Reviewing The Six Best Rated Solar Panels Consumer Reports

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Sun is the source of never-ending energy, which we as humans have not been able to fully utilize so far. We are dependent on other sources for power when we have the sun to provide us as much energy as we want. However, times have changed and special gadgets are made by humans to absorb the sun’s energy and transform into power that can be used by mankind in several ways.

Solar panels are one of the many devices that absorb the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. Solar panels have been in use for the past many decades, but they were used predominantly for commercial purposes.

However, in the last decade or so, solar panels have made their way into residential settings as well. Solar panels are available for generating electricity at home, so if you are interested in doing the same, then you better check out reviews of the best rated solar panels consumer reports consisting of six amazing products.

Best Solar Panels Reviews

1. Renogy 2 Pieces 100W Monocrystalline Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel Module

best rated solar panels consumer reports

An ideal solar panel to power up a few bulbs, fans and other light electrical equipment. Renogy PV Solar Panel comes in an encapsulation material along with multiple layered sheet laminations that enhance the performance of the cells and help provide maximum durability. The frame of this solar panel is designed using an aluminum frame, which is resistant to corrosion, thus making the unit suitable for outdoor use.

Moreover, the solar panel will overcome the harsh weather and wear and tear in a comprehensive manner, thus letting you use it for many years. As far as the glass of the solar panel is concerned, then that’s a transparent, low iron-tempered and anti-reflective glass, which will not break in case of an impact. The inclusion of a bypass diode in the solar panel lower the power drop that occurs due to shades. Moreover, the diode ensures optimal performance of the unit in low-light areas.

2. Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline 50W Solar Panel

best rated solar panels consumer reports

This is a perfect off-grid solar panel, which comes in a pair and inside a lightweight suitcase. Along with the panels, you get a set of wires with a length of 15 inches, MC4 connectors, and a protective casing. You can carry this solar panel case with you, courtesy of the adjustable and corrosion-resistant aluminum stand, heavy duty handle and latches.

If you love camping in your RV, then this solar panel will ensure that you get a regular power supply. A solar charge controller is also included with the unit that lets you know as to how much energy is stored on an LCD display. You can also set up overcurrent protection along with adjusting the voltage through the solar charge controller.

This is a high wattage solar panel system, which can help you power up a wide range of electrical and electronic appliances in case of an emergency or power outage, especially when you don’t have a whole house generator. The company offers a 1-year warranty on kit components.

3. HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel 

best rated solar panels consumer reports

Coming with a promise of providing high module energy conversion along with excellent performance in low light conditions, you can totally rely on HQST Polycrystalline Solar Panel in emergencies. Boasting high-quality components and longevity, you will definitely be more than satisfied with the working of this solar panel unit.

The junction box of the unit is water resistant (IP65 rated), thus offering complete protection against low-pressure water jets and other environmental particles. The solar panel features pre-drilled holes that makes mounting a breeze. Moreover, the panel is compatible with different mounting systems like Tilt Mounts, Pole Mounts, and Z-Brackets.

The panel is anything but heavy, plus its frame is well designed and given a high-quality protective lens panel. HQST Solar Panel is definitely worth considering because it has got all the features that people usually look for.

4. Goal Zero Boulder 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel

best rated solar panels consumer reports

When your motive is to save electric power and use the natural source of energy for powering up the appliances in your house, then Goal Zero can help you achieve your motive. Check out Goal Zero’s Boulder Monocrystalline Solar Panel, which is a small yet highly impactful unit to have in the house.

It can generate 100-watt power, which is good enough to light up a dozen things in a house. Moreover, this is an environmentally friendly product, which has no impact on the surroundings of your residence.

When it comes to the structure of the unit or its construction, then those look solid and long-lasting. The use of premium glass and anodized ensures that the sun’s energy is converted into electrical energy for a very long time.

If you want to transport this unit, then that’s very easy, thanks to the less weight of the panel. You can use this solar panel at home, base camps or in off-grid situations. As far as the warranty is concerned, then the company provides a 1-year warranty on the unit on all components.

5. ALLPOWERS 18V 12V 100W Monocrystalline Solar Panel

best rated solar panels consumer reports

ALLPOWERS has created a solar panel, which will last for a long-long time, simply due to its toughness and ability to ward off dust, water, and rust in a comprehensive manner. The use of high-quality glass in the construction of this solar panel ensures the longevity of the product. The curved style of the solar panel is there for a purpose, i.e., it allows easy mounting on a cabin, boat or any other surface.

