Not much by today’s standards, but it marked the first major step in the renewable energy journey. Between 1883 and 1954, solar panel chemistry transitioned to the origins of the silicon cell modules most commonly used today, with the Bell Labs Silicon Cell Solar Panel boasting a 6% efficiency.
Since 1954, solar panel technology, efficiency and longevity has rocketed ahead with panels exceeding 20% efficiency readily available in the market today. So how do you know which panels are the best? Which panels are going to last the longest? Which panels are the best bang for your buck?
The Selection Criteria
Solar Panel Efficiency:
The efficiency rating of a panel refers to the conversion efficiency of UV rays that hit the panels face and get converted into raw DC energy.
Consumers are often misled to believe that a panel that is 10% more efficient will deliver 10% more solar power for you. This is not necessarily true and there are a number of factors that contribute to or limit the output of your system.
Product Warranty vs Performance Guarantee:
Solar Panels often boast two different warranty periods. The product warranty safeguards against any manufacturing fault or defect which may present itself during the normal operation of the module.
The performance warranty relates to the degradation of the panel's efficiency over time. Industry-standard states the absolute minimum residual efficiency a panel must retain at 10 years and 25 years. Most panels on the market today exceed this benchmark so it is important to know what to look for, beyond a pretty linear graph.
Panel Output & Dimensions:
Less vital but still worth considering, the size and output capability of solar panels in the last 5 years has increased dramatically. However, for the most part, when you increase the output, you increase the size of the panel as well.
Bigger panels can mean less labour but could also mean more expensive installs with higher capacity components. These considerations should be covered by your chosen solar company.
The right inverter will provide high-efficiency energy conversion, a comprehensive product warranty and remote system monitoring capabilities to ensure you know what your system is doing and when.
The wrong inverter will provide you with substandard system outputs, little to no monitoring capabilities and a warranty worth about as much as the paper it is printed on. At P4B Solar we only use premium quality equipment when designing solar solutions.
Once daytime electricity needs are under control, nighttime consumption and standby loads are the next issues to be addressed. P4B Solar is actively working to provide cost-effective, sustainable energy storage solutions to commercial and residential clients.
When designing your solar system, it is imperative that the technology chosen is compatible with a battery storage upgrade down the line, to avoid additional costly equipment upgrades in the future.