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Solar Panel Systems

Solar panels are the most valuable part of your solar array.

Image of a solar array system on top of a roof providing energy for the entire building

It’s helpful to know a bit about each type of system available so that you can make a conscious decision about which is best for you and your unique energy situation.


There are two main types of crystalline silicon modules that are mass-produced on the market today:

Image of a monocrystalline module solar panel

Monocrystalline modules are made from cutting slices off a solid crystal wafer. 

Image of a polycrystalline module solar panel

Polycrystalline modules are made from pouring molten silicon into a rack and letting it cool. 

The easy way of telling the difference between each type of system is by the color of the panels themselves. Typically, monocrystalline panels have a dark black color and polycrystalline panels have a light or dark blue color. Aside from the way they’re made, there is little difference between the two types of panels and generally both types have efficiencies between 14% - 17%. Monocrystalline panels cost more but typically have higher solar conversion efficiency, so there is a cost/performance trade-off. In general, system costs are higher for polycrystalline panels, yet the individual module cost is less.

Image of standard and premium solar panels

Standard vs. Premium Systems

However, there is a difference between standard and premium modules. Standard panels usually are 16% efficient while premium panels can get 20-21% efficiency. While it might not seem like much of a difference, premium panels tend to generate about 25% more energy than standard panels and do not lose as much conversion efficiency over time.


Solar Panel System Brands

Most panel brands have a manufacturer warranty of 10-years along with a 25-year power performance warranty. The difference is that a manufacturer warranty will protect you from any defect in the panel whereas the power performance warranty will guarantee that after a certain amount of time the panels will still be functioning at a high level of efficiency. We use a variety of brands here at YellowLite, though below are a few of our most popular brands:

 

Image of a solar panel system being installed on top of a roof
Image of SunPower and their ability to provide high quality solar energy systems

SunPower

An American company that produces the most efficient solar modules available. This is a premium line and is known for high quality.

Image of LG and their ability to provide efficient product lines

LG

Has been in the solar industry for decades and offers high-quality modules andcompetitive prices. LG has one of the most efficient product lines on the market.

Image of Canadian Solar and their ability to offer value in every solar panel

Canadian Solar

Canadian Solar is one of the biggest solar manufacturers in the world. They offer great value with their rigorously tested solar modules and one of the longest power performance warranties on the market.

SolarWorld produces solar panels at an affordable price and Yellowlite can install them

SolarWorld -

The biggest solar manufacturer of American-made panels in the world. Their panels are a good combination of efficiency and affordable price.

Compare our top solar panel brands to learn which is best for you and your home. You can also view our gallery of solar panel systems on homes and businesses throughout the Midwest to get an idea of what your array will look like once it’s installed.

FAQs

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You don’t have to brush snow off of the panels, but doing so will increase your solar energy output. The annual solar power output estimates take into consideration loss of photovoltaic production due to snow.

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Dirt and debris accumulating on photovoltaic panels is referred to as soiling. This is not a concern for the NE region of the country due to our relatively clear atmosphere and regular rainfall.

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The array size you need depends on your average electrical usage, climate, roof angle, shading problems and many other factors. To approximate the array size you need, refer to our comprehensive solar calculator where you will be able to get a better idea of the system size needed to meet your electrical demand.

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We provide an online monitoring system with each installation. The monitoring unit located in your home tells you exactly how much electricity you generate and use. It also keeps a log of this information so you may refer to historic usage information at any time. You will be able to manage your household usage like never before.

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