As well as solar panel cost, there are other important factors to consider before choosing the right solar system for your home. Here’s a breakdown of solar power jargon and what it means.
You’ll notice that every solar panel has an efficiency percentage, and most brands will use this as a selling point. Simply put, solar panel efficiency means the percentage of energy collected from the sun’s rays that can be converted into usable electricity by the panels. The higher your panel’s efficiency, the more usable electricity you’ll have to power your home or sell back to the grid. In turn, higher efficiency can also mean lower energy bills.
When it comes to the size of solar panels, our researchers found that there was not one size fits all, although that would be useful. In order to figure out how many panels you can fit on your roof, it’s best to know your roof’s size or to have an installer measure it for you.
Power degradation and lifespan
Just like the efficiency of your solar panels, their power degradation is just as important, if not more so. Power degradation refers to the gradual loss of usable energy your panels can generate. Usually, this happens year after year as they gradually become less effective over time. All solar brands disclose this information within their product datasheets, so be sure to check before you choose.
As previously mentioned, solar panels have an average lifespan of 25 years. With that being said, your panels’ warranty may not cover you for all of that time. Throughout our research, we found the average warranty provided by solar brands was 15 years, with the highest being a lifetime guarantee.
In order to maximise your solar panels lifespan, it’s essential to carry out maintenance. Generally, solar panels do not require much maintenance, but you should get them checked regularly by a certified service provider throughout their 25 to 30-year lifespan.
There are a few things you can do yourself – remove old leaves and tree branches from your panels and hose them down (do not use a sponge, this will damage them).
Brands to consider
You’ll notice that there are a lot of different solar brands on the market, but knowing which ones to trust is important.
Project Solar is an award-winning company. It’s also the largest and most accredited solar panel installation company in the UK and has installed over 45,000 panels. What’s most outstanding about Project Solar though, is its product warranties. The company offers lifetime guarantees for its products.
JA Solar has 12 manufacturing bases and its panels are available in over 135 countries and regions, including the UK. The company designs, develops and manufactures solar panels in Shanghai, China. Its prices are always competitive when compared to the rest of the market, but the products are still innovative and the company always makes use of the latest solar technology.
SunPower’s high-efficiency panels come with long warranties. Compared to the average solar panel lifespan of 25 years, its 40-year product warranties make the brand a trustworthy choice. The efficiency of its panels is also some of the highest on the market.