The maximum limit of solar efficiency of ANY crystalline silicon solar panel is predicted to be capped at 29%. Currently there are NO solar panels which even get close to this level of efficiency. The most efficient solar panels are currently the Sanyo HIT Series range which boasts an efficiency rate of 21.6 percent.
It goes without saying that these Sanyo panels will cost you an absolute fortune and are not a good option as solar panels for your home due to a very low cost to wattage output ratio. The most efficient solar panels are generally strictly for instances where there is a limited amount of space and where the cost is not an object.
There is a big difference between the most efficient solar panels and the best value solar panels. In terms of pure efficiency, the cost per watt is not a factor in any of the calculations. The efficiency of solar panels is simply the ratio of how much energy is generated in relation to how much energy is input. For example, if a panel produces 200 watts from 2kW of sunlight, the resulting efficiency is 10%.
This calculation is quite often a subject of debate as the measurement of sunlight is far from an exact science. For domestic solar power a more suitable measure of solar panel efficiency is the cost per watt produced. The most efficient solar panels offer terrible value for money as the price per watt increases exponentially after the median output range.
The best solar panels in terms of value are kit sets and DIY solar panels. Putting together your own solar panels is the BEST value option, offering efficiencies of less than $1.50 per watt.
To build your own solar panel system this way requires you to buy a guide which will tell you exactly what to buy and where, and also how to out the bits together and install them. A detailed list of the best guides is listed on this page (below). Solar panel kits are the next best option and offer efficiencies of around $3 per watt.
The cost of the kit sets is double that of the DIY panels. The difference being that everything is provided for you to save you the time and effort of buying each of these parts separately. The end result is the same in terms of the panels you get. When looking for a kit set be you can get some great deals online. Be sure to check the price per watt to make sure it’s not over $3.50 max.
The most efficient solar panels are still the monocrystalline silicon panels. The polycrystalline panels are sometimes cheaper but offer a lower efficiency and they also won’t last as long, thereby increasing their overall lifetime cost.
The new batch of cheap solar panels are the thin film and ribbon silicon technologies. These are just like the ones you see in calculators and watches. They are essentially polycrystalline cells which are either arranged or poured from molten silicon. They have the same limitations as the other types of polycrystalline panels.