Do you think going solar might be the right decision for your family? Making the switch has the potential to be very lucrative, but you’ll get the most from your investment if you install the best residential solar panels for Orange County, NY homes. Take a look at five of the top brands available today and what you can expect from each one in terms of efficiency, warranties, appearance and special features.
- Efficiency rating: California-based SunPower is proud to boast the best residential solar panels for Orange County, NY. The company holds the record for the highest rating of any solar panel at 21.5% efficient. Thanks to this higher efficiency rating combined with a slower degradation rate, SunPower panels produce 70% more electricity than conventional panels over the first 25 years.
- Warranties: These solar panels come with a 25-year combined power and product warranty. This means SunPower will replace any solar panels free of charge that prove defective in this timeframe. Of course, this is very rare; only one in 20,000 SunPower panels is ever returned under warranty. Plus, thanks to a unique design that eliminates 85% of the reasons solar cells typically fail, these panels usually last several years past their warranty period.
- Panel appearance: Even the best residential solar panels for Orange County, NY typically have gridlines, but not SunPower. The sleek black profile looks great on your roof so you can reduce your energy bills without reducing your curb appeal. Lack of gridlines doesn’t just look appealing, it also improves efficiency by increasing the surface area available to soak up every drop of sunlight.
- What makes the brand stand out? Strength and durability: The roof is a very inhospitable place. Rain, snow, wind and hail beat on the shingles throughout the year. Conventional solar cells corrode and break down over time when exposed to this kind of environment, drastically reducing power output. SunPower solar panels are less susceptible to damage from the elements thanks to a solid copper backing, which provides strength and durability against impact and moisture that no other solar panel can match.
- Efficiency rating: Jinko Solar is a major solar panel manufacturer based in China, producing several types of solar cells and modules. Regardless of which product you choose, efficiency hovers around 16.5% to 16.8%.
- Warranties: This brand offers a 10-year product warranty and 25-year linear power warranty. This guarantees the panels will lose no more than 1% of production capacity over 25 years, dropping no lower than 80.7% of the original efficiency once the warranty expires. This is a standard warranty in the solar panel industry.
- Panel appearance: Some Jinko Solar panels are black while others are blue. The difference comes from the type of solar cells used in the product. Monocrystalline silicon (Si) solar panels are made from a single cell of pure silicon and appear black. Polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) panels are made of multiple crystals and appear blue. Black Si solar panels tend to be more efficient than blue poly-Si models.
- What makes the brand stand out? Smart modules: Jinko Solar offers three types of “smart” modules featuring built-in intelligent cell optimizers designed to maintain electricity production levels, sustain ideal performance, and disconnect automatically if issues with health and safety arise. This technology increases the cost of the solar panels, but it could be a great option if you’re looking to stay ahead of the curve.
- Efficiency rating: Based in Germany – the country with the most prolific use of solar energy in the world – Mage Solar manufacturers high-quality modules for residential, industrial and agricultural applications. The company’s highest performing Si modules achieve efficiency up to 17.3%.
- Warranties: Mage Solar most often offers a 10-year product warranty and 25-year linear performance guarantee, which is on par with typical warranties for the solar panel industry. Some of the best residential solar panels for Orange County, NY come with a 30-year performance guarantee. This warranty states that the solar panels will sustain 90% of their original output after 12 years and 80% after 25 years (or 30 years, depending on the exact product warranty).
- Panel appearance: Mage Solar offers two lines of solar panels. First is the Classic Line with quality, reliable poly-Si panels. These have a blue appearance and gridlines. Then there’s the Premium Line with Si panels, which are black with gridlines. Premium panels have a better aesthetic appearance and higher performance ratings.
- What makes the brand stand out? Start-to-finish installation: Mage Solar not only offers solar panels, but the mounting hardware you need to get your panels installed safely and securely. Choosing solar panels that pair seamlessly with well-engineered mounting hardware ensures top performance and keeps your warranty valid.
- Efficiency rating: Even with 40 years of experience developing solar cells, European-based Panasonic is still perfecting its solar panels. The newest model will be available in March 2016. This new version will boast a new company record of 19.7% efficiency. This is made possible with heterojunction solar cells, Panasonic’s own invention featuring amorphous silicon layers that prevent electrons from recombining, boosting efficiency to peak levels.
- Warranties: Panasonic offers a 10-year 90% and 25-year 80% power output warranty along with a 10-year product workmanship warranty.
- Panel appearance: In keeping with the fact that Si panels are more efficient than poly-Si, Panasonic’s most efficient solar panels are black in appearance. As with most conventional panels, they also have gridlines.
- What makes the brand stand out? Double-sided panels: With the ideal installation, you can increase energy production by up to 20% when you choose double-sided panels. The panels are installed away from the roof surface, which is coated with a highly reflective material. This allows the module to take up environmental light reflected onto the reverse side of the panel, increasing the amount of electricity you can produce in the same amount of space.
- Efficiency rating: Based in Minnesota, Silicon Energy produces solar panels with efficiency ratings up to 17%. While this is still a few points shy of the very best residential solar panels for Orange County, NY, they are still well above the standard of around 14% to 15% for conventional panels.
- Warranties: Silicon Energy offers a standard 10-year workmanship warranty and industry leading 30-year linear power warranty. When you know your panels will sustain high energy production for the next 30 years, you can more confidently make an investment today.
- Panel appearance: Si solar cells from this manufacturer make the panels appear black. As with most others, Silicon Energy solar panels have gridlines.
- What makes the brand stand out? Glass back sheet: A double-glass design enhances durability without creating much additional weight. The fully silicone-sealed junction box also offers improved weather protection. These features ensure a beautiful appearance and prolonged performance.