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Types Of Solar Panels: Benefits and Drawbacks

Planning to install a solar power system to power up the electrical systems in your home? Then look no further than Sunny Solar power and panels in Cairns. Generally, there are three ways to generate solar panels. Learn about their pros and cons to make the most of your investment.

1. Monocrystalline

The technology to produce monocrystalline panels was invented in the 50s. The cells were cut out of silicon in cylinder shapes, which are called wafers. Then, ten wafers were combined to create a monocrystalline panel.


Monocrystalline units are typically constructed from premium silicone, thus providing them with the highest performance compared to other types, usually up to 20%. More specifically, monocrystalline panels can outperform thin films by 4 to 1. Also, they make use of the space and produce a high yield of power in each square foot. Compared to polycrystalline panels, monocrystalline units often perform better in a low-light condition. And the warranty typically lasts for 25 years.


The most significant drawback of monocrystalline panels is its exorbitant price, mainly due to high-quality materials. Also, circuit breakdowns are quite frequent when the panels are shaded or obstructed. The process of manufacturing generates significant waste. Monocrystalline panels generally perform best in warmer conditions, with efficiency decreasing when the temperature increases.

2. Polycrystalline

While polycrystalline and monocrystalline units are both made from silicon, the formers are manufactured by pouring silicone into a mould instead of cutting out the wafer shapes.


The high-temperature ratings of polycrystalline panels are a little bit lower than those of monocrystalline units. However, these differences are minor, making them an excellent choice for many homeowners. More importantly, the process of manufacturing produces little waste, and the advanced technology reduces energy price.


The efficiency of polycrystalline panels is relatively low, often from 13 to 16 per cent. They also need more space for the installation to generate the same electrical outputs as monocrystalline panels.

3. Thin Film

Manufacturers produce thin-film panels by putting different layers of photovoltaic elements, such as organic photovoltaic or amorphous silicon cells.


The benefits of thin-film units are many but do not outweigh the drawbacks. They are lightweight and immune to issues from obstructions, shades or low-light conditions. Also, it is easy to mass manufacture these panels, making them an affordable choice to consider.

  • Space: Generally, these units generally require lots of space for installation. For commercial purposes, it makes sense. But for residential application, where space is often tight, they do not work.
  • Cost: As it often requires a large number of panels to install this type of system, the prices might also be higher. In most cases, you need to buy many cables, and support elements accommodate these units.
  • Lifespan: Thin-film panels do not last long and succumb quickly to the weather effects. That’s why it’s hard to find a manufacturer providing a long-warranty with thin-film panels.

Tier 1 Solar Panels –Why Are They So Important?

Solar panels are an excellent way to cut energy costs for residences and businesses. If you’re considering a new solar system, make sure you’re getting more bang for your buck. Identifying top-of-the-line panels is made easy thanks to the tier classification system. Several factors are considered before a solar panel is classified:

  • Where parts are manufactured and assembled
  • Quality control factors
  • Product research and development
  • Company reputation and standing
  • Location of the company (domestic or foreign)
  • Age of the manufacturer
  • Product quality and conformity
Tier 1 Solar Panels

Of all manufacturers, only 2% are Tier 1 classified. To earn this distinction, each part must be Australia-made. The manufacturer does lots of research and development. Manufacturing processes are automated to ensure high quality. For the business to instil more trust in its ability to honour warranties, it has to be in operation for more than five years.

Tier 2 Solar Panels

Mediocre in quality, Tier 2 panels are produced by 8% of Australian manufacturers. These businesses have been around for more than two years, but less than five. Their investment in research and development is wanting. Quality standards aren’t guaranteed due to poor automation or lack of it during production.

Tier 3 Solar Panels

90% of all manufacturers are Tier 3 suppliers. These are “Johnny-come-lately” start-ups with minimal experience. Solar parts are made overseas and imported for assembly. Such parts are rarely tested and there’s little research and development. Quality is inconsistent because the products are handmade. There’s little chance for these companies to honour warranties. Most of them will be consolidated with another provider or go out of business within one or two years.

Assessing Your Options

Doing a little research goes a long way toward choosing the right system. Tier 1 solar panels lead the pack. They’re a viable investment for professional investors and commercial solar farms. If you’re in the dark about a specific solar panel brand, look it up on Google. Think local because foreign providers don’t do repairs and honour warranties down the road.

High-quality panels have established websites packed with lots of in-depth information. If there’s no info about the manufacturer, move on. Make sure the solar panels are Australia-tested.

Before purchasing, find out:

  • How the solar panels are made – their parts and material composition.
  • Where the firm is located and its contact info.
  • Where the panels are manufactured.
  • How long you’ll wait before realising a Return on Investment (ROI).

Other things to consider include warranty information, manufacturing diagrams and system yield estimates. Think local, Tier 1 and professional installation.

Reliable companies walk clients through the buying process. They’ll hide nothing from you and will keep in touch with you even after you’ve made a purchase. Go for quality and reputable products to find the right solar system for your residence or business. If you need some profession advice, then we recommend none other than They work mainly from Geelong, in Victoria, but now have a ballarat location. Contact them for more resources.

If you’re on a shoestring budget but eager to go solar, don’t fall for dirt-cheap products. Cash in on solar leasing and power purchase agreements. Pay out of pocket if possible to accrue more long-term savings.

