Best High Efficiency Solar Panels for Homes in 2021: Pros and Cons

Solar has been one of the fastest-moving industries over the last decade, which is why it can be difficult to know where to start when shopping for the best solar panels for your home, and how to make important decisions while weighing your options.

Residential rooftop solar panels installed on the south-facing side of the roof on a two-story house.

To help homeowners in the United States and beyond, we’ve developed this guide, which explores everything you need to know about today’s best high efficiency solar panels designed for residential use.

Now that you’ve decided to take the first step to lower your home’s carbon footprint and utility expenses, it is time to find the right solar panels, equipment, and installer to carry out the job.

Table of Contents:

Understanding High-Efficiency Solar Panels

First, let’s begin with sufficient information to bring even the newest solar panel novices up to speed.

It doesn’t take an expert to recognize that “high-efficiency” solar panels imply a high-quality product, but the term has somewhat lost its true meaning as every reputable manufacturer claims that their solar panels are “high-efficiency.”

The efficiency rating of a solar panel is expressed as a percentage and indicates the efficiency with which a specific panel can generate usable electricity from direct sunlight.

Majority of solar panels available on the market today are rated for 15% to 20% solar energy conversion efficiency. However, there are also ultra-premium solar panels from companies like SunPower, LG, and Panasonic that achieve energy conversion efficiency ratings of 20% to 23%.

In the context of this guide, we refer to high-performance solar modules with efficiency ratings between 19% and 23% as high-efficiency panels.

Did you know? All solar panels lose efficiency and degrade over time. When looking at a specific solar panel, we are not only concerned with the initial efficiency rate but also with how well that initial efficiency will be retained over time. – This is known as the solar panel efficiency degradation rate. The slower a specific panel’s performance degrades over time the more premium and valuable it is.

Most premium, high-efficiency and high-power home solar panels on the market today will retain at least 85% of their initial conversion efficiency at the 25-year mark, while the best of breed panels will retain over 90% of the initial efficiency at the 25-year mark.

When a given solar panel harnesses the sunlight and produces electricity, its actual efficiency performance will vary based on the ambient temperature aka the air temperature of the panel’s immediate surroundings, shade, cloudiness, weather conditions, and sun angle/conditions.

While low-efficiency solar panels may work for yard lights or calculators, midrange to high-power efficiency modules are entirely necessary when considering most home installations with limited rooftop space.

So, while many solar salesmen are eager to tout their “high-efficiency” panels, it is important to recognize that every reputable residential solar company should exclusively install high-quality solar panels with efficiency rating that are appropriate for your home’s needs — for a worthwhile renewable energy investment.

What are High-Efficiency Solar Panels?

Today, monocrystalline PERC and N-type IBC solar cells have been developed for efficiencies of 18% to 20% and above. This has set the new standard for high-efficiency residential solar panels of the future, as commercially available panels are beginning to exceed 20% to 22% peak operating efficiencies.

More so, extensive research is being conducted into photovoltaic (PV) solar energy, with new technologies debuting constantly at high-efficiency ratings. For instance, InsoLight has recently unveiled hyper-efficient solar panel designs with working efficiencies of over 30%.

Monocrystalline Solar Cells vs. Polycristalline

Today, most high-efficiency solar panels utilize monocrystalline solar cells, not polycrystalline. However, there are some decent quality polycrystalline solar panels like the ones from Trina Solar that can achieve efficiencies of over 17%, making them an affordable and economical choice for some of the more-spacious and larger-sized residential rooftops.

Solar Industry Jargon: “Poly” or “mono” for short, mono cells are generally more efficient than poly cells but they are also usually significantly more expensive.

Relatively speaking, solar panels can be considered highly efficient if they are sold with a manufacturer’s efficiency rating above 17%. What this means is that the solar cells within the panel can convert 17% of the energy from sunlight that hits the solar panel’s surface area.

