Solar Panel Guide

‘The Circle of Trust’

With our decades of experience, we have worked with a number of panel manufacturers. Below are our ‘inner circle’, the panel manufacturers we TRUST and we would be comfortable to put any of these panels on our own houses and businesses. Some of them are more expensive than others, but we would be happy to recommend any of these panels from within the ‘circle of trust’ for your own installation. 

Please click on any manufacturer’s logo to be taken to a page with more specific details on that manufacturer.

Canadian Solar Panel
Risen Energy Solar Panel
Tindo Solar Panel
REC Solar Panel
LONGi Solar Panel
Suntech Solar Panel
SunPower Solar Panel
JA Solar Solar Panel
Seraphim Solar Panel
Jinko Solar Panel
Trina Solar Panel
Find out which solar panels your local, quality, endorsed suppliers are using today.

What’s The Role of a Solar Panel?

Solar panel (aka PV modules) is an extremely important part of any Solar PV System. It’s what creates your own electricity and without them, you would have nothing!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sunlight hits the solar panels, initiating a process where UV rays excite electrons, producing DC power.
  2. The inverter then converts this DC power into AC power, making it usable for household appliances.
  3. Excess electricity is fed back into the grid, ensuring supply during low solar production.

Most solar companies will sell you solar panels that they can readily order or get at the best price. Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of ‘cheap and nasty’ companies out there in the marketplace, who are here today and gone tomorrow. This is why it’s important to talk with endorsed suppliers, who only use quality products, which have been tried and tested for a long period of time within sometimes very harsh environments that Australia can offer. 

To see what solar panels your LOCALLY ENDORSED company uses, then don’t delay, take action now, and have a chat with the professionals.

Click here to take the 3 minute quiz – no pressure, no commitment & totally FREE.

When you finally decide to take the plunge and look into a solar PV system for your home or business, you finally click on an advert link on social media, or type in ‘solar’ into your search engine, ‘HOLD ON TIGHT’, you have just opened a can of worms and entered what we like to call ‘The Solar Coaster’.

Suddenly the algorithms will have solar panel offers appearing on every page that you then go on, from every social media site to every website via their advertisement banners. It really can get quite daunting, you don’t know who to trust, who to contact, or which ‘special’ offer is the best.

This is why we started Renewables4U, we know there are countless options out there in the market, and we know it is becoming harder to understand and decipher. we are here to help you break through the confusion, see through the spin, and make well-informed decisions. then without any obligation, you can request quotes from local, quality and fully endorsed suppliers. Suppliers that we know will advise you with the best products and services for your home or business, as if it is their own.  

Key Considerations for Choosing Solar Panel

The type and brand of panel manufacturer that installation companies offer, can tell you a lot about the sort of business they are. Do they use well-established, tried and tested brands, with a long trading history behind them? Or are they using one of the new ‘no name’ solar panels that invariable pop up and then disappear just as quickly, leaving consumers with nowhere to go should they have any warranty claims in the future? 

Please take a look at our recommended solar panel options on the chart on this page. If you are offered a panel that isn’t on this chart, then please feel free to send us an email. We’ll gladly let you know what we know and feel about them from a neutral perspective.

1. Solar Panel Efficiency

Solar panel efficiency refers to the amount of sunlight that a solar panel can convert into usable electricity. It is measured as a percentage of the total amount of sunlight that hits the panel. For example, if a solar panel has an efficiency rating of 20%, it means that it can convert 20% of the sunlight that hits it into usable electricity. In today’s marketplace, most panels offer an efficiency of 19% to 22%.

Higher-efficiency panels are generally more expensive but can produce more electricity per square foot of panels. This means that you may need fewer panels to meet your energy needs, which could save you money in the long run.

It is important to note that solar panel efficiency can be affected by a number of factors, such as the angle and direction of the panel, the amount of sunlight it receives, and the temperature, So, while efficiency is an important factor to consider when choosing solar panels, it’s not the only factor to consider, as long as it’s above 19% then you’re onto a good thing.

2. Solar Panel Cost

The cost of a solar panel is an important factor to consider when choosing a solar panel for your home or business because it can affect the overall cost of your solar energy system. Solar panels can be a significant investment, and the cost of the panels can vary depending on the brand, type, and efficiency of the panel. For a panel of decent quality, you will be paying between 67c and $1.60c a watt, inc GST. This cost is solely for the panels and doesn’t include any other part of the installation or components. 

While it is important to choose a high-quality solar panel that will last for many years, it’s also important to consider the cost of the panel and how it fits into your budget, in general, higher-efficiency solar panels are more expensive. You must also consider the cost of installation and maintenance when choosing a solar panel. A professional installation can ensure that your solar panels are installed correctly and safely, but it can also add to the cost of your solar energy system. additionally, regular maintenance and cleaning of your solar panels can help ensure that they continue to produce electricity efficiently over time.

Overall, the cost of a solar panel is an important factor to consider when choosing a solar energy system, but it should be balanced with other factors such as efficiency, durability, and warranties.

3. Solar Panel Quality and Warranty

The quality and warranty of a PV (photovoltaic) module (aka solar panel) are important factors to consider when choosing a solar panel for your home or business because they can affect the performance and lifespan of the panel.

PV Module quality refers to the materials and manufacturing processes used to make the solar panel. High-quality solar panels are made with durable materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions and are less likely to degrade over time. they are also manufactured using strict quality control processes to ensure they meet industry standards for performance and warranty.