Solar Panels Buying Guide: 10 Shopping Tips

Buying solar panels is an exciting experience. But don’t fall for low prices and catchy adverts. Focus on the features and benefits of your purchase because it’s a substantial investment. Here’s what to look for when shopping for a solar system.


Consult colleagues, friends and family members who have gone solar. These trustable guys are willing to share their solar Darwin experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly. They will tell you what to adopt and what to shun. Read online consumer guides to avoid tricks and traps.

Length of Manufacturer’s Warranty

Your solar system will last a long time if the warranty is substantial and the manufacturer is reputable. A system that lasts long enough is able to make you a profit and pay for itself. Steer clear of manufacturers with no track record. In case they go out of business, they won’t honour your warranty.

Have Realistic Price Expectations

Quality equipment and service aren’t cheap. Mind you, you get what you pay for. Don’t shop around for extremely low prices. You may get poor installation work or poor quality equipment, or both. Compare components and warranties instead.

Solar Panel Certifications

This applies to every solar panel purchase, especially one that attracts government rebates. Certification indicates the kind of testing that has been done on solar panels. A solar panel should meet its advertised specifications and be tested by a third party or independent laboratory.

Type of Panels

Consider panel size versus power output. Mono-crystalline solar panels are highly efficient but very expensive. But you have other choices including polycrystalline panels and thin-film technologies. Factor in the size and condition of your roof.

Solar Panel Mounting

Make sure the mounting system is engineer certified, cyclone rated and wind certified. Several suppliers skimp on the mounting system regardless of its essence. Ask about warranty arrangements and weather certifications.

Solar Inverter Efficiency

Before purchasing a system, look at the efficiency of the inverter. Efficient inverters are the best because there’s no wastage of electricity during the conversion of DC to AC. With an efficient inverter, it takes less time to recover your investment.

Get a Few Solar Quotes

Prices vary widely between solar providers. But don’t let the prices sway you. Certain companies use inferior components to reduce the cost of the system. Such systems are cheap up-front but, costly in the long run, in terms of efficiency and reliability.

Avoid High-Pressure Sales People

In the solar industry, high-pressure tactics are common. Try not to make rash decisions. Instead, take the time to think about the offer. All too often, pressured decisions turn out to be more regrettable and less advantageous.

Expert Advice

Numerous solar experts offer free, no-obligation and no-pressure advice to people who’re eager to migrate to solar. Turn to these prodigies for solar counsel. Follow their recommendations to get your hands on the best solar panels.

What you’re looking for is a solar system that’s long-lasting and fulfils your needs: Anything else than that is useless. As always, quality beats price.

The Most Sought-After Solar Systems on the Market

Looking for the right solar panels Gold Coast for your business or home?

In Australia, the Stand-Alone and Grid-Connect systems are the most popular. Hybrid systems are in demand too.

To make a suitable and sensible choice, first determine what type of solar panel suits your needs.

Grid-Connected (On-Grid)

An on-grid system runs on electricity and doesn’t need battery power. During the day, the system owner uses solar energy, and at night, draws power from the electric grid. In hotter days, the system generates surplus energy which it exports back to the grid.

On-grid systems must meet utility requirements. For instance, inverters must switch off when the grid fails and not emit electrical noise that interferes with reception.

  • Easy to operate
  • Cost-effective
  • Low-maintenance
  • Doesn’t need sizing to meet peak loads
  • Utility companies buy surplus energy from consumers and feed it back into the grid.
  • System won’t work during a power blackout

Hybrid (Grid Connected With Battery Storage)

“Hybrid” power systems are driven by wind, water and solar. But “Hybrid” solar systems are powered by electricity and batteries.

A battery backup generates power when the electric grid fails. For businesses and homes that require uninterrupted power, hybrid systems are ideal.

  • Electricity is available even during a power outage
  • Excess power can be sold to electricity retailers
  • Users can enjoy “the best of the electric and battery worlds”

Stand-Alone (Off-Grid)

Off-grid systems are common in remote areas where electricity isn’t available. Most off-grid systems store power in batteries during periods of low-to-zero sunlight.

If the system has insufficient power, it’s advisable to connect it to a diesel generator. You can use an off-grid system for greenhouse ventilation and water pumps.

PV Panels

Using a generator, wind or batteries, a PV system can generate enough power even in the worst sunlight conditions. During summer, the use of the generator (as backup power) is minimal. This reduces maintenance and fuel costs.

  • Is the only option where electricity isn’t available.
  • Negates the need for purchasing electricity
  • It’s cheaper than connecting to the grid
  • Powers large appliances, water pumps and hot water systems

Portable Solar Systems

These panels are lightweight and robust. In situations where electricity is unavailable or inaccessible, a portable system is set up quickly to generate power. Such a system is suitable for farming, camping and fishing.

  • Easily transportable
  • Lightweight and robust
  • Very reliable
  • Powers USB devices, large appliances and electric generators
  • Limited functions
  • Isn’t suitable for commercial or large-scale residential applications

Solar Batteries

Hybrid and off-grid solar panels store energy in battery banks for later use when there’s insufficient or no power generation.

  • Power is available during blackouts and periods of scant power generation
  • Independence from the mains grid
  • Batteries can generate additional power

Before you make a buying decision, it’s important to know what you’re getting. You want an energy-efficient system that pays dividends, not a costly system that doesn’t meet your energy needs.