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The most efficient solar panels of May 2023


Solar panels may look the same, but some do a better job of turning the sun’s rays into electricity for your home.

The most efficient solar panels on the residential market today are sold by SunPower and Canadian Solar. Both have a maximum efficiency rate of 22.8%. But competitors are closing the gap.

Solar Power and Battery Storage

Solar panels are made differently, and some are more efficient than others.

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Choosing the right solar panel for your home is a balancing act between price, function (like efficiency) and maybe even aesthetics. Your choice is also limited by what your chosen solar installer actually offers.

This list ranks the most efficient solar panels. Not only will we tell you which panels get the highest marks for turning the most sunlight into energy, but we’ll explain exactly what solar panel efficiency is, why it matters, and if it really matters.

Most efficient solar panels

Solar panels on a wooden house.
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SunPower has long been the leader in solar panel efficiency, and its line of panels has higher overall efficiency ratings than any other solar panel manufacturer.

A solar panel installer places a solar panel on top of a house at sunset.
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The 445-watt model of its Canadian Solar HiHero panel is the first solar panel to match SunPower’s efficiency mark. With a temperature coefficient of -0.26%, it will continue to produce at a high level even when the temperature increases.

A house with solar panels on the roof and a backup battery.
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At -0.24%, REC’s Alpha Pure panel has the best temperature coefficient for panel power. It will lose less production at higher temperatures than other panels.

Install solar panels on a roof
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The Tiger Neo panel has an efficiency rating of 22.27% and a temperature coefficient of -0.29%.

Two people installing a solar panel on a terracotta style roof.
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Panasonic’s Evervolt panel, both the standard and all-black version, has an efficiency rating of 22.2%. They also have a low temperature coefficient, at -0.26%.

Determining the most efficient solar panels is a fairly simple matter of tracing the spec sheets provided by the manufacturer and locating the efficiency figures. These numbers are higher today than in the not too distant past and continue to climb.

According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Tracking the Sun report, 2021 was the first year that more than half of residential solar panels installed in the United States had an efficiency greater than 20%. Ten years ago, only 0.6% of those installed reached this threshold. High-efficiency solar panels are more common than ever and becoming more so.

If you’re looking for the most efficient solar panel for your roof, here’s how the most used brands on the market compare.

Most efficient solar panels

Data accurate as of April 12, 2023.

How We Chose and Ranked the Most Efficient Solar Panels

The panels in this list were chosen because they are among the most commonly installed panels and are likely to appear on quotes for solar installations. If you are quoted for panels that are not on this list, you can check their efficiency rating and other specs the same way I did. Here’s how.

Solar panel manufacturers publish technical data sheets for solar panels, which detail their dimensions, performance and internal chemistry. If your solar company does not provide them, you can access them by clicking on the company name in the table above. (Many links lead to PDFs.) From there, it’s just a matter of comparing the stats.

The panels featured here are the most effective offering from each of these companies. They may sell other panels that would appear higher on the list. In general, the higher a company is on this list, the more efficient any solar panels it offers.

What is solar panel efficiency?

Solar panel efficiency is a measure of how much solar energy a solar panel converts into usable electricity.

“If something is 20% efficient, that means 20% of the energy of that sunlight reaching the solar panel is transformed into moving electrons,” Daniel Ciolkosz, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the Pennsylvania State University.

A more efficient solar panel will produce more electricity than a less efficient panel, even when exposed to the same amount of sunlight.

What affects the efficiency of solar panels?

The figures given above are obtained under controlled conditions during laboratory tests. In the real world, many factors could cause you to receive less energy than a panel’s efficiency rating suggests. Hazy skies, a sub-optimal angle or location on your roof, or inefficient electronics between your panels and the items they power can result in lower actual power output.

Another factor affecting the efficiency of solar panels is their temperature. As the solar panels heat up, they begin to produce less power, but not at the same rate. A solar panel’s temperature coefficient measures how much its output gets worse for every degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above 25C (77F).

Solar panels in front of palm trees.

The solar panels are installed at an angle to capture more of the solar energy.

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For example, at 26 C (79 F), a REC Alpha Pure would produce 0.24% less energy than at 25 degrees. At 29C (84F) it would lose just under 1% of its output.

Does the efficiency of solar panels matter?

All things being equal, it would make sense to choose a high-efficiency solar panel over one with a lower rating. But high-efficiency solar panels generally cost more than lower-rated ones, so making the best choice becomes a matter of balancing your financial goals with what your preferred installer offers and other considerations like brand and aesthetics.

“It’s only part of the equation,” Ciolkosz said. “The biggest question for the end user is the economy and how it pays.”

Is there a case where efficiency might be a valid consideration?

“If you have one of those little houses on HGTV,” said Tom Beresnyak, an extension educator at Pennsylvania State University.

If you are limited by the space available for solar panels, you may want to extract as much solar power as possible from that space, although if your state allows it, a community solar subscription might still be a better choice financially. , Beresnyak said.

What should I consider when choosing a solar panel company?

Because there is no single solar solution, there is no single tip for choosing a solar company. The best approach is to get quotes from several installers before making a decision. Choose the company that has given you the best fit for your needs, who you trust to do the job, and who has answered all of your questions.

You need to understand your energy use before switching to solar power and decide if your goals are to completely replace that power, save as much money as possible, or achieve something else. From there, it’s all about measuring competing quotes against your goals.

The Department of Energy recommends that you choose an installer with credentials from a respected third party, such as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, which maintains an online directory of certified installers that you can filter by state. and certification.

Installers should definitely assess the condition of your roof, as removing panels at a later date to replace a roof will incur an additional cost. They must also be able to transparently answer questions about the design of the systems and why they are making their specific proposal.

“The installer can make a huge difference because the angle and support [are important for] maximize what you have there – a skilled installer will always be the real key to your long-term production,” Beresnyak said.

FAQs

Which type of solar panels is the most efficient?

Can solar panels be 100% efficient?

The panels in this listing are only those commercially available. Research into solar cells (the energy-producing components that make up solar panels) has produced much higher efficiencies in the lab. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory tracks the highest efficiencies achieved under standardized laboratory conditions. The highest solar cell efficiency on record was 47.6%, recorded in June 2022.



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Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
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