Solar Panel Brands

The following are some of the Solar Panel brands that are known to produce/supply highly efficient solar panels:

AEE Solar – founded in 1979 with the goal to bring renewable, non-polluting energy not just to businesses, but also to residential homes.

Conergy Solar – pioneer in the photovoltaic industry and greatly helped in making solar power available to people around the world.

Global Solar – the company aims to bring solar to the people to integrate it into their homes and places of work.

Mitsubishi Solar – promotes widespread use of renewable energy source to save on energy costs and help protect the planet.

Sanyo Solar – the company boasts their high conversion efficiency products, with excellent temperature characteristics, and considerable output under diffuse and low light conditions.

SunlinqSunlinq are trademarks of Global Solar Energy Inc. It produces lightweight, flexible, weatherproof, and durable products that are proven to be stable that provides higher efficiency solar cell technologies.

Aide Solar – producer of high efficiency solar cells, solar modules, indoor/outdoor LED lighting products, and etc.

Goal Zero – innovator of portable solar power systems that powers devices anytime, anywhere.

NB Solar – one of the world leaders in the production or mono and polycrystalline PV modules.

Schott Solar – offers PV systems that generates high energy yields for a long time.

SunPower – provides residential, commercial, and power plant solar solutions.

Alps Solar – delivers innovative PV technologies for building integration to generate renewable energy.

CP Solar – specialized in the manufacturing of solar panels, design, and conception of PV systems.

Hanwha Solar – the company identified solar energy as the key growth engine and promising power source for the future.

Panasonic Solar – develops state of the art structure of solar products that improve boundary characteristics and reduce power generation losses.

Schuco Solar – offers high-quality PV system solutions for residential homes, businesses, schools, municipalities, agriculture, and more.

Suntech Solar – develops, manufactures, and delivers reliable and cost-effective solar energy solutions.

Astronergy – specializes in cutting-edge research, development, and production of solar modules.

CSun Solar – manufacturer of solar modules with extensive experience in the PV industry.

Helios Solar Works – manufactures high quality monocrystalline solar modules for solar electric systems use.

Perlight Solar – consistently providing high performance solar products that are subject to over half a dozen quality checks before being packaged.

Scheuten – one of the leaders in the design, production, and distribution of solar panels.

SunWize – one of the solar industry’s premiere providers of solar energy solutions.

AUO Solar – one of the top manufacturers of TFT-LCD panels worldwide, dedicated to providing innovative, high-value products.

Dow Solar – offers products that are ready to greet sunlight, but are also ready to stand-up the wind, rain, fire, etc.

Hyundai Solar – developed its very own residential solar generation kit into a widely-used commercial brand.

Photon Energy – an innovative company dedicated to provide best class solar power solutions that are reliable, cost-effective, and applicable anywhere there’s sunlight.

Silex Power – a company that’s committed to provide alternative energy solutions by setting up power plants utilizing existing technology.

Tianwei Solar – engages in manufacturing and sales of PV cells, PV modules, PV systems, etc, that are guaranteed precise and highly efficient.

BenQ Solar – provides reliable and highly efficient total solar solutions to support residential, commercial, and utility client’s needs.

ecoSolargy – offers high quality solar products at manufacturer-direct prices.

Isofoton – one of the world leaders in the implementation of solar energy solutions based on PV technology.

Photowatt – develops and produces PV modules based on crystalline silicon technology for different types of application equipment for residential central ground.

Sharp Solar – produces durable solar panels for more than 50 years.

Trina Solar – helps their clients in their efforts to turn to clean and more reliable renewable energy by offering efficient and quality products.

BP Solar – have built landmark projects and have installed various products in almost every corner of the world.

Eoplly – specialized in the research, development, manufacturing, and sales of PV solar cells, PV solar modules, portable solar chargers, solar tracking system, and etc.

Jinko Solar – producer of high quality crystalline ingots, wafers, cells, and mono and multicrystalline PV panels.

PowerFilm – world’s leader in the development and manufacture of thin-film solar products and modules.

SolarTech Power – manufactures high quality residential solar products.

Tycon Power – designs and manufactures remote power systems for outdoor applications.

Brunton – brings innovative and professional grade products in the market.

Kaneka Solar – develops and manufactures its own solar panels leveraging the company’s advanced materials knowledge and its competency as a chemical manufacturer for more than 60 years.

Q Cells – within just a few years, the company has evolved from a solar cell manufacturer to a leading PV enterprise.

Uni Solar – engaged in design, global sourcing, local distribution, manufacturing and sales of quality and environment-friendly solar powered products.

BYD Energy – committed to developing new green energy so has developed electric vehicles, energy storage stations, solar power stations, and other green energy products.

Evergreen Solar – specializes in wafers, cells and modules manufacture and the development.

Kyocera Solar – world leading supplier of environmentally sound solar electric energy solutions.

REC Solar Panels – leading manufacturer in the PV industry, transforming raw materials into high quality solar panels.

Solon Solar – provides intelligent system solutions for solar power plants.

Voltaic Systems – makers of products that produce and store their own power to run different devices anywhere.

