Many people who want to contribute to the environment have started shifting their energy systems towards solar power. Furthermore, using solar energy can save you a great amount of money in the long run! Although the implementation cost for solar power seems to be high at first, you will receive in return a stable, low-cost source of energy.
However, choosing a solar panel--the first step of implementing a solar energy system--is not an easy task. There are many brands from all over the world, and you may get confused about which product is suitable for your purpose. To save you time, we combined a list of top 10 best products and a buying guide that consists of tips on buying solar panels.
Currently, there are many solar panels produced in different countries such as Germany, the U.S., Japan, and China which have inconsistent quality. Unfortunately, many products are not durable and are made up of solar cells which are prone to fracture and cracking.
To give you some idea of what products to buy, we looked through reviews on Amazon for solar panels recommended by users. Considering things like what kind of cell it has and the quality of the frame and glass, we then listed the top 10 products to help you choose.
|Dimensions||41.6 x 20.7 x 1.38 inches|
|Features||IP67 rated waterproof connectors and IP65 rated waterproof junction box|
|Cover||Aluminum frame and low iron-tempered glass|
|Dimensions||24.5 x 9.8 x 0.2 inches (opened) and 6 x 9.8 x 0.5 inches (folded)|
|Features||Foldable, charge 2 USD devices simultaneously|
|Dimensions||35.6 x 25.9 x 1.18 inches|
|Features||Waterproof junction box, off-grid|
|Cover||Aluminium frame and low iron-tempered glass|
|Dimensions||26 x 22.5 x 2.5 inches|
|Features||Off-grid use, adjustable kickstand, not waterproof|
|Cover||Durable cloth, zipper and PET material, high-temperature resistant|
|Cell type||Flexible monocrystalline|
|Dimensions||59.1 x 26 x 0.08 inches|
|Features||Ultra thin, bendable, weather-resistant|
|Cover||Advanced polymer material|
|Dimensions||35.8 x 26.6 x 1.2 inches|
|Features||High cell efficiency, weather resistant, diodes are pre-installed|
|Cover||Heavy-duty anodized aluminum frames and low-iron tempered glass|
|Dimensions||64.5 x 20.5 x 1.2 inches (opened) and 20.5 x 14.2 x 2.6 inches (closed)|
|Features||Foldable, 3-USB smart charging|
|Cover||Waterproof durable Oxford cloth|
|Dimensions||17.2 x 13.6 x 2.3 inches|
|Features||IP 65 waterproof|
|Cover||Durable aluminium frame and tempered glass|
|Dimensions||16.9 x 13.4 x 0.6 inches|
|Features||Waterproof, off-grid use|
|Dimensions||12.4 x 0.8 x 18.4 inches|
|Cover||Sturdy and durable aluminum frame|
100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Power
16W Solar Panel
Polycrystalline Solar Panel
SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel
Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Power
Polycrystalline Solar Panel 100W
Foldable Solar Panel Charger
20 Watts Solar Panel
Waterproof 20W Solar Panel
Amorphous Solar Panel
Monocrystalline Solar Panel Great for Off-Grid Power Generation
Foldable Solar Panels for Charging Small Devices on the Go
Weather-resistant Polycrystalline Solar Panel for Varied Climates
A Small but Powerful and Efficient Panel
Weather-resistant, Ultra-thin and Flexible Solar Panel
Polycrystalline Solar Panel with Pre-installed Diodes for Easy Setup
Foldable Solar Panel Compatible with Most Solar Generators
Built-in MPPT Charge Algorithm and LED Indicator for More Power
A Compact Panel to Power Outdoor Devices
A Compact Panel to Charge 12V Batteries
|Cell type||Monocrystalline||Monocrystalline||Polycrystalline||Monocrystalline||Flexible monocrystalline||Polycrystalline||Monocrystalline||Monocrystalline||Polycrystalline||Amorphous|
|Dimensions||41.6 x 20.7 x 1.38 inches||24.5 x 9.8 x 0.2 inches (opened) and 6 x 9.8 x 0.5 inches (folded)||35.6 x 25.9 x 1.18 inches||26 x 22.5 x 2.5 inches||59.1 x 26 x 0.08 inches||35.8 x 26.6 x 1.2 inches||64.5 x 20.5 x 1.2 inches (opened) and 20.5 x 14.2 x 2.6 inches (closed)||17.2 x 13.6 x 2.3 inches||16.9 x 13.4 x 0.6 inches||12.4 x 0.8 x 18.4 inches|
|Weight||14.3 lbs.||75 oz.||14.3 lbs.||9 lbs.||6.2 lbs.||19.62 lbs.||10.8 lbs.||5.56 lbs.||4.38 lbs.||3.66 lbs.|
|Features||IP67 rated waterproof connectors and IP65 rated waterproof junction box||Foldable, charge 2 USD devices simultaneously||Waterproof junction box, off-grid||Off-grid use, adjustable kickstand, not waterproof||Ultra thin, bendable, weather-resistant||High cell efficiency, weather resistant, diodes are pre-installed||Foldable, 3-USB smart charging||IP 65 waterproof||Waterproof, off-grid use||Off-grid use|
|Cover||Aluminum frame and low iron-tempered glass||Waterproof coating||Aluminium frame and low iron-tempered glass||Durable cloth, zipper and PET material, high-temperature resistant||Advanced polymer material||Heavy-duty anodized aluminum frames and low-iron tempered glass||Waterproof durable Oxford cloth||Durable aluminium frame and tempered glass||Waterproof material||Sturdy and durable aluminum frame|
When choosing a solar panel, it is important that you consider things such as cell type, dimension of the product, and the maximum power so that you can find one that meets your needs.
