The 4 Main Types of Solar Panels – There are 4 major types of solar panels available on the market today: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, PERC, and thin-film panels.
- 0.1 What is the most common type of solar panel?
- 0.2 What is the highest efficiency solar panel?
- 0.3 What kind of solar panel do I need?
- 1 How big is a 1 kW solar panel?
- 2 Which solar panel is best polycrystalline or monocrystalline?
What type solar panel is best?
– The most efficient solar panel for homes is a monocrystalline (mono) panel. These panels, made of silicon crystal, have the highest efficiency, falling between 15% and 22%. Thanks to the technological advancements in the solar industry, mono panels can generate more power using smaller panels with half-cells.
What is the most common type of solar panel?
By now, most homeowners, businesses, and even renters are aware of the environmental and financial benefits solar power has to offer. Even better, solar technology has dramatically improved over the years, bringing forth a range of innovative solar panels to the market.
There are three different types of solar panels available in the market. The most common types are: 1. Monocrystalline Solar Panels 2. Polycrystalline Solar Panels 3. Thin Film Solar Panels Monocrystalline solar panels Monocrystalline solar panels are the most commonly used residential solar panel to date because of their power capacity and efficiency.
Monocrystalline solar panels can reach efficiencies higher than 20%, making them the most efficient panel on the market. While 20% may not sound impressive, there’s a reason behind it. The sun’s rays span a broad spectrum of wavelengths and depending on the characteristics of the semiconductors and design of a solar cell, some of that light can be reflected, passed through, and eventually absorbed and converted into electricity. One of the easiest ways to identify a monocrystalline solar panel is by its color. The cells on a module typically appear black to the eye because of how light interacts with its high-quality silicon, making it function well in low-light conditions. For this reason, they are more efficient as black surfaces absorb light more easily.
They also tend to generate more power than other types of panels, not only because of their efficiency but because they come in higher-wattage modules with more than 300 watts of power capacity. Most individuals enjoy the sleeker aesthetics of monocrystalline solar panels on their roof for this factor, as they blend in well with black roof shingles.
While efficiency and appearance make it a better selling point, they tend to be more expensive in part due to their manufacturing process. Polycrystalline solar panels Polycrystalline solar panels have been around for quite some time and are common among many individuals looking to go solar on a budget.
- These types of solar panels usually have efficiencies between 15% to 17%,
- While they aren’t as efficient as their counterpart monocrystalline, their advantage is their price point.
- The reason being is that the cells are produced from many silicon fragments, hence “poly”, rather than a single pure silicon crystal that’s used in monocrystalline cells.
This allows for a simpler cell manufacturing process, therefore making it more cost-efficient to the end user. A polycrystalline panel’s blue hues come from the anti-reflective coating that helps improve the absorbed capacity and efficiency of the solar panel. Thin film solar panels Thin film solar panels tend to have lower efficiencies and power capacities than monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels.
While efficiency can vary based on the certain material used in the solar cells, they usually lean more towards an efficiency of 11%. Lower efficiency ratings mean more thin film solar panels that would need to be installed in order to produce the same amount of electricity as a monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar system.
For this reason, thin film solar panels might not be the best option for residential solar. On the other hand, they make the most sense in larger-scale installations like utility-scale solar projects, as more panels can be installed to meet energy demands. Thin film solar panels are made with solar cells that have light-absorbing layers about 350 times smaller than the average silicon panel, making them very flexible. They come in both blue and black hues, depending on what they are made of. The most predominant type of thin film solar panel is made from cadmium telluride but they can also be made from amorphous silicon, which is similar to the composition of mono and polycrystalline panels, and copper indium gallium selenide.
As far as cost goes, what you pay for thin film panels will largely depend on what exactly they are made from, but overall, the cost of a thin film solar panel installation tends to be lower than installing a monocrystalline or polycrystalline system. Composition of the Different Types of Solar Panels, Explained The first type is the monocrystalline solar panel, which uses a single piece of pure silicon cut into several wafers.
