How to choose the right Solar Panel
A solar panel is the heart of your solar PV power system. And with solar panels having a lifespan of 25+ years, the decision often feels like a big one.
Whether you are considering a solar power system at home or at your office, here are a 3 key points to consider in your decision-making process:
Type of Solar Panel
There are different types of solar panels available based on technology and cell size, such as Thin-film, Polycrystalline, Monocrystalline, TOPCon, HJT, IBC, and PERC.
Each type has its own unique characteristics, so make sure you research the pros and cons before deciding.
If you find it overwhelming, ask your installer to help you go through the various options and listen closely for recommendations.
A solar panel's power rating is measured in watts (W) and it represents the maximum amount of power it can generate. A higher power rating means that the panel can generate more electricity.
The efficiency of a solar panel refers to how well it converts sunlight into electricity. Higher-efficiency panels will generate more electricity per square foot, which can be beneficial if you have limited space. These will naturally cost more than their lower output counterparts.
Both higher output and higher efficiency seem like the obvious choice.
But for smaller industrial and home systems, the total cost is an equally important determinant as the output, and it needs to be balanced accordingly.
The temperature coefficient is a measure of how a solar panel's power output changes with temperature. Lower temperature coefficients indicate that the panel will perform better in hot weather.
Temperature coefficients are mentioned on the solar panel's datasheet and are easy to compare.
For example, the standard operating temperature for RenewSys solar panels is 77 °F. i.e. approximately 25 °C. If you're observing the performance of a solar panel at 28°C, you're observing it at 3°C higher than the industry standard. If you observe a power loss of 1.08% at that temperature, you divide that power loss by 3 to get 0.36, or a temperature coefficient of -0.36%/°C Pmax.
It is important to invest in high-quality solar panels that are built to last. Control over raw materials sourcing, regular testing of incoming raw materials, regular testing of manufacturing systems and processes, training factory personnel, extended reliability testing, and certifications, are some of the numerous aspects to consider.
Research the brand you are interested in, to make sure they have a good reputation in the market. Asking around for references can also help.
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