Buying Solar Panels
There is a tonne of information about Buying Solar Panels on the web. Buying Mono, Poly, Thin Film Solar Panels…. Pros and Cons of buying different kinds of solar panels… blah blah blah.
Dont get me wrong, I am a Solar Energy Professional. I buy Solar panels for a living. I am distilling my learning here for you to take a short cut to buying the best solar panels.
This is a short and simple primer to help you buy solar panels. I know what works and what does not while buying solar panels.
If you are looking to buy solar panels for an RV, or a boat or for camping, click here.
Buying Solar Panels for your Home
There are a tonne of solar panels to choose from when you are buying solar panels. I am going to make it simple for you.
Follow two basic rules while buying solar panels :
The Solar Panel must be 300 watts or higher.
The Solar Panel efficiency must be 19% or more
Buying a 300 watt or higher Solar Panel ensures you get the newest technology and highest efficiency. And Why is that you ask?
Because 300 watt and higher solar panels are relatively new in the market. All the manufacturers have invested their latest and greatest stuff into making these new panels.
No going crazy about Mono vs Poly, Thin Film vs Crystalline : just follow these two rules and you will be buying the best solar panels for your home PERIOD.
Now lets look at your buying choices for buying solar panels that are 300 watts or higher :
Buying Super Premium Solar Panels
The two top Super Premium Brands are SunPower and Panasonic
These solar panels have efficiency starting at about 19% and going up to 21%. Compare that to Premium Panels which have efficiency in the range of 17% to 19%.
And, What is solar panel efficiency? Its just the amount of sunlight they are able to convert to electricity.
Remember, if you are buying Super Premium Panels, don’t pay a premium of more than 10% over Premium Solar Panel prices. Paying more for just a 2% jump in efficiency is simply foolish.
Buying Premium Solar Panels
Premium Panels which have efficiency in the range of 17% to 19%. And in my opinion these are much better value for money. I would always choose Premium over super premium.
But then I am a value buyer : I dont buy Beamers, I prefer the Honda’s and the VW’s.
The top premium choices for buying Solar Panels ( remember only 300 watts or more) in no particular order are :
And dont be afraid to buy another solar panel brand if they have 300 watt rated solar panels with efficiency higher than 19%.
If you want my inputs on what inverters to buy along with your solar panels, click here.
Flexible Solar Panels
Flexible Solar Panels use thin film solar technology which enables solar cells to be deposited on flexible material.
The advantages are their ease of installation, usually no screws and the ability to peel and stick some of them. The completely flexible varieties can even be rolled up. The downside to these panels are reduced efficiency compared to regular solar panels and much shorter warranties.
Flexible panels are great when you have constraints about weight; your RV or motorhome might not be ready for the increase weight of regular solar panels. If you have roofs which are curved or if you move around frequently, then flexible solar panels are likely to be your best choice. Of course you have to consider the higher prices of flexible solar panels ( about 25% premium) and the reduced efficiency and warranty.
Regular Solar Panels will be the better choice if you plan to install panels on a flat or pitched roof or if you have enough room on the ground to install regular panels. Some RV owners carry solar panel kits which they install once parked and thus they have access to more power than from flexible solar panels. Since, you seem to have settled on the flexible solar panels based on your needs, here are the best of breed flexible solar panels sorted by brand and also the best reviews: Enjoy
Unisolar Flexible Solar Panels
- Easy to install adhered directly to metal roofing pans, no racking system is required, laminates and metal roofing can be installed in one step
- Lightweight and durable; there are no penetrations to the roof deck It has flexible
- Powerbond, flexible solar panel. Peel & Stick.
- Measures 216-inches in length by 15.5-inches width by 0.2-inches in height
- Giaride 100W Monocrystalline solar panel, the monocrystalline cell is up to 21% efficiency, higher efficiency than the traditional panel. Suggested portable solar generator: Giaride 150Wh Battery Pack (Search: B076CHXPPN )
- Flexible bendable solar charger, the Monocrystalline solar cell is advanced laminated into the water/dust resistant thin film.The junction box is sealed and waterproof. The panel can be gently flexed to follow a smooth curve of 30 degrees max, and can be mounted on a roof, RV, motorhome, boat, cabin, tent and more
- Size: 119x54x0.25cm/46.8x21x0.1 inch, weight: 1.9kg/4.1lb. The 100W monocrystalline solar panel is lightweight and easy to transport, hang, remove and storage.
- Easy installation, it can be affixed by glue, adhesive, grommet, tape or velcro. Holes on panels are pre-drilled for fast mounting and securing, perfect for non-permanent installations.
- Package: Giaride 100W flexible solar panel, user manual, 18 months warranty and friendly customer service.
- Top ranked PTC rating; high module conversion efficiency; fast and inexpensive mounting.
- The junction box is sealed and waterproof, and a pair of 10 inches cables (we keep the panel cable short to avoid the cable shade from the solar panel) with MC4 connectors comes with the panel automatically.
