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How to choose solar products?

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by weijing3333, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. weijing3333

    weijing3333 New Member

    Mar 25, 2015
    #1 weijing3333, Jun 3, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2015
    Compare with these companies: JA, Trina, Yingli, Renesola, LDk etc.

    Which one should I choose if I want to buy solar panels? Why?
  2. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

    Feb 17, 2013
    United States
    I've never found a significant difference between companies...

    IMO the more important question is TECHNOLOGY...

    Polycrystalline vs Mono-crystalline Silicon
    Poly is Cheapest; Poly are the blueish panels Mono tend to be slightly darker... I prefer the aesthetics of mono panels; Poly Slightly is less efficient than Mono with a wider voltage curve, Poly panels are effected more by high temperature than mono panels.

    Back Contact Mono-crystalline Silicon
    Generally the most expensive AND most efficient. SunPower is the only company I'm aware of that makes these. All electrical contacts are on the back of the cell so there is no silver stripping on the front. Black frame on black backing with black cells and no front electrical contacts give it a very clean appearance.

    Thin Film
    Them main advantage to thin film used to be cost... now some silicon panels are cheaper. I'm wary of Thin Film since it's a chemical compound and chemical can break down. Silicon panels are one element doped with current carriers; It's not a chemical reaction it's a mixture. If a silicon panel stays sealed and the electrical contacts never corrode its lifespan should be virtually infinite. Thin Film has only been around for ~10 years. Silicon has been around for >30.

    I've used Suniva, Astronergy and Sunpower panels. I like the Sunpower most... but I've never found any significant faults with any of them.
  3. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

    Feb 3, 2015
    +1 for Sunpower. I deployed >30 of these in the Bahamas to power a remote island. Several of them were affected by a lightning strike and after reset continued to operate normally. An adjacent array with Astropower modules was completely destroyed.Of course Astropower was already bankrupt by then.

    I would choose first for manufacturer stability, second for technology. No question, my Astropower debacle influences my perspective. I do agree with nwdiver about choosing the best technology. When we buy Tesla it is not because of price! Nor should it be for solar panels, inverters nor energy storage.

    FWIW, the batteries I used on my island are still in service today, 25 years later, and have no sign of deterioration. They were ancient AT&T massive 100kg 2 volt lead acid cells designed to support remote telecommunications sites. I bought them used. They are proof that in some specialized applications old technology can be the best choice. I'd never buy them today.

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