Pure silicon is the best form of the crystal, which gives monocrystalline panels excellent durability and space efficiency. However, the drawback is that the production process tends to use pure silicon. The result is that you’ll get a higher price tag with monocrystalline vs.
Polycrystalline solar panels. In contrast, polycrystalline panels use many different pieces of silicon crystals. These are then melted together to form a single panel. The main benefit of this process is that no silicon is wasted, which keeps costs relatively cheaper. But there’s a tradeoff. The energy efficiency and heat tolerance are significantly lower with polycrystalline vs.
monocrystalline panels. That means they produce less energy overall. Finally, thin-film solar panels are made from different kinds of materials entirely. These are often copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), amorphous silicon (a-SI), or cadmium telluride (CdTe).
A-SI tends to be the cheapest and most inefficient among the three types, while CIGS tends to have the best efficiency. What is the Capacity of Each of the Different Solar Panels? Monocrystalline panels have the highest output and power capacity, thanks to their higher efficiency per square foot. Expect a standard 60-cell solar panel to produce 310W – 350W on average.
Surprisingly, polycrystalline panels aren’t that far behind. The average capacity for a 60-cell panel of this type is around 250W – 300W. The capacity of thin-film panels, on the other hand, is harder to generalize, thanks to differing sizes. But as a rule of thumb, they output less wattage overall than crystalline panels.
As a sample comparison, a high-efficiency CIGS panel peaks at 250W, which is at the lower end of the polycrystalline range. What is the Efficiency Based on the Solar Panel’s Type? Monocrystalline panels have the highest efficiency rating of any type of solar panel, reaching over 20%. This means that these can convert 20% of sunlight into usable energy.
Polycrystalline panels are within the average range, hitting around 15% – 17%. For most residential purposes, these figures would suffice. Thin-film panels, in contrast, have an overall efficiency rating compared to silicon crystalline panels. CIGS, the best among the three, tops at 13% – 15%.
CdTe is in the middle with 9% – 11%. a-SI has the worst efficiency at 6% – 8%, which is why it’s often used for low-power applications like solar calculators. What are the Costs of the Three Different Solar Panels? Because of their energy and space efficiency, monocrystalline panels fetch the highest prices.
Their cost ranges from $1 – $1.50 per watt, which means a 350-watt panel will set you back $350 – $525. Polycrystalline panels represent an excellent price-to-efficiency ratio. They cost around $0.90 – $1 per watt, which translates to $315 – $350 for a 350-watt panel.
- It might not seem like a hefty price drop, but the savings add up when buying 20+ panels.
- Thin-film panels, as a whole, have a price range between $0.50 to $1 per watt.
- CIGS tends to command the higher end of this price range.
- What Type of Solar Panel is Best? The best solar panel type for your needs depends on a few factors, including the size and weight of roofs.
If you have limited space or need high efficiency per square foot in order to save money monocrystalline panels will be perfect! The opposite is true if you have a larger property, such as a commercial building or a farm. At a high enough square footage, the lower efficiency of a polycrystalline panel can be traded off with cheaper installation costs, allowing you to install more panels to compensate for the output loss.
- Thin-film panels are good alternatives when a crystalline silicon panel isn’t feasible.
- Good examples include thin buildings roofs or the compact top of RVs.
- They’re also great options for hotter environments, thanks to a higher temperature coefficient (more on this later).
- However, note that the cost of the panel itself isn’t the only factor to consider.
You should also look at labor and maintenance costs to get a complete picture of which type is best for you. Factors Affecting Solar Panel Models Heat tolerance is one of the main things that can affect the efficiency of a solar panel. This is measured with the panel’s temperature coefficient or the output drop for every degree of temperature increase.
- This is where thin-film panels have an edge, with an output loss of only 0.2% compared to around 0.3% – 0.5% of crystalline panels.
- Weather resistance is also a crucial factor.
- For colder climates, hail resistance is especially important.
- Crystalline panels are generally more resistant, while thin-film panels are more susceptible to hail damage.You should also be aware of light-induced degradation or LID.
