A Solar Panel Buying Guide For Homeowners

As energy bills become more expensive and Mother Earth continues to suffer, solar panels are increasingly a popular energy alternative. After all, why would you pay electricity monthly if you can use a free source?

That said, installing solar panels is never cheap as one might think. To harness the sun’s power, there’s the initial expense of considering and choosing the best solar panel for your needs. 

Whether this is your first time shopping for a solar panel or wanting to add more, this article shares four valuable tips when buying solar panels for your home.

solar panel buying guide
New solar panels installed on metal sheet roof of the house in South Australia

Understanding Solar Panels And Energy Systems

Before diving into our solar panel buying guide, let’s first understand what a solar panel is and how it works. 

Solar panels are made from photovoltaic (PV) cells that absorb solar radiation from the sun. This energy creates electric charges, which move through the cells’ electrical field and directs the flow of the electrical energy. 

From the solar panel, the energy goes through an inverter which converts it from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) to power homes. In some systems, solar batteries can help store the collected energy from the sun for later use. 

4 Tips To Choose The Right Solar Panels

When choosing the right solar panel, there are various things to consider. Here are some of them:

  • Cost

Although solar panels can help save money on energy bills, buying the panels themselves can be costly. Generally, you’ll need to shell out a few thousand dollars for both system parts and installation. 

The cost of solar panels depends on various factors, including location. For instance, the average contractors charge is US$10,967, while other states like Hawaii can go over US$14,000. 

Since solar panels can be costly, you may be looking for a way to reduce their cost. Fortunately, most local governments offer numerous discount schemes and subsidies to help homeowners switch to solar energy. So consider asking your local government if they provide tax incentives and rebates for a solar project and whether or not you’re eligible. 

  • Type of Panel

As solar panel technology advances, homeowners have various options for panels. Today, you have three types of solar panels to choose from:

  • Monocrystalline

This is the oldest type of solar panel available. As such, it’s also considered the most developed panel and offers maximum efficiency. 

  • Polycrystalline

A more modern alternative to monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline is gaining traction among homeowners. It comes with a cheaper price tag than monocrystalline but is slightly less efficient.  

  • Thin Film

One of the latest developments in the solar industry, thin films feature a lightweight build and an affordable price point, giving your more flexibility during the installation. 

  • The Number Of Panels You Need

Installing the correct number of solar panels for your home is essential. Generally, how many solar panels you need or the size of the system depends on how much space you have for installation and how much electricity you want to produce. 

Buying too many panels means you pay more than your budget and risk wasting energy you can’t use. However, you can use this to your advantage by installing a or selling excess energy to the grid. In contrast, buying less means the system may not accommodate your energy use. 

Solar panel sizes are generally expressed in kilowatt peak (kWp). This is the maximum output of the panel. Most residential solar panels can offer up to 4kWp. Make sure to discuss your energy use and requirements with your contractor so you can find the right size for your home. 

  • Quality And Warranty

High-quality solar panels will last longer and provide you with higher efficiency output. As such, you want to take your time and research the best panels in your area. Generally, monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are the most preferred options, thanks to their durability and performance. 

In addition to the panel itself, you must consider the quality of other parts, including frames, wiring, casing, racking, and mounting. 

Also, always buy panels with an extended warranty to ensure quality and investment protection. The industry standard is 25 years of warranty. Meanwhile, the manufacturer’s warranty from defective materials typically falls between 10 and 12 years.  

solar panel buying guide
A worker installing solar panels on the roof.


Installing solar panels is an excellent investment that can provide numerous benefits—from lowering your monthly energy cost to living a more sustainable and eco-friendlier life—in the long run. 

Choosing the right solar panels for your home isn’t that straightforward. Following the tips above, you can find the right solar panels that fit your budget and needs.

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