Solar panel buyer’s guide
There are thousands of solar panels available – how do you know which ones to use for your installation? Some important aspects to consider when comparing your options include panel type, cost, wattage, efficiency, and warranty offering. All of these aspects plus more are considered in each panels' quality rating.
Types of solar panels
Solar panels are generally broken into two groups by cell type: monocrystalline and polycrystalline
. While there are other types of solar technologies that exist (like thin-film cells
), the majority of photovoltaic solar panels available for installation are either monocrystalline or polycrystalline, and are made out of silicon.
The main advantage of installing a solar plus storage energy system is that it gives you the ability to use solar electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. When you install a solar panel system without a battery, excess electricity that your system generates is sent back to the grid. With a solar battery, that energy can be stored and drawn on when the sun goes down, and you’ll only need to draw and pay for energy from the grid when your battery is depleted.
Monocrystalline solar panels are thought of as a premium solar product and are made with silicon wafers cut from a single crystal, hence the name "monocrystalline". In general, monocrystalline panels are capable of higher efficiencies than polycrystalline panels.
Polycrystalline solar panels are also made from silicon, but their cells are made by melting together many fragments of silicon rather than from a single silicon crystal. While polycrystalline panels usually have lower efficiencies than their monocrystalline counterparts, they often have a lower price point.