This phenomenon introduces a temporary performance drop during the first hours of exposure to sunlight due to oxygen from the production process. Generally, this is at around 1% – 3% output loss. What types of solar panels does Nexamp use? At Nexamp, we build, own and operate our solar farms and manage the process from start to finish.
- Our farms come in different shapes, sizes, and panels.
- While we use both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels on our projects, our top priority is to keep our assets operating at 100% at all times, and we remain confident that our solar farms will generate power to provide clean energy savings to our subscribers.
The aesthetics of rooftop solar can sometimes be a hurdle when it comes to individuals making the switch to solar. And for some, rooftop solar might not be an option at all if they don’t have the right roof, don’t own a home, or simply find the installation prices too high.
- Community solar programs are a common way for many homeowners, businesses and even renters to go solar without actually installing anything on their roof.
- Participants can subscribe to a nearby solar farm and pay a lower price for the electricity sourced from it.
- Installing either monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin film solar panels, or subscribing to a community solar farm will help you reduce your electricity costs, while supporting the transition to a decarbonized future.
Consider your needs and budget when determining the best option for your home and lifestyle. To discuss your eligibility to one of our community solar farms, contact us today!
What is the highest efficiency solar panel?
The record-setting solar cell shines red under blue luminescence. Photo by Wayne Hicks, NREL Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created a solar cell with a record 39.5% efficiency under 1-sun global illumination.
- This is the highest efficiency solar cell of any type, measured using standard 1-sun conditions.
- The new cell is more efficient and has a simpler design that may be useful for a variety of new applications, such as highly area-constrained applications or low-radiation space applications,” said Myles Steiner, a senior scientist in NREL’s High-Efficiency Crystalline Photovoltaics (PV) Group and principal investigator on the project.
He worked alongside NREL colleagues Ryan France, John Geisz, Tao Song, Waldo Olavarria, Michelle Young, and Alan Kibbler. Details of the development are outlined in the paper ” Triple-junction solar cells with 39.5% terrestrial and 34.2% space efficiency enabled by thick quantum well superlattices,” which appears in the May issue of the journal Joule,
- NREL scientists previously set a record in 2020 with a 39.2% efficient six-junction solar cell using III-V materials.
- Several of the best recent solar cells have been based on the inverted metamorphic multijunction (IMM) architecture that was invented at NREL.
- This newly enhanced triple-junction IMM solar cell has now been added to the Best Research-Cell Efficiency Chart,
The chart, which shows the success of experimental solar cells, includes the previous three-junction IMM record of 37.9% established in 2013 by Sharp Corporation of Japan. The improvement in efficiency followed research into “quantum well” solar cells, which utilize many very thin layers to modify solar cell properties.
- The scientists developed a quantum well solar cell with unprecedented performance and implemented it into a device with three junctions with different bandgaps, where each junction is tuned to capture and utilize a different slice of the solar spectrum.
- The III-V materials, so named because of where they fall on the periodic table, span a wide range of energy bandgaps that allow them to target different parts of the solar spectrum.
The top junction is made of gallium indium phosphide (GaInP), the middle of gallium arsenide (GaAs) with quantum wells, and the bottom of lattice-mismatched gallium indium arsenide (GaInAs). Each material has been highly optimized over decades of research.
“A key element is that while GaAs is an excellent material and generally used in III-V multijunction cells, it does not have quite the correct bandgap for a three-junction cell, meaning that the balance of photocurrents between the three cells is not optimal,” said France, senior scientist and cell designer.
“Here, we have modified the bandgap while maintaining excellent material quality by using quantum wells, which enables this device and potentially other applications.” The scientists used quantum wells in the middle layer to extend the bandgap of the GaAs cell and increase the amount of light that the cell can absorb.
Importantly, they developed optically thick quantum well devices without major voltage loss. They also learned how to anneal the GaInP top cell during the growth process in order to improve its performance and how to minimize the threading dislocation density in lattice-mismatched GaInAs, discussed in separate publications.
