The learning curve for solar panel info can be pretty steep.
Some of the most baffling moments can come when trying to decipher solar panel statistics.
Solar panels are rated in a dizzying variety of categories and it can seem like an uphill battle to understand what the numbers actually mean.
So let's keep this as simple as possible.
The following are some of the main specs you should be looking for when researching solar panel info.
I've provided an explanation of each category and what it means to you.
So let's see if we can make sense of these solar panel numbers!
This is our starting point because this value will be equal to the "advertised" power of the panel. In other words, if you buy a 180 watt solar panel, its rated power at STC will be 180 watts. Simple, right?
What should you be looking for? For maximum power output, look for panels with a small negative number or only a positive number.
So if your solar panel has a rated power per sq. ft. of 10 watts, you could get 100 watts out of 10 square feet (10x10=100).
A power warranty often provides two different power guarantees. Typically this will guarantee a 90% power output for a certain amount of time (e.g. 10 years), and then an 80% power output for an extended amount of time (e.g. the next ten years).
Monocrystalline is slightly more efficient than multicrystalline and ribbon but it is also the most expensive.
Amorphous silicon is a "thin-film" technology that is the cheapest to produce. It also performs better than the other cell types in shady conditions and high temperatures.
The downside? It is the least efficient cell type and could take up twice as much space as the others to produce the same amount of power.
If the maximum power temperature coefficient for you panel is -0.5% it means you will lose 0.5% of your power output for every degree the temperature rises above 25°C. This could be especially important if you live in a hot climate.