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Who Has The Most Efficient Solar Panels?

Solar panels are the most essential component of a solar power system. There are other components that make up the system; however, the solar panel dictates the efficiency of the entire solar power system. The sun has enough energy to provide the electricity that we need. But the sun has always been there with this potential yet it did not automatically provide uses for electricity. There is a need to develop a system to tap from the sun’s energy. Not until recently, this fit seemed far-fetched. Research in this line that gave us solar panels which is the main source of tapping solar energy. The solar panel is the component that is designed to capture the UV (Ultraviolet) rays that are generated by the sun. This is then converted into an electron that generates the direct current (DC). The direct current (DC) is then converted into an alternating current (AC) using an inverter. The AC current is the electricity that is consumable. However, not all the sunlight will be converted to electricity by the solar panel; some will be left unconverted, which means, there is still some potential energy been unused. In other words, a signal panel is limited in the amount of solar energy it can convert to electricity. If you, therefore, need to produce electricity in a large quantity, you will have to combine solar panels so that one can make up for the other. This is where the question of panel efficiency comes in.

Solar panel efficiency: what you need to know

solar panel efficiency

When we talk about the efficiency of a solar panel we refer to its ability to convert sun ultraviolet rays into electricity. All things being equal, when the same amount of sunlight shines on two solar panels, for the same time duration, the better efficient one will produce more electricity than the less efficient one. What this means is that if there are two panels A and B of the same size, subjected to the same condition of sunlight and it is found that panel A has an efficiency of about 21% while panel B has efficiency of 14% then panel A will produce 50% more electricity in kilowatt per hours than panel B which has a 14%. A higher efficiency rate means the panel has the ability to use or convert more solar energy. The more solar energy a panel can convert the less the number you will need to power your building.

Solar panel development has gone through many stages. The first set of panels produced were of little efficiency which means they could scarcely be used to produce electricity. They were not only of little efficiency, but they were also very expensive. This added to the difficulty of them having substantial commercial value. Many in the solar industry associate the efficiency of the solar panel to be the most important factor to assess a solar panel. As much as this is true, it is not the only factor. There is a need to consider the ability of the panel to convert at a low cost and supply at a high rate.

Most efficient solar panels:

With the realization of this fact, manufacturers have invested time and resources into doing proper research in order to increase the efficiency of the solar panels produced by them. As it stands this year, 2019, the solar panel with the highest efficiency rate is at 22.2%. Let’s see some of them and what rate of efficiency they have to offer:

  • SunPower (22.2%)
  • LG (21.1%)
  • Panasonic (20.3%)
  • Solartech Universal (20.2%)
  • Silfab (20.0%)

The majority of the solar panel manufacturers out there offer an efficiency rate that is less than that of the top five. They offer between 15% to 17% efficiency rate solar panels. The top five solar panel manufacturers led by SunPower offer within the rage of 20% to 22% and this is the latest development. The challenge with the solar panels offered by the top five manufacturers is that they come with a higher price tag than that of the majority manufacturers. These top five will often be the favorite of anyone more concerned about efficiency over cost. The truth is that no matter the cost you moderately spend on the installation of a reliable solar system, you will eventually break even. And this will be in the early years of the life span of the solar system especially if you stay in an area where the cost of electricity is high and keeps rising.

Companies produce solar panels in large quantities. There will, therefore, be a disparity in the efficiency of the panels across the board. Most solar manufacturers produce solar panels in several models which will cause ranging in the efficiency of the solar panel. It is important to know that there is a difference between what we call the maximum efficiency rating of solar panel manufacturers and consistently maintaining the record across boards, meaning across the solar panels that were produced in mass. You need to know that for every manufacturer, there is the maximum efficiency record as well as the minimum efficiency record, and we have the average efficiency record which is the efficiency rating that the manufacturer consistently maintains over time. For example, LG has a maximum efficiency rating of 21.1%, however, the minimum efficiency rating for LG is 16.80%. From these two ratings, we have an average rating of 18.78% which is still a leading efficiency rating among other manufacturers, excluding SunPower which has an average rating of 19.96%. 

How Much Does Solar Cost?

