The renewable energy industry has exploded so quickly over the last several years that there is a seemingly-countless number of solar panels available that you can use to create your own solar panel array and power your home. Unfortunately, as with any industry where tech becomes affordable and popular, many of these options may seem great but are built with sub-par quality components and actually lead to a worse experience than other, more reputable panels. Then the problem becomes knowing which panels are good quality and will save you money, and which ones will only lead to more of a disappointment. So on this blog, we’ll give you just a brief primer you can use to make sure you select the right panels for your home or business.
Every solar panel sold in the United States is required to come with an efficiency rating in order to let you know what kind of production you can expect out of it. Generally, the industry average is anywhere from 16 to 18 percent, which you should keep in mind. Anyone can claim their panels are “high-efficiency,” but if their efficiency rating is just 12 percent, you’ll know that that’s not entirely honest marketing. High-efficiency panels should be pushing well over 20 percent in order to justify their cost.
This ratio is important because it will give you an idea of just how much energy your panels will produce. Using a more-efficient panel means you’ll get better production from a smaller amount of space on your roof. This means you’ll need fewer panels with higher efficiency ratings to meet your home’s needs than you would with a lower-efficiency panel. This is known as the “cost-to-efficiency ratio;” while lower-efficiency panels cost less, you might actually be spending more on more panels to meet your needs than you would be spending buying fewer units of a more expensive panel in order to power your home.
Many of the low-cost panels that seem extremely attractive due to their eye-catching price tag don’t exactly live up to expectations in terms of component quality and long-lasting durability. Over time, the long hours of exposure to sunlight means ultraviolet radiation and other harmful sunlight contents will slowly and progressively wear out the parts on your panel. Not to mention, the components needed to capture the energy will eventually become less efficient as they get used over time.
While no panel can last forever, certain panels are better-constructed than others and those ones will definitely be able to produce more energy for longer. You can usually determine which panels are best-constructed via the warranty that the manufacturer places on these panels. Industry standard for panel warranty is generally between ten and 25 years, with more and more reputable manufacturers pushing for the 25 year mark. Any warranties below that are likely a sub-par product that has little to no support from the manufacturer. Stay away.
There’s also something to be said for the reputation of your panel manufacturer when it comes to panel quality. Generally, a more-established manufacturer with a larger brand name is going to provide you with a better experience than one that nobody’s really heard of. These companies have built their name for a reason: they have extensive experience building and developing the technology that they can now provide you today. Often times that gives them the ability to back up their panels with better warranties and a continual peace of mind of knowing that the support for your system will always be there.
For more information about choosing the right solar panels, talk to a Southern California solar installation expert! Call Sea Bright Solar at (909) 480-3783 to request a consultation with a member of our team.