6 Tips You Should Read Before Choosing a Solar Panel

Primarily associated with far flung, disconnected from the world, rural areas, solar energy has been raising its popularity among urbanites. Nowadays, it is possible to create your own micro power plant and install a solar system capable of producing enough energy to fulfill all your household energy demands.

The first investment can indeed be a bit expensive, but the fact is that with the decreasing technology costs and the simultaneous increase in solar panel efficiency, the amount of money invested upfront can easily be recovered in a short period of time.

While many studies show that the initial investment and monetary concerns are the major obstacles to the installation of solar, there are other considerations that postpone the decision. Rooftop ownership issues and not having available space are some of the principal ones.

If you’re about to make changes to your home energy system, read this article and make sure that you’re making the best possible decision. Think about your energy needs and the correct solar equipment required for your home. Let’s understand how you can choose a solar panel.

Solar panel cost vs. Solar panel quality

As we said earlier, solar system cost is a major concern. The available choices change according to the money you are willing to invest, but please consider that the cheapest solution is not always the best one. Like any other product, solar panel price is influenced by a series of characteristics, like wattage, physical size, materials longevity, quality of assembly and/or possible certifications.

Choosing solar panel manufacturers

The quality and reliability of manufacturers is extremely important. Before you buy a solar panel, confirm that the company is reliable and has expertise in the solar market. It is best that you do a little research and ensure that you decision to go solar fits your needs. Ideally, talk to a few experts in the industry. You can also contact us if you’re lost in the maze of solar installers and manufacturers.

How much space will I need?

The amount of energy generated by the solar panels will, of course, depend of the available area and the efficiency of the technology. Before doing anything, use our Solar Calculator and find out your specific needs, what fits your requirements and how much you can save with solar energy.

How many watts do I need?

When we speak about any energy producing technology, we speak in Watts. If you’re about to buy your first solar panel, you shall notice that the each specific model has a different watt capacity. This means that, under ideal sunlight conditions, a 200 watt solar panel is capable of producing a total of 200 watts in 1 hour. Using these and other such values will help you calculate and finalize the system size required to meet your daily energy needs.

Photovoltaic cell in solar panel

A solar (or photovoltaic) cell is a device that absorbs sunlight and transforms it into electricity. Before choosing your solar panel, make sure you are aware of the 3 major types of solar cells:

  1. Monocrystalline Silicon: Solar cells made with this material are capable of giving you good heat tolerance and higher electricity conversion efficiency. They have a smaller footprint per unit of area.
  2. Multicrystalline or Polycrystalline silicon: These are most commonly found in solar homes. While they are less efficient than the monocrystalline cells, they are cheaper and more cost effective. Latest innovations, however, are now giving these cells a similar, or in some cases even better, quality than the monocrystalline cells.
  3. Amorphous silicon: These solar cells are the cheapest and more widely available in the industry. However they are also the most inefficient. These cells are easy to put on building facades and curved surfaces where mono & poly-crystalline cells cannot be used.

Durability and warranty of solar panel

For such a large investment, solar panels demand a long-term thinking. When buying technology that better suits your needs, make sure you think about issues like durability and warranty.

Good solar panels can last for 30 years or even more and some reputable companies are ready to extend their warranty during that time. In India, and many other countries, most companies give a 25 year warranty on their solar panels. Most of the warranties are performance based – which is good for you and your system. But make sure you read the fine print.

Similarly, you should think carefully when you choose your solar installer: instead of hiring an obscure low-cost installer, you should search for reputable solar energy companies with reliable market experience. You can click on our Solar Installers listing and find qualified solar installers in India.

The E-Book FIND THE BEST SOLAR SOLUTIONS FOR YOUR HOME COMPANY OR FARM is designed to give you a quick start on solar, make your life easier and save you time. It gives you an overview of the different solar solutions and starting points to learn more about them. Download now HERE.


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Gayrajan Kohli
Gayrajan Kohli
Gayrajan is a staunch solar promoter, serial entrepreneur & management consultant. He has a decade of experience in solar PV, disruptive technologies and political consultancy in USA and India. He believes that development of solar and other renewable technologies is critical to India's energy security. Gayrajan holds a Masters and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from USA. Follow him on Twitter to gain daily industry insights.
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