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Old 02-09-2016, 07:32   #1
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Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

What brand is currently offering the most energy efficient solar panels right now?

I was considering Kyocera but was told they are no longer the most efficient.

I am looking for the rigid type to mount onto rails above my bimini.
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Old 02-09-2016, 07:39   #2
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

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Originally Posted by epiic View Post
What brand is currently offering the most energy efficient solar panels right now?

I was considering Kyocera but was told they are no longer the most efficient.

I am looking for the rigid type to mount onto rails above my bimini.
Sunpower are currently the most efficient, but very expensive. LG's neon series is pretty close but at less than 1/3 the price. This is based on my recent shopping efforts.
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:56   #3
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

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Sunpower are currently the most efficient, but very expensive. LG's neon series is pretty close but at less than 1/3 the price. This is based on my recent shopping efforts.
There are low-cost panels built in China with Sunpower cells. Not the quality of a Sunpower panel, but low cost and good efficiency.
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:58   #4
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

If I were bying now, I'd go with Panasonic HIT. They claim 19.7% efficiency for 325W panel for about $1.44/W
https://www.wholesalesolar.com/19419...ck-solar-panel
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:58   #5
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

Last time I checked the black, mono, SunPower, were best of what was easily obtainable online.

b.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:53   #6
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

SunPower is the brand I keep getting recommended. I just don't need the flexible panels. I need them to be in a frame so that I can mount them to poles.

Any sponsors on this forum that offer this brand?

I can't seem to find any online stores offering it and finding a spec sheet of model sizes has been nearly impossible.
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Old 02-09-2016, 13:33   #7
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

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Originally Posted by epiic View Post
SunPower is the brand I keep getting recommended. I just don't need the flexible panels. I need them to be in a frame so that I can mount them to poles.

Any sponsors on this forum that offer this brand?

I can't seem to find any online stores offering it and finding a spec sheet of model sizes has been nearly impossible.
Not a recommendation, just an example:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/hot-s...8-6107f7ba5f8b

Also, you might consider using a flex panel and building your own frame. It will be lighter, but might not last as long.
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Old 02-09-2016, 14:49   #8
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

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Not a recommendation, just an example:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/hot-s...8-6107f7ba5f8b

Also, you might consider using a flex panel and building your own frame. It will be lighter, but might not last as long.
Thanks but I would rather order from an American dealer that is Authorized to sell SunPower so that I know I won't be buying any "knock-offs"
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Old 02-09-2016, 15:59   #9
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

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Thanks but I would rather order from an American dealer that is Authorized to sell SunPower so that I know I won't be buying any "knock-offs"
Sunpower is not in the business of selling to small-time installations. Their authorized dealers deal with large residential and industrial installations. Think multi-palet size. Getting their panels usually means some excess from a job. Their panels tend to be very large and high voltage.
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Old 02-09-2016, 16:06   #10
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

Disclaimer: I sell many brands of panels including these. I'm happy to discuss their relative merits.

Sunpower licenses their cells to both Solbian (flexible) and Solara (traditional glass and metal mounted/covered 'walk on' panels). Both are true marine panels that are warranted for marine installations. Solara are made in Germany and Solbian in Italy; both are imported to the US by authorized dealers via Bruce Schwab. I know of no authorized Sun Power panels made in China but there may well be one. Info here:
Solar Power for Marine & Mobile, panels & MPPT's for boats
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Old 02-09-2016, 16:50   #11
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

Alright, after hours of research, I decided on the Solara Solar panels.

They use SunPower cells and are available from this dealer:

https://www.coastalclimatecontrol.co...lar-panel.html

$6.36 per watt is not exactly cheap though.
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Old 02-09-2016, 17:21   #12
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

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$6.36 per watt is not exactly cheap though.
That's an understatement. No doubt they are quality built - just hard to swallow the 3x price.
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Old 02-09-2016, 17:26   #13
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

Solara are very good panels.
I've sold many; they are VERY well built... think Mercedes compared to Chevy. Yes, they aren't cheap, but they handle shading much better and put out more. I do recommend one Victron or Genasun controller per panel.
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Old 02-09-2016, 17:31   #14
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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

To me, the very slight efficiency improvement vis SunPower over LG or Panasonic simply does not warrant the cost difference. One can make better use of the money by either designing the system for better pointing (usually the biggest power output variable) and/or cleaning the panels often (best bang for the buck! - it is amazing how quickly output degrades with a bit of dirt or splotch of bird poop ...)
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Old 02-09-2016, 18:45   #15

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Re: Most efficient solar panels in 2016?

One might suggest that "most efficient" is a ridiculous thing to consider unless you plan to use those panels for 30 days in a fixed terrestrial installation and then throw them away. Many panels simple will fail young. The best will guarantee a 25-year working life. Most panels are not warranteed AT ALL for use on a moving vehicle, including a boat, or for any use in a marine environment. Salt water or fresh. So perhaps after you shake down all the other points and find a source for a reputable panel that just might keep working for ten or twenty years, then and only then should you look at any efficiency difference in the panels, and compare that to their costs as well. Who cares if a panel is 5% more efficient (not 5% overall efficiency, but 5% more efficient than the next brand, i.e. 21% instead of 20% overall) but it fails after five years? Or two years? Just a thought.
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