While 17 percent Sunlight-to-Electricity conversion efficiency may not sound like a lot, it is important to understand that all energy conversions experience some energy loss, and that the amount of sunlight that earth receives is truly abundant! 😊

For our guide’s purposes, we define high-efficiency solar panels as those with efficiency ratings of 19% or higher and efficiency degradation rates of 85% or higher at the 25-year mark.

Note that we’ve also included Jinko Solar on our list of the most efficient solar panels in spite of Jinko solar panels having only about 81% of their initial efficiency remaining after 25 years in service.

However, our view is that Jinko’s relatively high initial efficiency rate and their superior value pricing, make Jinko solar panels a compelling option for budget conscious homeowners.

Our view and that of the industry is that premium quality panels will degrade at a slower rate than basic or midrange panels.

Here are the top 11 most efficient solar panels and brands to consider for home solar power system installations:

Rank Make Model Power Efficiency 25-year Efficiency
1 SunPower Maxeon 3 400 W 22.6 % 92 %
2 LG Neon R 405 W 22.3 % 92.5 %
3 REC Alpha 405 W 21.9 % 92 %
4 Panasonic EverVolt 380 W 21.7 % 92 %
5 Jinko Solar Tiger Pro 6Rl3 585 W 21.4 % 80.7 %
6 FuturaSun Silk Pro 440 W 21.16 % 87 %
7 Trina Solar Vertex S 405 W 21.1 % 83.1 %
8 Canadian Solar HiDM 420 W 20.4 % 83.1%
9 Solaria PowerXT 400 W 20.2 % 86%
10 Q Cells Peak Duo G6+ 345 W 19.5 % 85%
11 Mission Solar Energy 385 SX5R 385 W 19.3 % 84.08 %

How Do High-Efficiency Solar Panels Work?

Photovoltaic solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity. Solar panels are comprised of solar cells made of silicon semiconductors that generate electric current when sunlight or photons emitted by the sun (weightless, wave-like energy-carrying particles that form sunlight) hit the solar cell, activating the movement of electrons. Here, the solar cell efficiency percentage determines how efficiently solar energy can be converted to electricity.

Today, high-efficiency solar panels are made up of a wide variety of cell counts, although some makes and models can be as low as 30 cells or as high as 144 cells and above, most residential solar panels are made up of 60 to 72 individual solar cells.

While it’s helpful to mention the individual panel cell counts, it’s important for you, the homeowner, to takeaway that high-efficiency and high-power solar panels are designed to provide maximum space-saving benefits by delivering high energy-generation capabilities in a relatively small panel size, which is often what’s needed for small residential rooftops with limited south-facing space (in North America).

Solar cell efficiency vs. a full panel efficiency: With a bit of energy loss in the process due to spacing in between the cells within the panel, the total panel efficiency will be slightly less than the efficiency rating of individual solar cells contained within the solar panel or module.

What are the Pros and Cons of High-Efficiency Solar Panels?

The main advantage of high-efficiency and high-power solar panels is that you can have a capable solar panel system that occupies little space. This is an important benefit, especially for homes that have limited amount of south-facing rooftop real estate.

Another benefit of having highly rated solar panels like the ones from SunPower, LG, and Panasonic is that premium panels from these brands will degrade at a slower rate than decent quality midrange panels from other brands.

Overtime, lower energy-efficiency degradation rates translate to higher energy savings for your home. Needless to say, a given panel’s energy efficiency advantages need to be weighed against the total cost of the system such that you, the homeowner, can get the best ROI for your money.

If you are planning on staying at your home for a couple of decades or longer and you have no desire to disrupt and reinstall solar panels in 10-15 years from now, then investing in high-efficiency PV panels from LG or Panasonic might prove the best ROI over the long-haul.

Other Ratings for High-Efficiency Residential Solar Panels

Of course, efficiency is not everything when it comes to choosing the best residential solar panel.

Although a high-efficiency rating is certainly one of the most qualifying signs of a premium solar panel, many other factors can influence whether it is the best choice for any particular installation.

Below, we will outline a few other important specifications of residential solar panels to consider beyond their efficiency rating.

