The average residential electricity price rises every year, with studies predicting that the cost per kilowatt-hour will increase by 2.8% this year. This is because of several factors, from market inflation to the increasing demand for electricity across the country. Fortunately, there is a way to keep your electricity bills low—and that is to have solar panels generate the energy for you. You can even obtain incentives for installing solar panels, such as cash discounts, and rebates.
But with so many panel options on the market, how do you know if you are choosing the right one?
Types of Panels
There are many types of solar panels but you only need to consider two for a residential one: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Both types use multiple grids in their circuit board design, which allows them to meet the standard grid step, size, and PCB shape requirement to generate the electricity needed to power an entire home. The only difference is in the crystal alignment of the panel. Monocrystalline has one crystal bar of silicon while polycrystalline is created from silicon fragments.
Electrons can move more freely in a bar of silicon, so monocrystalline panels generate more power than polycrystalline. However, silicon is very expensive, so polycrystalline panels, which is only made out of its fragments, is the more affordable option.
Solar panels are expensive, even if its materials are something as affordable as polycrystalline. As such, you want your panels to last a lifetime. Make sure that your solar panel of choice is durable enough to withstand the weather conditions that frequent your area, such as snow, high-pressure storms, and even sandstorms. Many brands like Apex feature videos of how well their technology does under such environmental conditions.
Other than that, feel free to check if your chosen solar panel contains certain certifications issued by regulatory boards as proof of their durability. For example, a solar panel with the International Electrotechnical Commission or IEC 61701 certification is most resilient against salt corrosion, so they are an excellent option for homes near the sea.
The size of your solar panel is also big determinant of how much electricity it can generate. Bigger houses need bigger solar panels, especially if you are planning to supply all your appliances with solar energy. However, it is also possible to only partially supply your home with solar energy. Called the grid-connected system, this solar setup automatically switches its main power source to the national grid when it senses that its solar energy reservoir has been depleted. If this is the system you are planning to adopt, then it is fine if you settle for smaller panels.
There is no real way to determine the right solar panel size for your home other than by contacting an electrician. They can calculate the average energy your home uses and recommend the size of the panels needed to supply said energy.
Energy efficiency refers to how much sunlight is converted into energy once it hits the panel’s photovoltaic cells. Most solar panels have around 15% to 20% energy efficiency. There are also premium brands like SunPower and Panasonic that boast an efficiency of up to 23%.
Ideally, you want panels that have the highest energy efficiency percentage available. However, you also need to consider the units’ price, the costs of installation, as well as your environment. You might not need an expensive CSUN solar panel (capable of up to 21.2% efficiency) if you lived in a very sunny place like Florida. The opposite is also true—those who live in rainy states like Louisiana and Mississippi need to prioritize solar panels that convert energy well, as the sunlight is not as strong.
There are many factors to consider when choosing your solar panels, so it is important to do your research and consider all your options. Comparison websites such as energysage.com and solarreview.com can help you get started.