Go solar:

There are so many reasons why you should go solar. From environmental, financial and then to personal reasons, there seem to be numerous justifiable reasons why you need to go solar. To go solar means to tap from the solar energy generated by the sun to provide electricity. Besides the fact that solar energy is environmentally friendly, it has a direct effect on your finances. Whether you are a homeowner of you own a business of your own, the cost of electricity has a way of affecting your finances. Since solar energy can be used for both individual and commercial purposes and investment in a solar system for electricity generation is a once in decades investment, this has an influence on electricity bills. Going solar can help eliminate the bill you pay on electricity completely. Using solar power alongside the public provided electricity will help reduce the amount you pay on the electricity bill.

Also, you tend to save a lot when you go solar. This is because savings is equal to the amount of money you avoid paying as a result of going solar. You save more as the electricity rate in your area gets higher and this will continuously happen throughout the 25-plus-year lifespan of the solar facility. As a business person or a homeowner, it makes your budget planning really easy to do. This is because the rate of electricity is unpredictable. It might, therefore, be difficult to do a forecast of your expenses for managerial purposes. The benefit of going solar cannot be overemphasized. There seems to be little or no disadvantage to the choice of going solar. It is the modern day idea and it seems totally welcomed. Now that we know the benefits of going solar, an important aspect is to know how much it costs to come on board. How expensive or affordable is the cost of solar system installation?

Cost of solar system Installation:

solar system cost

The cost of solar panels is the major determinant of the overall cost of a solar system. Solar panels do not work alone; they work alongside some other components. These components are not as expensive as the total cost of solar panels that you will need. Most times, you will need more than one solar panel to fully power your facility. It is also important to note that, no matter the cost you incur as a result of going solar, you will break even within its lifespan and begin to earn or save money over the rest of its life span. The lifespan on a solar system is expected to be over 25 years. Those who take the solar panel financing scheme usually finish paying their loan within about 5 to 6 years. The rest of the years are used as a time for savings on the electricity bill. In summary, a solar system is a fixed asset that eventually puts money into your pocket in the long run

Cost determinant for a solar system:

Now, to determine the cost of the solar system you will need, the size of the facility you are trying to power with solar is paramount. This will determine the quantity of electricity you will need to generate, which will determine the number of solar panels you will need and the cost of the solar system installation. The more electricity you need to generate the bigger the number of solar panels you will need and the number of labor that will be needed to install the system. All these amount to the cost of installing the system.

ystem you will need, the size of the facility you are trying to power with solar is paramount. This will determine the quantity of electricity you will need to generate, which will determine the number of solar panels you will need and the cost of the solar system installation. The more electricity you need to generate the bigger the number of solar panels you will need and the number of labor that will be needed to install the system. All these amount to the cost of installing the system.

It is also important to note that the number of solar panels needed varies across geographical locations. This is because some places experience more intense sunlight than others. Some places are cloudier and experience lesser days of sunshine. The number of solar panels needed in places like these will be more. California has no problem in this respect. However, if you do a quick research about sunshine in California, you’ll find that sunlight differs according to places in California. For example, the record has it that Redding, California, experiences 88% sunshine yearly, while Sacramento, California, experiences about 78% sunshine yearly. This show a disparity in the amount of sunshine that is experienced in places across California. However, this would not have much effect in that the two places experience quite a high amount of sunshine, therefore, there might not be much difference. In places with a substantially low quantity of sunlight, this does not mean they cannot install a solar system. It only means they will need more solar panels to compensate for this. One very wise way to do it is to know how much a complete solar system will cost in your area is to compare the price of quotes from homeowners if you intend powering your house with it. If you intend powering your business with it, you compare quotes for commercial buildings.

Another great determinate of solar system cost is the solar panel manufacturer brand. Some brands are more expensive than the other. Some brands attach quality of the product brand to price. But this is not always the case.

Cost of DIY installation Vs. Solar company installation

Some people who will like to take the solar system installation as a personal project would want to know how much a single panel cost.s The simple way to answer will be that, it depends on how much leverage you have as a buyer, the type of the panel you are trying to buy and the size of the system you need. However, because solar companies have a direct relationship with those who sell the solar panels and they buy in bulk, they have the opportunity to buy the panels at a much lower price than an average customer. They also know where to purchase quality solar system components. This is why you need solar companies to handle your solar system installation. Get as many solar quotes from companies and compare your choices. This way, you will be sure to get the best solar system installation cost.

