Relying on the sun to provide power to the home is becoming increasingly popular, and finding affordable solar panels is more important than ever. Picking the right cells for a particular house is similar to any other large investment in that it takes a good deal of research to find an ideal product.
When comparing prices from one product to another, the number to look for is the dollars to watt ratio. This number is incumbent upon multiple factors: the cell’s power output (in watts), the size of the cell, the quality of the parts in the cell, the manufacturer brand, and the cell’s expected lifespan. Weighing these variables together is essential to finding affordable solar panels.
Before comparing prices, it is best to determine exactly what specifications are required for new solar power systems. How much wattage does the home need? How much space is there to work with? How efficient are the cells?
The greater the power output the more the cell is going to cost, so when installing affordable solar panels it makes sense to only get what the home needs. Some power companies will buy excess power off of homeowners that have sun cells, but it is not something that is available everywhere. Generally, newer technologies allow for cells that produce more power with a smaller footprint. These newer models also tend to be more expensive in terms of cost per watt. If size is not a concern, it is not a bad idea to consider a less expensive cell that takes up more square footage. In addition, cells can be mounted to roofing in a variety of ways, and this can change the cost of installation. Fixed mounts cost less, but do not provide maximum efficiency. Some mounts will adjust to the position of the sun over the course of the day, and thus provide greater output at a higher price.
Manufacturer brand is something that must also be taken into account. The top manufacturers may put out a premium product at a premium price, but the best producers typically have control over the entire manufacturing process. This can ensure tighter quality assurance, better durability of cells, and lengthier warranties. As a cell that lasts for a longer time will return more on the investment, this nominal upcharge in quality may be ideal when picking affordable solar panels.
Also, the efficiency of an installed system and other performance variables must be weighed. Not all cells perform at their listed outputs, as manufacturers who do not have complete control over the sourcing of their parts may not be able to deliver the promised level of power. In addition, some cells are better at handling excess heat than others, and a cell’s efficiency may take a dip when overloaded by too much heat. The relevant number to look for when determining this is called the temperature co-efficient, and is important to gauge before picking a system.
When looking for affordable solar panels, it really comes down to research. Trade magazines and comparison websites offer real world usage numbers for popular brands, and it is highly recommended that a prospective buyer peruse these before coming to a final decision.