Solar Panel Buying Guide: What Are the Highest Performing Solar Panel Brands?

With only two months left to equip their homes with new solar panel arrays and claim their 26% solar ITC (Incentive Tax Credit), many homeowners are reaching out to local solar companies in San Diego in an effort to find the one that offers the best value for their money.

In this article, we’ll help you make an informed decision by taking a look at 4 of the most reliable, USA-made solar brands on the market today. Read on to learn more.

Which is the best solar panel brand?

Like replacing your furnace or central air conditioner, a new solar panel installation is a long-term investment in your San Diego home. By choosing higher quality panels now, you’ll be recouping your money sooner and enjoying greater savings for many years to come.

Here are some of the top-performing, USA-made solar brands:

Silfab

With a tradition that spans more than 35 years, Silfab is one of the leading residential and commercial panel manufacturers in North America. Their high-quality, long-lasting modules boast maximum power density and are covered by one of the most trusted warranties in the industry.

They’re especially known for their ultra-high-efficiency bifacial (two-sided) modules. These incredible panels are equipped with innovative N-type cells that enable them to produce up to 30% additional back-side power.

Solaria

When the company was first founded in 2000, Solaria was one of the early innovators of next-gen solar systems and panels. These days, they’re known for their many ground-breaking contributions to the solar industry which includes more than 250 issued and pending patents.

Solaria’s most recent product, the Solaria PowerXT solar panel, uses a state-of-the-art system of overlapping solar cells that allows for greater cell density compared to other panels. This enables it to achieve significantly higher efficiency than conventional solar panels.

LG

LG is one of the most well-known tech companies in the world. Thanks to over 30 years of research and development, they’re able to produce top-quality panels that deliver outstanding performance while still being reasonably priced.

As a result, LG’s solar modules have won numerous awards over the years for their incredible resilience and efficiency. Their latest products are covered by 25-year product and performance warranties that guarantee a minimum power output of 86%-88.4% after 25 years.

NeoVolta

NeoVolta designs, develops, and produces premium residential energy storage batteries that go hand-in-hand with modern solar panel systems. By storing the energy your panels produce rather than sending it back to the grid, you’ll avoid costly peak demand electricity rates, protect yourself against blackouts, and make your solar-powered home even more grid-independent.

Their popular NV14 and NV24 lithium batteries come with 14.4 kWh and 24 kWh capacities, respectively. They’re covered by 10-year manufacturer warranties and boast an energy efficiency of 94%. Their operating temperatures range from -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, making them by far the most reliable battery option for solar panel owners in California.

Where can I hire dependable solar panel installers in San Diego and the nearby cities?

Action Solar is a long-standing solar energy company offering full-service solutions to commercial and residential clients in San Diego, Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, Temecula, and other cities across San Diego and South Riverside Counties.

We provide the complete range of solar services, including panel retrofitting, add-ons, and solar battery systems. Our solar panel installations are carried out by a team of fully-certified and licensed technicians, and covered by 25-30 year warranties. Contact us today to book our solar services in San Diego or learn more about our solar panel installation process.

Facts About Solar Panels: The Useful, The Strange & The Incredible

Solar panel technology has been around for over a century. However, it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that solar power systems started to see widespread use for homes and businesses. While most understand the basics of solar power, many are still unaware of the history of solar panel technology and its potential for future growth.

If you’ve already entered the beneficial world of renewable energy by installing solar panels at your property in Escondido, La Jolla, Temecula, or another city in the San Diego County, you’ll be interested in the handy facts about solar energy we have collected in this article. Read on.

How efficient was the first solar panel?

How efficient was the first solar panel
The very first solar panel produced was not very efficient! The early solar panels based on Edmond Becquerel’s original discovery of the photovoltaic effect had about 1% efficiency at $300 per watt. In comparison, back in those days it cost $2 to $3 per watt to generate electricity using coal.

