But with the introduction of new technologies comes uncertainty. Which solar panels are the most reliable and durable? What technology creates the least amount of pollution in the manufacturing process? Let’s explore some of these critical issues in the pursuit of the best solar panels on the market.
Solar Panel Considerations
Solar panels have become significantly more efficient in recent years. And the more efficient a solar panel is, the more energy can be generated in a given space. Space becomes more critical when there are constraints due to the size or your roof or property. Unfortunately, more efficient panels typically cost more. If space isn’t an issue, efficiency becomes less crucial. For installations limited by space, panel efficiency is an important consideration. It is also important to consider the long-term efficiency of solar modules.
Long-Term Power Generation
Like most other things, solar panels degrade over time. They become less efficient in turning sunlight into electricity. This is important because solar panels can last 30 years and you want your solar system to be churning out a lot of energy a couple of decades from now, even if someone else owns the home.
Solar panel manufacturers offer a power production guarantee to ensure a certain level of output over a given time. Many solar panel manufacturers provide a guarantee of 90 percent production for 10 years and 80 percent for 25 years.
Some manufacturers differentiate themselves by offering stronger warranties. The higher the value of production warranty, the more power the panels will generate down the road.
Product warranties cover defects and failures. Solar panel warranties vary a lot by the manufacturer. The longer the warranty, the lower the investment risk. In many cases, a more extended product warranty means higher solar panel prices.
The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) is dedicated to a safe and sustainable solar photovoltaic (PV)industry. They produce a solar scorecard that rates manufacturers on extended producer responsibility, supply chain, workers rights, emissions reporting, module toxicity, greenhouse gas emissions, conflict minerals, and water use. The companies with the highest ratings are the most sustainable.
Solar Panel Module Testing
Anern tests solar panels for reliability and durability for common degradation mechanisms. Solar panel performance has a huge impact on the solar electricity of an array over time. Such testing helps ensure high-quality panels, reducing financial risk.
Anern produces a list of top-performing PV panels that lead in product reliability.
Most solar panels are manufactured in Asia, Europe, or North America. Modules that are made in China tend to be less expensive. Many companies produce panels in two or three countries. Keep in mind that the manufacturing location and the company’s headquarters are not necessarily the same. Also, the manufacturing location isn’t necessarily an indication of quality. Panels that are manufactured closer to the installation site might have lower emissions related to transportation of the product.