Solar Panel Reviews: Best Solar Panels
The Arctic ice caps are melting. Global heat indices are reaching record levels. Rivers and lakes are losing their waters. Ocean species are dying because of the high temperatures. Climate change is a global phenomenon, and it is wreaking havoc on the planet. Soon our limited resources will be exhausted.
Global warming is only one of many reasons why we should change the way we use our natural resources to produce energy. It is only a matter of time before the earth becomes insurmountable. It is therefore high time for humans to find a way to produce more energy.
What we have in abundance is sunlight. Why not use it to produce the energy we need, and at the same time help the planet prolong its life? Solar panels are one of the best inventions that could address these challenges. That’s why this article discusses solar panels and offers a review of solar panels to help you switch to a new renewable energy source.
What is a Solar Panel?
What is a solar panel? A solar panel (or photovoltaic panel) is a device that absorbs sunlight and uses it as energy. In simple terms, it collects the thermal energy of our sun. The light from the sun is made up of energy particles, called “photons”, which can be converted into electricity and heat.
Today’s energy companies produce energy by burning fossil fuels, fuels that can be quickly depleted. This is in addition to the fact that the demand for energy due to technological advances has increased exponentially. These photovoltaic wonders are alternative energy mines, and they can potentially be used by large corporations or factories, or for residential spaces.
Ultimately, these cells allow us to harness the power of the sun, not only as a source of light during the day but also as a source of energy at night. Because the energy from the solar panels can be stored, it can be used even after dark. This means that electricity will not have to be obtained from the burning of fossil fuels, a limited and expensive resource.
It also allows individuals to take advantage of the abundance of solar energy. Not only do solar panels reduce the consumption of purchased energy, but they also save energy over time and help the planet conserve some of its fossil fuels for a little longer.
History of Solar Panels
The first commercial solar panel was invented by Charlie Fritts in 1881, although the idea of harnessing solar energy was not originally his. The idea was thought up by Alexander Edmund-Becquerel, a French physicist, and then, using his principle of using solar energy to produce electricity, several scientists worked to perfect the technology. In 1939, the American engineer Russell Ohl designed a solar panel and patented the technology two years later. With his idea, the first commercially efficient solar cell was launched by Bell Labs in 1954.
Since then, solar technology has continued to advance. In 1980, the first thin-film solar cell was invented, and it is still used in some types of solar panels today. Then, starting at an efficiency of 10%, solar panels became more powerful, with an efficiency of 20% in 1985.
Several institutions have also started using solar panel roofs, such as Magdeburg Cathedral in Germany in 1990, the White House in 2003 and 2010, and the Vatican in 2007. In 2007, the highest solar efficiency produced by a solar panel reached 42.8%. Today, more than hundreds of companies worldwide produce solar panels and provide solar system services to residential and commercial sites.
Three solar technologies are on the market today. They are monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous thin-film technologies. The majority of the monocrystalline and polycrystalline varieties consist of crystalline silicon (c-SI) cells. Amorphous thin-film cells can consist of amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium selenide (CIS/CIGS).
Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels use silicon as the base material. Silicon is one of the most widely used materials for solar cells because of its abundance and durability. The main difference between the two is the way silicon crystals are used for production. From the word itself, monocrystalline, it uses a single crystal of silicon to make solar cells.
Polycrystalline, of course, uses many crystals that are formed and combined by fusion to produce the cells. As a result, the two types differ in terms of efficiency. The first is considered more efficient because electrons have more freedom of movement when made from a single crystal. The second is cheaper, however, so it is sometimes preferred by consumers.
Amorphous thin-film panels can be made of one of the following materials: amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, copper, indium, gallium selenide or organic photovoltaic cells. They make sense in large spaces and are flexible in non-planar surfaces. However, they are less durable than crystalline panels, so they must be replaced and maintained more frequently than the other two.
There are also smart varieties. These are designed to monitor panel performance and detect potential system problems before they occur. More advanced versions allow power optimization to maximize energy collection. They are also capable of resolving extreme power drop caused by shadows.