The panel weighs just 1.9 kg, thus making it easy to move. The company offers 1 ½-year warranty on the unit, so you can get in touch with the company in case you come across any problem in the solar panel.

6. WindyNation 100 Watt 100W Solar Panel

best rated solar panels consumer reports

The fascinating thing about this solar panel is the guarantee that the company is offering on it. When you buy this product, you will get a 5-year guarantee on solar parts and a staggering 25-year guarantee on solar power. That tells a lot about the confidence the company has on its product.

The solar panel is capable of providing clean and consistent 100-watt power supply every day, but make sure that it is placed in a location where it receives good sunlight. The design and construction of this solar panel clearly indicate that it is built for heavy-duty tasks and not for charging cell phones, tablets, and laptops. The panel comes along with a sturdy mount, so you can mount this kit on any surface of your choosy.

How To Choose The Best Solar Panels

When buying a solar panel, there is no need to pay attention to how the conversion of light energy to electrical energy takes place. However, you need to take a thorough look as to how the solar panel will perform because that is the key to determining as to how much you can save with it. Let’s dive into the factors that will help you decide the best solar panel.

Solar Panel Ratings

When you check a solar panel, there will be a nameplate at the back or bottom of the plate where you can find the power rating of the unit. Power rating refers to the amount of power a solar panel has produced when tested right after the manufacturing process. The majority of solar panels that are available on the market have a power rating around 200-350 watts.

A solar panel with a higher power rating will produce more power. But, there is a catch in power rating of the solar panel, i.e., the power rating was calculated under ideal conditions, which most solar panels won’t get when those are rolled out into the retail stores. Yet, power ratings of solar panels are used to compare panels.

Power Tolerance

Certain variations sneak into the solar panels, and the worse part of those variations is that those can’t be avoided. Power tolerance is the difference of the actual power output of the solar panel than the power rating given on the nameplate. You will generally find power tolerance expressed as (+/-), so if you are using a 250-watt panel, then you will get a +/- 5% power tolerance, so that means, if the actual power of the solar panel is written 250 watts, then it will produce anywhere between 237.5 to 262.5 watts.

A solar panel that has a narrow power tolerance is preferred compared to the one, which has a wider gap simply because it represents more certainty. Make sure to check the power tolerance on the solar panel while checking power rating.

Solar Cell Efficiency

The efficiency of a solar panel is calculated by its ability to convert solar radiation into electricity. The efficiency of the most effective solar panel that is available on the market is around 22 percent, which you may find a bit low, but actually, it has improved a lot over the last few years.

The higher the efficiency of a solar panel, the more kWh (kilowatt-hours) of energy per watt of power capacity. A solar panel that is more efficient is going to generate more electricity than a solar panel of similar size and power rating. Buying an efficient solar panel becomes even more important if you don’t have much space on the roof where you want to install the panel. At the same time, you will save a lot on the energy bills as well.

Temperature Coefficient

While solar panels are meant to absorb the sunlight and convert the sun’s energy into electrical power, but too much of anything is bad, and this is true for solar panels as well. The temperature coefficient quantifies as to how much capacity of the solar panel will decrease at temperatures that are higher than 25 degrees Celsius or 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The solar panels are tested in industries at this temperature.

Warranties & Guarantees

While buying a solar panel, it is always better to pay attention to the warranties and assurances given by the company. Warranties and assurances on solar panels are not the same as that in other products because the power of solar panels decreases with time, with the most prominent decrease coming right after the first year. This decline in the power production of solar panels is called ‘panel degradation’.

Many manufacturers offer power production warranty in which they assure customers of the power retaining capabilities of their solar panels. If you see the power-producing capacity of the solar panel to be 80 percent after 25 years of use, then that’s the product you should buy.

When it comes to degradation rate, you will find some manufacturers giving a guarantee of about 0.7 percent drop in the production of power after a year. The smaller the percentage, the better is the performance of the solar panel.

Manufacturers also offer a warranty on the materials against any manufacturing defects, durability issues and environmental issues. These days, solar panels come with a warranty period of 10 to 12 years. 

Final Words

Getting a solar panel should be at the top of your list because a solar panel can help you get an alternative source of power, plus you can save money at the same time, as there is no running cost of these panels. Just pay the money at the time of purchase and enjoy free electricity for a couple of decades or even more. Pick the best solar panel from the above-mentioned list of best rated solar panels consumer reports and start generating your own electricity at home.

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