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  • Adam H. Cooke

Best Solar Panels 2022 | Solar in CT | Premier Improvements Solar


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Shopping for Solar Panels in CT is not the same as shopping for a vehicle by the manufacturer. There are many differences between models. However, investors may believe that Tier-1 is the only thing you need when selecting the best solar module.


However, such a place is reserved for investors who require financial qualifications from manufacturers. These are typically financiers involved in investing in large-scale or utility-scale solar projects. The project feasibility is only a fraction of what the research criteria are.



After years of abuse by unscrupulous marketers using deceiving marketing tactics, and amid a backlash from industry professionals, Bloomberg New Energy Finance responsibly added the following statement to the application to subscribe to the Bloomberg Module Tiering List.

We strongly advise that banks and module buyers not use this list to determine quality. Instead, they should consult Premier Improvements Solar to find out why. They would consider the factory from which the module was made and also the brand to give an informed opinion about whether the modules will perform as expected.

TIER-1 SOLAR MODULE MANUFACTURERS LIST 2022


Below are the list of solar module manufacturers that were deemed Tier-1 on any respectable tiering platform in 2022. These are used for ranking purposes towards Solar Analytica Data reports and data. Alternately, the table shows a combination of product-suite and Tier-1 nominated lists (intentionally not stated) that factors in the Solar Analytica Assessment Criteria for order. This list should not serve as a bankability tool.


In the last year, manufacturers have been releasing more efficient panels that use N-type heterojunction cells or HJT cells. The efficiency of the top six panels has risen to 22% for the first time. SunPower Maxeon panels are still the best, but not as well as new Canadian Solar panels, Panasonic EverVoltH and REC Alpha Pure panels with N-type HJT cell. The gap has been closed by high-performance panels made from SPIC and Meyer Burger with IBC cells. Next-generation panels featuring N-type TOPCon cells (Jinko Solar, Trina Solar, and JA Solar) have helped to increase panel efficiency well beyond 21%.


N-type cells are more efficient than panels that use ordinary cells. They also have a lower rate for light-induced degradation (LID), which can be as low as 0.25 percent per year. These panels can still produce 90% or more of their original rated capacity after 25 years depending on the warranty details.



* The most efficient solar panels have been announced and are expected to be in high production by 2022. Residential panels of 54-66 cells only. Last update July 20,22.


Why Efficiency is Important

Although efficiency is often used, it doesn't necessarily mean a panel with a higher quality. While efficiency is often considered the most important factor in selecting a solar panel for its performance and reliability, it is not the only thing that matters. Find out more about choosing the highest quality solar panels.


Payback Times are Faster

A solar panel that is more efficient in terms of environmental performance will generally pay back its embodied energy (energy required to extract the raw materials and make the panel) faster. According to detailed lifecycle analysis, most silicon solar panels can return the embodied energy in less than 2 years depending on where they are placed. Fortunately, panel efficiency has improved to 20% and payback times have fallen to 1.5 years in some locations. A solar system that is more efficient will produce more electricity than the average solar panel life (20+ years) and will repay its upfront cost earlier, thereby increasing the return on investment (ROI).

The efficiency of solar panels is a good indicator of their performance. This is especially true since many high-efficiency panels are made with N-type silicon cells that have a lower temperature coefficient and less power degradation. SunPower, Panasonic, and LG offer warranties that provide a 90% or greater retention power after 25 years of usage.


Area Vs Efficiency

The amount of roof space required can be affected by efficiency. High efficiency panels produce more energy per square meter, so they require less area. This makes it ideal for rooftops with restricted space. It also allows larger capacity systems to fit onto any roof. A 12x 400W high efficiency solar panel, such as the ones from LG or SunPower, with a 21.8% conversion rate, will produce around 1200W (1.2kW more) than the same size 300W panels of a lower 17.5% efficiency.

12 x 300W panels @ 17.5% efficiency = 3,600W

12 x 400W panels @ 21.8% efficiency = 4,800W


Real-World Efficiency

Solar panel efficiency in real-world usage is affected by many external factors. These factors, along with the local environment, can have a negative impact on panel efficiency and system performance. Below are the main factors that affect solar panel efficiency.


Radiance (W/m2)

Shading

Panel orientation

Temperature

Location (latitude)

Dust and dirt

Panel efficiency in real-world applications is affected by irradiance and shading.



Efficiency Vs Temperature


The power rating of a panel is measured in Watts (W) under Standard Test Conditions (STC). Cell temperature is 25degC, and irradiance of 1000W/m2. In real-world usage, however, the cell temperature rises much higher than 25degC depending on ambient temperature, wind speed and solar irradiance (W/m2). In sunny weather, the cell temperature is usually 20-30degC warmer than the ambient temperature. This equates to an 8-15% decrease in total power output, depending on the type and temperature coefficient of the solar cell. Most manufacturers will specify the power rating for solar panels under NOCT conditions, or the Nominal Operating Temperature. This is to provide an approximate real-world estimate of the panel's performance. The NOCT performance is usually specified at a temperature of 45°C and a lower solar radiation level of 800W/m2. This attempts to approximate real-world operating conditions for a solar panel.

Extremely cold temperatures can lead to an increase in power generation beyond the nameplate rating. This is because the voltage of the PV cells increases at lower temperatures than STC (25degC). For short periods, solar panels can exceed their panel power rating (Pmax), in very cold weather. This happens often after a period when the sun shines through.


