The biggest part of a solar power system is the solar panels themselves. With dozens of different solar panels in warehouses across the US, how do you decide which ones to get? There are many ways to compare solar panels so let’s talk about what to look for.
Many people make the assumption that a solar panel with higher wattage is always the better choice, but this isn’t necessarily true. If you are comparing solar panels that are same physical size and one of them is higher wattage, that means it is more efficient and will cost more money per watt. If you have a limited amount of space to install your solar panels, then the more efficient solar panel would be a good idea because you can fit more wattage in the space you have. But if you have plenty of room for solar panels, it may not be worth it to pay the higher price per watt for the more efficient panels. Lower efficiency does not necessarily mean lower quality.
Which brings us to the discussion of quality. Determining the quality of a solar panel is not an exact science but there are some things you can look for. Looking at the manufacturer is a good idea. Ask questions like how long they have been in business and whether they make things other than solar panels. What you are trying to judge is whether or not they will be around 20 years from now to honor their warranty. If they have been making solar panels for a long time, chances are they are good quality or warranty issues would have put them out of business. If are a major electronics brand, that make other things chances are they will stick around and honor their solar warranties because they will still want to sell their other products.
Another way to determine solar panel quality is check what certifications it has. You can see our blog article “Solar Panel Certifications Demystified” for more details but all solar panels have to be certified to meet the UL 1703 standard but they can also take it up a notch and get certified to meet other IEC 61646 standards for durability and performance or get tested over time for the DNV GL PV Module Reliability Scorecard which is what financial companies look at when investing money into solar farms. Solar panel manufacturers can also get their factories certified to certain quality standards as well for added peace of mind.
Some people get hung up on different types of solar panels. They might insist on monocrystalline solar panels because they heard they are better quality or thin film modules because they heard they are cheaper. These are generalizations that are not always true. A monocrystalline solar panel made by an unreliable manufacturer is not necessarily better quality than a polycrystalline solar panel made by a more conscientious company. There are many types of thin film modules out there while some are less expensive than crystalline solar panels, others might be more expensive. For more details on this topic, check out our article titled “Types of Solar Panels”.
Availability is another factor is the solar panel choice. We all know a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush. If the solar panels you want to install on your California home can only be found in a New York warehouse, the cost of shipping them might make you re-think your decision. It also happens that some people search exhaustively on manufacturer’s website and find the solar panel that they believe is perfect for them only to discover it isn’t currently available anywhere in the United States. It is best to start by finding out what is available at a quality distributor (like GoGreenSolar.com) and then choose from that selection.
In the end, the decision to go solar is far more important than which solar panels you choose. Solar panel failures are rare and if you get too into the process of choosing the perfect solar panels, you just waste time that you could be saving on your electric bill. You can always just call GoGreenSolar and leave the choice to the experts.