The Solar Panels Don’t Matter!

by Shawn | 10 Comments

Solar Panel Brand LogosStop searching for the ‘best’ or ‘most efficient’ solar panels. Stop trying to compare brands. The solar panels don’t matter. Obviously they matter in terms of the solar pv system as a whole, but which panels you use, isn’t important. Let me explain.

1.  All solar panels are warrantied for 20-25 years, which means the manufacturer guarantees the panels will still be producing at least 80% output 25 years from now. It’s the same for all brands. Don’t believe me? Ask the guy selling them.

2.  It’s all electricity from the Sun. That’s it. Electricity is electricity. One brand won’t give you better ‘quality’ electricity than the next. All solar electricity is a step up from electricity from fossil fuels, which is dirty electricity, right? But some panels give you more electricity than the next. Of course, but…

3.  Don’t confuse efficiency with output. Efficiency is just that: how much it produces per area. If your roof space (or ground space) is limited, then, sure efficiency is important. But you don’t have to worry about it. Your installer will only offer you panels that fit in your installation area (ie roof). So, they’ll pick the ones as efficient as they need to be. But you want the ‘best’ or ‘most efficient’? Okay, but your bragging rights will cost you $1,000’s more and only last until the newest ‘most efficient’ panels beat yours by 0.01%.

So if panels don’t matter, what does?

Installing solar matters! You getting your electricity from the Sun, as opposed to a non-renewable energy source, is the best thing you can do for the future of humanity right now. We need energy. It’s the currency of our progress as humans. But that stuff in the ground is going to run out a few billion years before that thing in the sky.

Money matters. Not to you? Fine, not to me either, so how about time? Well time is money. So don’t waste either. Get the solar pv system with the best value!

Value matters. It’s as simple as: Total Cost ($) ÷ First year output (kWh). Good value (lower cost per output) means you’re getting the most bang for your buck (literally, the most electricity for your money).

If you really want to know, here are the 5 questions to ask solar installers. But, really there are only two questions you need to ask:

1. “How many kilowatt-hours will the system produce the first year?”

2. “How much does it cost (parts, labor, rebates – everything)?”

That’s it. Nothing about the solar panels. Nothing about brand, efficiency, or where the panels were made. Just get the system with the best value. Want to calculate value? Let me help: Simple Solar Value Calculator.