Best Solar Panels for Home Use - Buyer's Guide

home car roof solar panel

With rising electricity rates, more homeowners are switching to solar power systems. Installing solar panels on your roof provides renewable energy and can reduce your electric bill. In this buyer's guide, we'll look at the factors to consider when selecting the best solar panels for home installation.

Types of Solar Panels

There are two main types of solar panels for residential use:

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

  • Made from a single silicon crystal
  • Highest efficiency rates at 15-22%
  • Space efficient, provide more power per square foot

Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient, but also the most expensive. They work well in limited roof spaces to produce more solar energy using less panels.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

  • Made from multiple silicon crystal fragments
  • Slightly lower efficiency at 13-17%
  • More affordable option

Polycrystalline panels are cheaper, but need more surface area to achieve the same power output as monocrystalline. They can be a good choice to maximize energy on a budget.

Key Factors When Choosing Home Solar Panels

Panel Efficiency

Conversion efficiency determines how much of the sun's energy gets turned into usable electricity. Select panels with higher efficiency ratings to get more power production per square foot.

Panel Wattage

Typical home solar panels range from 250-400 watts each. Calculate your home's energy needs and then determine how many panels you need to provide adequate power.

Installation Location

Consider your roof size, orientation and sunlight exposure. South-facing roofs maximize sunlight throughout the day.


Look for at least a 20-25 year power output warranty. Roof penetration warranties should cover water leakage for at least 10 years.


Choose independently tested and certified solar panels that meet quality and safety standards. Look for IEC and UL certifications.

Home Solar Panel Systems

In addition to the panels, you'll need other equipment for a complete functioning system:

  • Inverter - converts DC power from panels to usable AC electricity
  • Racking - securely mounts panels to the roof
  • Wiring - connects panels together and routes electricity properly

When getting quotes for home solar installation, make sure everything you need is included in the total system price.

Solar Financing Options

Installing a solar panel system is a significant investment. However, there are financing options to make it more affordable:

  • Solar loans - Financing is repaid over time through fixed monthly payments. Interest rates are typically lower than other loans.
  • Solar leases - No upfront system purchase, but monthly lease payments. You benefit from lower electric bills without buying the system.
  • Solar incentives - Tax rebates, performance-based incentives and solar renewable energy credits can offset installation costs.

With the right solar panels and financing, you can make the switch to clean, renewable solar energy for your home. Use this buyer's guide to help select the best solar panel system for your needs.

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