Which is Advisable, Buying or Renting Your Solar Panels?

Your specific financial objectives determine your choice on how to finance your sun-based power system.

The primary difference between purchasing and renting a sun-based PV system is in possession. Purchasing a sun-based power system (either by paying directly with cash or paying off a solar system loan) gives you full ownership of the system. The sun based power system is owned by a third party if you rent the system or consent to a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement).

This difference affects your sun-based power system’s investment, maintenance cost, terms, savings and degree of profitability. Moreover, not all organizations offer solar renting as well as PPA so do well to ensure that your selected supplier offers the financial option which you desire. Note that PPAs are not lawfully allowed in many zones.

It is best for you to acquire a sun-based power system with money or financing a solar loan purchase if you….
  • Need to maximize the budgetary advantage of introducing a sun-based power system, instead of taking advantage of the ecological  benefits of the system alone;
  • Are qualified through bureaucratic venture charge credit to decrease your government and state charge risk;
  • Are business and you can take advantage of tax cuts by regarding the sun-based power system as a depreciable resource;
  • Need to expand your home’s market estimation by introducing a sun-based power system.
Your best solar alternative is to rent or PPA when you…
  • Are basically interested in taking advantage of the ecological benefits of the system as opposed to maximizing the budgetary advantage of introducing a sun-based power system;
  • Need to stay away from the obligations of upkeep or fixes for sun based power system;
  • Are not qualified by investing in a sun-based power system to decrease your government and state charge risk;
  • Cannot wait till the next year for the budgetary advantage of tax credit.
Carefully analyze: Purchasing VS renting solar

There are a lot of distinctions in the cost, upkeep, terms, financial offset opportunities, and investment savings/returns which all depends on your choice of financing.

Cost of solar installation

Solar rent/PPA
  • A sun-based power system can be gotten for little money or even nothing.
  • Only the third party owner of the system can receive incentives, refunds, and tax credits so you won’t eligible for all those.
solar installation cost
Solar loan/purchase with money
  • Before refunds and incentives, the sun-based power system can cost between $15,000 and $30,000.
  • You can get up to a 50% reduction in the total cost of cash purchase. Majority of the solar installers will deal with the administrative work and modify the price tag to reflect the total cost.

Solar Maintenance

Solar loan/purchase with money
  • You are responsible for the upkeep of the system because the system belongs to you. Solar equipment lasts for a long time and often comes with warranties so there is less upkeep for you to do.
  • Your purchase might not include an application to track your system’s framework execution.
Solar rent/PPA
  • The obligations of upkeep are solely by the solar company because they own the system.
  • Most of the time, you get an application that tracks your system’s framework execution.

Terms

Solar loan
  • Loans are commonly accessible for terms of 10 to 20 years at an interest rate of 3% to 8% provided you have a 640 or higher FICO rating.
Solar rent/PPA
  • Solar rent/PPA is commonly for a period of 20 to 25 years after which you can decide to renew the agreement or buy the system directly.

Investment savings/returns

Solar loan/purchase with money
  • Based on your property as well as the incentives in your zone, you can spare up to 40% to 70% on power cost throughout the lifetime of your sun-based power system.
  • You get free electricity throughout the lifetime of your sun-based power system (which usually ranges from 25 to 30 years).
Solar rent/PPA
  • Based on your property as well as the incentives in your zone, you can spare up to 10% to 30% on power cost.

Before making your decisions on whether to purchase or rent your sun based power system, thoroughly analyze your financing options. Make sure you explore all the available financing options before making your decisions. All scenarios are not the same so there a quite a number of factors to consider to determine what is best for you.

Why Go Solar?

Since the introduction of solar power into the modern world, many reasons have been generated in support of the idea. Promoters of the ideas have tried to come up with several reasons why we need to go solar. A benefit of going solar that affects us all is that it protects the environment. Because of the carbon emission that is associated with the other sources of electricity, this tends to affect the environment in certain negative ways. The emissions pollute the air, causing climate change and some other environmental diseases. Climate change has been identified to be the cause of many natural disasters such as tsunamis. This is why people and organizations who are concerned about environmental issues embrace the idea of going solar. The electricity that solar panels give is totally free of emission.

