What Are the Most Efficient Solar Panels on the Market?
Solar systems have many aspects that need to be considered, such as quality, components and price. But one of the most important elements is solar efficiency. Solar panel efficiency, in simple terms, is a measure of how much solar energy the panels can convert into usable energy through photovoltaics.
In other words, it is the measure of how productive your panels are in providing energy to your home, appliances or vehicle. Who wouldn’t want more power and less energy dependence on the grid, right? So what factors contribute to this? This article will look at the efficiency of solar panels, the factors that affect them and their longevity, and will provide a list of the most efficient brands of solar systems currently on the market.
What is Solar Panel Efficiency?
Solar panels efficiency is a way to determine the annual energy output of the system. To be more precise, it is evaluated by determining the system’s electrical output when the sun strikes its photovoltaic cells. Thus, if the system effectively converts a large portion of the solar energy it captures into electrical energy, it is considered efficient.
The higher the efficiency rating, the more energy the equipment is able to provide for its use. Two variants may look identical or may even be built with the same components, but may not be equal in terms of productivity.
Solar panel efficiency is governed by several aspects. Specifically, these are the values of reflectance, thermodynamic efficiency, load carrier separation, load carrier collection and conduction efficiency. However, as these factors are difficult to observe and measure, other parameters have been set to generate an objective comparison.
These parameters include quantum efficiency, open-circuit voltage ratio, and fill factor. However, as these terms are too technical and mathematical, this paper will look at the more practical and observable characteristics that affect the system’s ability to generate electricity. These will be discussed in more detail in the next section.
Factors that Affect Solar Panels Efficiency
What are the internal aspects involved in solar panels efficiency? The first is more obvious. How new are the panels? Since solar energy is not a relatively new technology, various types of panels were produced decades ago.
The more technological advances and new methods to improve the efficiency of solar energy devices are discovered, the more the design and architecture of these devices have improved. As a result, new versions are expected to be better in this category.
The next factor is temperature and exposure to the sun. Of course, the more your cells are exposed to receiving photons from the sun, the higher their productivity. However, don’t worry if the seasons change and the sun is not as active as the cells are still able to absorb the energy it produces, as long as it is strategically placed at the right angle.
But energy storage wouldn’t be as important if they didn’t receive as much light as usual. These fixtures need light, not high levels of light, to operate, and they can get it in any season provided they are placed at an optimal angle.
The other important factor is the panel components. Some types of cells absorb better than others because of their chemical structure. There is thin-film silicon, polycrystalline and monocrystalline. Some people prefer the thin film variant because of its flexibility, but if this is the efficiency factor being considered, monocrystalline is the best option among the widely used types.
What Types of Solar Panels are Most Efficient?
As mentioned in the previous section, there are several factors that affect solar panels efficiency. But how do you know what type of panel to buy?
First of all, you need to consider the material. If you can lose a little more, then choose monocrystalline rather than polycrystalline. These types are made up of single-crystalline cells, which makes them more compact and more absorbent than the other two. With this type, you can achieve up to 27% depending on the model.
The next one will be the installation type. Are you going to opt for do-it-yourself or have it installed by professionals? Unless you are an installer yourself, the experience is an advantage when it comes to this appliance, and you should leave it to experts to make sure that the wiring and connections are correct.
Finally, will the panels be new or used? New types (and models) can give you the best chance of keeping your system for a long time.
Top 10 Most Efficient Solar Panels
Now that we’ve discovered the different elements that make for efficient solar panels, let’s take a look at the list of brands we offer to maximize your system for an extended period of time. To establish this list, we mainly looked at the panels’ efficiency figures and their power in watts.
|Brand and Model||Efficiency||Power (in watts)|
|1. Maxeon 3 by SunPower®||22.6||400|
|2. Neon R by LG||21.7||375|
|3. Alpha Series by REC||21.7||380|
|4. Solar Hi-Mo X by LONGi||20.3||355|
|5. Q.Peak Duo G6+ by Qcells||20.1||350|
|6. Solar Cheeta HC by Jinko||19.6||330|
|7. Honey Splitmax by Trina Solar||19.6||330|
|8. JAM60S10 by JA Solar||19.6||330|
|9. Twin Plus by Phono Solar||19.6||330|
|10. WSP-MX by Winaico||19.4||340|
We looked at current household wattage requirements, and brands in the 300 to 400-watt range that had good indications of efficiency were selected. With a power rating of 400 watts at 22.6%, SunPower’s Maxeon tops the list. SunPower is already one of the best-known solar companies, and for good reason.
It manufactures high-quality products that are efficient and durable. The list also includes LG’s Neon R in second place and RFC Alpha Series in third place, both of which exceed the 20% efficiency threshold for solar quality.
Do Solar Panels Lose Efficiency Over Time? And How to Increase their Efficiency?
Unfortunately, solar panel efficiency is not permanent and decreases with age. This is because they are subject to natural wear and tear and the cells do not maintain the same excellence over time due to scratches and micro-cracks caused by temperature changes and extreme weather conditions such as hail and storms.
To be more specific, potential induced degradation or PID occurs due to sodium enrichment of the cells and glass, causing the cells to lose the current they are supposed to provide. Depending on the material, panels can lose up to 30% of their productivity over their lifetime.
Monocrystals can lose up to 0.7% per year. Thin-film solar panels lose even more than that. Therefore, if you are looking for efficiency, it is best to go for monocrystalline.
To keep the efficiency of your solar panels longer, you need to remove any controllable obstructions so that they can receive as much sunlight as possible. To do this, place them away from sources of shade (such as plant shapes or buildings) if you can.
Another good practice is to store your panels properly as often as possible. Because dirt and debris can develop micro cracks that can inhibit performance, you need to properly sanitize each cell to keep it clean and shiny at all times. You can also glaze your cells with solar glass to keep them at optimum transmission levels.
One must always go for efficient solar panels when you decide to go solar. While the budget is an important factor, it should not outweigh sustainability. It is advisable to buy them new and have them installed by specialists and experienced professionals.
Monocrystalline are preferred to other types of panels. Glazing of solar cells can be done to better protect the cells from natural wear and tear. It also makes sense to disinfect the panels often and properly.
Brands that offer an efficiency of more than 20% are already guaranteed good products. This means that out of the photons that their photovoltaic units receive from our sun, they are able to convert one fifth into usable energy.
As long as they are placed in an ideal location and properly attached to the roof, they can have a high productivity yield. Your solar equipment should last 20 to 25 years, and you can help it run longer if you follow the tips above and give it a chance.