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How To Choose The Best Solar Panel – Solarflow
So you’re thinking about getting solar panels but aren’t sure where to start?
We get it. You need a good quality, reliable product that’s going to deliver savings over the long term. But with so many brands available, how do you know which panels to go with?
Here are the key features to focus on when choosing solar panels for your home.
Solar panel efficiency
Solar panel efficiency literally means the efficiency of the panel in converting sunlight into energy. The industry measures it as a percentage figure and the higher the percentage rating of the panel the more electricity it will produce.
It’s worth investing in solar panels with a high efficiency rating – aim for around 18% or more. This is especially true for households with less unshaded roof space available as you won’t be able to fit in as many panels.
LG, Sunpower and Trina are all good choices but when it comes to efficiency, Jinko solar panels are hard to beat with ratings of over 20%.
Good quality solar panels have a lifespan of 25+ years, so it’s important to know you’re getting a durable product that will last at least that long.
To back this up, most panels come with two warranties: a product warranty (to cover the physical materials) and a performance warranty (which guarantees the efficiency of the panel over time).
Generally, you should look for a product warranty of at least 10 years and a performance warranty of 25 years. However, LG and Sunpower both offer industry-leading warranties, with a 25 year performance warranty and a 25 year product warranty.
If you invest in good quality panels, it’s less likely you’ll need to draw on your warranty. The good thing about solar panels is they sit idle on your roof with no moving parts. This means they require minimal maintenance and rarely break down.
However, the reality is that sometimes things go wrong and you might need to contact the manufacturer of your solar panels for support. This is much easier when they’re based in Australia.
Good industry reputation
Does the brand have a good reputation? Are they well established? How long have they been in business?
It might seem like a no brainer, but these are really important questions to ask before you commit to a product. Going with a brand that has a proven track record and positive reviews will give you peace of mind that you’re getting a good quality, reliable product. More on that here.
Plus, the longer a company has been operating, the less likely it is to go out of business in the future. This is important because if the manufacturer goes out of business after you buy your panels, they won’t be there to honour your warranty down the track.
Emerging technology: half cut solar panels
Introducing the new kid on the block: half cut solar panels. The half cut solar panel is an exciting new technology that has the potential to offer customers more value and quicker payback periods.
They’re essentially traditional solar panels that have been cut in half by a laser cutter, offering improved performance and durability.
These new cells have less resistance than traditional solar cells reducing resistive losses and improving performance by 5-8% for no additional cost. The new cell layout on the panel also makes them perfect for shadier installations.
Trina and Jinko both offer good quality, reliable half cut solar panels.
An experienced, accredited installer
When it comes to solar panels, it’s not just about the product itself. Choosing the right person to install your solar system is crucial.
The first step is picking an installer who is accredited by the Clean Energy Council (CEC). CEC accredited installers are certified and trained to ensure your system meets industry standards and the CEC has a map of accredited installers on its website.
It’s also important to go with an installer who has experience with the product you’re getting.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for some customer reviews or references from the installer. Just like the manufacturer, it’s important to go with an installer that’s been in business for a while and isn’t likely to go out of business anytime soon. If any component of your solar system ever fails, your installer is likely to be your first port of call.
Solar panels tend to be classed into three tiers and the best panels that encompass all of the features we’ve mentioned above are known as Tier 1 solar panels. These are good quality products from big, reliable brands including Sunpower, Trina, LG and Jinko.
If you’ve got any questions about solar panels or would like a free, no-obligation quote, please get in touch. At Solar Flow, we’re all CEC accredited installers and only offer Tier 1 solar panels with strong in-country support.