Characteristics of Good Solar Panels
Solar panels can be used, both for residential and industrial purposes. It can be cheap or expensive, depending on the material and the method of installation. However, consumers and solar panel reviews list down seven specific determinants of good solar panels:
- Solar panels can be used for both residential and industrial purposes. They can be inexpensive or expensive, depending on the material and method of installation. However, consumers and critics of solar panels list seven specific determining factors for good solar panels:
- Tolerance – How much heat can it tolerate? A positive tolerance means that the solar panel is capable of exceeding its stated capacity.
- Temperature Coefficient – How much energy does it lose with each increase in temperature? A panel with a lower percentage per degree Celsius is a better option.
- Conversion efficiency – How much sunlight can it convert into another form of energy? Latitude and climate, combined with the efficiency of the solar cells, are determining factors in the annual energy output that the system can produce. Since this affects the amount of energy your equipment produces, it is best to choose the one with the highest conversion efficiency.
- Resistance to Potential Induced Degradation (PID) – Is the generating capacity easily subject to degradation? The lower the PID, the better.
- Light Induced Degradation Resistance (LID) – Does it easily lose its production capacity when exposed to sunlight? A device with a lower PID is a better choice.
- Durability – Is the camera durable? Durability allows the panels to be used for an extended period of time. You can expect panels with longer warranties to be more durable.
- Capacity – How much solar energy can it absorb and produce? The more energy it can absorb, the more your equipment is worth.
The Best Solar Panels
What is the best solar panel there is? Studies on solar panels give varying results, but the best solar panel depends on the consumer. As with any other product, you have to ask yourself where the solar panel will be used. Will it be used at home? For a small business? Is it for a building, and should it provide energy to several floors or storeys?
In addition, the price, quality, performance, strength and long-term warranty of a solar panel must be evaluated to determine whether it is indeed the best solar panel. A review of solar panels on the web and reading solar system evaluations will also be a good thing.
Who makes the best solar panels? The majority of producers of the best solar panels are from East Asia, with China being considered one of its largest producers. According to solar panel evaluations, the best photovoltaic panels come from East Asia.
This may be because the geographical location of these countries makes them the ideal place to obtain the best solar energy in order to test and produce the best quality solar panels.
According to consumers, there are several technical factors that need to be taken into account when deciding which brand of quality solar panels to buy. To find good solar panels, as mentioned above, the following technical factors should be considered: tolerance, temperature coefficient, conversion efficiency, resistance to Potential Induced Degradation (PID) and Light Induced Degradation (LID), durability and capacity.
The top-rated solar panels on the market offer a 25-year warranty. This warranty will only apply if the company still exists. It is therefore a good idea to consult solar system reviews to determine the stability of the business. In terms of size and wattage, the number of watts is the determining factor in the capacity of the equipment.
A larger panel has more energy storage capacity, but it also means that it is larger in terms of physical size. What is essential is that it is able to store enough energy to power your instruments.
Residential Solar Panels
If you are looking for the best residential solar panels, it is a good idea to consult the residential solar panel reviews or the solar panel reviews for your home on the web to help you make the right choice. This involves installing the panel on the roof, and there are some things to consider to get it right. According to residential solar panel reviews, you should be aware of local laws.
It will be wasteful to buy the best photovoltaic panels or the best residential solar panels, only to find out later that your area does not allow the installation of such equipment, or that there are no NOA restrictions when it comes to such home repairs. The weight of these materials is about two to four pounds per square foot, and the roof should also be inspected by a specialist to ensure that it fits properly and can support such heavy materials.
It is also necessary to determine if the energy savings are greater than the cost of the panels and when the return on investment will be felt. The best solar panels for domestic use should therefore be permitted by local laws, be compatible with the roof material and be worth the price.
If you are brand conscious, the top-rated solar panel manufacturers are Trina Solar, JA Solar, Hanwha Q Cells, JinkoSolar, Motech Solar, First Solar, Longi Lerri, Canadian Solar, Yingli Solar, and Suntech. Six of these companies are from China, one from Taiwan, one from South Korea, one from Canada and one from the United States. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of these brands.
