Experts consider photovoltaic solar energy as the main renewable energy source of the future.
When we start looking for information on the best options to buy solar panels , we are faced today with a lot of brands of solar panels, a factor that makes it difficult to know which is the best photovoltaic solar panel for our project.
The reason for this article is to provide enough information to facilitate the selection process in the purchase of photovoltaic solar panels, information that will be useful for all people who are not familiar with this type of renewable energy technology
Practical guide to photovoltaic solar panels
¿What type of solar panel do I need for my photovoltaic project?
In the market for the sale of solar panels we can differentiate 3 types of solar systems according to their applications, isolated solar projects, solar self-consumption projects and solar projects for water pumping systems.
For isolated photovoltaic projects it is customary to use solar modules with output voltages suitable for 12V and 24V to work with batteries. That is, the output voltage must always be higher than these values (12V and 24V).
In the case of the SolarWorld SW 150 Poly panel, we have an output voltage of 17V, this characteristic indicates that this type of solar panel is the one indicated for isolated installations with 12V batteries.
For self – consumption projects of the type of solar panel that we must choose, the most standard is possible. In the current solar market, the most standard model is the 260W (60 cells) polycrystalline model, which due to its price and size make it ideal for the type of solar self-consumption facilities. A good example of solar panels of this type is the SolarWorld SW260 Poly solar panel.
Finally we can differentiate the panels for solar pumping systems . For these cases, and although 60-cell solar panels are perfectly valid, the most common is to install solar panels of 72 cells and 300-310W that due to their high output voltage favor the operation of the frequency inverters used to this type of projects.
So, after having in mind what is the framework of our solar photovoltaic project, we will then turn to the next question:
What is the brand of the solar panel that I must buy? The answer is both simple and complex: The best possible brand. Indeed, as you surely think, the following question is almost immediate:
THEN, WHAT ARE THE BEST PHOTOVOLTAIC SOLAR PANEL BRANDS?
Quality analysis of solar panels
We always recommend that people interested in acquiring these systems do the following practical exercise before making a decision on the purchase on the best photovoltaic solar panel.
- The first step is to consult an official list of laboratory tests , where you can see which labels are the best and worst results.
- The following is recommended to consult a list of the actual values of the photovoltaic projects that are already in operation.
- Finally, we recommend that you ask people you know who have solar panel projects to share their experiences. For this, the usual thing is to follow the “word of mouth” and question personal opinions about certain brands of solar panels.
Regarding the first two points, we will try to give an answer in the following points. On the last point, the best to follow.
Consult official laboratory tests before purchasing solar panels
In this sector it is possible to consult several types of tests on the quality of solar panels.
The most well-known test is probably the photon test, from the journal photon magazine, however, it is recommended to go further, for this you must consult the list of PV + 2.0 Test of the tests carried out by a German certification company TÜV.
What is the difference between the Photon Test list of PV + Test? Essentially, the tests carried out on the PV + Test list are carried out with photovoltaic solar modules purchased directly from the market by TÜV, on the other hand the Photon Test is carried out on panel samples sent by manufacturers.
On the basis of this principle, the reliability of the PV + Test list is, therefore, much higher than the Photon Test list.
The current list of brands of photovoltaic solar panels tested in PV + Test 2.0 is:
|February 2011||91.3||Excellent (-)||Schott|
|February 2011||90.7||Excellent (-)||SHARP|
|March 2012||89.8||Good (+)||IBC|
|February 2011||89.0||Good (+)||Mitsubishi Electric|
|April 2012||88.5||Good (+)||Jetion|
|February 2011||88.1||Good (+)||Conergy|
|February 2011||80-85||good||Perfect Solar|
This list is undoubtedly a basic tool when making a good choice of what I wanted to buy solar panels. For more information about this test in our article: The best market for photovoltaic solar panels.
However, there is still a fundamental component missing, which is a list of the performances of the different brands of solar panels in operation.
Know the real performance before buying a solar panel
As already pointed out, if we combine the PV + Test with a list of the performance of solar panels in operation, we will have the perfect tools to select the best photovoltaic solar panel.
In this example, we will use the income list published by SunReport last April 2016.
In this list we can see the list of performances of the best brands of solar panels in operation in more than 12,000 solar installations in Italy and with reading since 2010.
