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Sanyo vs. SunPower, who’s better?

I talk to a lot of people about solar panels and I’ve noticed there is a common misconception about “the king of solar panels”. Obviously when comparing solar panels, some solar panels are more efficient then others, this is where the comparison comes into play, which solar panel generates the most watts per square foot? Many people claim that SunPower is the most highly efficient solar panel on the market, but I would tend to disagree because I’ve seen head to head comparisons in which Sanyo solar panels outperform SunPower. One reason Sanyo’s generate more kWh (kilowatt-hours) on an annual basis than competitor solar panels is because they are a hybrid solar panel, they are composed of amorphous silicon and polycrystalline which gives them a higher temperature coefficient. The hotter the ambient temperatures become the less efficient solar panels become, although since Sanyo solar panels have a higher temperature coefficient, when temperatures are 70 degrees and higher they will produce 10% more energy than other solar panels on the market. SunWize conducted a great study comparing a Sanyo 215 watt solar panel to a SunPower 225 watt solar panel, even though the Sanyo is outnumbered by 10 watts by the SunPower, it still generates more energy. What do you...

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suntech increases solar cell efficiency

Today, Suntech a Chinese solar panel manufacturer released news about their next generation solar cell technology called Pluto which has efficiencies of 19% (monocrystalline) and 17% (polycrystalline). Suntech sent the Pluto based solar cells to Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, which independently tested the the solar cells and verified the efficiency ratings. Currently, suntech solar panels out on the market have solar cells that have efficiencies of 16.5% and 15.5% respectively. It seems like Suntech is trying to catch up with the higher efficiency solar panels such as the Sanyo and SunPower solar panels. Although you have to take into consideration that solar cell efficiency is not the same as solar panel efficiency. Since a group of solar cells make up a solar panel, when solar cells are wired together, they lose efficiency. Currently Sanyo 200w solar panels are 17% efficient at the solar panel level. Also the temperature coefficient (how well the solar panel perform in hot temperatures) determine how many kWh (kilowatt-hours) you will produce per year. Even though Suntech Pluto solar cell technology is getting better, it’s far from being the best on the market. Currently, I would say Sanyo solar panels are the best on the market, since of their high efficiencies at the solar panel level and their better performance in hot weather, they peform very well in real world conditions. These efficiency tests Suntech did in the lab are not going to be as good in the real world. What do you think about Suntech solar...

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Toshiba to enter residental solar power market

We’ve all seen Toshiba TVs, laptops, computer parts and other electronics at our local stores, a world wide brand in consumer electronics has recently announced that they will be providing solar power systems to residential folks. The company is incorporating their innovation into the products so these will not be your typical grid-tied systems but the company is releasing a compact, lightweight solar power system that features an inverter that is 33% more efficient at converting DC (direct current) electricity into AC (alternating current). Toshiba has partnered up with US based SunPower who will be providing the solar cells that will be implemented into Toshiba’s solar power product line. This is great news for residential consumers because thus far in the solar power industry many companies have been focusing on solar panels for big corporations thus leaving the residential consumers with limted options. So as we continue to move forward with solar power as a future source of the worlds energy we now see the most familiar brand names jumping into the solar power space. Who’s next to dive into solar? Panasonic? Sony? Dell? What do you...

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