Wattage

Second only to efficiency, most homeowners looking for solar panels will recognize that high wattage translates to more power generation. This is entirely true, which is why solar panel companies have been developing new products with increasingly high wattage for the last several years.

Today, we have officially crossed into a world in which residential solar panels with 400 watts of solar electricity output are readily available.

While most of the high-energy, high-efficiency solar panels today are rated at 300W and above, a solar array’s total wattage rating directly correlates to the amount of possible solar energy generation.

Warranty Periods

Few things in the world induce “buyer’s remorse,” quite like a bad product warranty on a regretful purchase. Thankfully, most of the premium high-efficiency solar panels on today’s market come with parts, production, and accessory warranties for 15, 20, 25 years, or longer.

If you are about to invest in the next two decades of your property’s electricity, we strongly recommend choosing a high-efficiency solar panel with a warranty of at least 20 years. After your purchase, you may be required to register your warranty on the manufacturer’s website.

In today’s market, many top manufacturers like SunPower, LG, and Panasonic offer 25-year warranties, making it very easy to trust that the panels are built to withstand the elements and perform well over their intended lifespan.

When designing your system, it is also critical to review the warranty periods for inverters, batteries, and other system parts.

Temperature Coefficient

The temperature coefficient rating of a high-efficiency solar panel indicates the ideal operating temperatures for your renewable energy system.

Like many electronics, solar panels work best in cooler conditions, so the efficiency of a solar panel system actually decreases in extremely high temperatures. Of course, this is also typically met with extra sunlight for plenty of power generation.

Manufacturers rate their panels with a temperature coefficient typically displayed as a range between two negative numbers. These numbers each refer to 1°C temperature increases from 25°C (77°F), the temperature at which panel efficiency is tested.

Most high-quality solar panels have a temperature coefficient between -0.3 and -0.5. Although it can be a bit confusing, solar panels operate better in higher temperatures when the coefficient is lower (i.e., the negative number is closer to 0).

If your solar panel has an average temperature coefficient of -0.3, then it will temporarily lose 0.3% of its rated efficiency with each 1° C outside temperature increase above 25°C.

Price

When exploring premium options, it is easy to get carried away with high-price solar panels, and total overall costs can quickly deter even the most financially comfortable homeowner/investor.

So much so that the pursuit of efficient panels may even distract from the original intention of your home improvement, which is to save money on electricity costs while generating clean solar electricity (renewable source).

It’s well-known that SunPower solar panels are the most premium and most expensive, while top solar panels from LG and Panasonic come in the second and third place cost-wise, respectively, and can often provide better value for the money.

Brand Efficiency Temperature Coefficient Cost/Watt* Warranty
SunPower 22.6% -0.29 $3.57 25 years
Panasonic 21.7% -0.26 $3.22 25 years
LG 22.3% -0.30 $3.39 25 years

* Cost per solar watt installed before the 26% federal solar investment tax credits.

When looking at the price of solar panels, keep in mind that it may be possible to finance your system to help you save both on the immediate and long-term electricity costs.

Although cash purchases will likely help your system “pay for itself” sooner (payback or break-even period), attractive financing rates, tax credit rebates, state and local incentives are all in place to help make solar panels more affordable for homeowners in the United States and several other countries.

Size

On rooftops, properties, and even RVs where space is limited, the actual physical size of a solar panel may become extremely important when designing a residential system. Here, efficiency is critical as homes with limited direct sunlight exposure areas must utilize every square inch of the usable space.

Conversely, properties with plenty of south-facing rooftop space may not require power-dense and highly efficient solar panels if the same results can be produced by cheaper, larger, or less efficient modules.

For instance, if you have ample space on your property, it may be possible to completely ignore efficiency and wattage ratings by simply purchasing whatever solar arrays are the most affordable to meet your power demand.

Availability

If you are excited about a new solar panel model with more wattage than ever, this may not necessarily mean that you will be able to purchase such an array of your own.

