Let’s take a look at First Solar reviews of their products, what the solar industry thinks of the company, and compare them to a handful of other manufacturers.
First Solar is a solar panel manufacturer and installer focused on large, utility-scale solar power plants. They own and control each step of the manufacturing and installation process: panel production, sales, installation, monitoring, and recycling of the solar panels once they’ve met the end of their useful life.
While they don’t work in the residential sector and so their name might not be familiar to you, they’ve left a huge imprint on the solar industry. They’ve installed over 17 gigawatts of solar worldwide – enough to power almost 300,000 average sized homes and in 2016, they were the 6th biggest solar panel manufacturer in the world. However, their products are quite different than the others on that list!
Over the last ten years, the solar industry has grown at an almost unbelievable pace. From 2005 to 2016, total solar panel production increased from a paltry 1.4 gigawatts to 70 GW – an increase of 4,900%! (See NREL report below for stats.) Today, let’s take a look at the companies that make this happen – the world’s ten biggest solar panel manufacturers.
In 2016, these companies produced about half of that 70 GW total, with each shipping between 2.2 and 5 GW of solar panels. That’s enough solar for each company to power between 385,000 and 1 million average-sized rooftop installations!
For the most part, all the manufacturers produce ‘standard’ solar panels for both residential and commercial installations (panels for commercial systems are larger), though some also offer special products like frameless panels, panels with premium components, batteries, and mounting systems as well.
With so many manufacturers to choose from, it can be daunting to find the solar panels that perfectly fit your needs. How do you know which are the best solar panels for home use? They’re the ones that best balance efficiency, reputation, and cost. Let’s run through all the factors to consider when choosing the right panels for your home.Continue reading
If you’ve ever seen a solar panel (and hopefully you have!), chances are it was a crystalline silicon solar panel – the dominant type of solar cell out there. If you’ve done a bit more research on panels, you might be aware that there are actually two types of crystalline silicon panels: polycrystalline and monocrystalline.
You might’ve heard that one produces more energy or is more efficient or another is more cost-effective. What’s the real difference between monocrystalline solar panels vs polycrystalline solar panels? And does it even matter?
The difference between the two lies in the manufacture and makeup of their underlying material: silicon. Let’s take a look to see what all this means and ultimately help you decide which type to install.Continue reading
On first glance, solar panels are pretty simple pieces of technology. Sunlight hits them and they produce electricity, then flows out of a wire to whatever you want to power. Done. There’s no motors and no moving parts (electrons are the only moving object in a solar panel). However, when you take a closer look at a solar panel diagram, you’ll see they are actually incredibly complex.
Today, let’s break down what exactly composes a solar panel so that we can learn a little more about this wonder of the modern world.Continue reading
You might have heard talk that solar windows are going to be the next big thing in solar. I mean, how cool would it be to look out your window and know that they’re producing electricity while you do it? While there are one or two companies actually manufacturing solar windows, many questions remain: are they really a viable option? Can you install them on your home? How much do solar windows cost?
If you’re ready to hop on this bandwagon, don’t jump quite yet. Currently, solar windows are still in the nascent stages. Only a handful of companies are actually manufacturing them and, while they are certainly super-cool, they’re still miles away from being commercially viable.Continue reading
Solar installations can be quite expensive, so we all want to find ways to cut costs. Usually this means simply pricing out the job with several installers or choosing mid-priced equipment. For those of us who are more hands-on, this might even mean buying used solar panels.
While used solar panels are certainly cheaper than new models, there are some serious issues to consider before buying them. You need to assess your project and weigh your options carefully before moving forward.Continue reading
Sunpower makes some of the best solar panels in the world. They’re ultra-efficient, highly durable, and put out more electricity than any others. Are you interested in installing Sunpower solar panels on your roof, but can’t find any info on how much a Sunpower panel cost?
You’re not alone! Sunpower is a unique solar panel manufacturer. You can’t just go out and buy one of their solar panels online or even through a distributor. You can only get your solar panels through pre-approved installers.Continue reading
Perovskite solar cells – funny name, serious tech. They’re kind of the ‘it’ thing in solar technology right now. Think N’Sync back in 1998 when they all had those terrible haircuts or 1980s Guns N Roses when they all had… those terrible haircuts.
Not to be too dramatic, but perovskite cells really could bring a huge change to the solar industry, and by extension our entire electricity infrastructure, forever. Despite being quite a new technology, they’re naturally cheap and easy to make, and are already as efficient as our ubiquitous crystalline silicon panels (the ones on our rooftops).
Unlike crystalline silicon panels, however, perovskite solar cells can be attached to both rigid and bendable surfaces, making them more versatile than the hard, heavy panels commonly used today.Continue reading
Most of us picture a fixed rooftop installation when we think of solar panels – but did you know that there are solar panels that don’t sit still as they soak up the sun? Some photovoltaic systems are connected to something called a solar tracker, which powers ground-mounted solar panels to slowly change position so that they continuously face the sun.
Solar trackers can use a number of methods and mechanics to function, but all of them are meant to do one thing: increase energy output by moving solar panels so that they receive as much direct sunlight as possible. Some manufacturers boast that their trackers can increase energy production as much as a 45% over a fixed roof system.Continue reading