Comparing Solar Panel Efficiency

If you want to compare solar panel quality, you're on the right page. After all, we produced the world's very first Periodic Table of Solar Panel Elements. Comparing solar quotes can save money, but knowing what to look for will provide the best price for the quality of the panel. The best type of solar panel satisfies specific characteristics, some of which may be unique to specific homeowners. But you can rely on our expertise to make an informed decision.

Go Solar Group's expert consultants and technicians work side-by-side with module producers and consumers alike to ensure you make a decision that fits your home's energy needs. The comparison chart below helps consumers make a sound financial decision based on key features of each module, all of which directly impact your potential solar experience. 

  • The Best Solar Panel Type

    Photovoltaic type refers to the solar crystal structure and integrity of the solar panel. Monocrystalline panels use the highest quality crystal structure.

    Monocrystalline solar panels use one high-quality crystal instead of many fragmented ones, which helps the cells in the module maintain higher power output. Because monocrystalline solar panels produce more electricity per panel, they don't need as much space.

    Polycrystalline panels don't cost as much as monocrystalline modules. However, because polycrystalline panels use fragmented silicon crystals, efficiency also isn’t as high, which means the same amount of power requires more solar panels.

  • The Role of Engineering in Module Efficiency

    Many great ideas get tossed around. However, the ones that succeed have a well thought out design and execution.

    Reliable engineering plays a crucial role in financial decisions, like solar. Due to the longevity of the product life and the asset potential for your home and family, testing and high-quality processes need defining and products warranted.

    Germany has led the way in solar technology because of the country’s aggressive renewable energy goals. These goals have allowed it to develop quality technology. Go Solar Group has confidence in the German-engineered technology that we support because of the research and testing dedicated to product development since 2001.

  • Efficiency Ratings

    Different solar panel types and sizes convert energy from the sun at different rates. Most solar panel efficiencies range from 15 to 20%. While solar panels have efficiencies both above and below the average range, most commercially available options don't exceed 20%. 

    When comparing efficiency, look at the wattage of the solar panel and its efficiency rating. Together these measurements offer a more accurate comparison.

  • Solar Panel Durability

    In 2014, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory presented a conference paper on the reliability of solar panels in the United States. This paper stated that, out of 50,000 systems, only 0.1 percent underperformed

    Although most weather conditions will not harm solar panels, extreme weather can do damage. Most solar panels go through vigorous testing to ensure they will withstand high amounts of wind, rain, and high-velocity objects.

    Harsh weather like hail or wind storms can damage some solar panel installations. However, most solar panels can withstand an average storm. Regardless, it's best to consider the warranty of both the solar panels and the solar installer.

  • Why Aesthetics Matter

    Curb appeal often plays a large role in the best solar option. While it's common to mount a solar array on the front of a home to maximize solar potential, not everyone likes how they look. Slim panels with consistent coloration enhance the appearance of rooftop solar.

    Old and cheap solar models do not take into consideration the aesthetics of the array, which can take away from the overall value and confidence in the purchase. Monocrystalline solar arrays offer a sleek black look.

    Solar shingles have also become a preferred aesthetic choice. However, they don't work for every home because they require shingle replacement, making them best for new builds. Unlike solar shingles, customers who purchase monocrystalline panels get curb appeal and quality at a fraction of the cost.

  • Solar Panel Warranty

    While the average array takes 12 years to pay off, the production of a solar array should last at least 25 years, making the investment well worth it. Due to the degradation of solar panels over time, most modules have warranties that guarantee the system will convert solar energy at a minimum of 80 percent productivity. We recommend holding out for a warranty that covers at least 85 percent production for 25 years.

  • Four Design Properties

    The solar panel design can impact its production and lifespan. Four design properties include reflection, temperature, recombination, and wavelength.

    Reflection

    An anti-reflective coating is optional but recommended when it comes to solar panel design. The film can increase the output of the solar cells by 3-4 percent because it reduces the amount of reflection coming off or escaping the solar cells before converting into an electric current.

    Temperature

    As with most technology, solar cells function best at lower temperatures. A racking system that ventilates the system will prevent it from overheating, which will decrease the efficiency of the module. 

    Most solar panels work best at 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius. The temperature coefficient of a solar panel shows how much efficiency gets lost per-degree of Celsius above the solar panel's optimal-heat rating.

    Recombination

    Two semiconductors with opposite charges can create a current. However, the electrons can recombine and release heat instead. 

    Solar panels with defects in the crystal structure have a higher chance of generating heat instead of electricity. For this reason, monocrystalline solar panels typically perform better than polycrystalline.

    Wavelength

    A wavelength measures the distances between two identical points on two consecutive crests of a wave. Light has a wide range of wavelengths.  

    Solar panels capture wavelengths and convert them into a direct current. A solar panel that can convert more wavelengths into an electric current will allow the array to produce more electricity.

  • Manufacturer Location

    As a local business, supporting stable jobs in the United States is an important initiative to maintain. While we recommend German-engineered solar panels due to the integrity of their engineering, we also support the production and sale of solar products in the United States.

  • Length of Solar Panel Research and Development

    The research and development of solar panels have evolved over more than a half-century. Decades-old solar manufacturers have tried and true products on the market with quality warranties.

    Several experimental solar panels have higher efficiency ratings than the average solar panel. These new products, however, have not gone through the same extent of testing as silicon-based solar panels.

    In 2015, Yale 360 published an article stating it would take 20 plus years before new solar panel technology would reach sufficient testing and development. During this time, a customer could have bought a well-tested system and saved thousands of dollars on power bills.

Go Solar Group's Solar Panels: Module Review

Wayne Sumner mentions the quality of our German-engineered solar panels in the below video. Go Solar Group invests significant time in researching and comparing different types of solar panels and products by participating in industry calls and maintaining industry relationships. We also make sure the efficiency of the solar panels over time is as high as possible for our customers.

While Go Solar Group's preferred solar panel manufacturer is Axitec, we also have several premium options for homes that need special attention. These solar manufacturers include LG, Solaria, and Silfab. 

These solar panels have efficiencies ranging from 17.6 to 22% and wattages between 300 and 410. They work perfectly for homes with limited space.

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