Where To Buy Solar Panels (2024)
In general, we recommend you look for solar panels that offer high efficiency and durability. Here are the main factors to consider before making a final solar purchase:
Type of Solar Panel
You can classify solar panels based on the semiconductor material used in their photovoltaic cells. The three main types are:
- Monocrystalline: The most efficient solar cells, but also the most expensive
- Polycrystalline: Offers intermediate efficiency at a lower cost than monocrystalline cells
- Thin-film: Low-cost and low-efficiency panels that feature lightweight and flexible options
Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are recommended for rooftop solar installations since they generate more electricity per square foot. Thin-film panels are better suited for recreational vehicles and other applications that require a lightweight design.
Energy Conversion Efficiency
The most efficient solar panels can convert over 20% of the sun’s energy into electrical power. SunPower and Canadian Solar have some of the highest efficiency ratings in the industry, offering PV modules with up to 22.8% efficiency.
Since solar PV panels generate direct current (DC) electricity, you need an inverter to convert their output into the alternating current (AC) electricity that powers your home. Most installers wire panels into string circuits with a common inverter, while others use microinverters on all panels. You should also make sure the inverter has a high DC-to-AC conversion efficiency.
Solar Panel Warranty
Residential solar systems offer a payback period of less than six years under favorable conditions while having a service life of nearly three decades. The best solar panels have a 25-year product warranty, guaranteeing your equipment will properly function for decades. Many reputable installers also extend warranties to cover panel performance and system installation.
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