Less Efficient Solar Panels Produce More?

Brad had a very good question that I thought needed to be explained in a post of it’s own.

I’m confused as to how a less efficient system (measured under PTC) could output more.

The simple answer is – if there are more of the ‘less efficient’ panels.

Does Solar Work in My State?

This is an infographic put out by 1Bog Solar explaining why solar works (well) in your state even if you think it doesn’t. Right click and choose “View Image” to view full size. Clicking on the image will take you to 1Bog Solar which is a group solar purchasing organizer. Think of them as the Groupon of Solar (before Groupon).

Yes, I recommend signing up with them, even if you don’t go solar with them.

Original link

How to Choose the Best Solar PV System

Occasionally, people ask me how to choose the best solar pv system, or the best panels. Choosing the best solar system depends mainly on your energy needs, roof space, and budget. Most people really want to know how to choose the best solar value. For example, I was asked the following question on my “Help me help you” survey:

I got bid from 2 different installers. One was SunPower panels; the other Canadian Solar. The SunPower bid (for a 5.2 kw DC system) was $21,000 and the Canadian Solar bid was $14,000 – why so far apart?

Solar Roof PosterizedGreat question. There could be many explanations why there is such a gap in the price. Generally, SunPower’s superior efficiency allows for it/ necessitates that it price its solar panels higher. (They have to pay for the best engineers to get the best efficiency, right?) Each installer may be giving you the best deal he can with both brands of panels. What you should check on both proposals is not the DC system size (in this case 5.2 kw DC), but the kilowatt-hours output. Ask your installer(s) how much energy (in kwh) each system expects to produce in the first year.

Learn About Solar

SRoeCo Solar Answers Your Solar Questions!

  1. Which panels should I choose? – Solar Panel Comparison Article
    1. a) What are the most efficient solar panels? – Solar Panel Comparison Table
  2. What size solar system do I need? – Calculate your solar array size
  3. How many panels do I need? – Calculate the number of solar panels
  4. How much will it cost to install? – Calculate the cost of going solar
  5. How much are the rebates? – Calculate California rebates

Most Efficient Solar Panels

If you have limited space and need to get the most energy for your area, then you need the most efficient solar panels for your project. People always ask me, “which panels have the highest efficiency?” or, “which solar PV panels are the best?” The truth is that solar panel efficiency isn’t as important as you might think. For most homeowners, the better question to ask is, “which panels will give me the most electricity for the best price?” You can find out how much solar might cost for your home by using our free solar calculator. But you’re here to find out the most efficient solar panels, so let’s get on with it.

The most efficient solar panel in 2016 is the SunPower SPR-X22-360 with a 22.07% panel efficiency.

Below is a solar panel comparison chart comparing the solar panel efficiency of all other modules rated at 360 watts like the SPR-X22-360. The 360 watt rating means that in strict laboratory conditions, these solar panels produce the same output. However, because solar panels vary in size, some end up being more efficient compared to others – meaning they can produce the 360 watts using less space (area).

(Updated Sept. 26, 2016)

Manufacturer ID Rating Efficiency Tier
SunPower SPR-X22-360 360 22.07% 1
LG Electronics LG360N2C-B3 360 18.94% 1
Sunpreme SNPM-GxB-360 360 18.55% 1
SunEdison SE-H360-4 360 18.40% 1
First Solar TS-360-R11-02 360 18.33% 1
Sunpreme SNPM-GxB-360 SM 360 18.28% 1
REC Solar REC360PEM 72 360 17.94% 1
Topsun TS-S360TA1 360 14.04% 4
Schuco USA MPE 360 AL 01 360 6.29% 5