How to Choose the Right Solar Panel for Home Installation
The demand for solar energy systems is on an all time rise in Australia leading to solar panels being at their most affordable prices ever. Solar panels offer a good return on your investment but with such tuned down prices today, it is now much faster to offset their cost, while ensuring a lifetime of clean and free energy. You can further cut down your initial investment on solar panels through energy credits, solar energy tax incentives and bulk pricing.
When choosing a solar panel, much care must be taken as there are a variety of solar panels available in the market and as a general observation, the cheaper a solar panel is, lesser is its efficiency. Therefore, in order to help you make the right choice for the task, here are a few things that you should keep in mind.
There are basically two broad heads under which considerations must be made.
Solar Panel Statistics
Every solar panel has certain characteristics that need to be determined and compared against each other to get the best solar panel for your home. These standard measurements include power output, operating temperature coefficients and efficiency. Comparing these parameters, home owners can make the right decision while choosing a solar power panel for their home roofs.
The power output of a solar panel which is measured in the amount of direct current (DC) and is represented by nameplate rating. Panels are usually rated to produce output between 200–400 watts which largely depends on its quality and size. Nameplate rating is a representation of output under ideal conditions therefore in reality it will be lower than the given rating due to effect of variables such as sun exposure, , temperature, tree cover, angle of your roof and the atmospheric conditions. While installing solar panels on your roof, all of these factors will be taken into consideration by the installers to get you maximum efficiency.
The efficiency of a solar panel depends on how effectively it can convert the solar energy into electricity. In other terms, this number denotes energy in kilowatt hours which is produced for every watt mentioned on the nameplate rating of your panel. Although in ideal lab conditions the efficiency rating is over 25%, it is usually between 14–20% in reality. Only about 20% of the energy is converted to electricity with a photovoltaic system, while the rest of the 80% energy is dissipated as heat.
Temperature has direct effect on panels, which lowers their efficiency in extreme heat. While the optimum conditions for solar power harnessing is 77° F, panels start losing their effectiveness at the rate of 1% for every 4° F rise in temperature. This t4emperature coefficient is highly important for the home owners during hotter climates and must be thoroughly considered when comparing various solar panels.
Panels are mostly sorted on the basis of their cost, durability and efficiency. Different solar panel manufacturers, type of the panel and the year of their manufacture produce the key differences between various solar panels for homes. The cost of the solar panels make up about 30% of the cost of the solar system and the rest of 70% includes other system parts, labour, inspections and permits. Moreover, a premium solar panel by a foremost brand is usually on the higher side of cost of panels while other lesser known brands fall cheaper.
To get a clearer idea, it is good to consult a solar panel installer who is sure to have current prices of various panels and from a wide range of manufacturers. Also, make a point to consider the durability, warranty and performance of the panel.
Low End Panels
Low end panels are economy panels that are least expensive and easily in your reach. However, opting for these cheap solar panels also means highly compromising on durability and efficiency since low end panels usually have an efficiency coefficient of less than 15%.
Economy panels usually come with shorter manufacturing warranties, give poor performance in high temperatures and lose their efficiency with time much faster than other higher quality panels. These limitations of low end panels lower your ROI.
Mid Range Panels
Most home owners opting for solar power in Australia, usually have midrange panels installed on their house roofs. These panels are a good combination of lower initial cost and long lasting benefits of solar panels. These are both durable and dependable, and have 15% or more efficiency rate.
Since the majority of market is that of midrange panels, you are sure to get good warranty and quality at competitive prices.
High End Panel
High end panels are high cost options among solar panels which are for home owners with flexible budgets. These panels are high quality with exceptional durability, reliability and impeccable manufacturing that translates into high efficiency rate of about 20% or more. They also come with much longer warranty periods that are measured in decades rather than years.
High End panels also offer much agreeable temperature coefficients allowing them to operate well even at extreme temperatures, which also makes them a fairly good choice for regions with hot climate.
While for some the high cost of these panels can seem prohibitive, but it must be kept in mind that their longevity and high quality determine them to be a good investment, with faster ROI. It is especially true when you are committed to make your home solar energy optimized and are likely to spend much time indoors.