Close-up of modern photovoltaic solar panel

What Is Solar Panel Efficiency and Why Does It Matter? 

If you’re thinking about installing home solar panels, you want to make sure you’re getting a high-quality product at a fair price. Understanding solar panel efficiency will help you compare products so you can choose the best fit for your needs and budget. 

What Does Solar Panel Efficiency Mean? 

Solar panel efficiency measures a solar panel’s ability to turn sunlight into electricity. If a solar panel has a 20% efficiency rating, for example, 20% of the sunlight that shines on that panel will be converted into usable electricity. The higher the efficiency rating, the more electricity a single solar panel can produce. 

Efficiency is also an important metric for comparing solar inverters. Solar inverter efficiency measures the amount of electricity that’s lost as direct current electricity is converted into alternating current electricity by a solar inverter. Inverters with high efficiency ratings lose less energy during the conversion process. 

You don’t have to calculate solar panel efficiency or solar inverter efficiency on your own—most solar manufacturers make their efficiency ratings readily available in the product descriptions on their websites. 

Is Solar Panel Efficiency Important? 

Solar panel efficiency is an important factor to consider when installing solar panels. But just because a solar panel has a high efficiency rating doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option. 

High-efficiency solar panels are usually more expensive than panels with lower efficiency ratings, and you may very well be able to meet your electricity needs without installing the highest-efficiency option. 

If you have a large roof or plenty of space for ground-mounted solar panels, you don’t have to worry too much about efficiency. You can produce just as much electricity with low-efficiency panels as you can with high-efficiency panels, you just need more of them to do so. As long as you have the space, you can save money by installing a larger array of low-efficiency panels and still produce enough electricity to power your home. 

Solar panel efficiency is most important when space is limited. If you have a small roof (or if your roof is not an ideal candidate for solar) you will need to squeeze more power out of fewer panels. Since high-efficiency panels produce the most electricity, they are the best option for small spaces. 

What Is the Average Solar Panel Efficiency? 

Most residential and commercial solar panels have an efficiency rating of 15 to 22 percent, though there are outliers on both ends of the spectrum. Some of today’s high-efficiency panels have an efficiency rating of 23% or higher. And while high-efficiency solar panels are currently more expensive than lower-efficiency options, that may not always be the case. The cost of solar is going down and as new technologies are developed and introduced into the market, high-efficiency panels are likely to become even more affordable. 

Find the Best Solar Panels for Your Home with SouthFace Solar & Electric 

At SouthFace Solar & Electric, we take all factors into consideration when designing and installing solar energy systems so we can help you maximize the benefits of solar ownership. All of the solar systems we install are custom designed, and we’ll recommend the optimal solar products based on your home, budget, and energy needs. We work with multiple manufacturers and offer a wide selection of high-quality solar products at competitive prices. If you want a solar installer that can recommend the best products and design a custom system that will maximize your return on investment, give SouthFace Solar a call! Learn more about our unique process to see why Arizona homeowners from Phoenix to Carefree and throughout all the surrounding communities love working with our team.

Start saving with solar! Call 480-405-6105 or contact us to get a free solar quote!