To say that solar panels have become more efficient since those days would be a drastic understatement. Here are some comparatives for solar technology then and now:

  • The first silicon solar cells designed by Bell Labs’ in 1954 initially had a 4% efficiency, which was later increased to 11%.
  • Hoffman Electronics achieved 10% efficiency in 1959, and increased it to 14% just a year later.
  • Solar cells gained traction in the space program during the 1960s, which reduced their cost to about $100 per watt.
  • In the 1970s, Dr. Elliot Berman brought solar panel prices down to around $20 per watt thanks to his discovery of a more cost-efficient solar cell.
  • Since the 1980s, the cost of solar panels has been steadily decreasing. These days, residential solar panels boast 15-18% efficiency and can be priced as low as $0.50 per watt.
  • New advancements are constantly being made. In 2021, scientists have developed a prototype of a both-sides-contacted silicon solar cell that has an efficiency of 26% or more. It’s safe to say that the future of solar power looks very bright indeed.

How much solar energy reaches the Earth each day?

Short answer: more than we would ever need. Long answer: no less than 173,000 terawatts (trillions of watts) of solar energy constantly strikes the Earth. That’s over 10,000 times the world’s total energy use!

And best of all? This energy will remain 100% renewable for as long as the sun is around, which is literally billions of years. By going solar, we’re tapping into this boundless natural resource that more than meets our collective energy needs without requiring us to rely on harmful and limited fossil fuels.

How much power do solar panels produce in space?

Despite the immense amount of solar energy that reaches Earth on any given day, this power is still somewhat reduced by our planet’s atmosphere, seasonal weather, cloud cover, and nighttime. Since there are no such limitations in space, solar panels on spacecraft can annually produce up to 40 times as much energy as their Earthbound counterparts.

Scientists are currently working on a new technology that could beam solar energy from orbital solar panel arrays directly to Earth. Due to its incredible efficiency, this “stellar energy” may one day become our world’s main power source.

Who installs the best solar panels in Escondido & the nearby communities?

Having your solar panels installed and maintained by your local leading experts is the best way to ensure optimal performance for many years to come. With over 46 years of industry presence and an extensive list of successful installations, Action Solar is the best choice for all your solar and HVAC service needs.

Get in touch with us today and benefit from our high-quality USA-made products and expert-level workmanship, delivered with friendly customer service and extensive experience.

The History of Solar Panels: A Story of Innovation & Progress

The rapidly growing popularity of solar energy during the last decade has given many Americans the impression solar panels are a decidedly modern invention. The reality is solar panels have a longer and more storied history than most technology we use on a daily basis.

To give you an idea of how far solar power technology has come, we have prepared some interesting historical facts about solar panels that may inspire you to trust solar panel installers to equip your property in Escondido, Oceanside, Encinitas, and other cities across San Diego and South Riverside Counties. Keep reading to learn more.

When was the first solar panel made?

When did solar panels become popular
Incredibly, the origin of solar panels date all the way back to 1839 when Edmond Becquerel, a 19-year-old French physicist, discovered an increase in voltage on exposure to light while experimenting with a cell composed of metal electrodes. He dubbed his discovery the “photovoltaic effect”.

Over 30 years later, another two major advancements were made:

Seven years later, in 1883, the inventor Charles Fritz devised the first ever selenium solar cell. Although the cost-efficiency of these early cells left much to be desired, they still served as the crucial precursor to the advanced solar panel technologies we use today.

When did solar panels become popular?

Despite solar energy’s enormous potential and increased emphasis on environmental friendliness, it took more than a hundred years before solar panels gained mainstream acceptance.

