What do they do & how to pick the right one?
The three types of solar panels
Thin film, polycrystalline and monocrystalline
There are 3 major types of panels and all have relevant advantages and disadvantages. There is not a great deal of difference between the size, price and performance between the multi/polycrystalline and monocrystalline, but there is a great deal of difference between the multi/polycrystalline and monocrystalline and the thin-film panels. The choice of the type of panel will be largely dependent upon the amount of available roof space, climate and whether there are any shading issues. While the type of solar panels is important, the type of cell within the panel impacts the efficiency and performance of the panel much more.
Usually perform better than other panels in very hot climates such as northern Queensland. Can take up to 3 times as much roof space to achieve the same sized system using other types of panels.
Usually perform marginally better than mono-crystalline in low light conditions such as where shading is an issue. Generally take up the same roof space as mono-crystalline system and much less than thin film.
Types of solar panels cells
P-type & n-type
In p-type solar cells, its silicon wafer (the building block of a solar panel) has been doped with boron. Boron has one less electron than silicon which makes the cell positively charged. P-type panels are usually more affordable and are quite common. However, p-type cells may get boron-oxygen defects, which can degrade the cells and cause decreased efficiency.
In n-type solar cells, its silicon wafer (the building block of a solar panel) has been doped with phosphorus. Phosphorus has one more electron than silicon which makes the cell negatively charged. N-type cells are more efficient and are not affected by light-induced degradation (LID). The LG NeON range of panels that Electrical Sensations install contains n-type cells.
Important things you should consider
Questions to ask BEFORE signing
About the Manufacturer
How long has the manufacturer been in existence and producing that particular product? How financially stable is the manufacturer? Do they have an Australian office to handle any potential future warranty issues? What is the manufacturer’s product warranty ? This is very different to , and much more important than the output performance warranty. What is the warranty claim/failure rate? Is the factory automated ? Panels produced in fully automated factories are typically higher quality and more reliable.
About the Panel Itself
What is the physical size and wattage of the panel? With roof space becoming a valuable commodity , lower wattage panels are an inefficient use of space and can make upgrading or expanding the system in the future difficult. As a rule of thumb, panels below 310W are outdated now. What is the temperature coefficient of the panel? This is an indicator of h ow it perform s in hot weather . The lower the percentage per degree Celsius, the better. Just for reference, the LG NeON H panels have a temperature coefficient of -0.33 percent per degree Celsius. What type of cells does it have? Most panels contain either P – Type or N – Type cells. N – Type cells are typically more ef ficient and are contained in the LG NeON panels.
Solar panels that we install
LG, REC & SolarEdge
Our preference is to install LG NeON H (previously NeON 2) solar panels. LG needs no introduction – they are an incredibly diverse manufacturer with a solid reputation. The NeON range of panels carry an impressive 25 years manufacturer’s product (parts & labour) warranty. Industry standard is 10 years. I don’t believe there is a better panel than LG in terms of performance and back-up support.
We also install the Singaporean produced, REC brand, TwinPeak 4 solar panels. The REC panels also carry a 25 year manufacturer’s product (parts and labour) warranty when installed by a REC Solar Professional, which Electrical Sensations is. REC’s combination of product quality, company reliability and commitment to sustainability makes REC panels amongst the top performers in the marketplace.
SolarEdge now has its own brand of solar panels with integrated power optimisers, called Smart Panels. Smart panels are a cost-effective solution for customers who want all the benefits of power optimisers, without having to deal with multiple different suppliers. The new 375W SolarEdge smart panels have a 20.59% efficiency and a 25-year product warranty.