Altogether, these three materials inform the novel cell design. III-V cells are known for their high efficiency, but the manufacturing process has traditionally been expensive. So far, III-V cells have been used to power applications such as space satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other niche applications.
- Researchers at NREL have been working toward drastically reducing the manufacturing cost of III-V cells and providing alternate cell designs, which will make these cells economic for a variety of new applications.
- The new III-V cell was also tested for how efficient it would be in space applications, especially for communications satellites, which are powered by solar cells and for which high cell efficiency is crucial, and came in at 34.2% for a beginning-of-life measurement.
The present design of the cell is suitable for low-radiation environments, and higher-radiation applications may be enabled by further development of the cell structure. NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.
What is hybrid solar system?
Reviews and information on the best Solar panels, inverters and batteries from SMA, Fronius, SunPower, SolaX, Q Cells, Trina, Jinko, Selectronic, Tesla Powerwall, ABB. Plus hybrid inverters, battery sizing, Lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries, off-grid and on-grid power systems.
- Hybrid solar systems generate power in the same way as a common grid-tie solar system but use special hybrid inverters and batteries to store energy for later use.
- This ability to store energy enables most hybrid systems to also operate as a backup power supply during a blackout, similar to a UPS system.
For those new to solar see our how solar works article here. Traditionally the term hybrid referred to two generation sources such as wind and solar, but in the solar world, the term ‘hybrid’ refers to a system which uses a combination of solar and batteries that can interact with the electricity grid. Basic layout diagram of a common solar hybrid system (DC coupled battery)
Which is best monocrystalline or polycrystalline?
Best Applications for Monocrystalline Solar Panels –
Smaller applications Areas with less sunlight Efficiency, not cost, is more important Appearance is an issue
Monocrystalline solar panels are best for areas where space is limited since they produce more electricity on a smaller scale than poly panels. Monocrystalline solar panels can draw out the maximum amount of energy even in areas of lower sunlight. So, they are ideal when the goal is efficiency more than cost.
What kind of solar panel do I need?
What affects solar panel output efficiency? – Here’s where solar panel quality makes a difference. Not all solar panels are alike. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels (most commonly used in residential installations) come in wattages ranging from about 150 watts to 370 watts per panel, depending on the panel size and efficiency (how well a panel is able to convert sunlight into energy), and on the cell technology.
- For example, solar cells with no grid lines on the front (like SunPower ® Maxeon ® cells) absorb more sunlight than conventional cells and do not suffer from issues such as delamination (peeling).
- The construction of our cells makes them stronger and more resistant to cracking or corrosion.
- And a microinverter on each panel can optimize power conversion at the source, in contrast to one large inverter mounted on the side of the house.
Because of these wide variations in quality and efficiency, it’s difficult to generalize about which solar panels are right for you or how many you’ll need for your home. The main takeaway is that the more efficient the panels are, the more wattage they can produce, and the fewer you will need on your roof to get the same energy output.
- Conventional solar panels usually produce about 250 watts per panel, with varying levels of efficiency.
- In contrast, SunPower panels are known to be the most efficient solar panels on the market.
- To figure out how many solar panels you need, divide your home’s hourly wattage requirement (see question No.3) by the solar panels’ wattage to calculate the total number of panels you need.
So the average U.S. home in Dallas, Texas, would need about 25 conventional (250 W) solar panels or 17 SunPower (370 W) panels.
How big is a 1 kW solar panel?
1 kW Solar Panel Price
|Solar Panel Wattage||Amount of Solar Panels||Size of Each Panel|
|100 Watts||x 10||1044 x 508 x 35 mm|
|200 Watts||x 5||1650 x 670 x 35 mm|
|320 Watts||x 4||1666 x 1002 x 35 mm|
|450 Watts||x 2||1909 x 1134 x 35 mm|
Which solar panel is best polycrystalline or monocrystalline?
