solar panels on field

How to Shop for Solar Panels: 7 Important Factors to Consider

With the cost of solar panels falling and the efficiency of solar cells increasing, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of homeowners are considering switching to solar power. It might be challenging to know where to start, though, with so many various types and brands of solar panels available on the market. So here are seven important factors to remember when shopping for solar panels for your home.

1. Efficiency

You’ll first want to consider a solar panel’s efficiency. This is usually expressed as a percentage and assesses how successfully a solar panel can convert sunlight into energy. The efficiency determines how much power the panel will generate. However, higher efficiency also comes with a higher price tag. As a result, while selecting your panels, you’ll need to find a balance between efficiency and cost.

There are a few key factors to look for when determining the efficiency of a solar panel:

  1. The panel’s power output, which is measured in watts. A higher wattage means that the panel can generate more power.
  2. The panel’s conversion rate, which measures how much sunlight hits the panel and is converted into usable energy. The higher the conversion rate, the more efficient the panel will be.
  3. The panel’s durability and warranty are factors you’ll want to consider.

A well-made solar panel should last for many years, so it’s worth investing in a quality product. With these factors in mind, you can be sure to choose an efficient solar panel that will help you save money and energy.

2. Warranties

Most manufacturers offer warranties on their products, and solar panels are no exception. Be sure to read the fine print carefully before making your purchase so that you understand what is covered and for how long. Some warranties may only cover defects in materials or quality, while others may also cover the performance of the panel itself.

3. Temperature Coefficient

Warm climates will reduce the effectiveness of solar panels since they produce less power when they are hot. The temperature coefficient is a measure of how much a panel’s output drops as its temperature rises. A lower temperature coefficient means the panel will be less affected by heat, making it a better choice for warm climates.

When shopping for solar panels, you’ll want to pay attention to the temperature coefficient. This measures how well the panel will perform in different temperature extremes. A low-temperature coefficient means the panel will maintain its output even in cold weather. In contrast, a high-temperature coefficient means the panel will be less effective in extreme heat. The average solar panel has a temperature coefficient of around 0.5%. However, some have ratings as high as +3% or -1%. These higher ratings often come with a higher price tag, so it’s important to weigh your options carefully before making a purchase. Ultimately, the best way to know if a solar panel is right for you is to consult a professional who can help you understand all the specs and make an informed decision.

4. Certifications

When shopping for solar panels, you’ll want to look for panels certified by an independent testing agency such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). These certifications ensure that the panels meet certain safety and performance standards.

With the cost of solar panels falling and the threats of climate change looming, more homeowners are considering switching to solar power.

One important factor to look for when choosing solar panels is certifications. Many reputable brands will have their products certified by independent organizations like Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). These certifications help to ensure that the solar panels meet safety and performance standards. In addition, look for panels with a warranty from the manufacturer. This will protect you in case of any defects or problems with the panels. With so many options available, researching before purchasing solar panels will help you find the best choice for your home.

5. Durability

Although all solar panels are made to withstand severe weather, some are more durable than others. If you reside in a location prone to severe weather, such as high winds, you’ll want to ensure that the panels you purchase can withstand such circumstances without being damaged.

6. Degradation Rate

All solar panels degrade over time, making them less efficient as they age. The pace at which this occurs is called the degradation rate, and it is typically expressed as a percentage each year. A lower degradation rate means that the panel will maintain its efficiency for a longer period before needing to be replaced.

The average solar panel has a degradation rate of 0.5% per year, which means that after 20 years, a panel will have lost 10% of its original efficiency. Despite the fact that it might not seem like much, this can have a big impact on a solar array’s overall output. In addition, the degradation rate is often higher in areas with high levels of humidity or pollution. As a result, it is important to maintain and regularly clean your solar panels to ensure that they continue to operate at peak efficiency.

7. Cost

Of course, the cost will always be a factor when choosing any type of product for your home—solar panels included. However, it’s important not to let cost be the only factor you consider when making your decision since cheaper panels may not be as efficient or durable as more expensive ones. Instead, strike a balance between all the above factors to get the best value for your money.


Solar power is becoming increasingly popular due mainly to falling prices and rising efficiency levels of solar cells. With all of the different types available on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start when searching for solar panels for your home. Keep these seven important factors in mind during your search to ensure you find quality solar panels that fit your needs and budget.