If you want a smooth transition to solar power, you need to invest in a good solar panel. Installing a solar power system is relatively expensive and you want a quick return on investment (ROI).
There is no better way to guarantee a good ROI than having a solar panel that meets all your energy needs flawlessly.
Have you made plans to install your solar power system, but you are not sure which solar panel is the best?
This guide will inform you how to choose the best solar panels and the most suitable one for your home.
How many types of solar panels are there?
You have probably seen different brands of solar panels on display at electronics showrooms, all with different designs and colours. Despite the difference one component stands, they are all made of solar cells.
There are three types of solar panels, which are classified according to the kind of solar cells used. These are:
- Monocrystalline solar panels
- Polycrystalline solar panels
- Thin-film solar panels
Monocrystalline solar panels
Monocrystalline solar panels have a dark black or dark grey colour with a smooth distinctive look. The solar cells in this type of solar panel consist of a single crystal silicon layer in a uniform mesh structure. Monocrystalline have the highest energy efficiency but are relatively pricey.
Polycrystalline solar panels
These solar panels are made of multiple silicon crystals that form a heterogeneous structure. They have a blue colour, cost less, and have lower heat resistance. However, they are less efficient than monocrystalline ones and take up large spaces.
Thin-film solar panels
Thin-film solar panels are thin solar panels with a sleek all-black appearance. Manufacturers use photovoltaic substances instead of silicon crystals deposited on a solid surface, mostly glass or ceramic.
Thin-film solar panels have the lowest efficiency. To meet your energy needs, you might need several panels, and this means more space. These are the cheapest on the market and have a nice aesthetic look.
Choosing the right solar panel
Choosing the best solar panel from hundreds of brands is not easy. You cannot tell the differences by looking at them. To get the best value for your money, consider the following factors:
- Panel temperature
- Tolerance to extreme weather
- Durability and warranty
- Your budget
The output capacity and its efficiency determine a solar panel's performance. The output is the amount of energy the panel produces under optimum conditions and is measured in watts. The average solar panel has an output of 200 to 400 watts.
The efficiency is the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) a solar panel will provide per watt.
When the temperature is high, solar panels become hot and reduce the energy output. A temperature coefficient of power rating determines how fast or slow your solar panel decreases its output per increase in temperature.
Most solar panels have a rating of 0 to 0.5%, but as a rule of thumb, go for a solar panel with a rating closer to 0.
Tolerance to extreme weather
Tolerance refers to how your solar panel performs under extreme weather conditions.
When buying a solar panel, go for solar panels with a positive tolerance to ensure your solar panel produces enough energy during unfavourable conditions.
When it comes to durability, don't take the words of convincing salespersons. Do your due diligence by reading client reviews and checking the authenticity of a warranty.
A durable solar panel will have a warranty of up to 25 years.
As much as you want to save some dollars, remember a solar power system is a long-term investment. Stay away from cheap solar panels because they come with risks and costly maintenance costs.
A high-quality solar panel will be relatively expensive because the manufacturer has used quality materials.
Choosing the right solar panel is paramount because you are making a long-term investment. Consider the performance, temperature co-efficient, tolerance, lifespan, and solar panel warranty before buying. Also, avoid cheap solar panels because they are of low quality and can be hazardous.