Understanding Solar Panels

In recent years, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels or modules have emerged as a leading solution to the global energy crisis and the escalating climate change concerns. Harnessing solar power provides clean, renewable energy; solar PV panels’ efficiency and reliability play a vital role in effectively capturing the sun’s energy. With numerous solar panel options available in the market, it becomes crucial to understand what truly makes a solar PV panel suitable. This blog will delve into the key factors contributing to the quality and performance of solar PV panels.

Efficiency and Wattage

Efficiency is one of the most critical factors when evaluating the quality of a solar PV panel. It refers to the ability of the panel to convert sunlight into usable electricity. Higher-efficiency panels generate more electricity from the same amount of sunshine, maximizing energy production and reducing the overall system cost. The wattage of a solar panel refers to its power output or capacity to generate electricity under specific conditions. It represents the maximum electrical power the solar panel can produce when exposed to optimal sunlight and operating at its peak efficiency. Silicon-based solar panels, specifically monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, typically offer higher efficiency rates than thin-film technologies.

The Heterojunction Cell

Is a new technology used in high-end solar panel manufacturers like REC and Meyer Burger. Heterojunction (HJT) cell technology increases power output, efficiency, and energy density. What makes HJT so effective is using two solar PV technology, monocrystalline and thin-film cell technology, which allows the solar module to capture a broader range of photons to convert into electricity. Solar panels with HJT cells generate more electricity while being smaller and lighter in weight, which rooftop installers love to hear.

Degradation: Durability and Longevity

Investing in solar PV panels is a long-term commitment; the degradation and durability are crucial aspects to consider. Solar panel degradation is the gradual reduction in performance and efficiency over time. High-quality solar panels can withstand harsh weather conditions, including heavy snow, strong winds, and hailstorms, and not experience any significant degradation. Solar modules with superior durability will require minimal maintenance and are more likely to provide a longer lifespan, ensuring a higher return on investment over time. The solar panel manufacturers we use offer warranties that guarantee the performance and durability of their panels for 25 years or more.

Quality of Materials and Manufacturing Standards

The quality of materials used to construct solar panels significantly impacts their performance and longevity. Silicon-based panels are widely considered reliable due to the high purity of the silicon used. Advanced manufacturing techniques and stringent quality control measures during the production process also contribute to the overall quality of the panels.

Performance in Low-Light Conditions

Solar panels operate under various lighting conditions, including cloudy days and low-light situations. The ability to generate electricity even in these suboptimal conditions is a mark of an excellent solar PV panel. Some panels are designed with advanced technologies, such as bypass diodes, which minimize power losses when a part of the panel is shaded or obstructed. Panels with enhanced low-light performance ensure a more consistent energy production throughout the year for states like Washington.

Certifications and Testing

Certifications and testing conducted by recognized institutions validate the quality and performance claims made by solar panel manufacturers. Look for certifications such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard certification, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listing, and the TÜV Rheinland certification. These certifications ensure the solar panels meet the required safety, performance, and reliability standards.

Own the Technology of the Future

Investing in solar PV panels is a significant decision with far-reaching implications for individuals and the planet. By understanding the key factors that contribute to the quality and performance of solar panels, one can make informed choices and harness the maximum benefits of solar energy. Efficiency, durability, high-quality materials, low-light performance, certifications, and ROI are crucial when evaluating solar panels. Remember, an excellent solar PV panel is efficient, reliable, durable, and manufactured to the highest standards, ensuring clean energy for years.

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Manuel Larrain
Manuel Larrain is a Chilean-born US citizen who studied business and sustainability at Western Washington University. Solar energy is his passion, as it is transforming how Washingtonians power their lifestyle. He believes we can address climate change, environmental justice, and steward a brighter future for all of us through renewable energy.