In addition to the valuable information that the actual income study provided by SunReport, if we are well aware we can analyze other important information:
If we analyze together the table of the test PV + Test and the list of SunReport, we see that there are many coincidences. Among the leading brands we can find SolarWorld as the best brand of solar panels in both cases, but other brands of solar panels such as SHARP, Conergy and Schott, among others, also emerge.
Any of the mentioned brands, as well as the SolarWorld solar panels, manage to guarantee a good performance and quality to our photovoltaic project.
The main objective of this manual is to provide the knowledge we should possess before buying solar panels.
¿What are solar panels?
The solar panel is, briefly, the equipment that captures solar energy and converts it into other forms of energy that we can take advantage of in our day to day life. The most famous type is the photovoltaic panel that converts sunlight into electricity, but there are also other equipment such as solar heaters, which use the sun’s energy to heat the water, which saves the costs of electric showers and heaters, Very common heating, but they are villains in power consumption.
Types of solar panels
As mentioned, there are several solar panel systems available on the market, the best known being those that serve to generate electricity and thermal energy for residences and for industry. See more information below:
Photovoltaic solar panel
The most well-known and remembered type of solar energy equipment is the photovoltaic solar panel , or a solar panel that converts solar energy into electricity. This type of plate still and very little used in our country, being restricted to some solar power plants located in the north and northeast, in residences of high standard, or in very isolated localities of the interior of the country in which the costs of maintaining a network Electricity are very high compared to the maintenance of a photovoltaic system.
Currently there are some courses in the area of solar energy generation, such as the high-performance solar energy installer course, where the student will learn from scratch how to enter this very lucrative labor market, and that has only increased in the last years.
The PV can be used today in the energy system called compensation, where consumers who install solar panels that generate surplus energy can receive discounts on electricity bills in the coming months, or transfer the discount to other properties.
Unfortunately, the price of solar panels is not attractive to residential customers, which does not receive any subsidy from the government, making the cost too high to be a viable option for most consumers. Solar panels sold may exceed USD $ 2,000.00 per module, depending on the efficiency desired for the system
Solar heaters are systems that capture the electromagnetic waves of the sun and convert it into thermal energy, heating water for residential or industrial uses. There are several types of solar heaters, among which are:
- Heater with solar panel – are those heaters that have a coil inside a gasket that is very similar to a solar panel. This plate helps to increase the area of capture of energy of the sun and keeps the thermal energy “dam” inside the water pipes, avoiding that there is loss of energy towards the outside. The price of solar heater with the collector is R $ 600,00 but there are additional costs with the purchase of the installation of boilers, pipes and system.
- Vacuum solar heater – are the most efficient models, which do not use solar panel. Vacuum heaters have vacuum-sealed glass tubes, with water pipes passing through them. Sunlight hits the pipe heating it, but there is no loss of energy for the environment, as it is surrounded by a tube closed under vacuum. The price of solar vacuum heaters is R $ 2,000.00 and can be found in stores specialized in products related to solar energy, or in the construction of large networks.
Other ways to take advantage of solar energy
Unfortunately, solar energy is not yet a cheap source of energy, especially if we consider the high investment needed to buy solar panels , but not so we have to abandon this idea: there are several ways to enjoy the Cheap sunlight without necessarily having to invest in solar panels . Next it is shown:
Home solar panel
They are the home systems for harnessing sunlight for water heating. A homemade solar panel can be made of various materials, including PET bottles, since it is optimized using dark colors to absorb more of the Sun and to be able to fully heat the water. Despite the low investment for the production of the solar panel, you will still have to invest in the purchase of a boiler, to store the hot water, preventing it from losing energy over time.
Solar lamps are lighting fixtures that use solar cells or whole-number photovoltaic modules to generate energy during the day and use it at night to illuminate the darkness. These luminaries are used in the lighting of some pubic parks, but they can also be used at the residential level. A very common type of solar lamp are beacons used in the garden, to indicate sidewalks and paths in the garden.
This is one of the oldest ways to take advantage of solar energy. It deals with all the strategies of taking advantage of the Sun’s light, such as privileging the north façade, the fenestration scheme of the facades, among others. Today, there are even more possibilities to take advantage of natural light in environments, through the use of transparent tiles that can allow light to enter the rooms, glass planes that can be installed on the façade, among others.