The best solar panels that I find are the ones which provide the highest ‘efficiency/cost ratio’. An example of this is solar panel which contains mono-crystalline PV cells.
Now there are far more advanced solar panels currently in the market, but it all depends on your needs and requirements. If you are unsure what to do, monocrystalline is a good starting point as it will provide a better “bang for your buck”.
You can wait for years until the best solar panels become available but then you will also be losing out on a lot of opportunities + government rebates.
But that’s not all. If you want a more detailed answer, you should consider “4-points”. These 4 points have helped me, and all of my clients make the best decision when it came to investing in solar panels, and it should be able to help you as well.
1. Installation purpose: If you are looking to install solar panels on a mass scale such as on your commercial or residential property for it to become fully self-sustainable or to generate income. Mono-crystalline is a good place to start. Mono-crystalline is not only proven in the market but will guarantee you accurate results. If you are looking to produce energy at a small scale, polycrystalline might be a better option. The reason polycrystalline is not advisable for large scale projects is because of how many more panels you would need to install to match the same production as monocrystalline.
2. Top Tier 1 solar suppliers: This changes every year through competition but generally the top solar suppliers are Canadian Solar, Jinko, Hanawah Q Cells, and Trina Solar. Typically each solar panel is said to produce 315-330 watts of energy but will vary depending on your overall system you plan on using. I would even advise getting 5 quotes from each company and weighing out the pros and cons to see which matches closest to your objective.
3. Internal & External Factors: The internal factors you need to take into consideration are things like ‘efficiency drop per year’, ‘type of PV cell’, and the management of the energy generated (which I will go into more detail later). External factors are things like shading around your area which can hurt energy production. If you live in a very hot environment, high temperatures can drop solar panel efficiency far faster (which may require you to go for a solar system that can withstand such temperatures). When it comes to insurance and warranties, generally they should be covered within the total cost of the system.
4. Energy Management: The last thing (and probably the most important thing) I want to address is the difference between the ‘energy generated’ vs, ‘the management of this energy’. Too many companies claim to be the best because they use the best solar panels, but when you dig a bit deeper you’ll find they are actually charging you more for less energy, (and sometimes they don’t even realize it). You can produce all the energy you want, but if it is not properly managed and distributed, this will drastically hurt your investment.
Here’s an example of this:
String Inverters vs. Microinverters:
String Inverters are far, far cheaper than microinverters because it connects all the solar panels through one simple connection or series. The problem with this is if one solar panel breaks or drops in efficiency, the other panels down that series will also be affected. (String-Inverters are even said to increase the chances of fire hazards and the drop in efficiency much faster!!)
Micro-inverters however allow each solar panel to act independent of one another. So if one breaks, it won’t impact the others. This reduces the chances of fire hazards and will allow the solar panels to last much longer.
(Be very careful because a solar company will promise you the efficiency generated of a micro-inverter but then they actually install a string-inverter….)
The key to receiving maximum production from your panels relies more on the managing of it rather than the production. Through simple rewiring you can reduce the amount of energy lost. Which is why it is key to choosing the right solar company to work with.
A good tip is to look for companies that include a live monitoring system to look over your solar panels. This way you can detect if your panels are producing the energy you need.
So if you plan on investing thousands of dollars for a solar system make sure you understand how it works before you trust any solar company.