Solar panels consist of multiple silicon-based solar cells, each of which produces about a half volt under laboratory conditions. The three basic types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous. Monocrystalline panels are the high-end panels, containing extremely pure silicon produced in a special crystal growth process. The highest output solar panels are rated by watts. The largest of the panels are rated at 200 watts, although field testing shows they produce less, between 171 and 185.9 for the 57 models of 200-watt panels, according to Roe Solar, a solar electric corporation, which conducted field comparisons.
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The queen of solar panel output efficiency, as of December 2010, is the Solyndra SL-001-200/N/U. This Solyndra tested at 188.5 watts output. In November 2010, Solyndra announced layoffs as part of a restructuring in the face of serious debt. It is possible that this panel will not be available at some point after publication of this article, in December 2010.
The next top four solar panels for output are produced by Sanyo Electric. These are the HIP200DA3, with 186.2 watts; HIP200BA 19/20, with 185.9 watts; the HIP200MKHA1/5/6 with 185.4 watts; and the HIP200BA3, with 184.5 watts. Sanyo Electric's design, called HIT Power, claims a high energy output combined with above average output under low light conditions.
Close behind the Sanyo 200s are Solar Power's model SP200FP12 and Yes! Solar's ES 200W-NW. Each produced 183.1 watts during field tests. Solar Power's polycrystalline panels compare well with the monocrystalline panels of Sanyo, and Solar Power claims they have been tested with simulated hail 2 inches in diameter and suffered no drop in performance. Yes! has only three dealerships in the United States: in Cary, North Carolina; Pueblo, Colorado; and Roseville, California.
Last of the 180s
Other panels that consistently produced 180 or more watts during field tests were the Hyundai Heavy Industries HiS-M200SF, at 180 watts; the Sunpower SPR 200-WHT-U, at 181.5 watts; Solar Power's SP 200FM52, at 181 watts; and the GreenBrilliance Energy GB54P6-200 at 181.1.
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