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High quality solar technology. Do solar panels work at night?

High quality solar technology. Do solar panels work at night?

    Solar Panels – Choose Your Technology!

    If you are looking for a solar power system, the major part of that system is going to be “solar PV (photovoltaic) panels” (which I’ll just refer to as “solar panels” from here on) that convert sunlight into electricity using a phenomenon called the photovoltaic effect.

    There are 3 major types of solar PV technology.

    Monocrystalline 2. Polycrystalline 3. Thin Film

    Only the first two technologies – monocrystalline and polycrystalline – are available in Australia these days. Thin film is no longer used here for residential installations.

    The following are some details on each type of technology, including thin film just for general interest purposes:

    Monocrystalline Solar Panels

    Some think of monocrystalline solar panels as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of solar PV technology and the best choice. Monocrystalline is one of the oldest technologies, and more expensive to make, but this type have the highest efficiency.

    These panels can typically achieve 15-20% conversion efficiency in the real world, i.e. convert 16-21% of the sunlight that hits them into electricity. They are made from wine-bottle sized single crystals of ultra-pure silicon and sliced up like salami to make individual wafers.

    These circular wafers have their sides cut square, and are then converted into a monocrystalline “solar cell” that looks like this:

    The silver lines are wires that collect the electricity that is created when light hits the cell. The solar panel is made up of a matrix of these moncrystalline solar cells laid flat – like tiles on your bathroom floor:

    Monocrystalline solar cells are generally high performance, but because they waste a bit of space between the cells when they are encapsulated in a solar PV panel (the little white diamonds in the picture above) they perform about the same (in efficiency and power terms) as polycrystalline.

    The easy way to spot mono solar panels on a roof is to look for the tell tale white diamonds between the cells.

    (Top tip for keeping the kids busy in the car: Play “spot the solar panel” with bonus points for identifying the technology type! Yes I really do make my long-suffering kids play that game…)

    Polycrystalline Solar Panels (Also Called Multicrystalline)

    Polycrystalline solar panels are also made from silicon, but the type of silicon used is slightly less pure and they are cast into blocks rather than sawn from a single crystal. The fact that the crystals are randomly arranged means that they are visible individually.

    Once the polycrystalline ingot is cast, it is sawn into square blocks and then sliced into square wafers that are processed to convert them into solar cells.

    Here’s a close up of a polycrystalline solar cell – you can see that it looks very different to the sleek, uniform appearance of its monocrystalline rival:

    Polycrystalline solar cells are very similar to monocrystalline in performance and degradation, except in multicrystalline, the resulting cells are typically slightly less efficient. However, as you can see here, there is no wasted space between the corners of the perfectly square cells:

    This means that when they are encapsulated in solar PV panels, there is slightly more area available to absorb sunlight. The result is that a polycrystalline solar panel’s performance is almost identical to monocrystalline solar panels. Here’s what they’ll look like on your roof:

    Experience Peace of Mind for Decades to Come with Sunrun Rooftop Solar Panels

    When you team up with a solar company like Sunrun, you can create your own affordable, clean energy and gain independence from your utility company. A Sunrun solar installation can help power your home when the sun is out while you boost control over your energy usage and reduce your dependence on fossil fuels.

    We offer several residential solar plans to help you start your solar journey. Find out which is the ideal fit for your budget and unique energy needs.

    We offer some of the best solar rooftop panel systems on the market, and you can bring them home through a lease payment plan, flexible solar financing, or by paying outright. Our made-to-fit solar solutions, paired with exceptional service and our industry-leading solar guarantee, have positioned us as the leading residential solar and energy storage company in the U.S. 1

    Solar panels are just one part of the solution to experience energy freedom and security. To ensure you get the most out of your home energy system, consider adding a solar battery back-up service like Sunrun’s Brightbox. Hundreds of millions of people were affected by blackouts from 2008 to 2017. 2 With Brightbox, you can keep your lights on and your food fresh during outages with a Smart, affordable, and reliable back-up power system.

    Benefits of Adding Sunrun’s Battery Storage Service to Your Solar Panels

    Brightbox doesn’t need dangerous, expensive, and toxic fossil fuels to work. 3 When the sun is out, it can store clean and affordable back-up power for later use.

    Brightbox paired with a Tesla Powerwall can help you back up your entire home, or you can back up just the rooms you need with an LG Chem solar battery.

    Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem solar batteries can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, and they typically come with a 10-year manufacturer warranty for your peace of mind.

    Solar with incentives

    Our Automated Site Modeling tool is a revolutionary technology that allows us to design a custom Sunrun home solar energy system based on your roof’s unique dimensions and layout.

