Most Efficient Solar Panels

Most Efficient Solar Panels

December 14, 2015 Off By Simon

Which are the most efficient Solar Panels?

As part of our daily conversations about solar panels we will often have a discussion about efficiency with a prospective customer.  Naturally the conversation will usually revolve around the desire of the customer to buy the most efficient solar panels for the least amount of money.   The term "efficiency" however needs to be defined so it is understood completely,  this is important because you could buy the most efficient solar panels but actually get less energy from them than cheaper less efficient solar panels.

Size Mattersmost efficient solar panels produce the most energy from the smallest space.

The amount of energy solar panels can produce depends on two things; the size and the efficiency of the panels and like in other things in life - size matters!  The size relates to the amount of surface area of solar panel that is exposed to the sun. So the bigger the size of this area the more radiation is collected by the panel and thus the more energy it can produce.

As an example - a maximum of 1000 watts of solar energy fall on 1 m2 of horizontal ground on a clear summers day in Ireland.  So if you have 2m2 of solar panels exposed to this you will be able to collect 2000 watts.

Efficiency of Solar Panels

Efficiency then comes into play.  This is the ability of the solar panels to change this solar energy into useable heat/electricity.  There are three factors that influence the efficiency of solar panels:

  1. The energy loss from the panel - influenced by insulation levels, reflection and the weather.  Cold windy weather means the solar panel loses more of the collected energy back to the outside.
  2. The temperature of the panel - the hotter a panel gets the lower it's ability is to convert energy - i.e. the lower its efficiency.
  3. The build of the panel - how well the solar panels are designed to transfer solar energy into heat.  This can be expressed by the zero loss efficiency factor, i.e. how efficient a solar panel is without point 1 or 2 applied.

The zero loss efficiency of Savo Solar panels is around 80%.  If one of those solar panels can collect 2000W it will be able to process 80% of that i.e. 1600W.  Of that 1600W some of it will be lost back to the atmosphere due to the outside weather conditions and the temperature of the solar panels.

Which to choose?

So when choosing solar panels the size of the panels can be just as influential as the efficiency in terms of how much energy you will actually get from the system.  For this reason Flat plate solar panels which are typically less efficient than tubes can outperform tubes in overall annual energy production.  But there's always something  Give us a call and we can  boil it down to brass tacks for you.