- Can be affixed by adhesive, grommets, zip ties or velcro; can be installed without costly structural roof reinforcements. Holes on panels are pre-drilled for fast mounting and securing, perfect for non-permanent installations.
- Maximizes system output by reducing mismatch loss; 100% EL testing on all HQST solar modules, guaranteed no hot spots.
- Ideal for storage in tight spaces or crowded areas that are typically off limits for traditional glass and aluminum models. Please note: do not bend your panels.
Suaoki Flexible Solar Panels
- DF TECHNOLOGY: The solar cell with DF technology features 150W high output and an efficiency up to 20%; compared to SunPower cell, this panel has a better stability and is more effective in low-light
- OFF-GRID SYSTEM: Multiple ways of connection of the solar panels, supporting parallel, series, or a combination of the two; the solar energy system generates up to 900W power (6 pieces of units)
- BENDABLE PANEL: Flexible design enables the solar panel to be curved to a maximum 30 degree arc, allowing you to place it on an arc-shaped surface
- WATER-RESISTANT: Designed for outdoor use with IP65 splash-proof feature for both the panel and the MC4 cable; the unit is water resistant but not waterproof, please do not expose it to rain
- LIGHTWEIGHT: With a weight of 7.1 lbs, this unit is easy to carry; ideal to mount on an RV, boat, car, trucks, trailers or any other automobile; it also can be placed on cabin, tent for camping
- SUNPOWER SOLAR CELL: 100 watt SUNPOWER monocrystalline solar panel increases conversion efficiency up to 22%, which is much higher than common solar panel charger (≤15%)
- DUAL-PORT OUTPUT: equipped with a USB (5V/2A) port and a DC (18V/5A) port for laptop car truck RV trailers or any other vehicles, provides enough power to charge 2 devices at the same time
- TIR-C TECHNOLOGY: built-in smart IC for each port, the charger can automatically and quickly identify the current of your equipment and speed up the charging process; offers you protection against overvoltage, high-temperature and overcurrent
- WATERPROOF AND LIGHTWEIGHT: the solar panel is protected against spraying water with IPX3 waterproof layer; weighs only 7.7 lbs., making it easier to transport, hang, install and remove
- WHAT YOU GET: 1 x 100W Foldable Dual-Port Solar Charger, 1 x DC-to-DC Cables (5.5*2.1mm), 1 x 10-in-1 Connector Cable for Laptops, 1 x User Manual, 24 months warranty
Sunpower Flexible Solar Panels
- Sunpower High Efficiency 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
- Dimensions: 45.86" x 22.40" x
- Rated Voltage (Vmpp) : 17.5 V
- Short curcuit current (Isc) : 6.2 A
- Solar Cells : 32 Prime monocrystalline SunPower IBC cells
- 【SUNPOWER SOLAR CELL】BougeRV utilizes SunPower Solar Cell with a higher-than-average 23% to 25% efficiency and an internal blocking diode which prevents reverse current drain at night
- 【 UNIQUE ETFE MATERIAL】Different from other PET solar panels on Amazon, BougeRV utilizes ETFE film, insulation astigmatism, to ensure temperature and lighting, high temperature resistance, anti-corrosion, anti-fouling, easy to clean, and extend the life of your solar panel. Just Google search to find its magical place!
- 【BENDABLE PANEL】Panel can be gently flexed, can be mounted on a Curved Roof, RV, Travel Trailer, Van, Truck, Boat, Cabin, Tent or any other irregular surface, can also be used for Bitcoin Mining, saving electricity costs
- 【EXCELLENT DURABILITY】 Water Resistant, Semi-Flexible and Ultra Durable Solar Panel, ideal for RVs, boats, tight spaces, even tight spaces, or crowded areas that are typically off limits for traditional glass and aluminum models
- 【POWERFUL and LIGHTWEIGHT】100W of power yet is only 0.1 in thick and weighs only 5.73 lbs.. EASY INSTALLATION，Unique frameless design features 3 metal reinforced mounting holes at each corner for fixing screws, make it easier to transport, hang, and remove
- 🔥 SunPower Solar Cell: The SunPower cell is made from US, up to 23.5% efficiency, while most monocrystalline panels in the the market is 17%-19%, you will get greater power efficiency even though the panel is no larger than a traditional model
- 🔥 Supior Durability: The water resistant semi-flexible solar SunPower panel is far more durable than traditional glass and aluminum models; The junction box is sealed and waterproof
- 🔥 Bendable Panel: The plastic back sheet can be curved to a maximum 30 degree arc and mounted on an RV, boat, cabin, tent, car, trucks, trailers or any other irregular surface
- 🔥 Powerful and Lightweight: This solar panel packs 100W of power, but it only weighs a mere 4.7lbs(2.15kg), making it easier to transport, hang and remove; Unique frameless design and four metal reinforced mounting holes for easy installation
- 🔥 What you get: 100W bendable SunPower solar panel, instruction manual, 18-month guarantee and friendly customer service
There is a lot more you can do with solar. Check out these solar articles and thank you for visiting MySolarHome.us
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Buying Solar Panels
Last update on 2018-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API