    Sunrun’s Automated Site Modeling tool will use your roof’s individual profile, including shading, pitch, sun exposure, seasonality, and roof obstacles. This will ensure that the designed Sunrun solar panel system matches your home’s structure and unique energy needs. A customized system can let you know your potential control over your future electricity bills

    Sunrun’s Product Selector is an innovative and simple tool. It lets you know in minutes which solar plan, with or without a home battery, can give you and your family more benefits in the long run, depending on where you live.

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    Sunrun’s Product Selector will use information about your roof’s type and pitch, your household size, and other important aspects, like if you have a home office or if you need back-up power, to recommend the best Sunrun home solar plan for you. This can help secure the peace of mind you deserve during rising energy costs and power outages while reducing your carbon footprint.

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    Does my state offer incentives to go solar?

    See the states where Sunrun is currently available and the solar incentives that might be offered where you live. Some of the most common solar incentives include tax credits, property tax exemptions, and rebates. No matter what state you live in, you may be eligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) if you decide to purchase a home solar energy system.

    You can get a Sunrun monthly plan to lease your solar panels or prepay for your renewable energy through a solar power purchase agreement or PPA plan. As a result, any incentive savings you would receive through tax credits and rebates with a system purchase can be passed to you in the form of a lower solar bill.

    How do solar panels work?

    You can’t talk about solar panels without talking about silicon. Silicon is a non-metallic element and the second-most abundant material on earth. 4 It can also convert sunlight into electricity, and it’s a key component in a solar system (also known as a photovoltaic, or PV system). 5

    Solar panels, solar cells, or PV cells, are made by slicing crystalline silicon (also known as wafers) that are millimeters thin. These wafers are sandwiched between protective glass, insulation, and a protective back sheet, which make a solar panel. The back sheet helps to regulate the temperature and humidity to optimize the solar panel’s efficiency. 6 Multiple solar panels connected together create a solar array, and ultimately, a solar system.

    Then there’s the physics of how solar cells work: Electricity is made when electrons move between atoms. The top and bottom of a silicon wafer in the solar cell are treated with small amounts of atoms of extra materials—such as boron, gallium, or phosphorus—so that the top layer has more electrons and the bottom layer has less. When the sun activates the electrons in these oppositely charged layers, the electrons move through a circuit attached to the panels. This flow of electrons through the circuit is what generates the electrical current that ultimately powers a home. 7

    What are the different types of solar panels?

    Monocrystalline solar panels:

    Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency and power capacity out of all other types of solar panels. Another reason why people choose them is because of how they look. The solar cells within monocrystalline panels are square-shaped and have a single, flat black color, making them the most popular type of solar panels among homeowners. 8 Sunrun uses monocrystalline PV modules in all its home solar systems.

    Polycrystalline solar panels:

    The manufacturing process of polycrystalline solar panels is less costly than monocrystalline panels, but it also makes them less efficient. Usually, polycrystalline solar panels don’t have the corners cut off of them, so you won’t see the large white spaces on the front of the panel that you see on monocrystalline panels. 8

    Thin-film solar panels:

    Thin-film solar panels are less costly and easier to install than their counterparts. Still, they aren’t the best option for a home solar installation due to their efficiency, lightweight material, and durability. 8

    The Best Solar Panels: Reviews and Recommendations

    Best Overall: Raptic Titan Solar 100

    Why It Made The Cut: As our pick for the best solar panel overall, Raptic’s Titan Solar 100 is a two-panel system that’s easy to set up and carry, but capable of charging all but the most power-hungry electronics.

    Specs: — Panel Size: 42 inches long x 26 inches wide (21-inches long when folded) — Battery: N/A — Power Output: 100 watts

    Pros: — Powerful for its size — Great value — Includes a carrying case

    Cons: — Doesn’t come with a battery

    Raptic’s Titan Solar 100 manages to hit the sweet spot of portability, performance, and price that makes it well-suited for all but the most power-hungry needs. The system is comprised of two 50-watt solar panels, for a total power output of 100 watts. Each solar panel works independently, but Raptic attached them using a hinge system, so they fold on top of one another for easy storage. This arrangement makes the Titan Solar 100 a lot easier to set up and break down. Raptic bundles its solar panels with a carrying case to make transportation even easier.

    The Titan Solar 100 is 42 inches wide and 26 inches tall when fully unfolded, which means the solar panels are large enough to capture a lot of the sun’s rays. A kickstand on the back angles them to optimize their energy absorption potential, too. Raptic says its solar panels are made out of tempered glass for improved durability, so you shouldn’t have to worry about degradation with regular use. The Titan Solar 100 is by far the best value in this guide, but it comes with a catch. Raptic doesn’t include a battery with its solar panels, so you’ll have to get one separately. Naturally, the company recommends its own power stations: the Raptic Titan and Raptic Titan XL. The Titan Solar 100 terminates into a standard DC power connector, though, so you can use any full-sized battery that has the appropriate ports.