Top 5 Best Solar Panels on the Market
5. Hanwha Q CELLS Q.PEAK G4.1/SC 305
Manufactured in South Korea, China and Malaysia, this brand is recognized as one of the best in the world in terms of performance and quality. These panels are recognized for their efficiency and reasonable price. With a 25-year warranty on production and 12 years on materials, you can count on its longevity and durability.
This brand is made of robust monocrystalline material that can withstand wind, storm and fire, and has an average efficiency of 18.3%. Its 305 watts are certainly enough to provide the energy your home needs. Made up of 60 cells, it is black in color and the dimensions of the panels are 1670.0 mm by 1000.0 mm by 32.0 mm.
- Has a good efficiency average and power output
- Made of durable monocrystalline
- Reasonably priced
- Not guaranteed to withstand hail
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4. HQST 100 Watt Monocrystalline 12V Solar Panel
If you are looking for panels that you can use to power your home, car or even your boat, HQST solar panels are exactly what you need. This 100-watt product is in the lowest price range but is not lacking in power and efficiency.
Its monocrystalline cells give it a long life, as do its corrosion-resistant aluminium frames. It is watertight (IP65) and is covered with a highly transparent, low-iron, anti-reflective tempered glass. It comes with accessories that make it easy to install wherever you want.
- Made of durable monocrystalline material
- Is waterproof
- Versatile and can have multiple uses
- May fall short in terms of wattage
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3. LG Mono X Solar PV Modules 265 Watts
If you want your solar panels to be manufactured by a brand you trust, LG Mono X solar panels may be the right choice for you. It has an efficiency of 16.2% and 265 watts of power that can power your home or vehicle. With its black anodized aluminum frame, these panels are produced using monocrystalline cells, making the frame and panels of high quality.
The purchase comes with a 10-year warranty on the product and 25 years on the output power. It is also UL 1703 certified, and each panel is subjected to electroluminescence testing to guarantee its quality and flawlessness. This makes the product even more credible and guarantees superior quality.
- High quality and longstanding
- Has good warranty coverage
- Has a good efficiency rating
- Quite heavy
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2. RockPals 100W Foldable Solar Panels
This brand made by SunPower has made a name for itself with high quality products. This particular model of a solar panel has an output of 100 watts and an efficiency rate of 21.5-23.5%. With a weight of 10.80 pounds, it’s easy to carry when traveling. As it is foldable, it can be placed where it can best store solar energy. It is also equipped with USB ports for easy recharging.
It also comes with a 12-month warranty and lifetime customer service. It’s also water resistant and is covered in Oxford fabric (except for the included junction box), so you can count on its durability even in changing weather conditions. Like the other panel models on this list, it is also made of monocrystalline, with foldable dimensions of 20.5 by 14.2 by 2.6 inches.
- Excellent customer rating
- Has a very high-efficiency rating
- Can be carried around everywhere
- Does not include a prop-up device for better angling
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1. Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit
If you’re looking for panels that are in the mid-range in terms of power but deliver more than you expect, Renogy’s 200-watt solar panels may be just what you need. This popular product is the mobile panel that you can use at home or on the road. It has an efficiency of 15.46%, is expandable up to 400 watts in terms of power and includes most of the accessories you will need for the installation at the time of purchase.
You can rely on these monocrystalline panels when you’re on the go or to provide the power you need at home. It comes with a 25-year power output warranty, is waterproof and has a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame. So you can expect it to withstand harsh conditions and last a long time.
