Articles tagged "panel technology"

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Closeup photo of a solar panel
When will solar panels be more efficient?
When it comes to buying solar panels for your home, the first thing that manufacturers usually tout is the panel’s efficiency. Solar panel efficiency refers to the amount of sunlight hitting the panel that gets converted into electricity. The intensity of sunlight can be expressed in watts - the same unit used to measure electrical power. For example, if 1,000 watts of sunlight is shining on your solar panel and it generate 200 watts of electricity, the panel is 20% efficient.
Photo of chainsaw.
What are half-cut solar panels?
Solar panel manufacturers are always competing against each other to squeeze the most power out of the same size solar panels. If you installed solar panels on your home 10 years ago, you probably had panels with efficiency in the mid-to-high teens (by percentage of light converted to electricity). Today, you can commonly find solar panels that convert more than 20% of the incoming light into electricity, with the current best residential panels hitting nearly 23% efficiency.
Photo of a home solar array.
What are the best solar panels for your home?
Are you a meticulous number cruncher who breaks out the spreadsheet whenever you’re planning a big product purchase? I certainly am. The last time I bought a car, and made a spreadsheet with the specifications of all the car models I was considering. I rank-ordered them in each of the categories that were important to me, and made my decision based on which one performed the best. Figuring out which solar panel is best for you is a little like that, although with this article I hope to make is less complicated for you.
Example of polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels.
Which type of solar panel is best: monocrystalline or polycrystalline?
When it comes to buying solar panels for your home, there isn’t a lot that obviously differentiates one solar panel from other. If you buy a car, there’s dozens, if not hundreds of different features, styles, and add-on options that you can take into account. But with a solar panel, there’s really only a handful of characteristics that make one product different from another. One of these is the type of material the individual solar cells are made of.
Example of an AC module (Courtesy Panasonic)
What is an AC solar panel?
Solar panels are magical things that turn sunlight into electricity. The electrons that flow out of a solar panel move in a steady stream, known as direct current (DC). But because Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse triumphed over Thomas Edison in what is now called The War of the Currents (they even made a movie out of it!) we use alternating current (AC) in our homes instead of DC. This means that the DC electricity generated by solar panels needs to be converted into AC before your home can make use of it.