    We’re inclined to recommend pairing Raptic’s solar panels with its Titan or Titan XL because we’ve had the opportunity to test the former. We found it to be powerful enough to charge multiple devices without breaking a sweat, and were especially impressed with its relative portability. Raptic offers free shipping on all U.S. orders, which is something to keep in mind if you order directly from its site. If you only plan on getting one set of solar panels to start your journey into renewable energy, Raptic’s Solar 100 is the perfect choice.

    Best Budget: Grouphug Window Solar Charger

    Why It Made The Cut: Grouphug’s Window Solar Panel is an apartment-friendly solar panel capable of charging small electronics. It’s a good first step to take if you’re interested in starting to use solar power.

    Specs: — Panel Size: 10 inches long, 8 inches wide — Battery: 3,400mAh — Power Output: 10 watts

    Pros: — Apartment-friendly size — All-in-one design — Aesthetically pleasing

    Cons: — Not very powerful — Only one charging port

    Grouphug’s Window Solar Charger is not only the most budget-friendly solar panel you can get right now, it’s also the easiest to set up and most versatile. The single panel is fitted inside a pane of glass, which is wrapped in a wooden frame. This solar panel is designed to live semi-permanently on your window, where it’s attached using a suction cup. There’s nothing to set up: unbox the Window Solar Charger, attach it to your window, and wait.

    The self-contained solar panel has a built-in 3,400mAh battery, which can charge most smartphones to about 50 percent when the sun goes down. You can plug your devices directly into the Window Solar Charger’s USB-A port, which is located at the bottom of the frame. Grouphug offers a USB-C to USB-A adapter for under 10, and we recommend springing for it since many tech accessories have begun shipping with a USB-C to USB-C cable. Grouphug says it’ll take roughly 10 hours of sunlight to fully charge the Window Solar Charger’s battery, so be mindful of your placement.

    What we like most about the Window Solar Panel is the fact that it’s designed for everybody. At 14 inches tall, it’s the smallest solar panel we’re recommending, and the only one that can be easily used indoors whether you own or rent your place. We were skeptical about the solar panel’s suction cup, but it’s held for several weeks without fail.

    We’re a little wary about the fact that the Window Solar Charger’s USB-A port is built into the frame of the solar panel, because it’ll be tough — if not impossible — to repair for yourself if something goes wrong. That said, Grouphug says it’ll take a broken panel back to replace parts if necessary, so there is a reparability option if you need one. If you’ve avoided getting solar panels because of their cost, cumbersome setup, or space constraints, Grouphug’s Solar Charger leaves you with no more excuses.

    Things to Consider

    Location: It should go without saying, but solar panels will work best if they’re used in an area with a lot of sunlight. You’ll want to spend a couple of weeks monitoring how much sunshine your home gets if you’re opting for a whole-home solar panel system, and check the weather report before bringing portable solar panels on a trip.

    Energy Consumption: If possible, you should check how much electricity you use either at home or remotely before deciding which solar panels are right for you. One easy way to do that is taking a look at the energy requirements of your most-used electronics. Smaller gadgets — think phones and tablets — will need a lot less power to operate than a washing machine and dryer. To cut down on your energy usage further, consider the best rechargeable batteries.


    Q: How long do solar panels last?

    According to research conducted by the U.S. Government’s National Renewable Energy Lab, solar panels can last up to 25 years at full strength. After that, the panel may become less efficient, generating less energy over time.

    Q: Can the environment I live in impact the performance

    Yes, another study conducted by the NREL found that extreme heat can drive solar panels to become less effective and degrade more quickly. This generally applies to rooftop solar panels installed in very hot regions.

    Q: Is there a tax credit for solar panels used to power my home?

    Yes, the U.S. Government does offer a 26 percent tax credit for solar photovoltaic systems installed in 2022 (this drops to 22 percent in 2023, and is currently set to expire entirely in 2024). For the full details on what can be deducted, please refer to’s comprehensive explainer.

    Q: Can using solar panels meaningfully reduce the amount of money I spend on energy?

    That depends entirely on a few factors including, where you live, how much energy you typically consume, the size and number of your panels, and your home’s HVAC system. If you’d like to gauge the amount of money you’re likely to save, has created a calculator to help you out. Stay connected off the grid with the best wireless chargers.

    Final Thoughts on Solar Panels

    You may not be able to fully convert your energy consumption from fossil fuels to renewables, but getting solar panels is an excellent start. Making small changes — only charging your phone using a solar panel, for instance — can add up over time. That first step may encourage or empower you to take additional steps into lessening your reliance on fossil fuels. This is especially true if you move from an apartment into a house, which will enable you to have even more control over your home’s relationship to the grid. Regardless, there’s never been a better time to get a solar panel.

    This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

    Top 5 Solar Panel Kits of 2023

    There are many compelling reasons why home and business owners are adopting solar technology. For starters, embracing solar energy can be financially beneficial. By converting solar energy into usable electricity, you can lower the cost of your monthly electricity bills and greatly reduce your reliance on your local electrical grid.

