Today, renewable energy is more popular than ever before. Solar panels have become a product for both home and business owners throughout the US.

Most people find it hard to choose the right solar panels that will serve their needs. Questions such as solar panel ratings, solar cell efficiency, and durability often pop up.

What Is Solar Panel Efficiency?

Solar PanelSolar panel efficiency is a measurement of the amount of the sun’s energy that a solar panel can convert into usable electricity. Sunlight has to directly hit a solar panel’s surface for this conversion to occur. When sunlight interacts with solar cells within the panels, an electrical current is generated.

The current is transmitted through the panel’s busbars and circuits for conversion into AC energy. Once this conversion is done, the alternating current is distributed to your entire house for use. The distribution of AC energy happens from the main panel.

What Is the Average Solar Panel Efficiency?

The efficiency of most solar panels ranges between 15% and 20%. High-quality solar panels have higher efficiency ratings that exceed 20%. However, the majority of solar panels fall under 20%.

If a solar panel’s efficiency is 15%, this implies that it can convert 15% of the sun’s energy into electricity. More efficient solar panels produce more energy. This, in turn, translates to more savings for you as a homeowner.

How Do You Calculate Solar Panel Efficiency?

As a homeowner, you want a solar panel with high efficiency. Everyone wants to save money by investing in a solar panel with high efficiency. This is why most homeowners ask themselves questions regarding solar panels with the highest energy output and how to calculate solar panel efficiency.

To calculate your solar panel’s efficiency, multiply the sun’s energy hitting the surface of the earth around your area (incident radiation flux) by your solar panel’s area. Divide your solar panel’s maximum wattage by this value, then multiply the result by 100%. The answer gives you the efficiency of your panel.

Solar Panel Efficiency = (Incident radiation flux x Area) ÷ (Max Wattage) x 100%

Using this simple formula, you can find out the efficiency rating of your solar panel. You don’t have to rely on the manufacturer’s specification sheet to know its efficiency rating.

What Factors Can Impact Solar Panel Efficiency?

Solar Panels on RoofMost homeowners are usually curious to find out which factors affect solar panel efficiency. Solar power panels are a critical energy source for present and future generations. Several factors affect the amount of energy output produced by solar panels, including:

Panel Material

The materials that form solar cells within solar power systems can significantly affect efficiency. The type of wiring, cable thickness, and solar cells used during solar panel production will influence its efficiency.

Thermodynamic Efficiency

This refers to the optimal efficiency achievable by a panel. It’s the height that sunlight can be transformed into an electrical current. The thermodynamic efficiency limit tends to be approximately 86%. Electricity from the sun can only be generated at a particular point during solar cells’ interaction with photons (packets of energy).

Reflectance Efficiency

Not all sunlight that hits your solar panel is converted into electricity. Most of the sun’s energy is lost. It is reflected in the atmosphere rather than being absorbed by photovoltaic cells. Less reflection of sunlight translates to higher energy output.

Other factors that play a significant role in your solar panel’s efficiency are solar shading, inverter efficiency, solar panel maintenance, and battery efficiency—considering these factors guarantees your solar panels’ maximum efficiency.

What Are the Different Types of Solar Panels?

When thinking about investing in a solar panel for your home, it’s imperative to conduct thorough research. Go for a panel that will meet your energy needs. There are three common types of solar panels to choose from, each made in a unique way and with different features. They are:

Monocrystalline Silicon Panels

Sun on Solar PanelsAlso known as single-crystalline cells, monocrystalline silicon panels are made from pure silicon. Silicon is used to produce long rods, which are then cut into wafers that produce solar cells.

Monocrystalline silicon panels produce the highest efficiency ratings of around 17-22%. You can identify this panel by the shapes of the square-shaped wafers, which appear pure black and are aesthetically pleasing.

Polycrystalline Silicon Panels

Also referred to as multi-crystalline panels, polycrystalline silicon panels are standard among homeowners on a budget. They are less efficient than monocrystalline silicon panels.

Polycrystalline silicon panels appear blue when installed and have an efficiency rating of 15-17%. They produce slightly less energy than monocrystalline silicon panels. These panels are produced from silicon crystals that are cut into wafers to produce PV cells.

Thin-film Solar Cell Technology

Thin-film solar cell technology panels are completely different from polycrystalline silicon panels and monocrystalline silicon panels as they don’t contain any silicon cell outlines. Thin-film solar cell technology uses a substrate of plastic, metal, or glass.

These materials make the panels lightweight and flexible. The efficiency of thin-film cells ranges between 10-13%. They come in either black or blue hues and are common in industrial setups.


Choosing a solar panel for your home shouldn’t be that hard. However, it isn’t advisable to buy just any kind of solar panels for your home. It would be best to look at your budget, the panels’ aesthetics, solar cells’ lifespan, and efficiency rating when settling for a solar panel. This can help you make an informed decision when deciding on a solar panel. This is the best way for you to save money that you’d spend on costly electricity bills.