Compare Solar Panels
Compare Solar Panels
We've put all our larger solar panels here to make it easier to compare prices. Power outputs between 250w to under 300w are going to be 60 cell panels with the largest currently available at 310w using 72 cells.
Cost vs. value – other factors
As not all panels and module manufacturers are equal, there are a variety of other factors that should influence your purchase decision rather than focusing solely on cost.
This is the range a panel will either exceed or not meet its rated power. For example, a solar module you purchase may have a ‘nameplate’ wattage of 250 watts; but due to quality control issues, may in reality only be 240 watts. A positive tolerance rating means the panel will not only generate 250 watts, but perhaps more under standard testing conditions.
The temperature co-efficient rating is important to determine what the impact heat has on a solar panel’s operation after installation. The lower the percentage per degree Celsius, the better.
The efficiency of how a solar panel converts light into electrical energy will determine how much power your system generates. If two solar panels cost the same, but one has a higher conversion efficiency; then that module provides the better value for money – assuming the claimed efficiencies are correct.
PID stands for potential-induced degradation. Caused by stray currents triggered by certain climate conditions; the phenomenon can cause substantial power loss. A good solar panel will display little or no PID.
LID stands for Light induced degradation; a process that occurs in the first few months after a solar panel is installed. While this stabilises after a period, it can reduce the amount of power the panel produces. A good solar panel will have little or no LID.
Another important aspect to look at is the embodied energy of the solar panel – that is how energy intensive the production of the panel was and how quickly it will have paid itself back by producing more energy.
Durability / Longevity / Warranty
The durability or longevity of a solar panel warranty is important for a number of reasons – it can be an indicator of the manufacturer’s confidence in its products. Reputable solar panels will have a performance warranty a period of 25 years. All of our key panels; feature this 25 year warranty period.
However, an important point to remember about warranty is that it will only be honoured for as long as the company operates. It’s another reason to select a well known brand of solar panel rather than purchase an obscure low-cost brand that may disappear overnight. As you most likely won’t be able to buy panels directly from the manufacturer, your selection of installer and retailer is also important. It’s best to choose an installation company that is a service agent for solar panel warranty work for the particular manufacturer you select so if you do strike a problem, the turnaround time to a resolution will be far faster.
Size and Watts
The size of the solar panel in Watts will directly affect the cost, as solar panels are usually priced (and compared) in dollars per Watt. Watts are related to the output of each panel; meaning a 100 Watt panel under ideal conditions will generate 100 watt-hours of electricity each hour and a 200 Watt panel will generate 200 watt-hours each hour. Therefore expect to pay up to double the price for the 200 Watt panel, compared to the purchase cost of a 100 Watt panel.
The output of a panel also affects the physical size of the panel, meaning the 200 watt panel will be larger in size to the 100 Watt panel. . The type of solar cells used in its production also determines the size of the solar panel. They key issue to consider is that your system sizing is enough to power your appliances, and that the solar panels will physically fit in the area you wish to install them.
Your southerly facing roof space is very valuable solar power real estate, so you’ll need to consider carefully your future plans. If you believe at some stage you will wish to install more solar panels, you need to ensure you’ll have the space to do so, otherwise you may find you’ll need to replace existing panels well before the end of their serviceable life.
Types of solar cells used
There are 2 main types of solar cells and the best solar cells for you will vary depending on the installation application.
Monocrystalline silicon offers high efficiency and good heat tolerance characteristics in a small footprint. .
Polycrystalline (or multi-crystalline) silicon cell based solar panels are now the most popular choice in residential installs. Recent improvements in polycrystalline panel technology have resulted in the development of modules equal to or better than many monocrystalline brands in terms of size, efficiency and heat tolerance.
Solar Panel Shopping Checklist
In summary, these are the major points you should bear in mind when buying solar panels aside from cost:
- Consider how the module is manufactured and the materials used.
- Research how the panels perform in real world situations – including positive tolerance, temperature co-efficient rating, PID and LID resistance and efficiency.
- Compare the warranty details of the solar panels you are considering buying.
- Learn more about the company that manufactures the panels