Carmanah – one of the most trusted names when it comes to delivering strong and effective solar products for industrial applications.

First Solar – provider of comprehensive PV solar energy solutions that maximizes value and mitigate risks for clients.

LDK Solar – world’s largest producer of solar wafers in terms of capacity and a leading manufacturer of high purity polysilicon and solar module.

Risen Solar – started out as a manufacturer of lamp that turned into leading professional solar PV manufacturer providing world class quality of solar lamps, cell, and PV modules.

Stion Solar – manufacturer of high efficiency thin-film solar modules, making it an economical choice for large and commercial scale applications.

Westinghouse Solar – offers clean, contemporary look solar panels that complements any roof and style of home.

Canadian Solar – one of the leading providers of ingots, wafers, solar cells, solar modules, solar power systems, and specialized solar products.

Galaxy Energy – the company’s goal is to develop and market new and renewable energy products and systems.

LG Solar – with over 20 years of cutting edge research and world class development of the company’s superior products, including LG Electronic Modules.

Ritek Solar – dedicated to the PV product development and is professional to the production of solar systems and system deployment.

SunForce – manufactures and distributes both solar and wind products where products ranging from solar panels and wind turbines to PV system components.

Yingli Solar – one of the world’s largest fully vertically integrated PV manufacturers.

GE Solar Panels – the company is currently pursuing various projects that will make large-scale solar installations simple and affordable.

Lumos Solar – the company’s products are designed to make solar integration easier for the installers and more appealing on the part of the business or home owners.

Samsung Solar – products are known to undergone strict quality control, making the company world-class solar products manufacturer.

Suniva – manufacturer of high-efficiency crystalline silicon PV solar cells and high power solar modules.

ET Solar – committed to developing highly efficient and affordable solar energy products in both technologically and commercially innovative ways.

SolarWorld – one of the largest solar panel manufacturer in the world for more than 35 years, making the company one of the industry leaders.

Solar Panel Cost

“How much will a solar system cost” would probably be the first question that comes to mind when planning to install solar PVs. The question might not be answered without doing a little research work, though. Solar panel cost vary, depending on the type and the size of the solar system you’re going to purchase as well as your location.

The following are guides that you may use to be able to compute and have an estimate of how much installing solar PV could cost:

Size of your Solar System

Knowing the size of solar system you need for your home is one way to determine, or at least estimate the cost of a Solar PV. It may sound a little complicated, but with the following steps, you will be able to estimate the size of solar system your home needs. Then you can now calculate how much it would cost you to install the solar system:

1st Step: Check on your electricity bill your average electricity usage per year (kWh/year).

where:

kWh/year is the average kWh of electricity your house use in a typical year

Example: Your monthly electricity bill is RM100/month, therefore, you might be using 1000 kWh/month.

2nd Step: Get the number of hours per day the sun shines in your location.

3rd Step: Decide the percentage of your total electricity bill you wanted to come from the sun.

note: If you do you have a big budget, you might want to say 80-100%, but you have to remember that you’re still on-grid, therefore, you”ll most likely still be using even just a bit of utility’s electricity.

Now if you do have a limited budget, you might want to start with 50%, and talk to your installer about leaving a space for later expansion.

4th Step: You can get an estimate of the cost by using formula below.

where:

Array Size in kW = (your average kWh/year) / (365 days/year) / (solar hours/day) * (percentage you wanted to be covered) / (75% constant efficiency)

example: Your electricity bill is usually RM100/mo and use about 1000kW/month. You get about 5 hours of sunlight per day and you wanted to cover 80% of your bill.

calculation: (12,000kWh/year) / (365 days/year) / (5 kWh/day) * (75%) / (75%) = 6.58kW Array

**Expect your AC power to be about 75% of the DC power size due to efficiency losses such as dust, wiring, irradiance, and temperature, thus, 75% constant efficiency is always included in the calculation.

5th Step: Get an estimate of installing a solar PV with the solar array size that you have using a Home Solar Cost Calculator.

Solar Panel Installers Malaysia

Solar PV installers in Malaysia provide valuable service to people who wanted to take advantage of the solar energy. While there are many good solar PV installation companies in this country, there are still a lot that are considered as “bad” at their field. With that being said, you, as the consumer, should be more careful on who you’re dealing with. For this reason, you might want to consider the following ideas in choosing the perfect solar panel installer:

“If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is”

Just like in any other industry, solar power industry also has “dishonest” parties who have no other interest but your money. They don’t care about your specific needs and they don’t care of whatever outcome their work may have. So then again, if it sounds too good to be true, might as well think again and do some research before you regret your decision.

An accredited solar panel installation company – To qualify for Malaysia FiT, one of the requirements is that your solar panels must be installed by an accredited and approved solar panel installation company. By saying this, it only means that the company should be accredited and approved not just by the Malaysian Government, but also by TNB.

Who’s going to perform the installation? – Know if it’s going to be the same person who’ll climb on to your roof to install the panels and the one who’ll sign on the paperwork.