As some of today’s top manufacturers have long waiting lists, delivery restrictions, and even demand surcharges, purchasing the solar panel of your dreams may not always be possible when availability is limited.

For this reason, we almost always recommend working with a local installer when considering high-efficiency solar panels for residential use.

Experts in your area will typically already have the necessary supply chain for you to access high-efficiency panels designed and sourced specifically for local conditions.

Brand Reputation

Finally, like many products, the expected quality of your solar panels can be assumed if the brand has a stellar reputation.

Although many small solar panel brands are quick to taunt their new technology, your investment may not be secure if the company has not had a previous track record of successful solar power products.

If you’re talking to a reputable installer and they have not heard of your solar panel brand before, that may be the first sign of a questionable and potentially underperforming brand/system.

Before purchasing any brand of solar panel, we strongly recommend finding real customer testimonials to help ensure efficiency and quality.

The Best Home Solar Panel Brands

Alright, let’s get started! Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about understanding your options, it is time to showcase some of the best high-efficiency residential solar panels on the market today.

Below, we’ve assembled today’s top solar panel brands, both made in the United States and from countries around the world.

1. SunPower

X-Series Home Solar Panels – SunPower
via SunPower

First and foremost, we’d like to start with the brand that brought to us the first commercially available 400W residential solar panel: SunPower.

SunPower’s Maxeon® Gen 5 solar cells were first announced as part of their A-Series panels in 2019, after previous model success in their high-efficiency E-Series and X-Series panels.

Officially incorporated in Silicon Valley in 1985, SunPower is one of the oldest names in US solar and continues to be relevant with new-generation products for a wide variety of instances.

Recognized for successful innovations in efficiency, durability, and quality of materials, SunPower offers a 25-year warranty and guarantees a minimum of 90% efficiency at the 25-year mark on all their high-power solar panels.

To install SunPower panels on your home, a system design can be completed on the company’s website.

From there, SunPower arranges a vetted local contractor to install your home improvement, complete with a system monitoring app for smartphones and tablets.

As a full-service company, SunPower also offers financing and solar storage options. Learn more about SunPower’s high-efficiency solar panels.

2. LG

LG solar panels on an asphalt shingle rooftop
via LG

LG is a South Korean manufacturer with international recognition for high-quality products. Officially an acronym for “Life’s Good” since the turn of the millennium, LG has supplied high-efficiency solar panels for many happy customers who may also own an LG computer or smart device.

In the United States, LG Solar offers an industry-leading 25-year product and performance warranty on all their high-efficiency residential solar panels.

The company’s recent LG NeON® R is the manufacturer’s latest innovative development, boasting panel efficiency beyond 20% and 22%.

Featuring low-temperature coefficients and premium weather-resistant materials, LG’s products are built to last and come standard with system performance software.

With a sleek design and high-quality parts and materials, LG is one of the best solar panel manufacturers for renewable energy installations worldwide.

Customers can get started with LG by leveraging the company’s online solar marketplace. Working directly with an advisor, LG can personally recommend the best solar panel model and installer to choose for your home’s energy. Find additional information via LG Solar.

3. REC

REC alpha solar modules on a house

Founded in Norway in 1996, REC is one of the most trusted brands in international solar panel manufacturing.

From their hub in the United States, American homeowners can consider any of the company’s reliable high-efficiency solar panels rated between 300W and 405W of potential input.

Notably, REC’s current renewable energy product selection includes the REC N-Peak (330W), REC Twinpeak (360W to 370W), Alpha (380W), and Alpha Pure (405W) models.

The Alpha Pure series has gained significant notoriety in the clean energy industry and features minimal power loss, a gapless cell layout, and completely lead-free construction.

There are several ways to get started with REC panels, including the ability to contact the company directly.

On their website, REC also provides tools for potential customers to locate certified partiers and installers in their area. Check out REC’s current residential solar panel collection.

4. Panasonic

Panasonic home solar panels on a metal roof
via Panasonic

Panasonic is another worldwide electronics leader that has had success in developing highly efficient residential solar panels.

