Before we delve into the wonderful world of solar panels and which are best – we need to make sure we are talking about the right panels. So let’s get any confusion out of the way. This site is dedicated to photovoltaic solar panels; also known as “solar PV” or “solar electricity” modules.
There is another type of solar panel used for heating up your water (as opposed to generating electricity). This type of panel is called a “solar hot water panel” or “solar thermal collector” and is a completely different beast.
Solar panels are the most critical part of any solar power system. So choosing the right brand and type is just as important as making sure they are at the best angle and pointing in the right direction.
Unfortunately most solar salespeople aren’t going be a whole lot of help when it comes to choosing the best solar panel brand! Why? Because, despite my best efforts to persuade them otherwise, most of them will use the sales strategy of insisting that theirs are the best and everyone else is selling crap.
Solar Panel Efficiency
When I talk about efficiency, I am referring to the ratio (as a percentage) of the energy in the sunlight that hits the panel surface to the electrical energy generated the panel.
For example, if the solar panel captured half the energy in the sunlight, then the panel’s efficiency would be 50%.
In real-world conditions, conventional panel efficiencies range from about 12% up to just over 21%.
Why is a high efficiency good? Well, the higher the efficiency, the more watts of electricity you will get per square meter of panel.
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