Those who are into real estate use the installation of a solar system in the building they are trying to sell as a means to increase the value of the property. Studies have shown that people tend to buy more quickly and pay more for homes that have solar systems installed in them. Another specific benefit of solar system installation offers is that you have the opportunity to be energy independent. With the use of a solar power system, you begin to provide yourself with electricity totally free from any form of electricity bills. This is the most striking aspect of the “going solar” idea.

solar energy

Because of the fact that solar energy is renewable energy, it makes it possible to independently generate electricity over many years for free. Solar energy is gotten from the sun, and the sun is a free gift of nature. No one will bill you for tapping energy or generating electricity from the sun. You are an independent generator of electricity. This brings us to take a look at this major benefit. Should you consider the option over electricity that is generally provided? Which is more expensive: paying electricity bill of paying the cost for solar system installation?

Electric Costs vs. Solar Costs

In considering if you should go for solar electricity generation for your home, there are two major factors that you need to put into consideration. You need to know:

  1. The cost of solar system installation and
  2. The rate of your electricity utility bill.

The decision to go solar can only make sense if the cost associated with the solar system is less than that of the cost you pay for grid electricity.

For solar energy, the cost of solar panels, which is the major cost you will incur when going solar, has proven over time to come down. The cost of solar panels when it was first discovered is not the same as it is today. In the past, many could not afford to make the purchase because of the high cost involved. Today, solar panels have commercial value as a result of the reduction in cost. Many homes now use solar systems since they can afford it.

For electricity, the cost of grid electricity has over the years fluctuated, rising more times than it has fallen. If it has been this way over the last ten years then its only makes sense to predict that in the years ahead, the cost of electricity will keep rising. Therefore, the idea of going solar is a welcome idea.

Key facts about Electric Costs vs. Solar Costs

  1. The rate of retail electricity has fluctuated over the course of 10 years. Statistics show that it went up more times than it came down. This trend is not likely to change over the years ahead as the cost surrounding the production of retail electricity keeps rising. For example, the cost of natural gas has increased and as it does,  the electricity rate will also increase.
  2. When you install a solar system in your home, the cost of electricity in your home will be totally free.
  3. The solar system pays itself off over the years. It is true that it is costly to install a complete solar system in your home. However, since the system has a lifespan of over 25 years, it will pay itself off in about 5 to 10 years after installation. You know this by calculating how much your electricity bill would have been over those years if your home was without the solar system. Therefore, paying the cost of solar system installation is like paying your electricity bill in advance. If you made the installation with a loan, you would eventually pay off the loan in the lifetime of the solar panel.
  4. You save money in the long run with the solar system. This because the cost of solar installation will not be paid in the entire lifespan of the solar system. You will still have some years left after the solar system has paid itself off.

What should you expect after going solar?

  • Your electricity bill will certainly be reduced or entirely go extinct.
  • You might continue to pay stipends over the years to cover the cost of the solar panel if you financed the installation through loans. This means the freedom might not be immediate but you will eventually get to consume electricity for free. It’s only a matter of time.
  • If electricity pricing rates eventually go down, you may temporarily find yourself paying more than you would have if you stayed with retail electricity. Chances are that the price will eventually go back up. Statistics back it up. You, therefore, have nothing to worry about.

The competition between solar and retail electricity is already concluded. Going solar has been and will continue to be a viable choice.

Solar Home Power System: Tapping the Power of the Sun

The amount of solar energy the sun offers on an hourly basis is beyond what we can consume in a year. The energy that comes from the sun is important to us in many ways, including providing us with electricity. However, the sun will not automatically power our house. There needs to be a mechanism made available to tap this energy and convert it to electricity that will then power your home. Technology will grow over the years, and the majority of our appliances will be solar powered.

Homes will become independent by producing their own electricity. The exciting aspect is that it will not just stop there. Homes will soon become inter-dependent. This means that homes will begin to supply each other electrical power. The development in net-metering law allows a home to supply electricity to other homes and building if it produces more energy than it can use. This service to others will be rewarded in the form of a credit on your utility. This system gives you retail value for the power that you generate in excess.

