When it comes to energy, efficiency is the word. The efficiency of your home’s power source makes an impact on both your electric bills and your carbon footprint. 

If you’re investing in solar power for your home in NYC, it’s important to consider the efficiency of the solar panels that’ll be installed on your roof. Solar panel efficiency is an important factor in determining the ROI of your solar installation and how much of your home’s energy needs will be covered.

What is solar panel efficiency?

Solar panel efficiency is a measure of how much of the sun’s energy can be converted into electricity through photovoltaics. In other words: if a solar panel is rated at 18% efficiency, that means 18% of the sunlight that shines on the panel will be converted to usable electricity. Solar panel efficiency depends largely on material, size, and PV cell design and configuration.

The higher the efficiency rating, the better. Recent breakthroughs in solar technology have significantly improved solar panel efficiency – the most efficient solar panels on the market today are rated at over 22% efficiency (up from an average of 15%). Most PV panels today sit at around 20% efficiency.

In May 2022, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory created a solar cell with a world record 39.5% efficiency rating. Exciting stuff!

Here at Brooklyn SolarWorks, we’re proud to provide REC solar panels, which see efficiency ratings of over 22%.

How efficient are solar panels as an energy source in NYC?

Solar panels are an incredibly efficient, affordable source of energy in NYC. New York has immense solar potential, and solar PV technology continues improving all the time. 

While it’s true that right now fossil fuels are more efficient than solar panels based on the numbers alone, it’s important to consider other factors as well. Solar energy is and always will be readily available, for instance, and doesn’t come with the environmental costs of burning coal or oil. 15 to 20 percent efficiency may not seem like much, but panels on the market today provide plenty of power for the average NYC home.

Plus, as any New Yorker knows, Con Ed bills continue to rise. Fossil fuel prices will always be subject to the volatility of the global market, while solar is virtually free and unlimited. For these reasons, the value and advantages of solar energy in NYC cannot be understated. 

What types of solar panels are most efficient?

The efficiency of a solar panel depends greatly on the type of material used. There are three main types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film. Crystalline panels are more efficient than thin film, with monocrystalline panels being the highest efficiency. 

Which factors determine the efficiency of solar panels in NYC?

As with any manufactured product, not all solar panels are created equal. Here are a few factors that make an efficient panel.

Panel Material and Construction

The material used in the manufacturing of a solar panel affects how it converts sunlight into electricity. Monocrystalline solar panels, made from a single crystal of silicon, are the most efficient type of panel, followed by polycrystalline solar panels and thin-film. The wiring, busing, and glass used in the construction of a panel can affect its performance as well.

Temperature and Weather Conditions

Higher temperatures and adverse weather conditions can reduce the efficiency of a solar panel. During a heatwave or a blizzard, you may see a decrease in the output of your solar PV system. Luckily, NYC doesn’t experience the most extreme of weather conditions – but choosing panels that optimize seasonal solar performance can be beneficial. 

Our go-to panel provider, REC, has designed high-efficiency solar panels with an industry-leading temperature coefficient. This optimizes solar cell efficiency and sees greater power output in hotter climates.

Positioning and Angle of Panel Installation

Needless to say, solar panels work best when they’re getting the most direct sunlight. South-facing panels will see the best output. The position of the panels on your roof also makes a difference in how much sunlight they receive, especially in NYC. Here, there are often greater opportunities for shade from nearby trees and adjacent buildings. 

That’s why it’s important to work with an installer that knows how to maximize solar performance on NYC homes. Here at Brooklyn SolarWorks, we complete free site assessments for every customer to determine the optimal positioning for every solar energy system.

Solar Panel Degradation

Though you can expect your solar panels to provide you with clean energy for decades, they will likely degrade overtime. Solar panel degradation is a natural process that occurs over the lifetime of the technology, due to uncontrollable factors like chemical processes and extreme temperatures. Solar panels with a lower degradation rate will see higher efficiency and better performance over the long term.

Solar Panel Efficiency Continues to Improve in NYC’s Boroughs

Solar panels are a valuable source of energy for New Yorkers, and photovoltaic technology is improving everyday. Since 2015, Brooklyn SolarWorks has been working to spread solar throughout the city, providing custom solutions that maximize performance. 

Ready to get started? Schedule a free consultation today.

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