An accredited solar panel installer – Aside from the company, the person who’s going to perform the installation should also be accredited. This is to ensure that the installation is done by a professional. You might want to get the person’s accreditation number to make sure that there’ll be someone who would address your concerns should there be any issues or problems.

The installer must know a bit about everything  – Since the solar panel installation company you chose will not only be responsible for the installation, but also in handling everything, from purchase of equipment (from trusted Solar Panel Manufacturers) to rebates or programs that you’re qualified for, then you’re not just looking for a typical handyman, you’re supposed to be looking for an expert.

Someone you trust and comfortable with – In order to generate more revenue, a lot of solar power service industries push their customers for additional services that might no longer necessary. If in any way you feel pressured or uncomfortable, don’t sign any contract and consider finding another installer where you can feel that you’ll be safe.

Summary
In choosing for the perfect installer, you must remember that the installer will definitely come and go after the project is complete while you will be living with the solar PV for quite a decade. For this reason, making sure that your needs are met and you get exactly what you’re looking for are the most important part of this whole installation process.

International Solar Photovoltaics Manufacturers in Malaysia

In less than a few years, Malaysia has become home of the leading manufacturers of Solar PVs around the globe. Major solar PV companies in the country are considered as the makers of high quality solar products, making the industry as a main growth area for Malaysia’s economy.

Solar PV Manufacturers in Malaysia

Malaysia has emerged as one of the major “hubs” of the largest solar PV manufacturers in the world. With the country’s sophisticated Feed in Tariff Scheme, excellent tax breaks, fair regulation, supportive banking loans, competitive labor costs, and excellent infrastructure and facility, the Malaysian government has been very successful in achieving its goal to optimize the solar PV market in the country.

Several solar companies in the country are: First Solar, which is a provider of comprehensive PV solar energy solutions that maximizes value and mitigate risks for clients, located at Kedah Darul Aman; Q-Cells, which first started as a solar cell manufacturer that eventually turned into one of the leaders in PV enterprise; AU Optronics and SunPower, which has begun the construction of a new solar PV manufacturing facility (which will be completed this year, 2013) located at Melaka.

The Japanese electronic giant, Panasonic Corporation, is Malaysia’s latest investor and has established a company in the country that will serve as its new solar manufacturing base. Panasonic Energy Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. operates a solar production facility at Kedah, producing Panasonic Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin-Layer (HIT) solar PV modules, solar wafers, and solar cells.

IRM Group Bhd., which has acquired IRM Solar Sdn. Bhd., also ventured into renewable energy industry. The company has been granted the FiT Approval by SEDA Malaysia to generate 4MW of electric power, which will commence on the 2nd of August 2013 (for a 16-year period),

The San Jose based solar company, Twin Creeks, has also invested in the construction of high-power solar cell plant in the country, particularly in Ipoh, at the Kanthan Industrial Area. The project costs about RM1 billion, which are built by Twin Creeks Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., and generates around 100MW of electricity; after which, power production is increased to 500MW by year 2014.

Finding the most efficient solar panel is very important when planning to invest in solar PVs. This is to ensure that you’re getting a product that will not just meet your needs, but will also last for a long period of time, thus, guarantees ROI on your part.

Solar Glossary

Solar Term

Definition

AGM (Adsorbed Glass Mat)

Type of battery construction which uses saturated adsorbant glass mats instead of liquid or gelled electrolyte; typically more reliable compared to flooded (liquid), but also more expensive.

Alternating current (AC)

An electrical current that continually reverses direction of flow; powers electronic devices or appliances in your home.

Alternator

A device for producing alternating current electricity.

Amorphous silicon

A thin-film solar PV cell material with a glassy structure instead of crystalline structure.

Ampere (A) or amp

Unit of electric current; flow of electrons.

Array

A number of solar modules connected together in a single structure.

Array current

Electrical current output of a PV array when exposed to sunlight.

Battery

System in which stored chemical energy is converted directly into electrical energy.

Battery capacity

The total number of ampere-hours (Ah) that a fully charged battery can output.

Battery cell

Individual unit of a battery that can store electrical energy; capable of furnishing a current to an external load.

Battery charger

Device used to charge a battery by converting AC voltage to DC voltage.

Battery cycle life

The number of times a battery can undergo a cycle of discharge and recharge before failing.

Battery self-discharge

Energy loss by a battery that is not under load.

Capacity

Maximum volume (of c-Si or TF cells) that could be produced at a given time.

Cell

Basic unit of a PV module or battery; contains electrodes and electrolyte in a battery, to produce electricity.

Cell efficiency

Ratio of electrical energy produced by a photovoltaic cell (under full sun conditions) to the energy from sunlight falling upon the photovoltaic cell.

Charge

Process of inputting electrical energy to a battery.

Charge controller

A component that controls the flow of current to and from the battery subsystem to protect it from overcharge and over discharge; necessary to guarantee that the battery gets maximum state of charge and longest life; may also monitor system performance and provide system protection; also called regulators.

Charge rate

Measure of current used to charge a battery as a proportion of its capacity.

Crystalline silicon

Type of PV cell material made from a single crystal or polycrystalline ingot of silicon.