Why you should go solar:

There are other benefits you stand to gain from the use of solar energy. Let’s take a look at these other benefits.

  • Going solar is better for the environment: this is one major reason solar energy has become popular. The fact that it is renewable energy which has no harm to society when it is been consumed makes it a welcomed idea. The traditional source of energy like coal and gas emit substances that are harmful to the environment. Solar energy is not in that league.
  • You will save some money on your utility: aside for the cost of purchasing the solar panel, you will not have to pay money for electricity anymore. Since the energy power is from the sun and the sun is a free gift of nature; nobody will charge you for tapping energy from the sun. You have the possibility of providing energy to others in retail value which is another benefit of going solar as explained above.

Now that you know some reasons to why you should go solar, let’s look into how solar energy generating systems work.

Solar power system:

A solar power system is a combination of several solar energy generating components. Components such as the photovoltaic (PV) panels, the DC to AC converter usually an inverter primarily make up a solar power system. There are others such as the energy storage battery, the voltage regulator and so other mini accessories. How all these work to provide you with electricity is that the PV panels, combined in multiples arrays, capture the photons that are generated by the sunlight. These photons are then converted into electrons which will generate the direct current (DC). The inverter receives it and converts it into an alternating current (AC), which powers your home.

pv system

When choosing your solar panel, you need to choose carefully since it’s a major component of the success of solar power generation. There are two major types of solar panels:  polycrystalline and monocrystalline. Polycrystalline panels are sold at lower prices, however, they are sensitive to high temperatures, have a shorter lifespan, and are less space efficient. Mono-crystalline panels are expensive to buy but they are highly efficient, suitable for commercial use, and have a longer lifespan.

Solar Efficiency

The features of solar panels you are to be concerned about are its solar efficiency, the cost, the warranty on it, and technology type. This brings us to the discussion about solar panel manufactures. The current top three solar panel manufacturers are JinkoSolar, Trina Solar and Canadian Solar. However, there have been changes in the last few years which have seen the introduction of some new entrants into the solar manufacturing industries. Also, old solar manufacturing companies are now gaining market. Because of the increase in demand for solar power, companies now can compete.

Solar Power Components

Let’s take a deeper look into the major and minor components that make up a proper solar power generating system.

  • Inverter: this is the system that helps convert the DC to AC which is needed by the homes.
  • Performance Monitoring Device: this device helps to check the health of the system. It will also indicate how much electricity is generated and indicated when there is a change.
  • Storage options: this is in the form of rechargeable batteries which can be installed to help store up energy for future use. In some places, your excess energy is sent to the grid in exchange for credit.
  • Solar panels: this is the most important component of the solar power generating system. It is this component that adsorbs power from the sun. Without it, there will be no solar power generation.

How to choose a Solar Panel

When choosing your solar panel, you need to choose carefully since it’s a major component of the success of solar power generation. There are two major types of solar panels:  polycrystalline and monocrystalline. Polycrystalline panels are sold at lower prices, however, they are sensitive to high temperatures, have a shorter lifespan, and are less space efficient. Mono-crystalline panels are expensive to buy but they are highly efficient, suitable for commercial use, and have a longer lifespan.

The features of solar panels you are to be concerned about are its solar efficiency, the cost, the warranty on it, and technology type. This brings us to the discussion about solar panel manufactures. The current top three solar panel manufacturers are JinkoSolar, Trina Solar and Canadian Solar. However, there have been changes in the last few years which have seen the introduction of some new entrants into the solar manufacturing industries. Also, old solar manufacturing companies are now gaining market. Because of the increase in demand for solar power, companies now can compete.

Choose the Best Solar Manufacturing Company

The question now is, is it a must that the solar company you buy your solar panel from must be one of the top manufacturing companies? It is important you know that the quantity of sales made is the major determining factor for ranking solar manufacturing companies and not necessarily the quality and cost-benefit the customers derive. Therefore, if you are choosing to go for one of the top manufacturing companies, be sure you are not just purchasing from them because they are a top company but also because they offer you quality in exchange for money. Your solar panel is supposed to be effective and last you at least two decades of use.

How Solar Panel Generate Electricity

    Have you ever wondered how solar panels made of glass placed on your roof generate electrical and heat energy from the rays of the sun? It’s a pretty long process that I will attempt to simplify in this write-up.