Mono vs. Poly Solar Cells: Quick Facts –
Monocrystalline solar cells are more efficient because they are cut from a single source of silicon.Polycrystalline solar cells are blended from multiple silicon sources and are slightly less efficient.Thin-film technology costs less than mono or poly panels, but is also less efficient. It is mainly used in large-scale commercial applications.N-Type cells are more resistant to light-induced degradation than P-Type cells.PERC Cells add a reflective layer to give the cell a second oppportunity to absorb light.Half-cut cells improve solar cell efficiency by using smaller ribbons to transport electrical current, which reduces resistance in the circuit.Bifacial solar panels absorb light on both sides of the panel.
Solar manufacturers are constantly testing new technologies to make their solar panels more efficient. As a result, solar manufacturing has branched into a wide range of cell technologies. It can be confusing to try to figure out why you should pick one option over the other. FREE Solar Panels Guide
Are higher watt solar panels better?
Solar energy technology has progressed rapidly in recent years, less than a decade ago the maximum output for residential solar panels averaged less than three hundred watts. Today, modules 400w+ are common, and supplied by a number of manufacturers, each providing various offerings including – value and high efficiency, bifacial, and split cell solar panels,
In order to define what a high-watt module is today, we selected modules 380w+, based on solar panel compatibility with Enphase microinverters and SolarEdge optimizers. So, why should you choose a high watt module? In addition to their higher output, high-watt solar panels have a higher efficiency output than lower watt panels,
The same is true for other modules, a 350w solar panel will have a higher efficiency rating than a 345w panel, however, the difference in efficiency becomes more noticeable between a 350w and 400w solar panel. Their higher output also means that you will need fewer modules and other related equipment to complete the same solar project.
5,400 watts / 350 watts = ~15.43 solar panels or 15 for 5.25kW or 16 for 5.6kW 5,400 watts / 400 watts = 13.5 solar panels or 13 for 5.2kW or 14 for 5.6kW
High-watt modules can also be utilized for installation sites with limited roof space. It is important to keep in mind that most high watt solar panels are composed of 72 (or 144 half cut) cells rather than 60 (or 120 half cut) cells. Their higher cell count makes the solar panels 8-10″ taller than 60 cell panels on average, so be sure to keep that in mind if the space you are working with is limited.
High-Watt Solar Panel Comparison High-Watt Solar Panels and Inverter Sizing Solaris Recommendations
High-Watt Solar Panel Comparison There are a number of high watt modules currently on the market or set to be released early 2021. When comparing solar panels there are five things you should pay attention to: Maximum Power Output, Efficiency Rate, Warranty Period, Degradation Rate and 25-Yr Output,
The maximum power output and efficiency rate determine the expected amount of energy production from your solar modules. All solar panel manufacturers have at least a 25-year linear performance warranty, this warranty guarantees the output of the solar panel based on the modules degradation rate. The average product warranty for solar panels is 10 years, however, some manufacturers such as LG and Panasonic offer 25-year product warranties as well.
Factoring the degradation rate of solar modules will let you know how much power your solar panel system will be producing at the end of your warranty period, Panels continue to operate after this point, typically at the same degradation rate noted by the manufacturer.
