To get the best solar panels you’ll need to know what ‘best’ means to you
If it seems like I’m trying to weasel out of giving you an answer here, just give me a minute to show you where I’m going with this.
See, solar panels that are the ‘best’ for one family may not necessarily be the ‘best’ for the family next door. It depends on what qualities are most valued by you.
Three of the main qualities people look for when purchasing solar electric panels are:
Here’s a look at each one of these attributes in more detail:
Some people consider the cheapest solar panels to be the best solar panels. Since the quality of even the lower end solar panels has improved a great deal, this ‘price is king’ idea can actually make a lot of sense.
It does have limits, however. Your solar panels are going to be exposed to the elements for decades. You want to choose a company with a bit of a track record to ensure the wiring and casing will stand up to some abuse.
If you’re looking for reasonably priced panels with a good reputation for quality, check out Suntech.
Suntech is a Chinese solar company that was founded in 2001. The company has grown quickly and is now one of the leading solar panel companies in the world.
Suntech also opened a manufacturing plant in Arizona in October of 2010. This 117,000 square foot facility was soon turning out about 15,000 solar panels every month (amounting to a total of 50 MW of production annually).
Don’t they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Even still, some solar panels are thought to look a little prettier than others.
What makes for a more attractive solar panel?
Lower profile and a darker, uniform color. This allows the panel to blend in with your roof and not stick out like a sore thumb.
Which company has the advantage in the beauty department?
Well, if we’re going with panels that are ‘smooth, dark, and free of metal gridlines’, then SunPower is our winner.
SunPower takes pride in manufacturing an elegant looking solar panel that blends harmoniously with your home.
SunPower is an American company that was founded in 1985 by Stanford professor Richard Swanson. The company has been successful in marketing their premium panels as the most attractive and efficient solar panels around.
When we talk about solar panel efficiency we’re talking about how much power a panel produces from a certain amount of sunlight.
The companies leading the way in the efficiency department are Sanyo and SunPower. SunPower produces their record efficiency levels with high-efficiency solar cells while Sanyo’s HIT Double relies on a bifacial design.
The bifacial design utilizes the back of the solar panel and allows the HIT Double solar panel to produce electricity from ambient light reflected off surrounding surfaces.
This development has allowed Sanyo to stay in the race for highest solar panel efficiency.
So as you can see, the best solar panels for you will really depend on what is most important to you. In all likelihood, you will want to consider price, appearance, and efficiency as you research solar panels.
Your final decision will depend on which of these elements means the most to you.