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  • Writer's pictureAdam H. Cooke

Best Solar Panels 2023 | Solar Companies in CT | Premier Improvements Solar

High-Efficiency Solar Panels: Top Picks for 2023

Shopping for solar panels in CT is different from shopping for a vehicle from the manufacturer. There are numerous differences between models, yet some investors may assume Tier-1 certification is all you need when selecting the ideal module.

However, such opportunities are usually only accessible to investors with financial qualifications from manufacturers. These individuals typically invest in large or utility-scale solar projects where project feasibility may only be a fraction of what research criteria require.

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After years of unscrupulous marketers using deceptive tactics and in the face of mounting criticism from industry professionals, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has finally added this statement to their application to subscribe to the Bloomberg Module Tiering List.

We strongly urge banks and module buyers not to rely on this list when assessing quality. Instead, they should speak with Premier Improvements Solar for further insight. They would consider both the factory where a module is made and the brand to give an informed assessment of whether the modules will perform as promised.


The list below represents solar module manufacturers deemed Tier-1 on any respected tiering platform in 2022, used for ranking purposes when applying Solar Analytica Data reports and data. Alternatively, this table presents a combination of product-suite and Tier-1 nominated lists (intentionally not stated) that are factored into Solar Analytica Assessment Criteria to place orders. Please be advised that this list should not serve as a bankability tool.

Over the last year, manufacturers have released more efficient panels with N-type heterojunction cells or HJT cells. The top six panels now boast an efficiency level of 22% for the first time; SunPower Maxeon remains at the top, but not as well as Canadian Solar, Panasonic EverVoltH and REC Alpha Pure with N-type HJT cells. SPIC and Meyer Burger high-performance panels equipped with IBC cells from SPIC have closed this gap while next-generation TOPCon panels from Jinko Solar, Trina Solar and JA Solar have further increased efficiency beyond 21%.

N-type cells are more efficient than ordinary ones, and their light-induced degradation (LID) rate can be as low as 0.25 percent annually. With proper care, N-type panels may still produce 90% or more of their original rated capacity after 25 years depending on the warranty details.

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Why Solar Panel Efficiency is Important

Efficiency is often discussed, but that doesn't guarantee higher quality. Efficiency may be the most important factor when selecting a solar panel for its performance and dependability, but quality should never be discounted. Learn more about selecting top-tier solar panels by reading reviews from customers.

Payback Times are Faster

Solar panels with higher environmental performance typically pay back their embodied energy (the energy required to extract raw materials and make the panel) sooner. According to detailed lifecycle analyses, most silicon solar panels can return this embodied energy in less than 2 years depending on location. Panel efficiency has improved to 20% and payback times have fallen as low as 1.5 years in some places. A solar system that produces more electricity than average (20+ year) solar panel life also will pay back its upfront cost earlier, increasing return on investment (ROI).

Solar panel efficiency is an indicator of their performance. This is especially true since many high-efficiency panels use N-type silicon cells with lower temperature coefficients and less power degradation. Companies such as SunPower, Panasonic, and LG offer warranties with 90% or greater retention power after 25 years of usage.

Area Vs Efficiency

Efficiency can influence how much roof space is needed. High efficiency panels produce more energy per square meter, so they take up less room - ideal for rooftops with limited area or larger capacity systems that fit onto any roof. A 12x400W high efficiency solar panel such as those from LG or SunPower with a 21.8% conversion rate will produce approximately 1200W (1.2kW more energy) than similar size 300W panels with an efficiency rate of 17.5%.

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

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

Real-World Efficiency

Solar panel efficiency in real world usage is significantly influenced by external factors. These elements, along with the local environment, can have an adverse effect on panel performance and system performance. Below are the primary elements that influence solar panel efficiency.

Radiance (W/m2)


Panel orientation


Location (latitude)

Dust and dirt

In real-world applications, panel efficiency is affected by irradiance and shading.

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Solar Efficiency Vs Panel Temperature

Under Standard Test Conditions (STC), a panel's power rating is measured in Watts (W). The cell temperature is kept constant at 25degC and solar irradiance at 1000W/m2. However, actual usage often leads to much higher cell temperatures due to ambient temperature, wind speed and solar irradiance (W/m2). In sunny conditions, solar cell temperatures tend to be 20-30degC higher than their ambient counterparts. This results in an 8-15% reduction of total power output depending on the type and temperature coefficient of the cell. Manufacturers typically specify the power rating for solar panels under NOCT conditions, or Nominal Operating Temperature. This provides an approximate real-world estimation of their performance under conditions such as 45degC and 800W/m2, which attempts to simulate realistic operating conditions for a solar panel.

