By Snigdha Phatak
Solar panels are the best source of clean energy. The production of solar energy generates no harmful by-products that may cause pollution. Solar panels can also last for over 25 years, making them a useful and cost-effective instalment. These are the two most popular reasons why most households in India are opting to install a solar panel on their roof.
If you’ve understood the benefits of installing a solar panel in your home, you may want to take advantage of the government subsidy. The Government of India provides up to 40% subsidy on the installation and maintenance of solar panels in homes. Given these advantages, installing a solar panel should be done now.
The big question is: which solar panel is good for your home?
There are many different solar panels available and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Keeping this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of five points that will help you choose the right solar panel for your home.
5 tips for selecting the best solar panel
Tip 1: Don’t buy a solar panel without knowing your requirements.
Solar panel installation is done according to a house’s average electricity requirement. Each household requires a different amount of electricity. There is no average number that will help you estimate how much power you need. Instead, you should look at your electricity bills to help you determine how much electricity you use. This can be done by two methods:
1. Calculating the average based on electricity bills.
Looking at the electricity bill of the past six to twelve months will help you calculate an average value. Most households have higher electricity requirements in summer owing to AC usage. Therefore, it is recommended that you take electricity fluctuations into account.
2. Calculating the maximum power requirement.
The maximum power requirement can be calculated by adding the power requirement of each appliance in your home. This is a lengthy task since you will have to add the values of each appliance in your home – starting from an electric razor to LED TVs.
Tip 2: Don’t opt for the cheapest solar panel available.
From INR 40,000 to INR 2 lakh, solar panels come in a wide price range. An average solar panel for home costs INR 60,000. Most homeowners opt to buy the cheapest solar panel available. However, this is not the wisest strategy. Solar panels can easily last for twenty years which means they will be a one-time investment.
Buying a cheaper model may help you save money but it may not last as long. However, this does not mean you should buy the most expensive solar panel. Instead, you should look at the features that the solar panel manufacturer provides. For example: is the solar panel mounting stand strong enough to withstand a storm? Is the solar panel frame waterproof? Does the manufacturer provide maintenance and support?
Understanding these features will help you find an economical solar panel.
Tip 3: Understand the two prominent technologies of solar panels in India.
There are two main types of solar panels installed in homes: monocrystalline solar panels and polycrystalline solar panels. Both types of solar panels have their advantages and disadvantages.
● Polycrystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline solar panels are the traditional technology. They are more economical to manufacture than monocrystalline solar panels, which means they are cheaper to buy and install. The disadvantage of this type is that they also have lower conversion efficiency. The average conversion efficiency of these solar panels is 16%. This means you have to install more solar panels on your roof to get the desired power supply.
● Monocrystalline solar panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are popularly known as the ‘premium’ version of solar panels. They are more expensive and require more maintenance. However, they have a conversion efficiency of up to 24%, making them much more economical to the buyer. They take up less space on your roof and can work in low light conditions.
Which option is better?
At first glance, monocrystalline solar panels sound like the best option. However, we recommend doing thorough research on both types to understand the difference. You should also take into consideration your location and budget before buying a solar system for home.
Tip 4: Decide on the final product based on after-sales service.
Solar panels are low maintenance energy modules. This means you don’t need to call a technician over and over again to make sure it’s working properly. Most manufacturers provide solar panel monitoring software which can be used to check the output. If you notice the output is lower than desired, only then do you have to call for maintenance or servicing.
However, this makes after-sales service and maintenance a key requirement.
When you’re buying solar panels, ask the manufacturer whether they have any local technicians to provide service. You should also inquire about the brand’s average response time and customer satisfaction rating.
Tip 5: Reading online reviews is a must.
Most people ask their family and friends for suggestions when buying solar panels. However, it is also important to read product reviews. This will help you determine which solar panel is the best and why. You can find reviews on:
- Online marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, etc.
- Online stores run by the manufacturer.
- The manufacturer’s website.
- Google product reviews.
- Solar and Renewable energy blogs.
Reading these will help you find a good solar panel for your home.
As you take the next step to buying a solar panel, keeping these five tips in mind will help you find the perfect fit for your home. We also recommend comparing two or more products before selecting the right solar panel for your home. Installing a solar panel might be a one-time investment, but you can reap the rewards of installing a solar panel for many years.