A good warranty is also important because it can protect your investment in case of any defects or issues with the solar panel. A typical solar panel warranty will cover the panel from 12 – 40 years! but the specifics of the warranty can vary depending on the manufacturer. A good warranty should cover the cost of any repairs or replacements needed due to defects or issues with the panel. Pay attention to the detail as some panels want you to send them back to the manufacturer to carry out any warranty claims, some state they can be dealt with on-site, which is a much more preferable option.

In general higher quality solar panels will come with longer and more comprehensive warranties, this is because manufacturers are confident in the quality of their products and are willing to stand behind them with a strong warranty.

Please also don’t get confused between a ‘product/manufacturer warranty’ and a ‘performance warranty’. The performance warranty will always be for a minimum of 25 years, and this guarantees the rate of degradation of a panel. This performance warranty is really not worth the paper it’s written on as the majority of manufacturers can find some way, shape or form to get out of it, the fine print on them is really something else.

The main warranty you need to consider is the Product/Manufacturers Warranty, this is the important one, don’t expect any less than 12 years, although the majority of quality panel manufacturers have moved to a 25-year product warranty, now that’s a nice bit of reassurance that you have many years of a good performing solar energy system.

4. Solar Panel Manufacturer Location

Over the past couple of years, due to the recent pandemic, there has been an increased murmuring in the field of ‘I DON’T WANT CHINESE’. In some ways, we understand the community’s concerns. But we all have to admit that China is the manufacturing ‘giant of the world’. It’s impossible to go through life without purchasing something made in China.

Yes, you can buy some items from China that have a lot to be desired. However, they also produce a lot of items that are of great quality. I’m pretty sure you’ve had a play on an iPad, iPhone, or Macbook. Yep, you guessed it, manufactured in China, and they’re pretty good. The TV you watch, the sofa you sit on, the fridge you keep your food in, yep, you guessed it, they were probably made in China too.

So, you can see where we’re going with this. You’ll probably want to buy solar panels that were made in China too! Yes, you can buy solar panels made in other countries, but as you would expect, the price increases.

The general consensus would be that solar panels made in Germany are the best. Personally, we don’t think the increase in price warrants the purchase of these. We have worked over the years extensively with Suntech and Q-Cells panels, both of which are made in China. The reason we like these is that they have the VDE stamp.

The VDE mark (from the original name, Verband Deutscher Electrotechniker) is meant to indicate safety and quality in electrical technologies. The VDE testing and certification institute in Offenbach, Germany, tests roughly 100,000 products from over 10,000 customers worldwide. It is one of the highest levels of testing in the world. If you know how fastidious the Germans are on quality and attention to detail, then you understand that achieving this stamp of approval means these panels rank highly.

China doesn’t always mean cheap.

Curious about which manufacturers lead Australian the market? Explore our top-pick list of the best solar panel brands to make an informed choice.

5. Solar Panel Specifications

As you would imagine, each solar panel comes with its own set of specifications, which is all the technical details that describe the performance and characteristics of that solar panel. These specifications are important to understand when choosing a solar panel for a specific application.

Some of the key specifications of a solar panel include:

  • Wattage: This is the amount of power that the solar panel can produce under standard test conditions, It is usually measured in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW).
  • Power Tolerance: This describes the range of power output that the solar panel can produce under different conditions, and is usually expressed as a percentage. For example, a solar panel with a power tolerance of +/- 5% means that the panel’s actual power output can vary by up to 5% from its rated power output (wattage). so if you had a 475w panel with a +/- 5% power tolerance, the panel could produce anywhere between  451 W and 498 W. 
  • Efficiency: This is the percentage of sunlight that the solar panel can convert into electricity. Higher efficiency panels are more expensive but can produce more power in a smaller space.
  • Voltage: This is the amount of electrical potential that the solar panel can produce, and is usually measured in volts (V). All panels should be rated at 100V DC as a minimum in Australia for safety. 
  • Current: This is the amount of electrical current that the solar panel can produce, and is usually measured in amps (A).
  • Temperature Coefficient: This is a measurement of how the solar panel’s performance is affected by changes in temperature. A lower temperature coefficient means the panel will perform better in hot weather.
  • Dimension: This is the physical size of the panel, which is important to consider when determining how many panels are needed for a specific installation and the surface area they will take up.
  • Warranty: This is the length of time that the manufacturer guarantees the solar panel will perform at a certain level, and will be measured in years.

6. Solar Panel Aesthetics

We guess this is all down to personal preference and the placement of the installation will have an impact on this decision. From our years of experience on the road, visiting consumers in their homes and business premises, some people really don’t care about how they look or where they are installed, they just want to harness the sun’s power and reduce their power bills and help the environment.

While other consumers are extremely particular about the placement and how they aesthetically look on their roof. This is probably more true with houses that have just been built, some people have fitted black colour-bond roofing, and want all-black panels with all-black mounting kits.

Nowadays, there are a variety of panel choices to suit everyone’s needs, if you have a curved roof, no problem, there are now flexible panels. If you don’t want to see panels mounted on top of your roof, no problem, there are now solar roof tiles that can be integrated into your roof. Obviously, the more you come away from the ‘normal’ rigid roof-mounted solar panel, the more the price increases.

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