Tag Archives: Choosing Solar Panels

Solar Electric Panel Buying Guide – Choose the Best

Solar panels or photovoltaic (PV) panels are in high demand now as it can generate the electrical power needed for your home or other energy needs. As the other conventional energy resources are drying out, people are turning to more natural and everlasting source of energy, the sun, to meet their increasing power consumption needs.

When you are getting on to purchase a solar electrical system, make sure that you check out all available packages which companies offer and the subsidies by the governments. In light of the loan programs, which the solar service providers offer and the tax benefits by the state, you may be able to get PV power at a far reduced price than actual.

The cost factor

Let’s see an example; a photovoltaic solar panel which can provide electricity for the entire home by meeting the fire and electric compliance requirements is eligible to get a tax rebate of up to 30%, say around $500 for a 0.5 kW solar power system. However, many of such programs are for the residences only, not for large-scale plants.

However, don’t jump into any kind of random programs while shopping for the photovoltaic cell system, but keep the following considerations in mind to get the best purchase.

  • Power output

How much is that your home needs? If you can get a break down of your daily power usage from the electricity bill, it is easy to determine how much wattage you need to generate from your PV array to meet the needs. During the peak hours when sun delivers the best, the output may range anywhere from 40 watts to 200 watts from an ideal solar systems. The difference is based on the technology, size of the panel, and cells used etc.

  • Cost per Wattage

Another effective way to calculate the cost of purchasing photovoltaic cells is to consider the dollars-per-watt cost ratio. A round estimate can be like, if you purchase the PV modules which are priced at $4 to $5 per wattage means that the system can deliver a maximum output of 100 Watts if you spend $400 to $500. Using this method, you can roughly calculate how much you need to shell out to lit up your home fully.

  • Insolation

It is insolation (not insulation) which measures the total amount of sunshine directly falls on to each square meter of the solar panel per day. This is generally measured in kilowatts and will help determine how much energy you expect the PV array to produce daily.

Mounting the solar array

Even you buy the best, the tilt of the solar array also is important based on the geographical specifications of your area to ensure maximum efficiency. There are various types of solar array mounting systems for home purpose and picking the right one is critical to ensure the best ROI.

You may feel installing the PV modules simply flat on the roof to be aesthetically pleasing, but this may significantly reduce the power generation during the low-light hours or rainy days. Don’t doubt whether PV cells can work at rain, it can, but generates only lesser energy. Now, there are advanced mounting stands too which can automatically turn and adjust the tilt to track the sun across the sky.

Basic Info and Proper Insight on Choosing the Best Solar Panels

If you are looking forward to buying a solar system as a whole or trying to buy in parts to assemble it by your own, one need to purchase the best solar panels. There are plenty of selections in terms of solar panels now, which leave the buyers in dilemma on which to choose. Some comes with a subsidy whereas some others are the latest lightweight models. Here, we will have an overview of solar panels and with purchase tips.

Function of solar panels

You can search in the Google for the “world’s best solar panels”, but in fact there is no such thing to be considered as a one-size fit for all purposes. The best product varies on the basis of whether you want to light up the entire house or want to make use of it to charge your car battery. You need to also know that producing hot water with the help of a solar heater is a totally different affair than generating electricity from solar energy.

On checking out for the real function of solar panels, these are photovoltaic cells which converts the short-wave radiation from parts of sunlight to electric power. Solar panels consist of interconnected solar cells, which are adequately protected by a solid material. The surface of solar panel is kept transparent and the block of solar panel is adequately framed.

Purchasing solar panels

Before purchasing any solar panel, ensure that you take a close look at the specification sheet. It can give a clear idea about the major details of that particular solar module and its specifications to help you choose the best solar panel. To interpret the technical data mentioned, you need to have some basic knowledge of the following concepts;

  • Type of semiconductor used

Various types of semiconductors used in solar cells include;

    • Monocrystalline silicon cells (c-Si) with an efficiency of 20%
    • Polycrystalline silicon cells (mc-Si) with an efficiency of 16%
    • Flat-film amorphous silicon cells (a-Si) with efficiency of 5% to 7%
    • Microcrystalline silicon cells (µc-Si) along with a-Si cells efficiency up to 10%
    • Gallium-Arsenik cells (GaAs) with efficiency of 10 to 40%
    • Cadmium-Tellur cells (CdTe) with efficiency of 10 to 40%
    • Chalkopyrite cells (CIS, CIGS) with efficiency from 10 to over 40%.

It is expected that the panels containing organic cells may be the best in future as they can be made at a lower cost. However, as of now the efficiency of such panels is low with a maximum yield of 10% and the life expectancy is also short as 5000 hours. They are ideal now for portable electric devices, but researches are ongoing to enhance its capabilities. The other considerations are;

  • Efficiency of solar modules – Not just the individual cells, but ensure the efficiency of the entire solar panel block on the basis of high minimum warranted power rating.
  • Power rating of solar modules – It is the wattage of a particular solar module. What you need to check is the warranted minimum power stated in Peak Watt (Wp).
  • Operational voltage – Open circuit voltage usually rated in Volts (V) is the maximum voltage solar cells can produce while not connected to a load.

Some other considerations to make are the temperature operating range (TOR), dimensions of the panel, warranty etc.