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Solar Panel Efficiency: How important is it?

9th February 2022  

Solar panels efficiency is a term you probably heard while looking for solar panels for your roof. But, to clear up any confusion, the efficiency of solar panels isn't all that important.

While understanding how to benefit directly from the installation of a solar energy system is useful, it doesn't necessarily mean that you or others will realize greater economic advantages. The efficiency of a solar panel is less significant than other performance metrics. A more efficient solar panel also allows companies to justify higher prices.

What is Solar Panel Efficiency?

Perhaps you're wondering what the efficiency of solar panels is. A solar panel's efficiency refers to its ability to generate electricity from sunlight. A solar panel with a 15% rating, for instance, will convert 15% of the sun's energy to solar power. Over the past few years, several advances in photovoltaic technology have led to an increase in the average panel conversion efficiency from 15% to well over 20%.

Factors that Impact Solar Panel Efficiency

Any solar panel's efficiency is affected by the below-mentioned factors:

  • The efficiency of the photovoltaic (PV) cells: which is determined by the cell design and silicon type

  • The overall efficiency of the panel: which is determined by its panel layout, size, and configuration.

  • Sunlight intensity: When the sun is at its strongest in the afternoon, a solar panel's output may increase since that is when it can collect the most solar energy.

  • Installation: For solar panels to capture the most sunlight, the installation must be done properly. A panel's angle and how much light it receives are two key components of maximizing efficiency.

  • Shading: Shadows will reduce the current through the solar panel if even a small portion of it is shaded. The amount and type of shading may impact the efficiency of energy delivery and lead to lower outputs and power losses.

  • Building of heat: Warm climate regions usually risk heat buildup in solar panels since they cannot function efficiently at higher temperatures.

  • Maintenance: Solar panels usually have long warranties of 15-25 years. However, they need to be cleaned and maintained regularly in order to maximize their efficiency.

By considering the above factors, one can find the key to how to increase solar panel efficiency.

How is Efficiency Calculated?

If you're experiencing low efficiency, then there could be several reasons for the low efficiency of solar cells, such as solar panel type, design configuration, environmental conditions. Solar cells with low efficiency can have detrimental impacts, such as lower power generation and higher prices. Let's see how you can calculate how low or high the efficiency of your solar panel is.

Generally, the standard test conditions (STCs) are used to estimate the solar panel energy output. The STC measures a panel's output based on its temperature, light exposure, and orientation. If you want to calculate your panel's efficiency, simply multiply the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth's surface in your area by the area of the panel (measured in square meters). You can determine the efficiency rating of your panel by dividing the maximum wattage by this number, then multiplying the result by 100%.

For example, a solar panel with an area of 2 square meters can generate 2,000 watts if sunlight strikes it at 1,000 watts per square meter. The efficiency rating of a 400-watt panel is 20% (400 divided by 2000 equals 0.2, and 0.2 times 100% equals 20%).

How Efficient Are Solar Panels?

Previously, we noted that solar panel performance measures the amount of sunlight converted into electricity by solar panels, and this represents solar panel efficiency. The sun is undoubtedly the most abundant energy source on the planet, but how effective are the panels?

The average efficiency of solar panels is about 11% to 15%, which means that about 11% to 15% of the sun's heat is converted into electricity. In contrast, the rest of it heats up the panel just like any other surface.

Does Solar Panel Efficiency Impact Solar Installation Prices?

Increasing solar panel efficiency has led to significant improvements in the manufacturing processes of solar panels. In order to meet a home's specific energy needs, every solar system is individualized. Because of this, the cost will vary.

Costs of solar installation vary depending on the types of equipment, installation, and panels used. It may seem costly at first, but you'll save money over time because you'll reduce your electric bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

Does Solar Panel Efficiency Really Matter?

Yes, the efficiency of solar panels is important. However, it is not as crucial. When it comes to selling high-efficiency panels, it is common for installers to take advantage of it, but efficiency rarely makes a meaningful difference except in higher prices.

The highest efficiency panels do not imply that your system is producing the most electricity. The wattage of the system will have the greatest effect on its production, not its efficiency.

Is There Ever a Reason to Get High-Efficiency Solar Panels?

High-efficiency panels are worth it if they allow your home to be solar viable due to the available roof size. If you benefit from higher output due to higher than average electricity usage, you're currently living in an extremely hot region, or, if house aesthetics are important to you, then yes, high-efficiency solar panels are worth installing.

What to Look for Instead of Solar Panel Efficiency?

Even though many people pay attention to the efficiency of solar panels, the most important considerations are the following:

  • Quality of the manufacturing

  • The reliability

  • The warranty

Go solar because it has a high return on investment and is easy on the environment. At Waaree, we can answer all of your questions, and we are willing to assist you with making such a positive, life-changing change. Get in touch with us today for your solar needs.

About Waaree

With India's largest capacity to manufacture solar PV modules, Waaree leads the industry. There are more than 350 Waaree locations throughout the US, and the company operates in 68 other countries. In addition to reducing the carbon footprint, Waaree helps to improve human life through our cost-effective and high-quality, sustainable energy solutions.

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