Which solar panels are best?


There are literally hundreds of Solar panels on the market to choose from these days and with new products coming along all the time it’s a confusing world for our clients.   When we first started our Solar Business we focussed on one manufacturer but quickly realised that we needed to be able to offer a range of products so that we could find the most appropriate solution for our customers.

Many clients are doing lots of homework before picking up the phone and often ask if we do a specific Solar panel that they have shortlisted.  Because we’ve developed relationships with a number of different suppliers we can usually accommodate any specific requests but we will still go through the process of finding out what they want from their system so that we can offer advice and guidance if we think there is an alternative that would work better for them.  In real terms the choice usually comes down to the customers attitude to quality versus cost.  As with all commodities, you get what you pay for and the long term performance of a system will be better if the decision is based on quality rather than cost.

However, many clients are overwhelmed by the choice of panels available and ask for our recommendations.  There are a few questions we need to ask before making recommendations.

  • What is their daytime usage of electricity?
  • What is their annual electricity bill?
  • How much do they currently pay per unit?
  • How much suitable space is there? This is the big question.  We would measure this during the survey – could be pitched roof, flat roof, ground mounted in the garden and we’d look at orientation, pitch, shading issues
  • What’s the budget?
  • Where are they on the question of cost versus quality?
  • Do they have any preference on the aesthetic appearance?  E.g. some people with slate roof prefer black panels, some prefer in-roof panels flush with tiles rather than those that sit on top of the roof tiles

 Once we know all this we can look at suitable panels.  The panels we recommend are chosen against certain criteria.

  • Quality brand name – e.g. Suntech, Schott, Bosch
  • History of manufacturer and experience in the PV market
  • Panel efficiency, positive power tolerance and any performance enhancing features
  • Warranty and likelihood of this being valid for the lifetime of the panel e.g. Hanwha have industry leading warranty

The available suitable space will determine the size and number of panels we can use.  The next decision is then around which panels allow us to achieve the maximum output with the available budget.  If we don’t have a budget figure from the customer we will often provide 2 quotes based on two different panels so that they can see the difference in cost and features. 

For more infomration or an informal chat about your requirements, please call us on 01525 213103.