Whether for your house or your van, installing solar panels can significantly reduce your electricity expenses. The idea seduced you, and you prepared for it: you made your estimate, your profitability study, and your request for installation at the town hall. With all the cards in hand, all you have to do now is choose the model of panels adapted to your needs.
To help you decide, you should know that the current market is full of countless variations of solar panels. For example, the Renogy Solar Panel 100D-SS model is characterized by its slim size and high performance. The Eco-Worthy 100 W Solar Panel Kit features a PWM controller for high circuit protection.
Top 5 Best Solar Panels of 2021
How to find the most efficient and cheapest solar panels? Is it necessary to rely on the references of an online comparator for this? How to choose the best solar panels of 2020? To answer these questions, we present our comparison of the five most popular models of the moment.
1. Renogy 100D-SS Solar Panels
Have you always wanted to live in a passive house with independent energy sources? If so, start small and adopt an ecological attitude by installing organic panels on your roof. But which solar panel to choose? There are many models, but we have our favorite: the Renogy solar panel.
A Renogy 100D-SS 100 W 12V solar panel is made of reliable material with a multi-layer sheet of lamellae. This construction optimizes the performance of its monocrystalline cells and ensures its durability. This panel is resistant to high winds of 2400 Pa and high snow pressure of 5400 Pa.
Versatile, it is ideally suited for off-grid applications such as in the mountains, while traveling or on the beach. Small size and super slim, it is also suitable for installation on RVs, boats, motor homes, etc. It is quick and easy to install with its pre-drilled holes. It is also compatible with all Renogy fasteners. All this means that you no longer have to worry about where to buy a new solar panel.
- Versatile: Due to its size and configuration, this solar panel is suitable for various applications. It is compatible with use off-grid and on vehicles (vans, motor homes, boats, etc.).
- Resistant: Guaranteed for 25 years, this Renogy brand product has excellent resistance to weather conditions, especially gusts of wind and heavy snow pressure.
- Sold alone: This solar panel requires the acquisition of additional components, including cables, MPPT controllers, and connectors.
2. Eco-Worthy Solar Panel Kit 100 W
Between a Sunpower model and an LG Solar, it is not always easy to know the best brand of solar panels. Between a solar panel kit and a plate sold alone, on the other hand, one naturally turns to the packs. If you reason in this way, this model will arouse your interest.
The main characteristic of this solar kit is its capacity to generate 0.4 kWh per day with 4 hours of full sun exposure. It includes components for installation on RVs, trailers, boats, cabins, sheds, etc. It comes with a USB charge controller type PWM 20A, a monocrystalline solar panel with cables, a pair of solar cables, and a set of Z-brackets.
Its 100W solar panel is easy to install with its pre-drilled holes. It is equipped with a very resistant aluminum frame. This design allows it to withstand violent gales of 2400 Pa and heavy snow loads of 5400 Pa.
- Delivered in the kit: This ECO-WORTHY product saves you from buying multiple elements essential to the proper functioning of a solar panel.
- Charge controller for more protection: This PWM controller offers integrated protection against short circuits, open circuits, current reversals, overloads, and battery voltage drops.
- Almost complete: For a kit, it, unfortunately, lacks some essential components such as a wire to connect the charge controller to the battery or an extension cable.
3. Xinpuguang Solar panel kit 200 W 12 V
The choice seems to be made between buying a plate solar panel alone or a solar kit. The acquisition of a package is by far more practical and saves time. If you like all-in-one products, this one from Xinpupuang will make you happy.
This package consists of 2 flexible solar panels of 100 W each, one charge controller 12V/24V/20A, 1 set of 3-meter cables with a 2.5 mm² PV connector, 1 3 meter cable with a 2.5 mm² alligator clip, one 2-in-1 adapter set, and an instruction manual.
The panels in this kit consist of monocrystalline solar cells. They offer high efficiency. They are flexible and are suitable for curved supports (up to 30°) for motor homes, boats, trucks, trailers, etc. These plates with a frosted PET surface are very resistant to water and wear. They withstand the elements well.
- Easy to install: The frameless panels in this kit each have pre-drilled mounting holes for easy screw attachment. Also, they can easily be glued to their support with silicone glue.
- High performance: Thanks to its mono cells, this solar kit offers excellent conversion performance even in low sunlight.
- RV use primarily: It is not known if this kit is suitable for installation on the house. It is mainly suitable for RV—and exclusivity that proves a little regrettable.
4. SunHeater Smartpool S120U Solar Pool Heaters
The current market is not limited to the sale of solar panels for home use and off-grid use; there are other applications for this equipment, such as heating a swimming pool. If you are looking for the best solar pool heating panel, consider this model from Smartpool.