Important events that contributed to this include:

  • In 1905, Albert Einstein brought solar power into the public eye by writing a paper on the photoelectric effect that explained how it can be used to generate energy.
  • In 1954, Bell Labs scientists Gerald Pearson, Daryl Capin, and Calvin Fuller designed a solar cell based on silicon, which is significantly more efficient and readily available than selenium.
  • During the 1950s and the 1960s, famous spacecrafts such as Sputnik-3, Vanguard I and II, and Explorer III all relied on solar panels to generate power.
  • In 1964, NASA’s Nimbus satellite was launched. This was a milestone in solar energy because the satellite was fully powered by its 470-watt solar panel array.
  • In 1979, Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the White House. This was done in response to the oil shortage of that time, and as a statement that Americans don’t have to rely on foreign energy resources.

What’s more, solar panel prices have been steadily going down every year since the 1980s. Combined with the increased emphasis on eco-friendliness and energy efficiency, solar energy has experienced a veritable boom in popularity during the 2010s. Today, in 2021, solar panels are an extremely viable and desirable way of powering your property.

Who are the leading solar panel installers in Escondido & the surrounding citiesWho are the leading solar panel installers in Escondido & the surrounding cities?

There’s no better way to ensure seamless operation and an extended service life for your solar panels than to have them installed and serviced by trained and experienced professionals at Action Solar. We are an award-winning solar and HVAC company with USA-made products, licensed teams and loyal customers contributing to our longevity over the last 46 years.

Reach out to us today and have your solar energy systems installed, maintained, and repaired by the leading team in Escondido, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Menifee, Temecula, and surrounding communities throughout San Diego and South Riverside Counties.

What Kind of Light Do My Solar Panels Need?

Solar panels are designed to work with natural sunlight, since they are mostly used outdoors and in space. But can they work with other sources of light? The answer might surprise you. 

No matter if you live in Corona or  Chula Vista, CA, our experts can assign expert solar panel installers, and answer any questions you may have about solar technology. In this article, we will discuss the types of light solar panels respond to and dispel some common misconceptions. 

Can solar panels work with artificial light?

Solar panels are called solar panels for a reason–they are designed to work with sunlight, for example solar radiation. Sunlight refers to a portion of the Sun’s electromagnetic radiation, particularly that that falls under infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. 

However, solar panels don’t respond to all wavelengths within the solar radiation spectrum. Namely, solar cells work best when exposed to wavelengths in the red to violet range. By contrast, infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths have too little and too much energy, respectively, to power solar cells. 

Artificial sources of light 

Solar cells can also work with artificial light sources that mimic sunlight, such as fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. In this form, solar cells can power small devices such as watches and calculators. 

Although solar panels can work under artificial light, they can never achieve the same performance as with natural sunlight. There are several reasons for this: 

  • Loss conversion: In order to use artificial light to power a solar cell, you first need to convert the electricity to light for it to be converted back into electricity. During the conversion, a certain amount of energy is lost. 
  • Design of artificial light: Since artificial lights aren’t designed to efficiently power solar cells, they tend to be poor substitutes for natural sunlight. Typical artificial lighting is designed with safety in mind, instead of energy efficiency. 
  • Light barriers: Most artificial lights have barriers to light, such as ballasts and bulbs. These barriers are designed to temper the intensity of light and diffuse it. This is why artificial light sources tend to be less efficient overall. 

Do solar panels work with Moonlight?

Solar cells depend on raw natural sunlight to generate electricity. More precisely, solar panels work when they are exposed to photons, elementary particles carrying the electromagnetic radiant energy generated by the Sun. 

The Moon “shines” because its surface reflects the light energy of the Sun. In fact, the Moon reflects only about 3-12% of the sunlight that hits it, despite appearing very bright. Considering that it doesn’t generate its own light, i.e. photons, the Moon is unable to power solar panels. 

However, if you were to install solar panels on the Moon itself, they would be able to generate electricity when exposed to sunlight! What’s more, solar panels are likely to be more efficient on the Moon than they are on Earth. The reason for this is that the Moon is exposed to sunlight constantly, except during a lunar eclipse, and the fact that sunlight wouldn’t have to travel through the Earth’s atmosphere. 

