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The most efficient solar panels available to residential customers come from companies such as Maxeon (sold through SunPower) and Canadian Solar, both boasting maximum efficiency ratings of 22.8%. Solar panel efficiency measures the amount of the sun’s energy that a panel’s solar cells convert into usable electricity. Factors influencing solar panel efficiency may include sunlight availability, the angle of the panels, and other electrical components. Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient at 17% to 22%, while polycrystalline and thin-film panels have lower efficiency rates and are more affordable.

2021 marked the first year that more than half of residential solar panels installed in the US had efficiency ratings above 20%. The highest efficiency achieved in lab conditions was 47.6% in June 2022. However, commercially available panels for homes, like those from SunPower and Canadian Solar, are currently the most efficient on the market. While high-efficiency panels typically cost more, choosing the most efficient option depends on balancing financial goals, preferred installer offers, brand considerations, and aesthetics.

Factors that affect solar panel efficiency in real-world conditions include available sunlight, solar panel angle, other electrical components, and temperature. Solar panels are installed at an optimal angle to capture the sun’s energy, and temperature coefficient measures how panel efficiency decreases with rising temperatures. In addition to residential panels, experimental technology and those designed for commercial and utility-scale applications can offer even higher efficiency rates.

Choosing the best solar panel company involves getting quotes from multiple installers, understanding energy usage goals, and considering credentials like those from respected third-party organizations. It is important to assess roof condition before installation, as removing panels for roof replacement can result in additional costs. Installer expertise in system design and transparency in proposal specifics are also key factors to consider. In conclusion, efficiency, along with other factors, plays a role in selecting the best solar panels for individual needs and goals.

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