Current

Flow of electric charge in a conductor between two points having a difference in electrical potential (voltage) and is measured in Amps.

Deep cycle battery

Battery designed to regularly discharge 80% of its capacity before recharging.

Direct radiation

Light that has traveled in a straight path from the sun (also referred to as beam radiation). An object in the path of direct radiation casts a shadow on a clear day.

Discharge

Withdrawal of electrical energy from a battery.

Distributor

A wholesaler of PV products.

Efficiency

The ratio of output power or energy to input power or energy, expressed as a percentage.

Electric current

The flow of electrons measured in Amps.

Electrical grid

A network for electricity distribution across a large area.

Electricity

The movement of electrons (a sub-atomic particle), produced by a voltage, through a conductor.

Electrode

An electrically conductive material forming part of an electrical device. Often used to lead current into or out of a liquid or gas. In a battery, the electrodes are also known as plates.

Energy

Power consumed multiplied by the duration of use. For example, 1000 Watts used for four hours is 4000 Watt hours.

Energy density

The ratio of the energy available from an energy storage device such as a battery to its volume (Wh/m3) or weight (Wh/kg).

Fixed tilt array

A solar PV array set at a fixed angle to the horizontal.

Flooded cell battery

A form of rechargeable battery in which the plates are completely immersed in a liquid electrolyte. Most cars use flooded cell batteries. Flooded cell batteries are the most commonly used type for independent and remote area power supplies.

Gel-type battery

Lead-acid battery in which the electrolyte is immobilized in a gel. Usually used for mobile installations and when batteries will be subject to high levels of shock or vibration.

Generator

A mechanical device used to produce DC electricity. Power is produced by coils of wire passing through magnetic fields inside the generator. Most alternating current generating sets are also referred to as generators.

Grid

An electrical utility distribution network.

Grid-connected

An energy producing system connected to the utility transmission grid. Also called Grid-tied.

High voltage disconnect

Voltage at which the charge controller will disconnect the array to prevent overcharging the batteries.

Incentive programs

Incentive program the project is entitled to.

Install date

Refers to manufacturing equipment installation timing for a fab or a fab phase.

Installer

Markets and customizes PV systems for installation.

Inverter

An inverter converts DC power from the PV array/battery to AC power. Used either for stand-alone systems or grid-connected systems.

Irradiance

The solar power incident on a surface, usually expressed in kilowatts per square meter. Irradiance multiplied by time gives insolation.

Kilowatt(kW)

A unit of electrical power equal to 1000 Watts.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh)

A unit that describes the amount of energy that derives from a power of 1000 Watts acting over a period of 1 hour. 1 kWh equals 3600 kJ.

kWh Output

Estimated first year kilowatt hour output of the PV system. Often the output on which the PPA price is paid.

Liquid electrolyte battery

A battery containing a liquid solution of an electrolyte in a solvent (e.g. sulfuric acid in water). Also called a flooded battery because the plates are covered with the electrolyte solution.

Maintenance free battery

A sealed battery to which water cannot be added to maintain the level of the

Maximum power point tracker (MPPT)

A power conditioning unit that automatically operates the PV generator at its MPP under all conditions. An MPPT will typically increase power delivered to the system by 10% to 40%, depending on climate conditions and battery state of charge.

Megawatt (MW)

A measurement of power equal to one million Watts.

Megawatt-hour (MWh)

A measurement of power with respect to time (i.e. energy). One megawatt-hour is equal to one megawatt being used for a period of one hour, or one kilowatt being used for 1000 hours.

Module supplier

Suppliers of modules.

Module type

Type of modules – c-Si:multi/mono; TF:a-Si/CdTe/CIGS; CPV.

Monocrystalline solar cell

A form of solar cell made from a thin slice of a single large crystal of silicon.

Multicrystalline

A material that has solidified at a rate such that many small crystals (crystallites) form. The atoms within a single crystallite are symmetrically arranged with a particular orientation, whereas the crystallites themselves are differently oriented. The multitude of grain boundaries in the material (between the crystallites) reduce the cell efficiency. Multicrystalline is also referred to as polycrystalline.

MW

Megawatts.

Off-grid applications

use independent, or stand-alone, power generation systems, normally with a form of storage such as batteries, to provide a continuous power capability. They include rural applications where the system may power lighting, TV and radio, and industrial applications such as telecommunications, navigation aids and cathodic protection systems.

On-grid applications

Application characterized by connection of the PV system to the main electricity supply such that excess energy generated by the system can be exported to the grid, and electricity can be drawn from the grid in times of a shortfall in PV output, or to meet high daytime loads.

Overcharge

Applying current to a fully charged battery, which can damage the battery.

Panel

Used interchangeably with “module”.

Parallel connected

A method of connection in which positive terminals are connected together and negative terminals are connected together. Current output adds and voltage remains the same.

Peak sun hours

The equivalent number of hours per day when solar irradiance averages 1000 W/m2.

Photovoltaic (PV)

Any device which produces free electrons when exposed to light.