The Power Temperature Coefficient

For every degree above or lower than 25°C, cell temperatures will affect the power output. This is called the power temperature coefficient, which is expressed in %/degC. The average temperature coefficient for monocrystalline panels is -0.38%/degC. Polycrystalline panels have a slightly lower average temperature coefficient at -0.40%/degC. Monocrystalline IBC cells have an average temperature coefficient of -0.38%/degC, while polycrystalline panels are slightly higher at -0.40%/degC. HJT cells (heterojunction), are the most efficient cells at high temperatures and are as low as 0.25 /degC.

Temperature coefficient comparison

The power temperature coefficient can be measured in % per degree Celsius - Less is better


Polycrystalline cells - 0.39 - 0.43 %/degC

Monocrystalline cells - 0.35 - 0.40 %/degC

Monocrystalline IBC cells 0.28 to 0.31 percent /degC

Monocrystalline HJT cells 0.25 to 0.27% /degC


Below is a chart that shows the differences in power loss among panels with different types of PV cells. The power loss at elevated temperatures for N-type heterojunction cells (HJT), and IBC cells is much lower than common poly and monocrystalline PERC cell cells.

(#) Maximum operating temperature = Maximum panel operating temperatures during extremely high temperatures, mounted on a dark-coloured roof - 85degC (185degF).

The cell temperature is 20 degrees higher than the ambient temperature. This equates to a 5-8% decrease in NOCT's power output. The cell temperature can reach 85degC if mounted on a dark-coloured roof during extremely hot 45degC windless days. This is the maximum operating temperature for a solar panel.

Most Efficient Solar Cells

N-type monocrystalline silicon cells (IBC) or heterojunction (HJT), are the most efficient on the market for solar panels. The majority of other manufacturers use the P-type monocrystalline silicon cells. However, many large volume producers, such as JinkoSolar and Longi Solar, are switching to N-type cells.

Different types of solar PV cells have different efficiency


Polycrystalline - 15-18%

Monocrystalline - 16.5 to 19.5%

Polycrystalline PERC – 17 to 19.5%

Monocrystalline PERC 17.5 to 20

Monocrystalline N-type – 19 to 20%

Monocrystalline N-type HJT 19 to 21.7%

Monocrystalline N-type IBCs - 20-22.8%



Cost Vs Efficiency

There are many panel manufacturers that produce different efficiency ratings, depending on which silicon type is used and whether or not they include PERC, multibusbar or any other cell technology. N-type cells with high efficiency panels are typically more expensive than panels with lower efficiency. If cost is a concern, panels that exceed 21% will be installed in locations with limited space. Otherwise, panels with the same power can be used by paying a premium. High-efficiency panels made with N-type cells will outperform panels made from P-type cells and last longer than those using P-type cells. This is because of the lower rate light-induced degrading or LID. It's usually worth the extra expense in the long-term.

A 400W+ panel with high efficiency from the top manufacturers like Sunpower, Panasonic, and REC are more efficient and have lower degradation rates. They also come with a longer warranty period.


Panel Size Vs Efficiency

The panel efficiency is calculated as the power rating divided with the total panel area. A larger panel doesn't always mean a higher efficiency. However, panels with larger cells can increase the cell surface area and improve overall efficiency.


TIER-1 SOLAR PANELS LISTEN TO FACTS AND MYTHS


1. A Tier-1 solar panel is not possible. TRUE.

According to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Report and the PV Moduletech Bankability Ratings Quarterly Report, Tier-1 manufacturers are not available.

2. FALSE: Module manufacturers that are not listed on Tier-1 reports are inferior. FALSE.

Module tiering reports don't include some of the most respected and innovative module manufacturers in the world. Solar Analytica data shows that manufacturers have developed robust specifications not found in reports like Bloomberg NEF and PV Moduletech. You can think of well-respected brands like Solaria and Solarwatt, Solaria, Winaico or Solarwatt, Meyer Burger and Solaria with an exceptional industry reputation.

3. Tier-1 refers to quality. FALSE.

In the solar energy industry, Tier-1 is used to gauge manufacturer bankability during a specified period. This term is most commonly used for large-scale projects.

4. Tier-1 is a qualification that will remain with a module for the rest of their lives. FALSE.

For a given quarter, a manufacturer's ability to be eligible for Tier-1 status is available. This endorsement and certification does not mean that a module will be endorsed or certified throughout its existence.

5. Advertisers promoting Tier-1 solar panels should be avoided. TRUE.

You, the shrewd investor, now know that Tier-1 panels are not available. There are no Tier-1 manufacturers of solar modules. This has little to do with the product's integrity. Advertisers often use buzz words to make their products sound better, exploiting consumers' lack of knowledge.

6. A module tiering report can be used to help with financial qualification for certain projects. TRUE.

Module purchasers can get financial and volume insights from selected module manufacturers. This information is useful for financiers looking to finance large-scale projects. This is just a small part of any project's consideration. A quarterly report is recommended for large-scale financiers and project developers.


At Premier Improvements Solar, We can handle all of your needs from the Design, Permitting, Installation & Inspection of both Residential and Commercial properties. With Solar Tax Credits still available it's a perfect time to start moving forward to your financial freedom from the Utilities. Servicing All the Connecticut and Massachusetts as well as Rhode Island we are always here to help you and answer any Questions you may have. Give us a Call @ (860)901-7619 or visit our website @ PremierImprovementsOne.com for additional info.


Are you thinking about making the leap into solar energy? To learn more about the process, check out our Website.



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