How to choose solar panels for your home, office, apartment, or educational institution.
Written by Harsha Kamak | Oct 12, 2019
In a world where most energy comes from non-renewable resources, solar panels have been one of the great pillars of renewable energy technology.
Solar panels are often associated with new-age technology. But scientists have been working with solar cells for nearly 200 years, now. Today, with rapid advances in technology, solar PV is a worthy recipient of this progress.
Hundreds of companies are manufacturing solar panels now. With different solar panels available on the market, it is difficult for one to distinguish them. In this simplified guide, to help make the right choice, the focus is on the types of solar panels, their quality, brands available, and the latest innovations.
Solar panels fall under one of mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline, or thin-film. These panels vary in their manufacturing, appearance, performance, cost, and the kind of installation. They all work on the same principle of the photovoltaic (PV) effect – the creation of voltage and electric current upon exposure to light.
Silicon is the building blocks of solar cells. The silicon purity determines the efficiency of the solar panels. Solar cells with perfectly aligned silicon molecules are more efficient at converting solar energy into electricity. However, enhancing the purity of silicon is an expensive process.
less expensive (than mono-crystalline)
Thin-film solar cells are classified based on the substrates they constitute.
* does not include thin-film solar panel manufacturers
** rating based on the following metrics: efficiency, warranty, reputation, bankability, Solarify’s installation experience
Solar panel manufacturers today offer a range of models with various features and efficiencies. Solar panel efficiency has increased substantially over the last few years due to many advances in PV technology. Such solar panels used in India, include:
A grid-connected utility and amount of shadow-free area available are essential components of any solar power project. Therefore, module efficiency a critical element for solar power system integrators and installers. For most applications, a mono- or poly-crystalline solar PV solution provides the right balance of price, efficiency, and reliability.
* cost taken over average of all types (incl. recent technological advancements)
** efficiency taken over average of all type (incl. recent technological advancements)
Not just panels, but choosing the right solar installer is critical to the success of any solar installation. Choosing a solar installer is a challenge in India because of the large number of options. Information related to the installer’s track record, revenue, client success, and team; can help in making a prudent decision.
[Also read: How are solar panels made? A simple explanation.]
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