With technology advancing at incredible rates, it seems like every year there is a new solar panel efficiency record set. Solar panel efficiency is one of the most important aspects of a solar panel because it will impact how effective a panel is at converting sunlight into electricity.
Let’s take a look at three reasons why homeowners in Park City need to pay attention to solar panel efficiency and how it changes over time.
Lower System Size Requirements
One of the biggest benefits of having highly efficient panels installed on a home is that they allow more energy to be offset with a smaller system footprint.
Fewer more efficient panels can produce the same amount of energy as more less efficient panels.
In Park City, many homes have fairly high energy use and require big systems to fully offset their energy use. Many homes though also have limited roof space due to intricate roof lines.
With higher efficiency panels, it is possible to offset more of a homes energy if roof space is limited.
System Effectiveness Over Time
The stated efficiency of solar panels is very important because it allows a system to convert more light into electricity, but the degradation of a panel is just as important.
Over time, solar panels degrade and become less effective at converting sunlight into electricity. You can think of them kind of like a battery that slowly losses the ability to hold a charge; except most good solar panels are expected to last at least 25 years.
With solar panels, the stated efficiency will decline every year. Different solar panels degrade at different rates.
The faster a panel degrades will effect the overall effectiveness and ability of a solar array to offset a homes energy use.
Having a panel that is highly effective and degrades slowly over time allows a solar array to output more power for longer. Meaning your power bill will still be offset in 15 to 25 years.
Degradation is often overlooked by homeowners who are shopping for the best price. Choosing a panels that is cheap with lower efficiency and higher degradation rates will actually offset the price difference between value and premium solar panels in the long term.
Produce More Power
With high efficiency panels that degrade slowly, like SunPower, you end of producing more electricity per panel long term.
Conventional panels are usually in the 14% to 18% efficiency range with 80% performance promised after 25 years. SunPower Panels are 21.5% efficient with 90% performance promised after 25 years.
If you take a conventional system and compare it to a SunPower system you see that long term, premium panels perform better.
A 10KW solar array made with conventional panels at 17% efficiency would perform like a 8KW in 25 years. A 10KW SunPower System at 21.5% efficiency and 90% performance in 25 years would perform like a 9KW system.
Choosing a high efficiency solar panel that has slow degradation will improve the long term performance of a solar system in Park City.
Higher efficiency panels also require smaller footprints which allows Park City homeowners with higher electrical bill to offset their full power bill even with limited roof space.