Evaluating Solar Panel Quality: What Makes A Premium Product?

Solar panels are a great way to save money on your energy bills, make your home more self-sufficient, and be more eco-friendly. However, they’re quite an expensive investment so you want to make sure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Still, most people who are buying solar panels are doing so for the first time. Even if you buy them more than once, they’re designed to last for decades so the time between purchases will be vast so quality and standards will have changed.

In this guide, I’ll be explaining what to look for to determine the quality of solar panels so you can be confident that you’re buying a reliable product.

Things To Consider When Buying Solar Panels

Purchasing solar panels should never be done on a whim. This isn’t a spontaneous purchase as getting it wrong is something you could come to regret down the line.

It’s vital to do your research, especially if you want panels that are of premium quality. In order to find these products, you’ll need to consider the following things.

Solar Panel Rating

One of the first and most important things to consider when determining the quality of a solar panel is its rating. This is sometimes called a nameplate rating and this information tells you how much power each panel produces.

The higher this number is, the more powerful the solar panel will be. It can be tempting to go for a lower rating in order to save money but this is an error that could end up costing you a lot more in the long run as the solar panels simply won’t perform as you need them to.

Solar Power Tolerance

During the production of solar panels, there may be factors that result in variations in how well the panels perform. This cannot be avoided and is part and parcel of buying this type of equipment. However, higher quality solar panels will have a smaller power tolerance range than something that’s less than premium.

Solar power tolerance refers to the minimum and maximum output outside of the solar panel rating. This information is typically given as a percentage on both the plus and minus sides. For example, it may be that the power tolerance is -5% and +5%.

Let’s say that you’re using a 300-watt solar panel, this would mean that the lowest power output would be 285 watts while the higher value would be 315 watts.

What Materials Have Been Used?

Another essential factor in determining the quality of a solar panel is to look at the materials and construction. A good solar panel will be made using strong and durable materials and will feel robust and resistant.

A solar panel is designed to last for many years and as such, must be able to stand up to harsh weather conditions and exposure to the environment. Where poor quality materials have been used or the craftsmanship is shoddy, you won’t end up with a solar panel that will stand the test of time.

What’s The Warranty Like?

When a manufacturer is confident in the quality of their product, this will be reflected in the warranty. A premium quality solar panel will come with a much longer guarantee than a cheaply made one and this is something that’s well worth considering before you buy.

Generally speaking, solar panels have a warranty that lasts for around 20 years. Cheaper products might only have a warranty half this duration while more high-end products may give up to 25 years cover.

What Brand Are You Using?

When buying any product, you have to carefully consider the brand you’re purchasing from. Some brands have a better reputation than others and may be known to produce higher-quality goods.

This is an important factor to consider when looking at solar panel quality and the last thing you want to do is go for a cheap brand that doesn’t have a very good standing with its customers.

At MJP Solar, we rely on SolarEdge whose products use the latest technology and highest quality materials. You can feel confident that the equipment is designed to last and perform to an excellent standard.

Different Types Of Solar Panels

There are many different types of solar panels and while the quality is pretty similar between monocrystalline and polycrystalline, there are some pros and cons as well as factors that might make one more suitable for your needs than the other.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are typically favoured in warmer climates as they simply perform better in these conditions. In the UK, the climate is much cooler so this type of solar panel may not work as well, regardless of how high the quality is. This is certainly something to keep in mind.

These panels may sometimes be referred to as single-crystal panels and the best quality ones will have an even colour across the panel. This tells you that the silicon used to manufacture the panels is of the best quality.

Monocrystalline panels are incredibly efficient when it comes to producing power which is one of their main advantages. What’s more, these high-end panels are designed to last for as long as 25 years and come with a warranty that guarantees this. However, you should keep in mind that this premium type of panel is generally more expensive.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are made in such a way that it’s cheaper to the manufacturer and, therefore, less expensive for the consumer. Another great advantage is that the material is generally more flexible which could come in handy for certain projects, especially in a commercial situation.

These solar panels function more efficiently in cooler weather which makes them ideal for use in the UK. But they’re also much larger than their monocrystalline counterparts so they’ll take up more space on your roof while still generating the same level of energy.

One important thing to keep in mind is that, while polycrystalline panels are less expensive, they also don’t have such a long lifespan. If you’re in the market for the most premium product that’s going to stand the test of time then this might not be the right choice for you. What’s more, the warranty on this type of panel is much shorter, reflecting the reduced life expectancy.

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