Tips for Choosing Solar Panels
There are three main factors to consider when choosing your solar panels: cost; durability, longevity, and warranty; and size and Watts.
The cost of a solar panel is determined by a number of factors. The cost of a solar panel can be determined by the energy output which is measured in Watts, the physical size, the brand, the durability or longevity of the panel including the warranty, any certifications, and any applicable government rebates. Be wary of choosing a solar panel based solely on its cost. It may not have the best technology for your location's sun exposure, it may not fit the area where you would like to install it, it might not be eligible for government rebates, or it may not have a long enough warranty to ensure an economic payback from the power it produces.
Durability / Longevity / Warranty
The durability or longevity of a solar panel is its expected lifetime. This is important for multiple reasons. Your initial cost should be offset by the total power produced by the solar panel over its warranty lifetime. For example, if your solar panel has a ten year warranty, it should pay for itself within ten years. Most reputable panels should be guaranteed for at least a period of 25 years.
When deciding on your solar panel, it is important to factor in the brand. Since the solar panel industry is relatively new, it's important to ensure that your warranty will be honored. If the manufacturer of your solar panel goes out of business, your warranty will no longer be valid.
You should also consider the local retailer's ability to service your solar panel. You many want to choose a retailer that is a service agent for warranty work for your selected solar panel manufacturer. If you run into any problems and they are qualified to perform the warranty work, it will take you less time to fix your problem.
Size and Watts
Solar panel are generally compared and priced in dollars per Watt. Watts are the energy output of each panel. If a Watt is rated as a 100 Watt panel, that means that it generates 100 Watts of electricity each hour under prime conditions. A 200 Watt panel will generate 200 Watts each hour, therefore it should be twice the price of the 100 Watt panel.
The physical size of a panel is related to the output Wattage of the panel. A 200 Watt panell will be larger than a 100 Watt panel. The type of solar cells also determines the size of the panel. Your main concern should be that your system has enough Watts to power your appliances and that it will fit in its designated area.
Film panels are much more inexpensive than mono-crystalline and poly crystalline panels, but they do require much more roof space. Your southern facing roof space is most valuable. If you think you might like to add future panels, you will need to ensure that you'll have the space to do so, otherwise you may need to replace thin film panels before the end of their serviceable lifetime.
Find out more about Schuco solar panel options for solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal systems at Mid South locations in Virginia and Pennsylvania: Springfield, VA, Charlottesville, VA, Fredericksburg, VA, Fishersville, VA, Richmond, VA, Winchester, VA, and Camp Hill, PA.