How to choose the right solar panels

The sun is an abundant and renewable source of energy that has the power to fuel life on earth and provide clean, sustainable energy to all of its inhabitants. In fact, more energy from the sun reaches our planet in one hour than is used by the entire population of the world in one year. The sun’s energy can be converted into electricity through solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing the right solar panels for your home when shopping around to get the best value from your solar power system –

1. Solar Panel Efficiency

The higher the efficiency of the solar panel brand, the more watts of electricity you will get per square meter of panel. So, the higher the efficiency – the smaller that solar panel becomes for the same electrical output and the less roof space required.

A disadvantage of high efficiency panels is that they tend to be more costly.

It is beneficial in the long run to look into higher efficiency modules as your best choice; but be prepared to pay a bit more for the higher wattage.

2. Cost of the Solar panels

Like most things in life, you tend to get what you pay for – so be cautious about choosing solar panels solely on price, as low cost could translate to poor performance and reliability. However, there are often bargains on good quality products to be had, special deals and some suppliers are just more competitive. Just ensure you’re comparing apples to apples in terms of warranty, service, product quality and so on. If you are ever offered a really cheap solar power system deal so be cautious.

3. Warranty provided by the solar panel brand

It is beneficial to research solar panel brands thoroughly by reading reviews online in order to get a good idea of how various modules perform in local conditions. The reviews from Australian customers who have had the panels installed for at least 12 months are what should be considered when comparing various solar panel brands.

It is also very important to consider the warranty statements and conformance to quality standards as these factors can provide a pretty good indication of a solar panel’s quality.

It is wise to insist on at least a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty (also called product warranty) on the solar panels, which covers defects in workmanship and materials. Be aware this is a different guarantee to the 25 or 30 year “performance guarantee” that every module out there carries.

4. Brand Specifications of the solar panels

It is very important to note the different specifications indicating the technical attributes of the solar panels before making a purchase. This can be a rather confusing area, but some specifications to take particular note of when making your choice are as follows:

  • The power tolerance (i.e. are you getting 300W or 300W +/-10%?) Some are much better than others.
  • The voltage rating and coefficient of temperature. Solar Panels should be rated to 100V DC minimum for safety. A good temperature coefficient rating can indicate a solar panel that performs slightly better in higher temperatures.
  • It is also important to take note of the original manufacturer of the panels. Some companies buy solar panels and self-brand them. It is wise to find out who the original manufacturer is and how will the company will support you in case you face any issues.

5. The colour or look of the solar panels

If you are one of those people who prefer the look of certain types of solar panels to others then this can be a point of consideration before making your purchase. As a general rule, thin film panels look more uniform and some feel these look best. However, they take up much more space due to their lower conversion efficiencies – and aren’t widely installed in Australia nowadays.

Contact Austra Solar today for a free quote and guide on installing the best solar panels for your home!

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