Photovoltaic (PV) array

A number of PV modules connected together in a single structure.

Photovoltaic (PV) cell

The smallest discrete element in a PV module that performs the conversion of light into electrical energy to produce a DC current and voltage.

Photovoltaic (PV) module

A single assembly of solar cells and ancillary parts, such as interconnections, terminals, (and protective devices such as diodes) intended to generate DC power under un-concentrated sunlight. The structural (load carrying) member of a module can either be the top layer (superstrate) or the back layer (substrate). [UL 1703]

Photovoltaic (PV) panel

Term often used interchangeably with PV module (especially in single module systems).

Photovoltaic cell

The semiconductor device that converts solar irradiance (light) into DC electricity.

Polycrystalline cell

A wafer of silicon with a multi-grained structure. All grains have the same atomic crystal lattice, however, each grain has a unique orientation in space thereby producing a unique reflection of light.

Polycrystalline silicon

A material used to make solar PV cells which consists of many crystals, compared to single crystal silicon.

Power

The rate of doing work. Expressed as Watts (W). For example, a generator rated at 800 watts can provide that amount of power continuously. 1 Watt = 1 joule/sec.

PV

Abbreviation for photovoltaics.

PV array

Two or more photovoltaic panels wired in series and or parallel.

PV components

The individual parts of a PV system. Includes batteries, inverters, regulators, wiring.

PV system

All the parts in combination required to generate solar electricity.

Renewable energy

Energy that is produced from a renewable source.

Series connected

A method of connection in which the positive terminal of one device is connected to the negative terminal of another. The voltages add and the current is limited to the least of any device in the string.

Silicon (Si)

A chemical element with atomic number 14, a dark gray semi-metal. Occurs in a wide range of silicate minerals and makes up approximately 28% of the earth’s crust (by weight). Silicon has a face-centered cubic lattice structure like diamond. The most common semiconductor material used in making PV cells either traditionally in its crystalline form or more recently as an amorphous thin film.

Solar energy

Energy from the sun.

Solar module

A device used to convert light from the sun directly into DC electricity by using the photovoltaic effect. Usually made of multiple solar cells bonded between glass and a backing material. A typical solar module has 100 Watts of power output (but module powers can range from 1 Watt to 300 Watts) and dimensions of 2 feet by 4 feet.

Solar power

Electricity generated by conversion of sunlight, either directly through the use of photovoltaic panels, or indirectly through solar-thermal processes.

Stand-alone (PV system)

A solar PV system that operates without connection to a grid supplying electricity.

Storage

Storing energy in a battery or battery stack. In water pumping, storage can be achieved by pumping water to a storage tank.

Storage density

The capacity of a battery, in amp-hours compared to its weight. Measured in Watt-hours per kilogram.

Thin film

A layer of semiconductor material, a few microns or less in thickness, used to make photovoltaic cells. Examples are copper indium diselenide, cadmium telluride, gallium arsenide, and amorphous silicon.

Tracker

Any device used to direct a PV array towards the sun.

Tracking array

A PV array that is moved to follow the path of the sun in order to maintain the maximum incident solar radiation on its surface. The two most common methods are single-axis tracking in which the array tracks the sun from east to west, and two-axis tracking in which the array points directly at the sun all the time. Two-axis tracking arrays capture the maximum possible daily energy. Typically, a single axis tracker will give 15% to 25% more power per day, and dual axis tracking will add a further 5%.

Utility-interactive inverter

An inverter that can operate only when connected to the utility grid supply and an output voltage frequency fully synchronized with the utility power.

Volt

The unit of electric potential and potential difference. The amount of work done per unit charge in moving a charge from one place to another. The potential difference across a resistance of 1 Ohm when a current of 1 Amp is flowing.

Voltage

Unit of measurement for the electrical pressure of electricity. Measured in Volts (V).

Voltage drop

The voltage lost along a length of wire or conductor due to the resistance of that conductor. Also applies to resistors. The voltage drop is calculated by using Ohm’s Law.

Voltage regulator

A device that controls the operating voltage of a photovoltaic array.

Watt (W)

The unit of electrical power commonly used to define the electricity consumption of an appliance. The power developed when a current of one ampere flows through a potential difference of one volt; 1/746 of a horsepower. 1 Watt = 1 Joule.

Watt hour (Wh)

A unit of energy equal to one Watt of power being used for one hour.

Watt/kilowatt/megawatt/gigawatt

Units of electrical power (that is, the rate at which electrical energy is generated) increasing in scale by a factor of 1000.

Solar Electricity FAQ

The following are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about solar electricity.

Q: What is “solar power”?

A: Solar power is the energy that is generated from the sun, which are then converted into electricity.

Q: What are the different types of solar systems?

A: Monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), and solar hot water (thermal) panels are the different types of solar systems. Q:

What size of solar system do I need?

A: Knowing the size of solar system your house may need will depend on various factors such as your average electricity usage, your house or property location, and the amount of electricity you want to come from the sun. You may use a solar power calculator to give you an estimate solar panel cost.

Q: Do I have an acceptable location for solar?

