At the heart of every home solar power system is the solar panel. The quality and brand of a solar panel can make or break the system, therefore only the best solar panels should be installed.
A solar panel is a rigid frame that contains and supports many smaller solar modules or cells. The solar modules are very thin and fragile so they need to have a strong framework to both support and protect them from damage, usually a layer of glass is placed over the modules to protect them from the elements while still enabling sunlight to pass through.
Solar modules are usually made from pure silicons like mono-crystalline or polycrystalline. Solar modules are given an efficiency rating according the the output to surface area ratio, a more efficient solar module will produce more power per square inch so a solar panel made from more efficient and top performing modules will also output more power for less surface area and this can be of great importance when roof space is limited as less panels will be required.
Buying cheap solar panels with a low efficiency rating is not advised as in the long run the cheap panels will and up costing more due to their lower electricity output and are simply not worth it.
On the Australian solar market some of the best solar panels are made by Daqo, BenQ Solar, Panasonic, Phono Solar and Sharp.
Below are some images of solar panels mounted on homes.
Solar Panel Mounting
Solar panels need to be correctly mounted for the system to maximize its power output, the ideal angle for the panels is to be at 90° to the direction of the sun and in Australia a north facing orientation.
The sun moves so during the day so there can be different positions for different times of the day, however most panels are fixed in the best position for your needs as each case is different your solar panel installer will need to calculate the best position for your situation.
Solar panels also need to be firmly secured to the operating position be it on a roof or on the ground, this is of great importance a panels can act like sails catching the wind so if not mounted correctly that may come loose an be blown away.
Good strong corrosion resistant mounting brackets should always be used. In some parts of Australia like the tropical north there are strict regulations regarding the mounting of solar panels due to the possible exposure to high winds like cyclones, always make sure your solar installer is accredited with the Clean Energy Council of Australia and is well aware of the correct standards for mounting panels.