Much like LG, Panasonic has a variety of product lines like refrigerators and cameras, however, this should not deter anyone from trusting their name during a solar installation.

In fact, Panasonic develops some of the most efficient solar panels on the market today, as their EverVolt 380W panels come with an impressive 21.7% efficiency.

Aside from the EverVolt Series, the Japanese manufacturer has many other great 300W+ residential solar panel options such as 96-cell high-efficiency HIT® modules.

As one of the top five manufacturers in terms of panels installed in the United States, it is very easy to get started with a Panasonic solar panel installation on the international company’s website. Find out more about Panasonic Solar.

5. Jinko Solar

With the US operations based in Jacksonville, Florida, Jinko Solar, one of China’s largest solar panel manufacturers, is now one of the fastest-growing solar companies in the United States.

Jinko’s sustainable manufacturing facilities serve customers in the US and Canada, selling some of the highest power and efficiency solar modules in the US.

Testing, trying, and innovating several different technologies, Jinko Solar’s line of Eagle solar panels gives owners the input power of 400W and more.

The company also sells storage solutions for off-grid and hybrid residential solar energy systems.

With several world records under their belt, Jinko’s team of professionals is not too busy to assist you with your residential installation.

Simply contact the company directly to learn about distributors, partners, and Jinko Solar installers in your area. Find more information about Jinko Solar.

6. FuturaSun

With operations in 70 countries and counting, FuturaSun is an Italian solar company leading the way in international panel efficiency.

FuturaSun is one of the few companies to offer a residential panel with over 21% efficiency, with high-powered options like their “Zebra” model which incorporates 120 half-cut cells (similar to that of Trina solar, but developed independently).

Not only are FuturaSun’s newest panels highly efficient, but they also offer one of the lowest temperature coefficients on the market today.

More than anything, the only downside with FuturaSun’s panels is their availability, as significant shipping costs may be added for American installations. Find more information on FuturaSun solar panels.

7. Trina Solar

Next, we’re headed back across seas to showcase Trina Solar, one of China’s premier high-efficiency residential solar panel manufacturers.

In the United States, Trina offers a few 310W to 380W high-energy models, made up of tons of highly efficient solar cells.

While the company is famous for its “half-cut” cell model that packs as many as 132 cells into a sleek black panel, Trina also offers large 120-cell full-size options for homes in the US. Each model includes efficiencies above 20% alongside 25-year product and power warranties.

As Trina is typically less involved than many of the other companies featured in this article, their high-efficiency panels are great for DIY homeowners or those who already have a local contractor in mind to properly install the system. Explore all Trina Solar’s residential solar panels.

8. Canadian Solar

Despite bearing the name of the neighbors to the north, Canadian Solar is one of the leading high-efficiency solar panel manufacturers on the US solar market.

Built to withstand the tough weather conditions of northern North America, Canadian Solar supplies products that are designed for reliability.

Despite always offering a 25-year power warranty, some of Canadian Solar’s top products are limited by a 12–15-year product warranty, which may deter some buyers.

However, Canadian Solar’s high-efficiency panels offer some of the best shade tolerance and lowest power loss levels available today.

With solar wattages of 320 to 420 watts available in high density monocrystalline PERC modules, Canadian Solar manufactures a variety of cell technologies and designs within their premium line of home solar panels.

The company has consistently been recognized as a Tier One Solar Company by Bloomberg New Energy and maintains 20 manufacturing facilities in Asia and the Americas. See the details of Candian Solar’s residential modules.

9. Solaria

Solaria PowerXT Pure Black solar panels on a house in Massachusetts

As another global leader in solar manufacturing, Solaria is a Korean-based company formed in the early 2000s.

Today, their modules are available worldwide, with manufacturing facilities in California serving the entire United States residential solar market.

Solaria is part of the 25-club, offering industry-leading 25-year warranties on their solar panels and electricity production.

Quickly following the footsteps of SunPower, Solaria has also launched a 400-watt residential solar panel known as the PowerXT, which can achieve up to 20.2% efficiency.

