One of the primary reasons people switch to solar energy is because it’s more efficient. There are many other benefits, of course… solar generatescleaner, more affordable power in the long run, and better for the environment. Efficiency combines many of these benefits and solar charging gives you an all-around great energy source.
The key to making the most of a solar energy upgrade is to choose the most efficient system for your home. Understanding how efficiency is ranked is the key to making the best choice.
Solar modules and panel efficiency are ranked based on percentage and take into account the panel’s ability to convert the sun’s rays into electrical energy. The most efficient panels are able to take the sun’s light and produce more electricity than less efficient panel options. Same sun, the same amount of time shining on the panel, but more energy from the more efficient panel.
These days, the most efficient consumer solar panels for solar generator kits have a rating of about 22%, but those are the most expensive panels. More reasonably priced panels with a powerful generator rank about 15 to 17% efficient, which is still a pretty good power output.
Unfortunately, the price isn’t the only thing you need to consider when deciding which of the panels available will be the best and most efficient option for you. The size of your house—or at least the size of your roof—is an important factor. In most cases, you can still invest in charge controllers and efficient solar cell panels with a small roof, you’ll just need to opt for higher efficiency panels as part of a complete system. The good news is that you’ll need to buy fewer panels so the cost won’t be as much of an issue as it would be if you were buying the highest efficiency panels for a larger roof.
When it comes to a solar charging power system, it’s also important to keep in mind when shopping for solar cell panels and solar modules that there’s a difference between cost and value.
What does this mean?
Essentially, it means that paying more might not cost you more in the long run. For instance, investing in a more expensive but higher efficiency solar system panel and roof mounts might cost more upfront, but over time you’ll save that money in energy cost. Some of the more expensive panels also tend to have a longer lifespan, so you’ll need to replace them fewer times. There are also instances in which higher efficiency panels get you more money in tax rebates, so you’ll reduce the overall cost of your panels that way. What might initially seem like a hefty investment and a lot more than a cheaper model of panel for a home solar system might end up costing you less over the course of 10 or 20 years.
Shopping for Solar Panels
Now that you understand more about solar panels, panel systems, and how to rank efficiency, you can begin to shop for the best panels for your home. These tips will help you during your shopping excursion:
Shop around before you buy.
Homeowners who do some research and shop around tend to save at least 10 percent over those who buy solar panels, a solar charge controller, and mounting systems without shopping around. Any investment you make in your home should start with research. Make sure you know what’s out there, read reviews, check into brands, and know what you are getting. If you’ve already decided the specific kind of panel you need, look for companies that specialize in that option.
Sometimes, smaller manufacturers offer panels for less money, but you’ll need to make sure the product you are getting is the same quality and that the company hasn’t cut corners in other ways. For instance, you might feel as if you are saving a lot of money only to find out you have to install the panels on your own. You’ll be stuck with a major project or you’ll need to pay more for installation.
Consider shopping with a local company—but don’t assume that’s always the best option.
Small, local companies can save you money, but you need to be sure you are getting the best value for your money. It’s also important to make sure the product you’ll get is the same quality as something you’d get from a larger retailer.
Bigger isn’t always better and just because a company has worked with a lot of clients doesn’t mean they are the best. Some studies show that larger solar panel retailers sell panels for thousands of dollars more than smaller companies just because they can. They also might not have the variety of panels that smaller retailers can access. On the other hand, your local retailer might offer fewer options than a larger national retailer. The key to making the best decision is to research your options and determine which is best for you.
If you have the option of working with a smaller retailer you can trust and that sells the product you want, it might be your best option.
Panels aren’t the Only Thing You’ll Need to Buy
It’s important to remember that the solar panels aren’t the only thing you’ll need to buy if you want to take advantage of solar power. Many retailers sell a solar panel kit that includes all of the supplies you’ll need, as well as what you’ll need for cleaning and maintenance of your solar panels.
If you’re still not sure where to begin, consider using a solar energy or solar panel calculator that can help steer you toward the best option. This will give you an idea of your options and what’s going to save you the most money converting to solar power.
Our Choices for Most Efficient Solar Panels
Though everyone’s needs are different, we’ve put together a list of five of the most efficient solar panels available right now.
Sunpower X Series 21.5%
Sunpower E Series 20.4%
Panasonic HIT 19.7%
LG Solar 19.1%
Solar World 17.89%
If you’re interested in purchasing solar panels online, a few of our favorites include:
Renogy300 Watt 12 Volt Off Grid Solar Premium Kit with Monocrystalline Solar Panel and 40A MPPT Rover Controller