A: In most cases, yes. Solar panels perform well when facing south, that is from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. But if it’s not feasible in your location or if your only option is facing east or west side, you can still get reasonable power from the sun (about 15-20%) or you can mount the systems to be able to get more sun power.

Q: How durable are the systems and how long will it last?

A: Solar panels from a credible and accredited solar panel manufacturers goes through an intensive testing and quality control to ensure efficiency and durability. This makes the solar panels to last even up to 20 years.

Q: Will I really see a return on my investment?

A: Home solar PV investment returns are guaranteed, which is equal to approximately 14% ROI per year.

Q: What are Solar Renewable Energy Certificates?

A: Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) are forms of renewable energy certificates that are present in countries with specific requirements for solar energy. It represents the environmental features or benefits of generated electricity from your solar power system. These forms are regularly issued to you each time your system generates 1000 kWh of electricity.

Q: Is solar energy reliable?

A: Yes, solar energy is reliable. Because solar power is renewable and infinite, it will generate solar power for as long as the sun exists.

Q: Will the panels cause leaks in my roof?

A: Integrated PV tiles or solar panels that are installed within the roof are specifically designed to work as a whole roof system, which shouldn’t be causing any leaks or any roof problems.

Q: What factors affect the design of a solar system?

A: Some factors that affect the design of a solar system are shading, the roof’s angle, the number of shade trees, and some other obstructions.

Q: What is roof orientation and what is its importance to having effective solar system?

A: Roof orientation is the direction where the roof is facing. The perfect roof should be facing south to get an optimum exposure for the entire year.

Q: Does my solar system require batteries?

A: It actually depends on the type of solar power system you have. Grid-connected solar power systems doesn’t require batteries as excess power your system generates is sent to the power grid, which will then used by other consumers (you get credit for this excess generated power). Off-grid solar PVs on the other hand would require batteries as these solar PVs wouldn’t have power without batteries.

Q: Does solar system still work when it’s cool, cloudy, or foggy?

A: Yes. Solar panels would still work fine in medium light and will still generate significant energy in the fog, or cloudy days, although generation will be reduced (same with shading from a building or a tree/s).

Q: What maintenance do solar panels require?

A: Since there are no moving parts, solar panels don’t require very intensive maintenance. Although you may need to inspect your panels for any debris or dirt that may collect on them.

Most Efficient Solar Panels

What you may initially hear from a lot of people who are planning to install solar PVs are these questions:

Which is the most efficient solar panel?“, or “Which brand is the best?“.

Asking these questions is natural especially if you have plans to invest on it. Searching for the perfect solar panel is what we all want; those that are efficient enough to produce enough power to generate electricity. For this reason, the following list of the most efficient solar panel in international solar PV industry is made to help you decide which would be the best for your needs. (The following lists were made by Solar Plaza and were first published on December 2011 and March 2012 respectively. Manufacturers in Malaysia may or may not be included in the list, but that doesn’t make their products less efficient.) World’s Most Efficient Solar PV Modules (Polycrystalline) *published December 12, 2011

Manufacturer Module Efficiency

Module

Type

Cell Efficiency Cell Type
Solland Solar 16.00% Sunweb
60 cells polycrystalline Si, Sunweb
Siliken 15.70% SLK72P6L-305 18.33% 72 polycrystalline 156x156mm
LDK Solar 15.67% LDK-200P-24(s)
72 (6×12) polycrystalline silicon solar cells 125×125 mm
Vikram 15.63% Eldora 280 (300)

72 pcs poly-crystalline solar cells (156x156mm), 2BB & 3BB

Wiosun 15.54% E300P 17.12% 72 x 156x156mm polycrystalline
A2peak 15.50% P3-235-60 (250)

60 polycrystalline 3 bus bar solar cells, 156x156mm

CNPV solar 15.40% CNPV-300P 17.10%

72 cells (156×156 mm) in a 6×12 matrix connected in series

Latitude Solar 15.30% Latitude P6-60/6 (250)
Polycrystalline, 60 pcs, 156 x 156 mm

JA Solar

15.29% JAP6-60-250
60 polycrystalline 156x156mm
China Sunergy 15.24% CSUN295-72P

World’s Most Efficient Solar PV (Monocrystalline Cells) *published March 27, 2012

Manufacturer

Cell Efficiency

Cell Type

Size

Sunpower

22.5%

Maxeon Cell Technology

130×130 mm

Sanyo Electric

20.2%

HIT Solar Cell Structure

110×110 mm

JA Solar

20.0%

JAC M6SL Secium

156×156 mm

Suntech

19.7%

Pluto Cell

156×156 mm

Suniva

19.4%

ARTisun Select

156×156 mm

Shinsung Solar Energy

19.4%

SH-1940S3

156×156 mm

E-Ton

19.3%

Mono Cell 3BB

156×156 mm

Motech

19.2%

XS156B3-200R X-Cells

156×156 mm

Neo Solar Power

19.2%

Perfect 19

156×156 mm

Solartech Energy

19.1%

SR-156-3

156×156 mm

Solar PV Battery Storage

Solar PV Battery Storage

For many solar systems, batteries are needed both for grid-tied and off-grid installations. Solar PV Battery Storage stores direct current (DC) energy when there’s an excess generated energy by solar modules, and then distribute it back when it’s needed.