Featuring a seamless all-black design, Solaria makes some of the best-looking and highest-performing solar panels for homes around the world.

Homeowners can receive a quote from one of the company’s hundreds of certified partners directly on their website. See the current availability of Solaria high-power solar panels.

10. Q Cells

Next, Q Cells is a South Korean-headquartered company that has been developing a few of the world’s most exciting solar innovations in their German laboratories.

Boasting some of the absolute lowest degradation rates (for the money) for solar panels on the market (85% efficiency after 25 years), Q Cells’ state-of-the-art DUO Z technology is helping redefine long-term efficiency.

Designed for extreme weather and factory efficiency beyond 20%, Q Cells’ massive 100+ solar cell panels are tough, powerful, and built to last even longer than their 25-year manufacturer and production warranties.

Q Cells leverages its own digital solar marketplace to give consumers a hassle-free online experience for designing their energy system.

The company has a large network of American installers, with limited availability on some of the newest and most advanced solar panels. Learn more about Q Cells residential solar panels.

11. Mission Solar Energy

Bringing it back to the western United States, Mission Solar Energy is an elite manufacturer of high-efficiency residential solar panels.

Based in San Antonio, Texas, Mission Solar has been distributing American-made solar panels since 2012 and has quickly become one of the most trusted names in the industry.

For the past few years, Mission Solar has been best known for their durable monocrystalline PERC panels, offered in a 60-cell sleek black design.

Backed by a 25-year product and power warranty, Mission Solar proves that a company does not need international name recognition to produce high-quality renewable energy components.

All of Mission Solar’s products are designed, assembled, and engineered in the United States, shipping directly from their Texas headquarters.

Customers have the choice of purchasing the panels and finding their own local installer or contacting Mission Solar directly to learn about working with one of the company’s vetted partners for a streamlined process. Learn more about Mission Solar Energy.

Home Solar FAQ

Now that we’ve covered some of the best high-efficiency solar panel brands for residential use, we’d like to take a moment to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about going solar at home.

How do I know which solar panel is best?

On paper, the “best” solar panel for generating the most possible solar energy will always be the module with the highest wattage and efficiency ratings.

However, when choosing the best performing solar panel, one must also consider the module’s life expectancy (typically measured by warranty periods), operating temperature ratings, and resistance to damages.

In reality, many of today’s high-efficiency solar panels will be able to perform with similar results so long as they are installed correctly with other corresponding high-quality parts within the system.

For most homeowners, the “best” solar panel will end up being the one that is supplied by the most reputable local installer. Installation quality matters for long-term performance of the system.

What are the highest efficiency solar panels for residential use?

In the 2020s, residential solar panel efficiency continues to rise, as many manufacturers are now releasing solar panels with ratings upwards of 20%-23% efficiency.

In the summer of 2021, SunPower’s Maxeon 3 is a record-breaking 400-watt panel, with a total efficiency rating of 22.6%.

While international companies continue to battle it out for the most efficient residential solar panel on the planet, the top spot is sure to change soon.

In the meantime, the other top five highest efficiency solar panels available today are the LG Neon R (405W / 22.3% efficiency), the REC Alpha (380W / 21.7% efficiency) and REC Alpha Pure (405W / 21.9 with gapless design), the FuturaSun Next 72 Cells 360-400 Watt (400W / 20.17% efficiency), and the Panasonic EverVolt (380W / 21.7%).

What time of day are solar panels most efficient?

Solar panels are most efficient in the middle of the day when the sun is shining as intensely and directly as possible.

Although it varies by season and region, in general, you can expect peak solar panel efficiency from 11 AM to 4 PM.

Do solar panels lose efficiency or degrade over time?

Yes, solar panels lose efficiency over time at a rate of decline known as the “degradation rate.”

Typically, a high-power solar panel’s efficiency rating will degrade by a fraction of a percent each year, between 0.2% and 0.9% annually.