    In addition to solar panels saving you money by reducing your utility bills, they can also increase the value of your property. There are even some state and federal tax incentives for those willing to embrace solar energy.

    Small load solar panel kits are ideal for anyone looking for an off-grid power source that will work in remote locations, which explains why they are so popular amongst RV owners, boaters, and those that own tiny homes and isolated cabins.

    If you are interested in lowering your utility bills, decreasing your carbon footprint, and potentially increasing the value of your home, we can help. Given the rising demand for clean energy, there are now countless solar panel kits available on the market, which can make it difficult to choose the right product.

    To help you make the right decision, we reviewed 5 of the best solar panel kits out there today. For each solar panel kit, we highlight some of the reasons why it stands out to us and cover some of its key features.

    The 5 Best Solar Panel Kits

    We chose the EcoFlow Delta 1800 complete solar panel kit as our best overall solar panel kit because it offers minimal maintenance, a straightforward installation process, impressive durability, and exceptional performance all at an affordable price point.

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    Efficiency and Durability:

    Out of the box, this solar system can produce roughly 2,370 watts per day; however, users also have the option to upgrade the kit and improve its output potential by adding additional solar panels and batteries.

    The kit’s four Rich Solar 100 watt monocrystalline solar panels are housed within durable aluminum frames and connect to a sealed, weatherproof junction box. The entire kit withstands water exposure and all weather conditions, so users do not have to worry about covering the panels from storms or during the winter months.

    In addition to the four high-performance solar panels, the kit includes an MPPT charge controller that offers efficient, fast solar panel charging, which is great for those who plan to use the kit as an additional power source with their RV.

    The 30 ft 10 AWG MC4 cabling allows users to keep their solar panels outside, while the battery bank sits inside where power is needed. The 1800-watt pure sine inverter also allows users to connect multiple devices and run high powered appliances like coffee maker, toaster, microwave and more.

    • 6 x AC power outlets and a USB port offer convenience and versatility
    • Backed by EcoFlow’s outstanding customer service and warranty

    The Bluetti AC200 Max Nomad Kit solar system just missed our top spot, but it is still an outstanding solar panel kit for those who want a versatile and user-friendly off-grid power solution.

    The kit’s three highquality 200 watt folding, monocrystalline solar panels have an efficiency rating of 21%, which means they remain effective during cloudy and overcast weather conditions.

    The solar panels are paired with a reliable 900W charge controller that offers an impressive 98% conversion rating and a tracking efficiency of 99%. The mppt charge controller also features a four-stage charging process, allowing the system to quickly, efficiently, and safely charge the battery.

    Durable and Weatherproof:

    A durable aluminum frame protects each solar panel, and the entire kit has a waterproof rating of IP65. The kit is so well-sealed that it is a popular choice with swimming pool owners looking to power their heating and filtration system with solar energy.

    • Highly efficient 900W MPPT charge controller
    • Comes with all necessary mounting hardware and a 30ft 10AWG MC4 Cable Kit

    This 400W Complete DIY Solar Panel Kit is the ideal solar panel kit for those looking to purchase a full setup on a budget. This highly efficient and versatile kit finds the perfect balance between affordability and quality.

    The kit’s two high-performance, multi-layered monocrystalline solar cells are housed within a seamless, anodized aluminum frame. The durable yet lightweight frames protect the solar panels from impact damage. Low-iron tempered glass covers keep the otherwise delicate solar cells from direct impacts and scratches, yet they do not reduce performance by reflecting or blocking sunlight.

    Easy Installation and Versatile Design:

    Each kit comes equipped with everything you need to get started. Pre-drilled holes and a full set of highquality screws and brackets make it easy to mount the panels. The kit’s extra-long 20ft MC4 connector cable features easy-snap weatherproof connections, so users do not have to worry about a complicated wiring process.

    The industrial-standard dimensions of the solar cells allow the kit to capture a significant amount of sunlight, about 200 watts each per hour of sunlight a day. Users also have the option to upgrade and expand the capacity of the kit by adding additional solar panels and batteries.

    Final Words

    That sums up the top 5 best solar panel kits! If you are new to the solar market, there is no better way to get started than purchasing a complete solar panel kit. Instead of worrying about the complicated technical details of ensuring the components are compatible, a solar panel kit lets you purchase everything in one convenient bundle.

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    Often, purchasing a complete kit is more cost-effective than buying each piece of equipment individually. Most solar panel kits can also be upgraded and expanded over time, so they can grow with you as you become more comfortable with solar energy and want to use it for more of your electricity needs.

    Any of the top 5 solar panel kits we reviewed above are a great place to start. Do not wait to lower your monthly utility bills and your carbon footprint.

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