Solar energy is no longer a new concept. People have been harnessing solar energy for decades, utilizing it for cost-efficient electricity. Manufacturers have the know-how to produce the best solar panels that produce maximum results for many years. Solar panels come in several types, shapes, and sizes to meet various needs.
Professionals are not always required to install solar panels either. Some solar panels can be easily installed by the homeowner, eliminating installation and labor fees. With the right equipment and all the necessary parts, a homeowner is a short period of time away from harnessing solar energy. Whether or not it will be beneficial to the homeowner is another thing. If the wrong solar panel and system are being used, the homeowner will benefit very little from the solar panel.
Solar panels work by absorbing energy from the sunlight. The energy goes to the charge controller which is in charge of feeding it to the batteries at the correct current. The batteries store the energy for later use. Although the basics are the same, not all solar panel kits will work for everyone. Due to the fact there are various types of solar panels, systems, and kits available; it can become confusing or frustrating. A homeowner may find themselves spending a large amount of money on a solar panel kit that is not suitable for their home. Determining which is the right one is based on a few different factors:
Most solar panel kits can be used off the grid, a perfect choice for cabins that are completely independent. If you are grid-tied, however, that means your solar panels will be metered and will not use batteries. Grid-tied is more efficient because the panel will borrow from the grid when needed.
The size of the home and its regular energy consumption is key for determining the right solar panel kit. This helps determine how much power is desired for the solar panel to supply. The amount of power output needed is also affected by if the home is in a region that experiences mostly sun all-year round, or properly experiences the four seasons. Additionally, it is worth noting that local codes and regulations involve solar panels. Check to see what violations may occur beforehand to ensure proper installation that is code compliant.
The last factor to determine is the efficiency of the charge controller. The charge controller will either be a PWM or MPPT. PWM charge controllers are cheaper but not as efficient. Smaller installations will work well with a PWM, and the difference will not be that noticeable. For larger installations the more efficient MPPT charge controller needs to be used.
Most solar panels will be labeled as monocrystalline or polycrystalline. What does this mean? The majority of solar panels are made from a variety of silicon. Silicon purity is what creates the difference in types. Monocrystalline solar panels cost more but are more efficient. They are made with high-purity silicon. Monocrystalline panels have a long service life, and most manufacturers will provide a 25-year warranty because of it. An issue with this type is that if the panel is partially covered, it can cause the circuit to break down.
Polycrystalline solar panels are simpler to construct and cost less than monocrystalline panels. However, they are not as efficient. The panels have lower space-efficiency and may need to cover more surface area to achieve the same output a monocrystalline panel provides. They are usually up to 16% less efficient than the other due to the lower silicon purity.
There are many solar panel kits available to purchase on the online market. Looking at the reviews and ratings on each product always a great way to determine if the kit is worth purchasing. Below are some of the highest rated, online solar panel kits:
The Renogy 200-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit is a great system for homeowners who are new to using solar technology. It is also a great kit for off the grid structures such as RV’s, trailers, and cabins. The charge controller in the kit has is now upgraded to the 30A PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) negative-ground charge controller called the Renogy Wanderer. This allows the user to bump up the wattage to a maximum of 400W. Depending on the available sunlight during the day, a 50Ah battery only takes a few hours to fully charge.
Panel is 47 inches in length, 21.3 inches wide
4.5 stars out of 5
The ECO-WORTHY 20W 12V Polycrystalline Solar Panel Kit is the ideal system for everyday use over a long period of time. The corrosion-resistant aluminum frame adds durability to the solar panel, giving it the potential to last a homeowner decades. It can also withstand high winds and heavy snow. The panel is constructed with a tempered glass front, EVA pottant, and with a PVF back for enhanced durability as well. The 3A PWM solar charge controller has overcharge and over discharge protection for consistent efficiency. This is the perfect solar kit to use for DC appliance loads too.
20 inches in length, 13 inches in width
4.1 stars out of five
The WindyNation 400-Watt Solar Panel Kit is one of the more advanced on this list. The kit includes everything the homeowner will need to install the panels with. The kit comes with four, 100-watt polycrystalline solar panels, a VertaMax DC to AC power inverter, 30-amp P30L solar charge controller, BettaMax 100Ah AGM deep cycle batteries, mounting accessories, and all the necessary cables and connectors. This system provides an average of 1600 watt-hours or 135 Amp hours per day with adequate sun exposure throughout the day. It is an ideal system for off-grid structures and will also benefit grid-tied homeowners. Whether it’s for backup power or everyday use, the WindyNation 400 is a great choice.
Panels are 40 inches in length, 26 inches in width
3.8 stars out of 5
The Komaes Solar Panel Kit is an industrial and domestic solar panel kit that provides a consistent supply of energy. The versatile kit has the choice between monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels. It also works with either a 12V or 24v battery charging system. The panel frames are high quality, constructed from anodized aluminum for lasting durability. The back of the panels have pre-drilled holes for fast and easy mounting. The panels are tempered glass with a light transmittance of 93%. It can also withstand heavy snow loads and high wind speeds.
The kit includes a 100-watt solar panel, 20A PWM charge controller, and the necessary cables. With a high cell encapsulation, the Komaes Solar Panel Kit is efficient in low-light areas. It also works well for either an off-grid structure or grid-tied structure.
Panel is 47 inches in length, 22 inches in width
4.2 stars out of five
The HKYH Solar Panel Lighting Kit is an off-grid power system. The polycrystalline solar panel is foldable and provides light and charging capabilities at night. The kit includes one foldable panel, solar DC system; four LED light bulbs, five charging ports, and charging cords. The universal charging port has a 5V/2A outlet which effectively charges small to medium devices. The battery is lithium for long service life. The bulbs and charging ports can be used indoors or outdoors as well.
Panels are 27.2 inches in length, 10.4 inches in width
4.4 stars out of five