Did you know? SunPower Maxeon 3 panels claim to boast industry’s best annual degradation rate of 0.2%.

SunPower Maxeon annual degradation rate vs. conventional solar panels

Often, solar panel efficiency degradation ratings are backed by a manufacturer’s guarantee for solar power production levels.

For high-quality solar panels, system efficiency is typically guaranteed at 85% and even 90% of the initial solar electricity production capacity at the 25-year mark.

For comparison, most mid-range solar panels should achieve at least 80% of the initial efficiency at the 25-year mark.

Can my home run on solar power alone?

Yes, with a large enough battery backup system, it is very possible to run a home’s electricity on solar power alone.

Adding a solar power storage system allows homes to live “off of the grid” with all their electricity produced by the clean energy of the sun.

In most major cities, homeowners can skip the cost of a residential solar battery and “virtually” power their entire home thanks to net metering.

With a grid-tied solar energy system using net metering, homeowners are only charged for electricity they consume above and beyond what their solar power system produces.

If your home’s system generates more electricity annually than your home uses, then you may even receive electricity credits for your excess solar power production.

How many solar panels would it take to power a house?

To determine the number of solar panels it would take to power a house, one must consider the solar panels’ wattage and efficiency against the electricity demand of the property and local sun conditions.

For a typical 6 kW system size, you would need:

  • 15 × 400 watt rated panels
  • 17 × 360 watt rated panels
  • 20 × 300 watt rated panels
  • 24 × 250 watt rated panels
high efficiency solar-panel SunPower Maxeon rooftop comparison based on similar number of panels

via SunPower

While any home could be powered by solar to some extent, some properties may lack enough south-facing (in northern hemisphere) unshaded roof or property space to fit multiple solar arrays.

In these instances, it is still possible to benefit from a solar installation which only covers a portion of the property’s electricity demand.

Will solar panels still work when there is no direct sunlight?

Yes, solar panels, especially high-efficiency modules, are designed to generate solar electricity, even when there is no direct sunlight exposure, such as when the panels are oriented East or West, or when there is some shade or shadow over the solar arrays.

Solar panels will still generate electricity on cloudy, rainy, and snowy days.

If your roof doesn’t have south-facing orientation, you can still benefit from solar panels by orienting the arrays to face East or West. The panels will still produce solar electricity, but their overall efficiency will be diminished by 10% to 20% compared to south-facing panels.

Should I buy high-efficiency solar panels for my home?

If you own a home that receives limited direct sunlight, then yes, you should buy high-efficiency solar panels.

That said, if the rooftop on your home receives plenty of direct sunlight and has a lot of space for multiple solar arrays, then even the basic (i.e., less costly) or midrange conventional solar panels can do the job for less. However, long-term efficiency of the panels should also be considered in your financial calculus.

Solar panel efficiency and wattage vs. the available rooftop space

via LG

With the right components and materials throughout the system, professionally installed high-efficiency solar panels can help reduce both, a home’s carbon footprint and its long-term electric costs.

Although the decision lies in the hand of the homeowner, most residential high-energy solar panel installations are worth their investment for homes with direct sunlight, ample panel space, and favorable net metering rules and adopted policies.

For off-the-grid homes, high-efficiency solar panels are almost always the best choice for sustainable access to low-cost electricity.

Note: Off-the-grid homes will require a solar battery aka “solar plus storage” to enable energy storage for off-grid use. Here is a helpful guide from EnergySage on choosing the best battery storage for your needs.

SunPower Equinox battery storage

via SunPower

Conclusion and Next Steps

As with any major home renovation, we strongly recommend talking to local experts before purchasing any specific solar panel.

Reputable solar companies near you should be able to provide a free, comprehensive quote that mentions specific panel brands fit for local sun and weather conditions.

In closing, we hope that this guide has helped you learn everything there is to know about high-efficiency solar panels for residential use.

While the decision of whether to go solar can be daunting, choosing the right solar panel will help you ensure that your installation is worth it for you, your wallet, and your home.

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