- Versatile and durable
- Easy to install and use
- May require you to buy additional cables for improved use
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Top 10 Solar Panel Brands
|Trina Solar||High efficiency and good temperature coefficient (TC) range||Short warranty duration (10 years materials warranty (MW))|
|JA Solar||High efficiency and good TC range||Short warranty duration (10 years MW)|
|Hanwha Q Cells||Longer warranty duration (12 years)||Fair TC range|
|JinkoSolar||High efficiency and good TC range||Short warranty duration (10 years MW)|
|Motech Solar||Low TC||Low efficiency and short warranty duration (10 years MW)|
|First Solar||Low TC||Short warranty duration (10 years MW) and low efficiency|
|Longi Lerri||High efficiency range||Short warranty duration (10 years MW)|
|Canadian Solar||High efficiency and good TC range||Short warranty duration (10 years MW)|
|Yingli Solar||High efficiency and good TC range||Short warranty duration (10 years MW)|
|Suntech||Longer warranty duration (25 years) and low temperature coefficient||Low efficiency|
The top five solar panels in the study of solar panels based on residential factors as evaluated by experts are Panasonic, LG, Canadian Solar, Sun Power and REC Solar.
However, based on consumer evaluations, the top five solar panels in the solar panel review are Sun Power, LG Solar, SolarWorld Americas Inc, Canadian Solar and Silfab. To help you better understand this distinction, the table below provides more details on their comparability.
Top 5 Solar Panel Brands Based on Consumer Reviews
|Efficiency Range||Range in terms of Temperature Coefficient||Maximum Materials Warranty (in years)|
|Sun Power||16% to 22.2%||-0.38 to -0.29||25|
|LG Solar||16.8% to 21.1%||-0.42 to -0.3||25|
|SolarWorld Americas, Inc.||14.91% to 17.59%||-0.43 to -0.4||20|
|Canadian Solar||15.88% to 18.33%||-0.41 to -0.39||10|
|Silfab||15.3% to 20%||-0.42 to -0.38||25|
As mentioned, three solar technologies are used today: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous thin film. Manufacturers have also been evaluated on the basis of these types of solar technologies they use. For monocrystalline, the top-rated solar panels are SunPower X Series, LG Solar, Panasonic HIT, Sunpreme and Upsolar.
For polycrystalline types, the most commercialized are Trina Solar, ReneSola America, REC Solar, Canadian Solar and Jinko Solar. Finally, for the amorphous thin-film variety, there is currently no review of the different brands available, but there are three types available: Amorphous Silicon (a-Si), Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) and Copper, Indium and Gallium Selenide (CIS/CIGS).
How to Find Best Solar Panels?
Switching to solar panels as an energy source is always a good choice. However, the best panel for you will depend on several factors. These include your budget, usage and preferences. Panels are not the cheapest products you can buy on the market. They are also cheap to install. If you are considering installing solar panels on your entire roof, you should expect thousands of dollars in equipment and services.
Fortunately, many companies today offer a variety of payment options that may suit your budget. While cash is the best option, you may choose to get a loan, lease the solar system or sign up for a P3. As for installation, you can have it done by a do-it-yourselfer or hire a licensed installer to do it for you.
As for the panels themselves, the best choice depends on how you want to use them, whether for your home, your vehicle or simply to power certain appliances. If it is for residential use, you may want to look for high-powered panels. If it’s just for charging gadgets, the 10-watt ones will work just fine.
You also have to consider efficiency. Efficiency rates of more than 15% are already good for keeping your energy savings at a maximum. Finally, you’ll want to check the equipment. Monocrystalline panels are usually the strongest, but if you want panels that can be shaped into any shape, you can choose thin-film panels.
Going green requires effort and cost. That is why you should take this into account when you decide to switch to this environmentally friendly alternative.
In order to decide which solar panels to buy or which are the best, it is necessary to explore and evaluate in depth which type/brand will best meet the needs of the buyer. Solar panel ratings will be a useful resource in identifying the top-rated solar panels.
The best solar panels on the market are not always suitable for everyone’s needs. You may be presented with the top-rated solar panels, but if they are not compatible with your roof or cost more than you can afford, they may not be the best for you.
Opinions on solar panels are only complementary, so it is also worth seeking expert help to ensure that the solar panel will be used to its full potential for a long period of time. After all, sellers may not give you the best overview.
Those who have tested and studied the products will have a more accurate opinion on which solar panel will be best for you. After all, these panels will not only help you save money, they will help save the world. To be honest, every penny is worth every penny.