Without a battery to store generated energy, you will only get to have power when there’s sunlight or a generator running. For this reason, a back up system may also be required. The following are the four basic types of batteries:

Types of Solar PV Batteries

  • RV/Marine Types – deep cycle battery that are typically for boats and campers as it’s only suitable for small systems.
  • Flooded Types – one of the 3 heavy industrial type batteries; lead acid batteries which have caps to add water;releases gas when charged.
  • Gel Type – another heavy industrial type battery which basically has no vent system and does not release gas during charging unlike flooded types.
  • AGM – Absorbed Glass Mat or AGM batteries are usually expensive, but does not leak/spill, and does not release gas when being charged so you basically get what you pay for.

To maintain battery charge, Solar PVs continue to recharge the batteries every day to be able to still provide power supply even during a power failure.

*Note: What is deep cycle battery? Deep cycle batteries are lead-acid batteries. They are often used in off-grid solar & wind power applications. They are designed to be regularly deeply discharged to a greater depth.

Benefits of Solar PV Battery Storage

  • No/less maintenance
  • No pollution
  • Continuous flow of energy power
  • Recharge each day by solar PVs
  • Available in various types for specific applications

Cost for Solar Panel Installation

Malaysian homeowners or property owners now have the chance to generate electricity and actually get paid for it by TNB. This is possible under the Malaysia FiT System, which aims to promote the development of Renewable Energy. While there are various choices of RE sources, Solar PV seems to be the most feasible option for most residents in Malaysia. But one question that quickly comes to mind if you intend to put up solar panels in your home would probably be the cost. How much would it cost you to install solar panel? Cost for Solar Panel Installation The above image is a sample set of home solar PV which is expected to cost around RM60,000. It may sound a little expensive, but considering the long-term profit Malaysia FiT offers, return of investment surely looks favorable. Based on studies, a 2-storey residential house with 4kWp Solar PV System (Roof Integrated) installed, which costs RM50,000 in 2013, is expected to have 12.24% rate of ROI. That only takes a little over 7 years for the payback of the system assuming that the system yields 1250kWh/kWp/annum totalling 5,000kWh/annum (total system yield). If you’ll manually calculate it, it’ll goes out as: RM1.13 + 0.24 = RM1.37/kWh which gives a revenue of RM6,800 per annum
where:
  • Installed capacity up to and including 4kWp with a qualified FiT Rate of RM1.13;
  • Additional for installation in buildings/building structures with a qualified FiT Rate of +0.2392 (computation above is rounded off to 0.24).

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The exact cost for solar panel installation, though, will still depend on various variables that greatly affects the price. If your home is off-grid, costs may be different as you will need to have additional PV System Components such storage batteries, charge controller, and monitors. You will then need to know how much energy your home will be using and the number of batteries you will need for storage. You’ll also most likely have a backup generator to help maintain your battery life, thus, protecting a part of your investment. If your home is on-grid, before you can get an estimate of the cost, you first need to know your objectives in installing solar panels. If you’re searching for self-reliance during a grid outage, installation might cost you a little more for the batteries and charge controller that are sized according to the days you’ll need before grid energy becomes available again. Now, if you’re aiming for a zero-energy residential home where your solar PV offsets your energy consumption on a yearly basis, then you might want to look into your electricity bill and get your average kWh usage per day to get the size of solar panel that you need. A lot of people think that the size of solar panel and its cost depends on the size of their homes, when in fact, it’s not. The size of your solar panel and its costs actually depend on how much your average electricity usage is, how much electricity you wanted to offset, and the solar resource in your location. With all these in mind, you will be able to get an estimate of how much would it cost you to install solar PVs.

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Solar Charge Controller

Solar Charge Controllers The strong the sunlight, the more voltage solar panels produce. In this case, extremely excessive voltage may damage your solar PV batteries. This is primarily the reason why a Solar Charge Controller is used; that is to keep the right charging voltage on solar PV batteries. Solar charge controllers basically prevents your solar PV batteries from overcharging. It also helps prolong its life as it regulates the charge to the batteries. S

tages of Solar Charge Controllers

Most modern solar charge controllers goes through a 3-stage charge cycle as follow:

  • 1st Stage: Bulk – while solar PV batteries extract maximum current, voltage slowly rises to bulk level (up to 14.6volts); and when it reached its level, 2nd stage begins.
  • 2nd Stage: Absorption – in this stage, voltage is kept at a bulk level usually for about an hour while current slowly decreases as the battery’s charging.
  • 3rd Stage: Float – after the absorption time, voltage is now lowered to a float level (up to 13.7volts) while the battery’s drawing a small maintenance current that’ll be enough until the next charging cycle.

Types of Solar Charge Controllers

  • MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) – reduces battery’s charge time, turning extra voltage into amperage.
  • PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) – slowly reduces battery’s power supply w/o overcharging, thus, reducing stress to the battery.

