If you’re considering getting solar panels for your home, you are probably wondering which solar panels are best to install in Illinois. There are actually a lot of high-quality ones on the market.
Which solar panels are the best for you depends on your roof, the amount of sunlight it gets during the day, and the price point you are comfortable with. Additional considerations include power output, efficiency, temperature coefficient (meaning how well it performs in warm weather), and warranty.
There’s a lot of information out there, so to save you some time Googling and maybe getting a lot of conflicting and perhaps confusing opinions, let TruHome Pros (one of the best solar companies in Illinois) explain which solar panels are best for your unique needs.
7 Factors Determine Which Solar Panels Are Best For Illinois Homeowners
1. Top Solar Panel Brands
Solar panel manufacturers cited by independent reviewers typically mention SunPower, Maxeon, REC, Hanwha and Panasonic. These evaluations are typically made according to such criteria as efficiency, performance, and reliability.
Keep in mind that the most recognized brand is also likely to be the most expensive. However, your return on investment is also likely higher, as solar panels from established manufacturers such as these five are more durable and more efficient, providing both longer life spans and higher energy savings.
2. Types of Solar Panels
Solar panels employ photovoltaic cells that absorb sunlight that is used to create electrical flow, which is then converted into household use. Most photovoltaic cells are made of a type of silicon called monocrystalline. These photovoltaic cells produce more electricity, have a better temperature coefficient, are more space efficient (you need fewer panels to generate the same amount of electricity), and offer a higher ROI than thin-film solar panels made with polycrystalline.
However, monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive. Both types of solar panels last about the same length of time, 25 years. In terms of appearance, monocrystalline panels are usually black, and polycrystalline panels are bluish.
3. Different Tiers of Solar Panels
There are three tiers of solar panels ranging from one to three. Which solar panel tier is the best? Lower is actually better in this case.
That’s right, Tier 1 solar panels as the best overall. Tier 1 manufacturers that have been making solar panels for more than five years comprise only about 2% of all solar panel companies. Vertically integrated Tier 1 solar panel makers have a better manufacturing process and invest in continuing research and development to improve their products, which is why they can offer longer and better warranties. However, this is also why Tier 1 solar panels are more expensive. But you get what you pay for in a better, more reliable product.
Tier 2 companies are small- to medium-sized manufacturers that have been producing solar panels for less than five years. Production is typically not fully automated, and there is little investment in R&D.
Tier 3 companies assemble solar panels but do not manufacture the silicon cells that go into them. They lack advanced manufacturing capabilities with no R&D and have produced solar panels for less than two years.
Overall, Tier 1 solar panels are the best investment, though if you are on a budget, there are still good options with Tier 2 manufacturers. Even Tier 3 solar panels are sufficiently workable in certain applications.
4. Warranties on Solar Panels
The premium brands also offer the best warranties. Maxeon offers an industry-leading 40-year warranty, while the industry standard is anywhere from 20 to 30 years. Some manufacturers, however, can be as little as 15 years.
Some solar panel manufacturers also make a distinction between a performance warranty and product warranty; one guarantees the same level of energy efficiency and operation over time, while the latter is a warranty on the panels themselves.
How much the length of the warranty plays in deciding which solar panels are best depends on how long you expect to stay in your home, as well as the expected return on investment based on improved energy efficiency and utility bill savings.
5. Solar Panel Efficiency
Solar panel efficiency rates how well solar panels turn sunlight into electricity. For example, a solar panel rated at 20% efficiency isn’t using 80% of the sun’s energy. That may seem like a low number, but it is actually an improvement from the early days of solar panels.
In 2007, most solar panels installed in Illinois were less than 16% efficient. The majority of solar panels today come in and around somewhere at 20%. A higher efficient solar panel is called for if you have limited roof space and/or shady conditions that inhibit energy production, providing more energy with less space and sunlight.
6. Temperature Coefficient
Solar panel efficiency decreases the higher the outside temperature. The temperature coefficient measures how solar panel efficiency changes for every degree Celsius over 25 ( which is 77 degrees Fahrenheit). A temperature coefficient of -0.34% means the solar panel loses that much energy production for each degree Celsius temperature increase.
7. Watts Up?
The higher a solar panel’s wattage rating, the more power it produces. A 400-watt solar panel theoretically produces 400 watt-hours of electricity. We say “theoretically” because a lab test of solar panel wattage is not the same as actual use in the real world.
Think about the difference in MPG ratings for cars and the mileage you achieve in actual driving conditions. There are a lot of factors that determine how close you get to the advertised MPG, such as how heavy your foot is on the gas, the weather, and how far you drive at a time.
Similarly, dirt, leaves, and snow that get on your solar panels decrease energy production. This is why regular solar panel maintenance and cleaning are required to ensure your panels operate at maximum efficiency.
Consult An Expert Solar Panel Installer In Illinois
There’s a lot to take into consideration, and not any one particular consideration is primary to which solar panels are best for your home and your family. Do your research and get some ideas, but the best way to determine which solar panels are best is to work with a reputable solar installer who can inspect your roof, determine the amount of sunlight you receive, and evaluate your home electrical system to design a high-quality solar system that fits your needs and budget and saves you money.
TruHome Pros employs and services a full integration of highly efficient solar panels, power inverters, and premium parts and accessories from leading manufacturers that ensure optimum performance and long-term savings.
Our sleek and durable solar panels are manufactured by top-of-the-line Tier 1 companies such as Hanwha, SunPower, REC, and Panasonic (specific manufacturers vary by local availability and best pricing subject to fluctuating market conditions). The solar panels we select for your Illinois home offers the highest efficiency, temperature coefficient, wattage, and warranties.