9 Ways To Determine The Most Efficient Type of Solar Panels

The best type of solar panel will satisfy 9 characteristics. We’ve compiled our expert knowledge to offer you the best solar panel comparison and information, including solar panel output per day, so that you’re informed before you buy.

Wayne Sumner mentions the quality of our German-engineered solar panels in the above video, and we detail them below as well. As a full-service solar company in Salt Lake City, Utah; Reno, Nevada; and San Antonio, Texas, Go Solar Group invests significant time in researching and comparing different types of solar panels and products by participating in bi-weekly industry calls and maintaining industry relationships. We also make sure the efficiency of solar panels over time is as high as possible for our customers.

The goal? To find the most efficient solar panels at the right price.

GSG solar consultants work side-by-side with producers and consumers to make sure that as a specialist in the solar industry, Go Solar can provide sound advice to anyone interested in furthering solar education or awareness. As an internal initiative, GSG consultants have put together the following solar comparison chart to help consumers in the solar industry make a sound financial decision when going solar. Our solar power savings calculator will also help you make the right financial decision in terms of loan length in Utah and Reno, Nevada.

Comparison Factor

  • PV Type
  • Aesthetic
  • Warranty
  • Design
  • Engineering Origin
  • Manufacture Location
  • Module Conversion Efficiency
  • Durability
  • Length of Research & Development

Our Recommended Panel

  • Monocrystalline 60 cell 300 Watt AXIblackpremium
  • Black composite film back sheet, black anodized aluminum frame
  • 15 years manufacturer's warranty and 85% after 25 years
  • Anti-reflective coating, permissible operation between -40 F to 185 F.
  • German-engineered
  • Vietnam
  • 18.44%
  • Built for snow & ice with 5400 Pa snow load
  • More than 16

The Competition's Panel

  • Polycrystalline
  • White/Blue Backsheet
  • 80% Tiered Production Warranty
  • -
  • Chinese-engineered
  • China, Korea, Mexico
  • 16.50%
  • -
  • 1-5 years

  • PV Type

    Photovoltaic type’ refers to the solar crystal structure and integrity of the solar panel. Monocrystalline panels are made up of the highest quality crystal structure.

    Because their structure is composed of one high quality crystal instead of many fragmented ones they  have the ability to maintain a higher power output.  They produce more per panel which means you don’t need as much space.

    Polycrystalline panels were made in an effort to make solar panels a cheaper option. They are not however the most efficient option. Because polycrystalline panels use fragmented silicon crystals efficiency isn’t as high.

  • Engineering

    Although an idea may be great if not well thought out and executed it will fail. Reliable engineering is crucial for a financial decision 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 to be defined and products warranted.

    Germany has led the way in solar technology because of the country’s aggressive renewable energy goals. These goals have allowed the country to develop quality technology. We are confident in the German-engineered technology that we support because of the 25+ years of research and testing that have been dedicated to product development.

  • Efficiency

    Different panel types and sizes convert sun energy at different rates. Commit to a panel that is rated for at least 16.5% efficiency. The competition in the solar industry has brought solar cells that convert at higher rates, but they are newer products that have not been tested to the same extent.

  • Durability

    In 2015 the National Renewable Energy Laboratory stated that out of 50,000 systems only 0.1% of them were defective or underperforming. Although most weather conditions will not harm panels extreme weather can. Most solar panels are tested to withstand high amounts of wind, rain, and one-inch objects moving at 50 miles per hour.  

    Harsh weather like hail or wind storms can damage some solar panels installations. Most solar panels can withstand normal debris, but the racking may not hold up. Always consider the warranty that is attached to any solar panel, as well as asking your solar installer what warranties the company provides.

  • Aesthetic

    These days it’s all about curb appeal. It’s very common to mount a solar array on the front of a home to maximize solar potential, so slimmer, more consistent coloration is important when considering the brand of solar panel to buy. Older and cheaper models do not take into consideration the aesthetic of the array, which can take away from the overall value and confidence in the purchase.

    Purchasing a mono-crystalline solar array will give you a sleek black look. Solar shingles are a good aesthetic choice, but not the most cost-effective one. When you purchase mono-crystalline panels you get curb appeal and quality at a fraction of the cost. Solar shingles are best for new builds so if you are planning on getting shingles you will want to keep this in mind.

  • Warranty

    Buying a solar array is a mid – long term financial decision for most individuals. 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 shading or weather conditions, most panels will be warranteed to convert solar energy at at least 80% productivity. We recommend holding out for a warranty that covers at least 85% production for 25 years so that your energy usage needs will only fall under the first electricity tier, if the panels happen to produce less energy than you consume.

  • Design

    How your solar panel is designed can affect its production and lifespan. The four major design properties to look at are the reflection, temperature, recombination, and wavelength.

  • Manufacture Location

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

    As of 2017, there were a recorded 250,271 US jobs in the solar industry by the Solar Foundation National Solar Job Census. Although this was 4% less than in 2016 it is still 168% more than in 2010. Despite a bit of uncertainty this last year there has been job growth in 29 states. Although most solar jobs are installation related there are currently 36,885 manufacturing jobs in the United States. With the new tax on imported solar panels, this is likely to increase as well.

  • Length of R&D

    The research and development of solar panels has been evolving over more than a half-century. Solar manufacturers that have been around for decades have tried and true products on the market with warranties and minimum guaranteed production. Newer solar manufacturers are using newer, less-expensive solar products in order to provide cheaper solar panels and cannot provide sound expectations of production for their untested products, so newer solar panels can jeopardize a solar investment.

    There are experimental panels out there with higher efficiency rating. The new products, however, have not been tested to the same extent that Silicon panels have. So although their lab results may say they can get up to 20% efficiency on your home they may actually get less.

    In 2015 Yale e360  published an article. It stating that it would take 20 plus years before new solar panel technology would be sufficiently tested and developed. You could already have bought a system and saved thousands of dollars on your power bills by that time. Then by the time you are ready for a new system the new technology would be cheaper.

  • Reflection

    An anti-reflective coating is optional, but recommended, when it comes to designing a solar panel. The coating can actually increase the output of the solar cells by 3-4% because it reduces the amount of reflection coming off, or escaping the solar cells prior to conversion.

  • Temperature

    As with most technology solar cells function best at lower temperatures. Having a racking system that ventilates your system will allow it to function better. You will, however, want to pay attention to the temperature coefficient of your panels. Most panels are rated to work best at 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius. The temperature coefficient tells you how much efficiency you lose per degree of Celsius above its optimal heat rating.

  • Recombination

    To create a current two semiconductors with opposite charges are used. However, the electrons can recombine and release heat instead of a current. Panels that have defects in the crystal structure are more likely to encounter this problem. For this reason, Polycrystalline panels have been found to be less efficient than monocrystalline.

  • Wavelength

    Light has a wide range of wavelengths of light. Solar panels are designed to capture certain wavelengths and convert them into a direct current. Getting a panel that can convert more wavelengths into a current will allow you to produce more electricity.

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