Contact the Chula Vista, CA solar panel installers

 

An increasing number of homeowners are curious about solar energy. Among other things, they’d like to know how well solar panels hold up in hailstorms, whether they can withstand strong winds, and how safe solar arrays are in thunderstorms

At Action Solar, we have all the answers. As the leading solar pros in Chula Vista, National City, and other neighborhoods in the San Diego metropolitan area, we are fully qualified to advise you and install your solar panels per the highest industry standards. Contact us now.

Solar Panels & Lightning: All You Need to Know

When researching solar panels, you’re likely to come across a persistent myth that installing solar panels can increase the risk of your home being struck by lightning. 

No, having solar panels will not make your home more susceptible to lightning strikes. That being said, if you live in a thunderstorm-prone area, you may want to take measures to protect your solar panels and your home from lightning damage

No matter if you live near Riverside, San Marcos or  Chula Vista, CA , considering solar panels for your home is a viable option. Having knowledge on lightning protection can benefit your solar system during hazardous weather.

Do solar panels need to be grounded?

Solar panels are built to withstand strong winds and remain safe from hail and heavy rain. They are also as safe from lightning as any other structure. 

Solar panels do not attract lightning, but they can still get damaged when hit. The materials used to construct solar panels are highly durable, yet no structure can withstand the certain levels of force and heat generated by lightning. 

Both direct and indirect lightning strikes can result in solar panel downtime and damage. Direct strikes, although rare, can melt your panels and inverters. Indirect strikes, on the other hand, are much more common. They can induce high voltages into your system, potentially damaging its components and creating a fire hazard. 

The importance of proper grounding 

According to the National Electrical Code, Article 690, your home solar panels must be grounded. This means that a grounding rod should be installed several feet into the ground and connected to a wire attached to the solar array’s metal racking. 

As the most fundamental method of protection against lightning, proper grounding ensures that a lightning surge will bypass your solar equipment and be safely discharged into the earth. A grounding rod can also prevent static electricity from accumulating in your solar panels. 

How do you protect solar panels from lightning?

Unfortunately, a standard grounding system is not guaranteed to protect your panels from a direct lightning strike and the massive electrical current it can produce. To handle such a current, you would have to get a dedicated solar panel lightning protection system. There are various types of extra lightning protection that can vary in terms of quality and cost. 

The two main lightning protection measures are: 

Surge protectors 

As an addition to a proper grounding system, surge protectors can help keep your panels safe from direct and indirect strikes. They are typically installed at both ends of any inverter communication cable and the inverter power circuit, including ethernet communication cables and the lines leading from your AC to the inverter. Surge protectors work by absorbing voltage spikes and allowing the surge to bypass your equipment and power wiring. 

Lightning rods

Lightning rods are designed to protect your solar panels from direct strikes. They are static discharge devices typically installed above a solar system and connected to the ground. A lightning rod is designed to prevent static charge buildup and reduce the risk of lightning strikes. Additionally, they can provide an alternative direct path to ground if a lightning strike does occur. 

Both lightning rods and surge protectors are typically only recommended at sites with an increased risk of lightning strikes. These include homes that are: 

  • Isolated on high ground in a thunderstorm-prone area
  • Located on dry and rocky soil 
  • Connected to wires running longer than 100 feet 

Contact our experts serving residents from Corona to  Chula Vista, CA and learn more about solar panels

Whether you already own solar panels or plan on having them installed, it’s only natural that you’d want to learn as much as you can about the best ways to protect your investment. When in doubt, contact experienced solar panel professionals in your area to provide you with reliable information. 

At Action Solar, we are known for offering high-quality solar panel installation and repair in Chula Vista and the surrounding cities in South Riverside and  San Diego County. We can also provide our customers with any advice they may need, whether they’d like to know about weather protection or if solar panels can work with artificial light. Get in touch with Action Solar today.