What panels & inverters should I use?
While many panel & inverter options exist out there, there are some clear products that beat the competition when it comes to efficiency, cost, and aesthetics.
Solar Panel Options
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are the most common type of solar panels used on the residential market. They’re made from a single source of crystalline silicon, which makes them the most efficient but also the most expensive option. You can usually recognize them by their black color.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
These panels are a less efficient but cheaper option compared to monocrystalline. They’re manufactured by joining many different sources of crystalline silicon, which results in a slight loss of power as electricity travels from one solar cell to another.
Whichever you choose between the two, there are multiple layout and configuration options available for different use cases. Mounting options like ground, pole, tilt and racks allow you to provide solar energy to any home, shed, vehicle or any other place you may need clean, renewable solar power.
Thin-film Solar Panels
These panels are the cheapest and least efficient options for generating solar energy. You may have seen these used for camping, attached to backpacks, or anywhere portable solar power is needed. The material used to manufacture these types of solar panels makes them extremely flexible but very inefficient for large home use.
Inverters are the most important parts of a solar power system and are constantly converting DC to AC. Here are the 3 basic types of inverters:
String inverters are the least efficient and cheapest inverter system for multi-panelled setups. Each solar panel in a multi-panel system is connected to one continuous wire, which is then fed into a central inverter. As a result, when one panel begins to underperform, due to a lack of sunlight or possible malfunction, this limits the efficiency of the entire group. Nonetheless, these types of inverters are great for simple roof layouts.
Microinverter systems are more efficient than those that use string inverters, with each solar panel getting its own inverter. This allows for not only individual monitoring of energy output but also built-in redundancy measures. The use of individual inverters also means underperforming solar panels don’t affect the energy output of the others in the group. Microinverters are a more expensive option and are great for more complicated roofing structures.
A hybrid between string and microinverters, power optimizers are attached individually to each solar panel in a system. The optimizers clean the DC energy before feeding it through one string that connects to a central inverter. This system solves the inefficiency problem caused by string inverters while giving the individual monitoring and redundancy options of the microinverter system.