There are many different types of solar panels available in the market today at a variety of price points. If you’re wondering about the difference between different types of solar panels as the only thing they do is convert solar energy into useful form of energy, you need to understand how solar panel efficiency works. Simply put, solar cell efficiency defines the rate at which sunlight is converted into electricity by the solar panels.
As far as the average efficiency is concerned, it varies from 11 to 22%. Needless to say, you would want to buy a solar panel with the highest efficiency as higher efficiency means it will be able to generate more power per square meter. A lot of research is being done to improve the efficiency of solar panels and scientists have been successful in converting more than 1/3 of the sunlight into useful power with the help of solar panels. However, when it comes to practical use in the field, the maximum efficiency you could get today is limited to less than 25%.
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Since these solar panels available for sale have a power rating mentioned in watts, it simply means that this is the amount of electricity you can expect to get from those solar panels if it is exposed to peak sunlight for one hour. It is important for you to understand that the rating or capacity mentioned by the manufacturer is under ideal conditions which are maintained in a laboratory. The rating is designed to give an idea of the overall efficiency or capacity of the solar panel but it does not mean that you are actually going to be able to generate the amount of power mentioned by the manufacturer when you put that solar panel out there in the field. There are a number of factors that affect the overall output and you need to take into account all those parameters in order to arrive at the useful solar efficiency.
As mentioned above, there are a number of parameters that affect the overall efficiency of a solar panel. Therefore, when you need to calculate the efficiency of a solar power system, you need to take into account the tolerance limit mentioned by the manufacturer, effect of dirt on solar panels, effect of temperature derating, efficiency of inverter, AC cable loss as well as DC cable loss. All these factors are going to have a huge impact on the overall efficiency of the solar panel system.
One of the first things you need to consider is the tolerance mentioned by the manufacturer. In simple terms, tolerance means that the solar panel is expected to perform within the tolerance limit mentioned by the manufacturer. If the tolerance limit is mentioned as 5%, it means that you can expect the solar panel to generate a power output that is within 5% of the rating mentioned by the manufacturer. Another important thing you need to consider is the effect of dust on the panels.
Needless to say, if there is too much dust or dirt on the solar panels,, it will affect the efficiency of those solar panels as layers of dirt will prevent sunlight from reaching into the photovoltaic cells. Researchers have concluded that presence of dirt layers on the solar panels can affect its overall efficiency by around 5%. Therefore, it is important for you to make sure that your solar panels are always clean if you want to get the most out of those panels.
Temperature also has a huge effect on the solar system efficiency. If they get too hot, they will become less efficient. The installation angle and direction of the solar panels also have an impact on the efficiency of the solar panel system. Therefore, it is important for you to make sure that the installers have the necessary tools and experience to install the panels at the optimum angle and direction for that particular location.
Overall, you should get in touch with experienced installers of solar panels to know more about the efficiency you can expect from a particular solar panel system.