Cold temperatures can result in power generation beyond the nameplate rating due to increased voltage of PV cells at temperatures lower than STC (25degC). Shortly, solar panels may exceed their panel power rating (Pmax), when exposed to sunlight for short periods.

The Power Temperature Coefficient

Power output is affected by cell temperature, expressed as a power temperature coefficient expressed in percentage/degC. Monocrystalline panel's average temperature coefficient is -0.38%/degC while polycrystalline have an even lower figure at -0.40%/degC. Monocrystalline IBC cells have an average temperature coefficient of -0.38%/degC while polycrystalline panels have slightly higher numbers at -0.40%/degC. HJT cells (heterojunction) are the most efficient cells at high temperatures with temperatures as low as 0.25/degC.

Temperature Coefficient Comparison

The power temperature coefficient can be expressed as a percentage per degree Celsius - lower is better!

Polycrystalline cells exhibited a pH range between 0.39 to 0.43 and Monocrystalline cells had an altitude range between 0.35 - 0.40, Monocrystalline IBC cells ranged in concentration from 0.28 to 0.31 percent per degree Celsius while Monocrystalline HJT cells featured an HJT range from 0.25% per degree Celsius.

This chart illustrates the power loss between panels with various types of PV cells. N-type heterojunction cells (HJT), and IBC cells exhibit much lower power losses at elevated temperatures than poly and monocrystalline PERC cell systems.

Maximum operating temperature = Maximum panel operating temperatures when exposed to extremely high temperatures on a dark-colored roof - 85degC (185degF).

On hot 45oC windless days, cell temperatures can rise by 20 degrees Celsius above their ambient counterparts, leading to a 5-8% decrease in NOCT's power output. If mounted on dark-colored roofs, these temperatures can reach 85degC - the maximum operating temperature for solar panels.

Most Efficient Solar Cells

N-type monocrystalline silicon cells (IBC) or heterojunction (HJT) are the most efficient solar panels currently available. Most other manufacturers utilize P-type monocrystalline silicon cells; however, many large volume manufacturers such as JinkoSolar and Longi Solar are transitioning to N-type cells.

Different solar PV cells offer varying efficiency levels.

Polycrystalline (14-18%); Monocrystalline (17-19%); Polycrystalline PERC(17-20%; Monocrystalline PERC18-20%); N-type (19-21%; HJT19-21%, 19-21.7%); IBCs N-Type 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 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 of 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.

Check Out our Recent Solar Installations in CT

Ready to go Solar? Click here or Call 860-969-4006 to be Connected with an Expert Today!

Panel Size Vs Efficiency

Panel efficiency is calculated as the power rating divided by the total area of the panel. While larger cells do not guarantee higher efficiency, larger panels with larger cells can increase cell surface area and boost overall efficiency.


1. Tier-1 solar panels are not yet available.

This assertion is supported by both Bloomberg New Energy Finance Report and PV Moduletech Bankability Ratings Quarterly Report data, which indicate there are no Tier-1 manufacturers available at present.

False: Module manufacturers that are not listed on Tier-1 reports are inferior. This statement is entirely false.

Module tiering reports often exclude some of the world's most esteemed and innovative module manufacturers. Solar Analytica data shows that these manufacturers have developed robust specifications not found in reports like Bloomberg NEF or PV Moduletech. Examples include well-known brands like Solaria and Solarwatt, Winaico or Solarwatt, Meyer Burger and Solaria with an excellent industry reputation.

2. Tier-1 Represents Quality. False.

In the solar energy industry, Tier-1 is used to assess manufacturer bankability over a specific period. This term is most frequently associated with large-scale projects.

Tier-1 status is a qualification that will remain with an individual module for life. False.

For each quarter, manufacturers can apply for Tier-1 status. Note that this endorsement and certification does not guarantee continuous accreditation throughout a module's existence.

3. Avoid Advertisers advertising Tier-1 solar panels.

As the wise investor, you now understand that Tier-1 panels are not available and there are no Tier-1 manufacturers of solar modules. This has little to do with the product's integrity; advertisers often employ buzz words to make their offerings sound better while taking advantage of consumers' lack of understanding.

Module tiering reports can be beneficial in securing financial qualification for certain projects. TRUE.

Module purchasers can gain financial and volume insights from certain module manufacturers. This data is invaluable for financiers looking to finance large-scale projects, though it should only make up a part of any project's considerations. A quarterly report is highly recommended for large scale financiers and project developers.

Still have Questions? We are Always Happy to Help!!! Reach out Anytime!!!!

Premier Improvements Solar can take care of all your needs for both Residential and Commercial property design, permitting, installation & inspection. With Solar Tax Credits still available it's the perfect time to start moving towards financial freedom from utilities. Servicing all areas throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts give us a call @ (860)906-4006 or visit for additional information!

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