     Solar power is used all over the world for energy generation. Over one million homes have a solar system in the U.S. and many more millions all over the world use it, especially in countries where electric supply is still epileptic. Solar energy endeared itself to many environmentalists because it produces a safe, clean and renewable source of energy.

pv system

The Photovoltaic Effect

    A solar system consists of a silicon cell, a metal frame, a glass casing, and wires for current flow. The mechanism of power generation can be explained using the photovoltaic effect.

  1. The silicon cells are photovoltaic in nature; they absorb the radiation from the sun.
  2. The radiation from the sun sets off a series of chemical reactions in which electrons gain momentum and begin to move.
  3. The movement of the electrons leads to energy generation which is captured and transported by the wires in the panel.
  4. The electric current is supplied to the inverter as direct current (DC) and later converted to alternating current (AC) by the inverter.
  5. The electrical energy generated is fed into the electric grid.

    The solar panel comes with a gas casing which protects the silicon cells and gives durability. Under the glass casing is a protective sheet. This sheet increases the durability of the silicon cells and also protects it from humidity and heat which can greatly affect the productivity of the panel. Solar panels have an anti-reflective coating which prevents sun rays from being reflected. This helps to increase the day absorption of the panel.

    The silicon cell is either monocrystalline or polycrystalline. Monocrystalline allows for better electron mobility even though polycrystalline is much more expensive.

Solar panel system and the grid connection

    Your home has a utility meter which measures the amount of electricity consumed in your household. Your solar system can also be connected to this meter and, the energy generated from the solar panel system can be effectively measured by the utility meter. Some homes have a net metering system. This system transfers excess energy produced by your solar power system to the grid in exchange for electricity when your solar power is under producing due to little or no sunshine.

When shopping for your solar panel:
  1. Be sure to explore all of your options. Ask for quotes and cost estimates from as many companies as possible. Pick the most pocket-friendly one.
  2. Smaller companies mostly offer cheaper rates than a large conglomerate. Do not be fixated on patronizing the big names. The small companies may be able to offer quality products at a more affordable rate.

Shopping for your solar panel system can be a bit taxing. Take your time, consider your options, and ask for a solar quotation from different sources. You can also approach your neighbors or friends who have solar panel systems installed to ask for their opinion and reviews.

How to Choose The Right Solar Panel

Poly vs. Mono

When selecting solar panels (or modules) for your PV system, one should choose carefully since it’s a major determinant of success in solar power generation. There are two major types of solar panels. These are: Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline. Polycrystalline panels are sold at lower prices, are sensitive to high temperature, and have a shorter lifespan. Many Polycrystalline panels also tend to be less space efficient. Monocrystalline panels are more expensive to buy but they are highly efficient, suitable for commercial use and have a longer lifespan than their polycrystalline counterpart.

solar panel types

Selection Criteria

One of the primary features of solar panels you should think about is the panel (and system’s) efficiency. Read more on that subject here (link). Other factors in your decision should be total cost and financing options, warranty features, and technology aspects.

This brings us to the discussion about solar panels manufactures. The current top three solar panel manufacturer and companies are JinkoSolar, Trina Solar and Canadian Solar. However, there have been changes in the last few years which have seen the introduction of some new up and comers into the solar manufacturing industries. It’s not a bad bet to go with one of the big three because if you ever need to replace a panel or add to your system down the road, there’s a better chance of finding a match.

Many Great Options

Because of the increase in demand for solar power, many more companies can now compete for market share and so the choice can be overwhelming. The question is, is it a must that the solar company you buy your solar panels from be one of the top manufacturing companies? Or is quality, regardless of manufacturer more important?

It’s important you know that the quantity of sales made is the major determining factor for ranking solar manufacturing companies and not necessarily the quality and cost-benefit the customers derive. Therefore, if you are choosing to go for one of the top manufacturing companies, be sure you are not just purchasing from them because they are a top company but also because they offer you quality and good value in exchange for money.

Long-Term Consideration

Your solar panels are supposed to be effective and last you a lifetime of at least two-three decades of use. Ask your solar contractor about the warranties offered and testing and manufacturing standards and histories of the product(s) you’re considering.