Solar industry is on the rise. People are installing solar panels on their homes, RVs and even take PV modules with them to generate electricity on the go. Here are the best solar panels for each of those purposes.
Solar power is now more widespread and cheaper than ever. In fact, the price for PV modules has dropped by 80% in the last 10 years. There are dozens of different manufacturers and hundreds of various models. But how to find the best solar panels among the multitude of just average ones? We’ve created a list of top solar panels or what we think are the most promising and accomplished PV modules in 2021.
Best place to buy solar panels
Let us state humbly, that A1SolarStore is the best place to buy solar panels in the USA at the moment. A solar calculator is there to help you to size the system. There is a nice variety of different models from all over the world in stock: Japan, China, Europe, North America. The shipment takes 10 business days or less. While you can order delivery, there is also an option to grab the purchase from one of the warehouses — so-called “pickup option”. You can take your panels as they are or have them properly packaged in a pallet — for this leave a note about “palletized order” while purchasing. Transporting panels is a delicate matter: cracking them will result in the decrease of their lifetime and power output.
Best solar panels for home
PV modules are great for homeowners: they can be considered a long-term investment. Net Metering programs that exist in every state, allow solar owners to stop paying their electric bills altogether. The average home solar system in America is about 5 kW — approximately 20 modules. Which models to choose? What are the best solar panels for homesystems? When we look at the list of best solar panels 2021,here are the models that stand out the most.
Most panels on the market have warranties for workmanship and performance. The first one ensures the module itself and covers the defects of the panel. The second stands to prove that the output of a panel doesn’t fall below a certain level after a period of time — usually 25 years maximum. Silfab has the longest warranties of all brands: 25-year workmanship and 30-year performance warranty. For example, you can pick a Silfab 360W 66 cell panel for your needs and this model is going to last for a long long time.
Panels degrade over the years. Usually they lose about 0.7% of their output per year. Hanwha Q Cells panels barely age: they lose only 0.54% per year. As a result, in 10 years the panels still perform at 93.1% of their initial capacity minimum. PV modules retain 85% of their rated power after 25 years. That’s on paper and in reality the rates are even better: 0.3% degradation per year. We can recommend Q.PEAK DUO 340W solar panel for a home system.
Panels degrade over the years. Usually they lose about 0.7% of their output per year. Hanwha Q Cells panels barely age: they lose only 0.54% per year. As a result, in 10 years the panels still perform at 93.1% of their initial capacity minimum. PV modules retain 85% of their rated power after 25 years. That’s on paper and in reality the rates are even better: 0.3% degradation per year. We can recommend Q.PEAK DUO 340W solar panel for a home system.In the last few years over 10 GW of solar power has been installed in the US annually. We can expect that the popularity of photovoltaics will only grow from here. Right now an average system costs between $10,000 and $30,000. The prices, however, continue to decline — in fact since 1977 they dropped by 99%. At the same time engineers keep on improving the construction of a PV module — panels become more efficient and powerful. Overall, if you haven’t gone solar yet, it’s not late and it’s not going to be late anytime soon.
Best solar panels for RV
Photovoltaics for RV grew very popular in the last years because panels have become cheaper and more efficient at the same time. The advantages of solar panels are easy to see:
- no sound, no smell, barely any maintenance
- panels work everywhere — they just need the sunlight
- no carbon emissions — you are helping the planet by going solar.
Camper vans are popular among Americans — about 11% of families have an RV. Adding solar energy to it is certainly a viable project: even one PV module can be powerful enough for everything in your camper van. Here is the list of models that can be called the best solar panels for RV.
Panasonic 330Whas a preinstalled microinverter Enphase IQ7 to convert DC to AC on the spot. With this panel there is no need to install an inverter in an RV. The module itself reaches efficiency of 19.7% Panasonic panels are pricey, but their quality is always top notch.
Dimensions: 62.6″ x 41.5″ x 1.6″
Weight: 43 lbs
Canadian Solar modules perform outstandingly in low-light conditions – they lose little to no efficiency in the mornings, evenings and on cloudy days. The Canadian Solar 315W module is very durable which is important with RV panels. The module is made to withstand 180 mph winds. Shading tolerance is better than average and the efficiency hits 19.26%. Plus these 315W modules come at a very affordable price.
Dimensions: 65.9″ x 39.1″ x 1.38″
Weight: 40.8 lbs
Chinese engineers often make the high wattage and efficiency of a panel their main priority. Trina 320W panels are cheap, but reach 18.8% efficiency and 320 Watts sometimes can be enough for the whole camper van. The design is great: black cells and black frame. However, the panel is a bit large and heavy.
Dimensions: 66.85″ x 39.53″ x 1.38″
Weight: 49.6 lbsInstalling solar on top of an RV can be tricky. You can hire professionals for this job or do it yourself — here is the guide on how to do it.
Best portable solar panels
Portable photovoltaics are still considered a novelty by some and in some ways it’s almost another market — the brands are different and not every solar store has portable panels in stock. Portable photovoltaics you can take with you for a road trip and install them wherever you want. Often they come in the form of solar kits: you get a panel, an inverter, a solar regulator, sometimes a battery, some wires and connectors all in one package. Portable PV modules are popular among campers. While the installation of a portable system is fairly easy, you have to pack and unpack it everytime.
While trying to find the best portable solar panels, you have to specify the qualities that you are searching for in the model. Size and dimensions sometimes are even more important for portable panels than for standard ones — that is if you want to carry portable panels around. The wattage of this type of panels is generally much lower than the power of modules for residential systems.
PV modules of Renogy have a wattage of 100 or 200 watts, weigh 25.6 lbs and are 54.4 x 18 x 5.6 inches in size. A solar kit contains a charge controller for the house battery of your RV with an LCD display. There are usually two panels in a suitcase. They generate from 500 to 1000 Wh during the daytime.
Panels in Zamp Solar Kit have a wattage of 90 or 140 watts. Its weight is around 40 lbs and the dimensions are 42 x 24.5 x 4.5 inches. The package includes 10A solar controller, wires, clamps for battery and ballistic nylon case.
Goal Zero Boulder briefcase has a 100W 26 lbs monocrystalline panel inside. The dimensions are 40.0 x 26.75 x 1.75 inches. It is perfectly suited to charge your phone or a laptop when you’ve stopped somewhere — just unpack it under the sun. The engineers managed to keep the kit somewhat lightweight without skimping on rigidity of a panel itself — it is protected by an aluminium frame and layer of glass.