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Monday, January 17, 2022

Questions to Consider When Shopping for Solar Panels

Installing solar panels provides many benefits for you and the environment. As a renewable energy source, solar power doesn’t contaminate the air with the release of greenhouse gasses. The panels can also help you cut down your electricity bills. And whatever energy you don’t end up using, you have the option to sell.

If you’re interested in installing solar panels for your home, we’ve noted a few questions you need to first consider.

Where will you place them?

Solar panels are usually placed on top of a house’s roof or in the yard. If you plan on installing your solar panels on the roof, you need to make sure that the structure is sturdy enough to provide the needed support. If you plan on placing your solar panels in your yard, on the other hand, you need to make sure that there’s enough area to collect a sufficient amount of sunlight.

The positioning also matters. Though solar panels can perform even in shade, they are most effective when they receive direct sunlight. Furthermore, in the northern hemisphere, solar panels facing south will collect the most sunlight during the day; in the southern hemisphere, it’s the opposite. Make sure no trees or buildings obstruct sunlight from reaching your system as well.

It’s also important to ask your provider how much energy you can expect to generate given the climate in your general area. This will affect the solar panel features you need to look for. For example, if you live in a sunny place like Florida, an affordable yet moderately powerful panel like Renogy will be sufficient. But if you live somewhere very cloudy like the Pacific Northwest, then you’re going to need more expensive models that can absorb energy more effectively.

What type of solar cell will you use?

There are three different types of solar cells, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. The most efficient type of solar cell will be made of monocrystalline silicon. Manufacturing monocrystalline silicon solar cells is extremely labor-intensive, and as such, theses cells are on the pricier side.

A cheaper alternative would be polycrystalline. Polycrystalline solar cells contain small grains of silicon crystals. Though less efficient than monocrystalline, these cells are the most popular options, and represent about 70% of solar cell production.

Another type of solar cell that’s growing in popularity is the thin-film solar cell. Though lacking in power output, thin-film solar cells are extremely lightweight and affordable, making them preferred options among some homeowners. And when large quantities of thin-film solar cells can be installed over a large area, they can perform quite well.

How efficiently can the model convert energy?

Most of the time, solar panels cannot convert all the sunlight they absorb into usable electricity. However, a solar panel that has components that have optimized PCB layouts can maximize the amount of energy they convert, so much so that very little energy is wasted. This ensures that your solar panel system will always generate enough electricity whenever you need it.

To determine how well your solar panel will perform, check its conversion efficiency. In the market, the standard rate of conversion efficiency runs between 95% and 98%.

How durable is the model?

Since you will be placing your solar panels outside, they need to be able to withstand natural elements like storms, winds, and sun damage. High temperatures, in particular, can cause reductions in solar panel performance over time. It’s important, then, to make sure you source your solar panels from reputed manufacturers. Look at performance reviews online to gauge how durable your panels will be.

As for durability against high temperatures, you’ll also have to look into a measurement known as the temperature coefficient. A solar panel’s temperature coefficient tells you how much its performance capacity will decrease when subjected to high temperatures. The lower the temperature coefficient, the less its performance will decrease.

Does the provider offer a warranty?

You will also want to buy a solar system with an attractive warranty period to make sure you get the most out of your investment. Solar panel manufacturers offer two types of warranties: equipment warranties and performance warranties. The former guarantees that if defects, malfunctions, or other product failures appear within the product’s promised lifespan, the manufacturer will provide parts or repair services at a reduced cost.

The performance warranty, on the other hand, exists to account for the natural decline of solar panel efficiency. It guarantees that a solar panel will be able to perform at a sufficient power output for a certain number of years. If the efficiency of the solar panel system degrades faster than what was promised, the manufacturer then becomes obligated to either send a replacement model or perform repairs. Most solar panel performance warranties in the market promise 80% performance at 25 years.

Does the provider offer maintenance services?

Some providers might even include maintenance services as part of your solar package. These services include cleaning, debris removal, and component assessment. Without maintenance options, you won’t be able to keep your solar system running for as long as you need it.

It can be intimidating to shop for something as complex as a solar panel system. To make sure you get the right model, pay attention to how well it fits in your location, how well it converts energy, how durable it is, and how much protection your provider offers.

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