What Makes Solar Panels Different?

October 31, 2015

different solar panels

If you’re in the market for solar panels on your home or business, you may have discovered that there are a ton of different options out there. What makes solar panels different? There are different wattages, sizes, manufacturers, and colors – “what’s the best one for me”?

There is no one panel that is best for you and your home/business. Every solar panel has it’s own unique qualities specific to the manufacturer and each project has it’s own specific needs. In this post I outline some of the important details that you want in a solar panel – no matter which manufacturer you choose.

Manufacturers

Some top tier solar panel manufacturers include:

You want a solar panel manufacturer who has history in the industry and has money to back up their long-term operations.

Warranty

All solar panel manufacturers offer very similar warranties. Here are the details you want to look for:

  • 10 Year Product Warranty on Materials and Workmanship
  • 25 Year Performance Warranty

Q.CELLS offers one of the industries best performance warranties as detailed in the image below. They guarantee their panels will produce slightly more power than the competition over the 25 year warranty period. This means better performance.
solar panel warranty

Different Wattage Solar Panels

There are all kinds of Wattages for solar panels ranging from 260 Watts to 350 Watts. So how do you choose? Usually, a solar installer will work with a panel that they like, so if you trust your solar installer, you can trust the solar panel they choose – they have the experience and industry knowledge after all. If your solar panel installer is quoting an off-brand solar panel, make sure you visit the website of the manufacturer and look around. You can find information on the company, stock price, history, a list of key employees, and recent news on the company.

Price Per Watt – If you’re not convinced and you’re seeing quotes with different wattage solar panels, make sure you calculate the price per Watt ($/Watt) to make sure it’s consistent across each of the quotes. To calculate the price per Watt, divide the total price of solar by the total amount of Watts (total amount of Watts is number of solar panels times Watts per panel). Every solar panel installer has slightly different pricing, but if you’re comparing apples-to-apples, you can use $/W to help with your decision.

Different Size Solar Panels

There are two different size solar panels that are somewhat of a standard in the industry (speaking for residential and light commercial sized solar installations only):

  • 60 Cells (39″ x 66″)
  • 72 Cells (39″ x 77″)

Your solar panel installer may quote you one of these two size solar panels. Typically the 60 cell solar panels have a lower Wattage than the 72 cell panels and sometimes the 72 cell panels have a higher efficiency than the 60 cell. At the end of the day, it all depends on your roof and how much solar you can fit up there. Sometimes a 72 cell won’t work (because it’s too big). Make sure that your solar contractor verifies with you that the solar panel they are quoting will actually fit on your roof BEFORE you make your purchase.

Color – Frame and Cells

You can choose between two of the most common finishes for your solar panels: Standard or Black. The standard finish is usually a silver anodized aluminum frame, and white back-sheet, and a normal solar cell color of blue or dark blue. The black finish or “black-on-black” finish is a black anodized aluminum frame, black back-sheet, and black solar cells. This is all customer preference, but keep in mind that the black-on-black finish is usually extra cost.

There are tons of different options out there and there are plenty of solar installers who have different opinions and preferences. Choose the best situation for you and make sure that you are happy with your decision because it will be on your roof for 25+ years!

For more information, call one of our specialists at 888-38-SOLAR or check out our website HERE