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How to choose solar panels for home and commercial use
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How to choose solar panels for home and commercial use

10 mins 10 Sep 2020

Despite the abundance of solar equipment available on the market, it may be quite a challenge to choose solar panels fitting your own needs. A1 Solar Store recommends that you consider the following things when looking for the best option: solar panel type, capacity, manufacturer and supplier.

There are two types of solar panels

There are two main categories of panel options to choose for your PV system: monocrystalline solar panels (mono) and polycrystalline solar panels (poly). Both types of panels produce energy from the sun, but there are some key differences to be aware of.

Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient

Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient

These panels are very efficient due to the qualities of the material they are made from – single-crystal silicon. It is produced in vacuum furnaces to achieve almost 100% purity, which makes monocrystalline solar cells more efficient in comparison to polycrystalline ones. In addition, the high efficiency is attributed to the lack of recombination sites in the single crystal.
>20% more efficient energy conversion
Monocrystalline silicon has the highest confirmed conversion efficiency out of all PV technologies available to date, with a recorded lab energy conversion efficiency of 26.7%
Works good under low light conditions
Outstanding low light performance is related to better absorption of photons due to black color of the cells. This is especially important for power generation during fall and winter
However, the production of monocrystalline silicon is very slow and expensive, which explains the higher price per Watt in comparison to polycrystalline counterparts. That is why mono-Si cells are used where the main considerations are limitations on weight or available area, for instance, marine vessels, RVs, etc.

Polycrystalline panels are the cheapest

Polycrystalline panels are the cheapest

The main advantage of polycrystalline solar panels is their affordable price. So, they may be the best option where high energy generation is not the priority. Such a low price is explained by a faster and easier production: manufacturers melt many fragments of silicon together to form the wafers for the panel.
Reduced production waste
Fragments of silicon of different sizes and orientation are melted together unlike in mono-Si production process, where four sides are cut out of the ingots to make silicon wafers
Lower price
The price of polycrystalline silicon solar panels is 20-25% lower than that of monocrystalline ones
However, there is less freedom for the electrons to move, because each cell consists of many crystals. As a result, this type of solar panels isn't as efficient as monocrystalline modules, but lately that difference in efficiency is quite small. Affordable solar panels work best for residential houses and large commercial buildings or factories.

Solar panels capacity

There are several factors to consider in order to figure out the number and power output of solar panels you need to make your house completely energy independent:
Amount of power necessary to ensure the work of all appliances in the building (refrigerator, iron, vacuum cleaner, etc.)
DC to AC losses and battery charge/discharge losses
The sun rays intensity
Geographical location
Losses in the conductors
Let's assume that the overall electricity consumption of a house is 300 kWh per month. Dividing this by 30 days and 7 hours of active work of solar panels per day, we get 1.42 kWh. You will always need to add 40% battery and inverter losses to the resulting number. Therefore, to provide a small house with sufficient energy in summer, you will need an array of solar panels with the total capacity of 2 kWh. In order to receive enough electricity in spring and fall, it is better to increase the array by 50%, or by another 1 kWh.
The most popular solar panels among our customers are 300 W modules. Our store offers solar panels ranging from 290 W to 360 W at competitive prices.

Top 5 Solar Panel Manufacturers

Panasonic PV modules have 27% higher power density compared to other brands. That allows generating 19.7% more energy from 1 m² (11 ft²). Panasonic solar panels cost slightly more than alternatives, but perform better, are more reliable, and have a much better warranty.
Canadian Solar produces highly mobile, compact and flexible self-sufficient solar power stations. They are 11% more efficient compared to other modules. They also have excellent efficiency under low light conditions – up to 97%.
Q CELLS solar panels may not offer industry-leading efficiency (around 18%) or performance, but their price-quality ratio makes them a good option for many homeowners who are planning to go solar.
JA Solar has made strong investments into PERC cell technology, ensuring higher performance warrantied for 83.1%. This is a very strong performance warranty in the industry and a good reason to opt for JA Solar.
Trina Solar has a solid reputation and large global distribution network across 30 countries. Trina offers a range of solar panels incorporating many of the latest cell technologies, including bifacial, half-cell, dual glass, PERC, and N-type mono-crystalline cells.
A1 Solar Store supplies all types of solar equipment for residential and business needs, helping thousands of customers – from DIY individuals to licensed professionals and international companies – become energy independent.
Wholesale prices
Shipment cost remains the same if you buy more items. So, as more items you have in your order as less the shipped item price will be.
Quotes
You can easily get a quote by submitting a simple form on our website. Calculate the total cost of your PV system to choose the best option!
Trusted manufacturers
We cherry-pick the manufacturers we work with to ensure the highest quality and reliability of the products we offer to our customers.
Warehouses across USA
Our warehouses are located on both East and West coasts of the USA: California, Washington, Colorado, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Missouri.
4-7 business days delivery
Your order will be safely and promptly delivered by one of our trusted partners: FedEx, XPO, ODFL or ArcBest.
1-3 days processing
We process all orders within 24 hours and ship them within 48 hours to make solar dreams come true asap!
Easy payment
You can pay by credit card, PayPal, Wire Transfer and even Apple or Samsung Pay. Our Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypts all your personal information, including credit card number, name, and address to make your online shopping safe.

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