Rooftop, Solar

Listen Up Update: What Solar Panels Should I Buy?

Solar panels have been on the market in the U.S. for over 25 years. Without exception, all of the manufacturers of panels on the market today tout their reliability, quality and long term durability. Nevertheless, on a per watt basis, these panels generate almost exactly the same amount of energy over a 25 year period.

Manufacturers conduct reliability tests, certify their panels, and conduct bankability studies. But even with these tests, industry experts cannot distinguish significant long term performance differences among solar panels. Being among the top ten worldwide manufacturers should imply a certain degree of stability and bankability. Surprisingly, looking back to 2001, fewer than 50 percent of the top ten manufacturers are still in business.

To an ordinary consumer, distinguishing among different solar panels is almost impossible, and the mumbo-jumbo language that solar salespeople use just confuses consumers more. On this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World, we take a consumer’s perspective regarding their choices among different solar panels.

Listen up to hear Barry’s advice to homeowners on selecting solar panels for their rooftop installation. And find his previous panel rundown here.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock