you want something that will last, keep an eye out for the lowest percentage per degree Celsius that you can find.

Warranties

Your solar panels are supposed to keep generating energy (albeit at a lower percentage) for 25 years or more, which means they are highly efficient and reliable. But you still want to be covered in case there’s a problem with them. 

One way to spot the more durable panels is to check their warranties. There are two types: product/equipment warranty and performance warranty.

Solar panel equipment warranties cover the physical panels themselves. This includes any manufacturing defects, durability issues, or equipment failure. The warranty typically covers the cost of replacing the faulty or damaged panel with a new working one. Most equipment warranties for solar panels last between 10 - 15 years but some premium panels have warranties for up to 25 years.

A solar panel performance guarantee establishes a base electricity production over the lifetime of the panels. The amount of electricity a solar panel produces slightly declines every year they are in use. This decline in production is fairly predictable as the power output should not lose more than 10-20% production over the first 25 years. If the panels drop below this at any time, a performance guarantee fixes or replaces any faulty panels so your system is performing at optimal capacity.

If a long warranty is not included in your purchase, better skip that offer and find something better. 

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