This SunHeater brand solar panel heats your pool water via a polypropylene heat collector. It increases the temperature by 6 to 10°F. The maximum pool temperature is approximately 80°C for daily exposure of 5 to 6 hours. This panel works in conjunction with the pool water pump.
Its system includes stainless steel clamps, two end caps, one roll of Teflon tape, and a connector. Its universal design is suitable for both aboveground and inground pools. This solar pool panel comes with an installation manual available in three languages: French, Spanish, and English.
- Cost productive investment: This solar pool heater is economical because it doesn't add to your electricity bill.
- Easy to use: This equipment does not require any complicated controls to regulate the pool temperature, unlike electric and gas pool heaters.
- Decreased performance in overcast weather: This specific solar panel only reaches its optimum heating capacity when the weather is fine.
5. Coleman Crystalline Solar Panel 40 W 12 V
The idea of replacing your solar plate system has been appealing to you for a long time but where to buy a new one? And above all, what is the best solar panel on the market for 2020? To help you make your choice, we present this Coleman 40W solar panel.
This model, in Silver, comes with a stand. It includes a 7A charge controller. The latter uses an integrated blocking diode that protects its battery from possible night discharges and overloads.
Its good weather resistance distinguishes it. It is a portable model that is easy to move around. It is a perfect RV (recreational vehicle) solar panel, for off-grid application and as a backup power source.
It is suitable for equipping a motor home, boat, or isolated accommodation. It is composed of high-performance crystalline cells. Its plates are encased in a durable metal frame. It is equipped with unbreakable tempered glass.
- Charge Controller: With this element, the battery does not risk overcharging or night-time charge losses.
- Resistant: This solar plate seems to be made to withstand changing weather conditions without any problems. It is weather-resistant and perfectly suited for nomadic use.
- Restricted use: Due to its size and power, this Coleman solar panel is mainly intended for nomadic use such as RVs and small applications (phone charging, lights, etc.).
Buying Guide - How to Choose a Good Solar Panel?
Are you confused about your solar panel installation project? Where to buy the best solar panel? Should you rely on a price comparison? Don't bother anymore with our advice. Below you will find the criteria to be considered for a well-considered purchase.
A solar panel is used to generate electricity. There are three main types of solar panels:
Monocrystalline: These panels are made up of single pure silicon wafers stacked one on top of the other. And these wafers contain black cells. This model is rectangular. It is the most efficient and effective type of solar wafer. Its efficiency is in the range of 16 to 24%. It is sensitive to diffuse light.
Polycrystalline or Multicrystalline: These panels are made of a mixture of different melted silicon crystals. Rectangular in shape, they are coated with sheets of glass. They have a bluish tint. This model is cheaper than its monocrystalline counterpart. It offers a yield of 14 to 18%. It performs less well under overcast skies.
Thin-film or flexible: These panels are based on different types of materials, including CdTe or cadmium telluride, a-Si or amorphous silicon, CIGS, or copper indium gallium selenide. This type of panel produces an efficiency of about 6%. Cheap, it is capable of absorbing diffuse light and is suitable for nomadic use. It is flexible because it is compact and can be installed on adjustable supports.
Even before drawing up a quote and consulting a purchasing guide for the best solar panels, you must first define the application of your future equipment. Opt for the crystalline model if you need an energy source for low-light and sunny homes. The polycrystalline type is suitable for homes with good roof exposure to the sun. Turn to the hoses for nomadic use: on a motor home, van, etc.
To make your choice more comfortable, you should also take into account the size of the installation space (in m²). For a global, large-scale supply, opt for the high-performance monocrystalline types if you have little m² available. A few plates of this type may be sufficient for maximum electricity.
Then you have the peak power factor (in Wp). This is the power delivered by the panel at 25°C, with light close to the sun and energy of 1000W/m². Knowing this index helps to determine the panel's electricity production over a given period expressed in kWh. However, this data is highly variable depending on your geographical location, your energy needs, and the amount of sunlight in your home.
By correspondence, a monocrystalline panel has an average peak power of 165 Wp/m². For a polycrystalline panel, you have 100 Wp/m², and for a flexible panel, this power is around 60 Wp/m².
Significant secondary criteria
In addition to their general performance, you can also choose your solar panels by taking into account :
Aesthetics: In plain sight, they have to be designed. If possible, avoid colored panels to avoid impacting their performance.
Brand: The big names in the sector, such as Sunpower, LG Solar, Systovi, Panasonic, and Tesla, offer top-of-the-range, high-performance models.
Guarantee: Preferably a model with an extended warranty is to be preferred. 15, 20, or 25 years is a guarantee of panel reliability.
The accessories: These elements allow the installation and use of the panels.
And if you're wondering how to buy a more cost-effective solar panel, consider your budget as well.