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Solar Panels

 

Photovoltaic (PV) Modules

Solar photovoltaic modules, often referred to as solar panels, convert light energy into a direct electrical current (DC). As solid-state devices, solar modules have no moving parts and are extremely reliable and durable compared to any other generator technology.

While solar modules have become somewhat commoditized in recent years, there are important differences in form, quality, and performance that can impact both installation time and long-term system performance. This section of our catalog presents a selection of high-quality crystalline modules with a variety of features and price points to suite virtually any project.

Output Characteristics

The output power, voltage, and current profile of the solar module will dictate the number of modules needed and what inverters or charge controllers can be used. Small off-grid applications often require 12 VDC output modules to directly charge batteries and/or operate DC loads. Larger modules with output voltages ranging from 24 to 50 VDC are more commonly used in grid-tie systems where a high DC voltage is required to operate the inverter.

Mechanical Characteristics

Basic mechanical characteristics, such as dimensions, frame profile, and static load rating, as well as grounding and mounting locations will need to be understood when designing your system. Frame and back sheet color may also come into play for residential customers, particularly when they are part of a homeowner’s association. Also be sure you know what type of connector the module output has, if any, since this can impact selection of optimizers, microinverters, and cabling.

Choosing a Solar Module Manufacturer

One of the most important considerations before choosing a solar panel manufacturer is to determine if you think the company will be around in 25 years.  The power warranty on panels is typically 25 years and you want to try and have a company that you think will be around for at least this period of time.  You may have to use your crystal ball to do this.
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