Getting What You Pay For – What To Consider In Evaluating The Quality Of A Solar System Purchase

By : Next Level Energy | July 12, 2019

In order to generate electricity from sunlight, there is a need for solar panels. Solar panels serve as the medium by which sunlight is converted into electricity. Using sunlight as the source of electricity for our homes seemed like an impossible feat before now. However, after years of tireless research channeled toward this cause, came the solar panel. Today, solar panels have become a popular product. Many homes now make use of the system. Solar panels collect the ultraviolet rays of the sun particularly the photons that are present in the sunlight and then convert it into electrons. The electrons produce direct current which is a form of electricity, but not the kind that can light up a building.  They, therefore, need to be inverted with the use of a component called the solar inverter. When this is done, alternating current is produced which is the electricity that you need, the one that powers your home. The whole process begins with the solar panel.

Various brands of solar panels perform differently. This is referred to as solar panel efficiency. Solar panel efficiency is the ability of the panel to convert sunlight into electricity. Not all the sunlight that hits the solar panel will be converted. Some will be wasted, which is typical for all solar panels. However, some panels convert more solar rays than the others. It is imperative that you know the efficiency of the solar panels you are about to purchase.

Factors To Consider When Getting Solar Panels

solar panel factors

You need to know the indices that are to be considered when shopping for solar panels. These factors will determine if you will get value for your money. These factors include solar panel rating, power tolerance, solar cell efficiency, temperature coefficient.

Solar panel rating refers to the amount of power the panel can produce based on an industry standard test. The higher the power rating, the more it becomes effective at producing power or electricity. Every solar panel has a nameplate power rating. It is used to determine how much work or power a panel can generate. It is by nameplate rating that you can make a comparison with other solar panels.

Power tolerance: during the production of the solar panel, some variations take place which affect the total output of the panel. This represents how the power output of a panel can be slightly different from the nameplate rating of the panel. For example, a panel which according to nameplate rating should produce 250 watts could eventually produce about 237.55 watts. This difference is represented in percentages. You need to be on the lookout for panels with a narrow power tolerance because it offers more assurance. You, therefore, need to view the power tolerance alongside the solar panel rating.

Solar cell efficiency: this is the effectiveness of the solar panel to convert solar radiation into electricity. The highest solar panel efficiency rate available today is a little above 22%. Only a few solar panels can boast of this type of rating. High solar panel efficiency means that the panel can generate more electricity than a panel of the same size under the same condition. Size is not necessarily a guarantee that the solar panel will generate more electricity. It won’t if it has a low power efficiency rating, that is, its conversion rate is low. If you purchase such a product, you will spend more to buy multiple panels so as to make up for the quantity of electricity that you need. This is why it is important to consider the rating of a panel before purchasing in order to get adequate value for your money.

Temperature coefficient: it is believed that solar panels are able to withstand the heat of the sun. This is true but only to a certain extent. When the solar panel is subjected to too much sunlight heat at above 77ºF, it decreases the solar panel’s power capacity. For example, when the temperature is about 4ºF, some standard grade panels will produce about 1% less electricity than they normally produce. Panels that have a smaller temperature coefficient will perform better over time. You need to need to check the solar panel temperature coefficient before purchase especially if you reside in a region that experience high daily temperature.

The above listed are the factors that differentiate one panel from the other even if they look the same in size as others. When you find a panel that has the above quality, then you have found a panel that gives you value for your money. However, when you have a variety of such solar panels, which one should you go for? Let’s quickly take a look at some of the criteria for choosing the best among the best.

Solar panel quality: you need to be sure the panel has the certification of the International Standard Organization (ISO). A panel not having ISO certification is not an indication for poor quality, however, a panel with ISO certification is an indication that the panel has passed a certain test and its quality is certified.

Solar panel durability: this is the measure of how well a solar panel can withstand the pressure of the real world such as in snow, high-intensity wind and harsh weather conditions. Check out the reviews on the solar panel to know this.

Manufacturer assurance: this comes with respect to warranty. In case a problem occurs after installation, a strong warranty will cover for it. You need two major types of warranties:

  • Power production warranty: despite the fact that there is usually a decline in power production over the years, the manufacturer should be able to guarantee that the panel will maintain a certain percentage of its power production capacity over a period time of about 25 years which is the estimated lifespan of a typical solar panel.
  • Material warranty: this covers against failure as a result of manufacturing defects and environmental issues. The materials used for the panel need to be able to stand the test of time.

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