Currently on the market, there are multiple cell types such as monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or amorphous. Each type has its own pros and cons that you should know in order to make the right decision.
A monocrystalline solar panel can work well in different environments. It's often waterproof and weather-resistant as well. If you live in an area with a varied climate, or if your energy demand is high, then choosing a solar panel made from monocrystalline may be a great choice.
However, in comparison to monocrystalline, polycrystalline does not work as well in hot, humid weather conditions. If you live in an area with an average temperature of over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you should opt for other options.
Amorphous cells--also called thin-film cells--are small and compact, thus suitable for small households. Its price is also affordable, around the same as that of polycrystalline type.
To achieve high energy conversion efficiency, they're "stacked" with multiple layers of amorphous cells on top of each other. This makes them more energy-efficient. If you want to concentrate or customize your solar power into one space, then this may be a good choice for you.
Flexible panels consist of silicon cells that are ultra-thin and tiny. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline can be used to make flexible panels as well, but since they are made from silicon wafers that are a bit thicker than human hair, they need to be cut down in size in order to become thinner.
The advantage of flexible cells is their versatility. If your roof is not strong enough to handle tons of solar panels or is rather curvy, then flexible panels--which are lightweight and can be used on various surfaces--can come to the rescue.
However, the conversion efficiency rate of flexible solar cells is around 16 to 20%, so they are not as efficient as traditional ones. Therefore, flexible cells should be used for small projects that don't require a lot of energy.
Aside from the frames, the glass layer is also important. It helps prevent environmental pollutants and pressure from damaging the cells as well. You should choose a thick glass layer that is relatively strong and not easily broken or cracked.
However, even though the maximum capacity may be 100 watts, there's no guarantee that you'll actually get 100 watts in an hour. The generated power depends a lot on environmental conditions (shady or bright) and direction of the panels, so typically the generated power will be less than the indicated maximum power.
Size is also another factor to consider, as you need to have enough space to install the panels. Typically, the dimension of the panel corresponds with its power capacity. Panels that can generate more power tend to be larger than those with less capacity.
However, if you just want to use solar panels at home and do not need to bring them anywhere else, you can buy the traditional type that is more rigid but offers more security. But nowadays, even some rigid and traditional solar panels are designed in a way that can be used for your RV, yacht, or campsite.
To determine how many solar panels would be sufficient to power your house's appliances, you should consider how much energy your household utilizes, where you would put the panels (roof, lawn for example), and how much usable surface area is available.
To find out how many solar panels you probably need, you can multiply your required hourly energy by the peak sunlight hours in your region and divide that by a panel's wattage. There are also some online websites that help you calculate how many solar panels you need, including Gogreensolar or Wholesalelsolar.
To get the most solar power possible, you should place the panels where they can get the most sunlight. Typically, rooftops and lawns are the ideal places. You should also calculate the usable spaces as well.
If you need to install a lot of solar panels but your rooftop cannot really accommodate all of them, then you probably need to figure out another placement such as on the lawn.
Here are some more products that can help you live comfortably while protecting the environment, too.
Since solar power systems are becoming more and more common, many solar panel products are being created to suit different needs and purposes.
For those who are not really familiar with solar panels, you may feel lost with all of the available options on the market. Hopefully, with our buying guide and list of the top 10 best solar panels, you can find a good product for yourself!
Author: Thuy Nguyen
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