Features of Solar Charge Controllers

  • Battery system monitor
  • Automatic voltage selection
  • On/Off battery charging
  • Field adjustment parameters
  • Temperature compensation
  • Lighting protection
  • LED digital indicator light

Solar Panel for Home

  • Fixed solar panel mounts – simplest and cheapest type solar panel mounting system; not moving and always facing the equator.

Solar Panel for Home

Solar Energy Panels are renewable energy resource that generates power or energy from the sun to convert it into electricity. It doesn’t require any moving parts, it has no emission, does not require extreme maintenance.

Solar panel is the first component of a solar system, which is a collection of silicon cells. It may contain up to 36 silicon cells wired in series for a typical 12 volt solar panel, which about 25 by 54 inches in size and can produce about 17 volts output. During battery charging, however, 17 volts drops from 12-14volts, resulting to up to 100 watts for a 25 by 54 inches panel.

To increase current capacity and to generate more power, you may want to have multiple solar panels, which can be wired in parallel.

Types of Solar Panels

  • Monocrystalline Solar Panels – considered as the most efficient but also most expensive solar panel. It’s made of monocrystalline cells and uses pure silicon, involving a complex crystal growth process.
  • Polycrystalline Solar Panels – also called as multi-crystalline, these are made of polycrystalline cells and is considered as less expensive, but also less efficient compared to monocrystalline cells. With this type of solar panel, cells are grown in a large block of many crystals instead of growing in single crystals. This gives it a striking shattered glass look.
  • Amorphous solar panels – these are thin layers of silicon and are not really crystals. This type of solar panel is considered as the cheapest, but energy efficiency is also lesser, requiring more square foot of panels to generate more power.

Types of Solar Panel Mounting System

  • Adjustable solar panel mounts – angles cab be changed; tilt can be set according to season.
  • Tracking solar panel mounts – follow the sun’s path during the day to maximize solar radiation; most efficient but also expensive.

How Solar Panels are Classified

Today’s solar panel prices depend on the following aspects:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Brand
  • Unique performance

Solar Inverter

Solar Inverter Solar Inverter or PV Inverter takes current from the battery then converts it to AC current to be able to run any common appliances in your house. Sizes of inverters you need may vary, depending on your usage and the equipments or appliances that you have. An average house needs 4000-5000 watts continuous power, but yours may be more or less than that. To make sure, it’s advisable to make a list of all the equipments or appliances (those you frequently use)  that you have and the duration (how long) you have to use these equipments. This is to determine the maximum continuous power and the size of inverter that your house needs.

Types of Solar Inverters

  • Micro-Inverter – This type of inverter converts direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) directly from behind each solar modules. It enables installers to design more easily and more cost-effectively solar systems. Micro-inverter typically has with 15-years warranty and is considered as reliable and highly efficient in producing more power.
  • String Inverter – With this type of inverter, solar panels are wired in series, increasing the voltage and keeping the current low in order for the wire size be smaller and the wiring be simpler. String inverter is currently the type of inverter which is mostly used today, with a typical 10-20 years warranty.
  • Central Inverter – A type of string inverter that is used in large-scale applications which presents a much easier installation compared to small-string inverter. It also offers higher efficiency, resulting to a much higher cost and a 5-year (extendable up to 20 years) warranty period.

Features of Solar Inverters

  • Safety
  • Reliability
  • Maximum Power Point Tracking

Why Solar?

A lot of people around the world are convinced that solar energy is one of the best solutions to our current challenges in energy as well as in climate change. There may be various of reasons for different people why they go solar, but it all comes down to few reasons such as:

Lowers-down electricity bill. 

One of the few good reasons why a lot of people go solar is that it cuts-down electricity bill. Because the energy generated from the sun is totally free, you may convert as many appliances as possible to use this generated energy, and yet may still have significant savings in your electricity expenses. Use our solar power calculator to find out how much you can save from generating your own electricity.

A great source of renewable energy

The electricity that we mostly use today is typically generated from fossil fuel, which is sooner or later will eventually run out. Solar energy is a great alternative to replace this fossil fuel energy to renewable energy as the sun’s energy has no limit and could supply an infinite electricity generation.

Environmentally-safe

Since solar energy is clean compared to what fossil fuel emits, it significantly reduces pollution, and thus, greatly helps in saving the earth because the energy generated from the sun by solar panels does not produce carbon dioxide, radioactive wastes, and other air pollutants.

It offers incentives

In Malaysia and in other countries, going solar provides various incentives for renewable energy technologies. Depending on the type of technology and on its size, you may take advantage on various FiT incentives that the government and/or the electricity company provides.

No, or at least low maintenance cost

A solar system installed could last up to 30 years without causing a major technical problem. Yes, you may need to clean the system and check on it every once in a while, but that doesn’t require a very high maintenance cost. This gives you the assurance that you will not be spending a large amount of money just on maintaining your system’s performance.

Reliability

Because the sun will likely to be around for billions of years, you may expect that you will be able to generate energy to supply your home with enough electricity for many years.