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As the thermometer rises , solar panels work less well

All Solar panel datasheets tell you how well they will perform in the heat...

Canadian Solar Quintech panels

REC TwinPeak panels

SunPower X panels

What it means is that for every degree centigrade of air temperature above 5°C the panels will lose a certain amount of power. The first big question is, how much more power does one panel make over another and the second is, how much is that worth?

The easiest way to explain that, is to use the best to worst scenario above.

SunPower only lose 0.29% per °C, whereas Canadian Solar lose 0.41% per °C

That's a difference of 0.12% per °C

Let's just say that the air temp is 30 degrees all day from sun up to sun down because it makes the maths much simpler. 30 degrees is 25 degrees above 'optimum operating temperature' so 25 x 0.12% = 3

The SunPower panel will make 3% more power than the Canadian Solar panel.

 

Let's do that again, this time with the far more affordable (than SunPower) REC TwinPeak model, that has a Temp Coefficient of -0.36% which is better than most.
That's 0.05% per °C better than the Canadian Solar panel

25 x 0.05% = 1.25

The REC panel will make 1.25% more power than the Canadian Solar panel

If you then make that into something meaningful, based on it being 30 degrees every day, all day for a year.

If 5kW of the Canadian Solar panels makes 8600kWh in a year then the SunPower should make 3% more, so an extra 258kWh, and the REC TwinPeak an extra 107 kWh over the year.

Now let's put a value on that extra power.

Most people use between 5kWh and 20kWh of power in their home during daylight, solar production hours. 8600 kWh from the example above averages out to 23.56kWh per day so it's almost guaranteed that the extra power made by the SunPower or REC panels would be surplus to requirements, and exported back to the grid for 7 cents.

At 7c a kWh that means the SunPower made 248 x 7c = $17 more power, and the REC, a whopping $7 worth...a YEAR.

In other words, whilst every little helps, it's very clear that 'best in the heat' claims are certainly very true, but in reality, have next to no actual dollar value. You would be better off paying an extra $100 (after rebate) and getting an extra 5% more power, by putting up an extra Canadian Solar panel than spending a fortune on top of the range panels...if the only criteria were temperature performance.

(PS... We aren't picking on Canadian Solar, ALL the mainstream Tier 1 panels including Q.Cells, ET, Jinko etc have a Temp. Coefficient of PMax between 0.39% and 0.41%)

 


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