|Model #||Max. Power Output||Efficiency Rate||Warranty Period||Degradation Rate||25-Yr Output||Downloads|
|X HC AC-400MH/144S||400w||19.88%||– 15 Yr Product – 25 Yr Perform.||0.5%||85%||Specs Warranty|
|CS3W-395PB-AG||395w||17.68%*||– 10 Yr Product – 30 Yr Perform.||0.7%||80.7%||Specs Warranty|
|Q.PEAK DUO L-G5.3 400||400w||19.9%||– 12 Yr Product – 25 Yr Perform.||0.54%||85%||Specs Warranty|
|Q.PEAK DUO L-G6.2 420||420w||19.6%||– 12 Yr Product – 25 Yr Perform.||0.54%||85%||Specs Warranty|
|JAM72S10-405/MR||405w||20.2%||– 12 Yr Product – 25 Yr Perform.||0.65%||81.4%||Specs Warranty|
|LG380Q1C-V5||380w||22%||– 25 Yr Product – 25 Yr Perform.||0.33%||90.08%||Specs Warranty|
|LG415N2W-L5 **||415w||20%*||– 25 Yr Product – 25 Yr Perform.||0.33%||90.08%||Specs Warranty|
|LR4-72HPH-440M||440w||20.2%||– 10 Yr Product – 25 Yr Perform.||0.55%||83.8%||Specs Warranty|
|LR6-72HPH-380M||380w||19%||– 10 Yr Product – 25 Yr Perform.||0.55%||83.8%||Specs Warranty|
|MSE385SR9S||385w||19.11%||– 12 Yr Product – 25 Yr Perform.||0.7%||80.2%||Specs Warranty|
|SIL-380 NT||380w||19.2%||– 25 Yr Product – 30 Yr Perform.||0.65%||80.3%||Specs Warranty|
|TSM-410-DE15H(II)||410w||197%||– 10 Yr Product – 25 Yr Perform.||0.68%||80.68%||Specs Warranty|
Bifacial module, value does not reflect efficiency boost from bifacial gain. **Commercial panel only. Depending on the brand, manufacturer and technology, high-watt solar panels the average cost per watt ranges between $0.50/watt and $0.80/watt+, with manufactures such as Canadian Solar and Trina Solar comprising the lower range, and LG Solar coming in at the higher range.
As reflected above, the energy output of LG solar panels in comparison to a Trina Solar module is much higher. Which panel you select will largely be determined by your project specifications and budget. High-Watt Solar Panels and Inverter Sizing Sizing out microinverters and string inverters for high watt modules follows the same guidelines as lower watt modules,
Likewise, when utilizing high watt modules for an off-grid set-up, it is important to spec out your charge controller correctly. Most off grid systems can utilize high watt modules up to 2kW depending on the charge controller and battery backup system you are using. Enphase Energy microinverters are mini inverters that are installed on the back of each of the solar panels in your array. Microinverters are a good fit for almost any installation, they are available for both single phase (most residential) and three phase (commercial) systems.
Moreover, they can be used for both on-grid and hybrid solar energy systems with the use of the Enphase Encharge lithium-iron battery system. The IQ series microinverters can be installed prior to the addition of the battery unit, this provides added flexibility in planning for your future energy needs.
In addition, Enphase microinverters match the linear performance warranty timeframe of solar panel manufacturers (25 years), whereas string inverters typically have a performance warranty around 10-12 years. This means that you will likely have to change out your string inverter mid-way through your solar modules warranty period.
This comes with its own difficulties, new inverter systems oftentimes work with different technologies – for example, one rapid shutdown solution for your current inverter may not work for the new inverters being produced by the manufacturers, even if the electrical specifications of the inverters are the same or similar.
Microinverters add flexibility in future system additions, as they are not limited by the stricter string requirements of the modules, It is also easier to mix different watt modules along their own string using microinverters, so if you plan on expanding your system in the future, plan to either oversize your inverter (which can lead to efficiency loss if not calculated correctly), or use microinverters.
They come at a higher price point than the following solutions, however, their longer warranty period and added flexibility and benefits makes them an ideal choice. High watt modules typically use either the IQ7PLUS or the IQ7A microinverters, One of the potential downsides of using high-watt modules with microinverters is the potential for clipping.
*Clipping occurs when the output of the solar panel is higher than what the microinverter’s maximum output power.
IQ7PLUS Peak Output – 295VA IQ7A Peak Output – 336VA
Take the LG380Q1C-VA for example, it’s maximum output is 380w, so this module would put out about 330w at 87% operating power. In the case of the IQ7PLUS, there would be some clipping (35w). Under normal conditions, the panel would be putting out about 285w and there would be no clipping.
Generally speaking, microinverters may cause a relatively small drop in efficiency (1-2%), the rule of thumb is that the solar panel’s maximum output capacity is 1.25 times the inverter capacity – in this case, the system will rarely have any reduction in production, If you live in a high sun environment, or if you select a panel that is a much higher wattage (like the 440w from Longi), it is more advantageous for you to use the IQ7A microinverters running at 240VAC to negate clipping and get more out of your solar panels.
String Inverter with Optimizers SolarEdge inverters can be used in both on-grid and hybrid solar energy systems, their single phase inverter, the HD Wave and their hybrid inverter, the StorEdge, both utilize optimizers which work in a similar way to microinverters (they both optimize the solar array, negate shade loss and prevent your array from shutting down if one of your modules is not functioning properly).
They also have commercial three phase solutions that are not currently compatible with battery backup units, however, they do offer beneficial smart grid technologies that streamline and simplify commercial projects. Like Enphase microinverters, the StorEdge inverter can be installed prior to the addition of the LG Chem battery backup unit,
Monocrystalline Vs. Polycrystalline solar panels: A Clear and Simple Comparison
Unlike the Enhcarge system however, the LG Chem battery has a strict certification requirement that needs to be met prior to being able to obtain the battery. Keep this in mind when you are selecting your inverter. You can elect to hire an LG Chem certified installer in your area, or if you are performing a DIY installation, you can ascertain this certification by taking their course that is hosted every Thursday. There is less flexibility in system expansion with string inverters, however with proper planning, you can expand SolarEdge systems. You can either account for your future energy use when planning for your system and add the panels as you go, or you can add additional inverters as needed.
There is also the possibility that the solar panel that you use now, and even its wattage, may not be readily available in the future. This may mean that you need to limit the number of panels you add onto a string, and thus limit your ability to expand on a single inverter. The warranty period of SolarEdge inverters is 12 years, while you can purchase extended warranties directly from the manufacturer, you will likely need to replace the inverter over the lifetime of your solar array.
The optimizers, which are installed on the back of each module have a 25 year warranty period, and therefore will not need to be changed out during this time period. High watt modules may limit the number of panels you can utilize on a string, however, they’re flexible in sizing and can be easily configured with the use of SolarEdge’s online sizing tool, Fronius string inverters are the most cost effective inverter solution for on grid solar energy systems, While they produce hybrid inverters capable of being paired with battery backup and even AC coupled systems, the equipment can be difficult to come by and it is recommended that these systems be installed by professionals, so they may not offer the best solution for DIY installers.
However, if you have a roof or ground mount array that is South facing, your geographic irradiance is high, and you are not concerned with shading, a stand along string inverter will operate your system well. Fronius is limited to system expansion in a similar way to the SolarEdge string inverters outlined above, however, they do not require optimizers in order to operate so they offer installers the lowest bill of materials and therefore the lowest cost out of other inverter solutions on the market.
Fronius string inverters can also be sized using their sizing tool, Solaris Recommendations High-watt solar panels are worth considering for your solar energy system, they have a higher overall efficiency rating, are typically part of newer series lines of their respective manufacturers, and can decrease your initial cost of investment for your solar array,
- Their limitations for installations is minimal (i.e., may not be the best fit for high kW off-grid systems, the height of 72 cell modules is taller than 60 cell which may be an obstacle to small roofs).
- However, from a larger standpoint, they not only offer a host of benefits, higher watt modules is the direction that solar panel manufacturers continuously strive towards.
Outside of considering the output, efficiency, warranty, degradation rate and output; you should carefully consider your inverter solution to fit your current and future energy needs, Whether or not you will add a battery backup unit in the future is tied to the inverter that you are using rather than the your solar panels.
If you are looking for the best high watt solution on the market, be sure to take a look at LG solar modules, they have the highest expected out put and among the highest warranty periods of any module on this list. They come at a higher price point, but are worth considering given their high output, (they could pay for their additional cost in energy output after 10 years+).
Lower cost solutions from Canadian Solar and Trina Solar save you on your initial investment, but have a lower output percentage than any other module on this list. While manufacturers like Q.Cells sit in the middle in terms of both cost and efficiency.