Our team has researched and reviewed the solar blinds cost and the best Solargaps Price to help you come up with a better buying decision. We’ve also put up a shopping guide with the features you can consider when buying solar powered lights for indoor or outdoor use.
SolarGaps has a control box that responds to gestures, and the app has the functionality you’d expect — basic controls and scheduling. SolarGaps blinds should cost between $480 to $890 per square meter of window, and they don’t look the part of high-priced designer blinds. They look like big, black solar panels.
Blinded by the light / Sucked it up like some juice / Powered my tech all through the night. SolarGaps window blinds aren’t your average smart home addition. They don’t just auto-open, close, and adjust based on environmental conditions–though they can do these things too. SolarGaps are made of slats of real solar panels that track and absorb sunlight to generate energy and power all the appliances in your home or office.
solar panel curtains
An alternative to rooftop solar panels SolarGaps are a non-permanent plug ‘n’ play installation. They were designed specifically with residential and business renters in mind, people who can’t feasibly install other types of solar power in their home or office. SolarGaps’ built-in solar panels can generate enough electricity per 10 square feet to power 30 LED light bulbs or 3 MacBooks. They also do the standard blind duty of providing shade, and can be mounted on the exterior of windows to help protect them during storms (exterior installations also generate around double the power).
Opening the blinds has never been so helpful. On display here at CES in Las Vegas, SolarGaps turns the actual slats of your window coverings into solar panels. SolarGaps blinds will be smart enough to shift their angle slightly throughout the day in order to maximize their power intake. The company also plans to integrate with the Google Home.
I’d love to control solar-powered blinds with my voice using Google’s always-listening assistant, but note that Google’s smart home language — Weave — doesn’t actually work with blinds yet. SolarGaps could be extra exciting if it’s an indication of a whole new smart home product category for Google Home. Or SolarGaps could be a small tech startup trying to make noise at CES by name-dropping Google. I’m hoping for the former.
Google Home aside, SolarGaps will have iOS and Android apps. The company also wants to integrate with Nest and SmartThings. If your Nest senses it’s too cold, it could send a signal to your blinds to let in more light and heat your place naturally.
Still, if you prioritize energy and convenience over style, SolarGaps blinds will be worth keeping an eye on, especially if the company can pull off that Google Home integration. SolarGaps will start a crowdfunding campaign in February for a planned release in the middle of the year. (UK and Australian details weren’t available, but those prices convert to roughly £390 and £725 or AU$660 and AU£1,220.)
How to Pick the Best Solar Panels for Your Project
There are a handful of factors that influence how good panels are. Here are the main things you should look at when you research solar panels.
Cost per watt
FREE Solar Panels GuideLearn More »
For most people, budget is the primary factor influencing decisions during the design process.
Panels come in all different sizes. Full-sized panels typically fall in the range of 275-400 watts, though there are also smaller panels for specialty off-grid applications.
The great equalizer is cost-per-watt. Divide the panel price by how many watts it outputs. You’ll get a “true” pricing number, which you can use to compare all panels on a level playing field.
There are two different warranty categories – performance and workmanship.
The performance warranty guarantees your panels will work above their rated efficiency for the duration of the warranty. Most manufacturers promise their panels will work at or above 80% efficiency after 25 years.
25 years is the industry standard, but a few manufacturers offer longer performance warranties of 30 years.
Then there’s the workmanship warranty. This protects against manufacturing defects and other physical problems with your panels.
The workmanship warranty is shorter than the performance warranty. A generous workmanship warranty gives a great indication that the manufacturer knows they are putting out a reliable product.
The industry standard workmanship warranty is 10 years, with some companies offering 20-year guarantees.
A solar panel’s efficiency rating refers to the amount of sunlight the panel can convert into usable energy. 14-22% is an acceptable efficiency range for panels produced by major manufacturers.
Solar panels are tested in ideal conditions. When manufacturers measure panel output, they perform tests inside a climate-controlled factory.
Obviously, the real world is going to introduce less-than-ideal conditions. During those sweltering days in the dead of the California summer, your system will lag behind its rated efficiency.
The impact temperature has on true panel output is the temperature coefficient. The coefficient measures how much efficiency is lost for each degree above or below ideal test conditions.
We’ll give an example in Celsius, because that’s what most manufacturers measure: energy loss per 1°C temperature change.
For example, let’s say a panel was tested at 45° C, but its current temperature is 55° C. If the temperature coefficient is 0.4% Wp (Watt power), you can multiply that by the difference in temperature (10° C). That panel is operating 4% below its rated efficiency on that particular day.
There are separate temperature coefficients for voltage, amperage, and wattage. Certain types of solar panels like monocrystalline can perform slightly better at higher temperatures.
The temperature coefficient usually isn’t the most important variable to focus on unless you are in an area that gets extremely hot. This is because heat reduces the efficiency of your solar panels, making them operate at a reduced output.
The longevity and reputation of the panel manufacturer play a part in our recommendations. What good is a warranty if the company goes out of business before they get a chance to honor it?
For that reason, we look at companies with a stable track record in the solar industry. Every product on this list is produced by a major manufacturer that we don’t expect to disappear any time soon.
Underwriters Laboratories is an organization that has been around for over 100 years. UL sets standards and performs safety tests to ensure products are safe for public use.
Solar panels must be certified to UL 1703 standards if they are being installed on your home.
What are the best solar panels on the market in 2020?
Without further ado, here are the best solar panels you can buy in 2020 for a variety of applications. The info in this article is current as of 6/30/2020.
Best Value Solar Panels: Astronergy 365W
- Astronergy CHSM6612M-365 Silver Mono PERC Solar PanelAstronergy 365 watt Module Silver Mono PERC CHSM6612M/HV – 40mm Frame$257.00
- Cost: $257 (70 cents per watt)
- Workmanship warranty: 10 years
- Performance warranty: 25 years
- Efficiency: 18.9%
- Degradation: -0.7% / year
- Temperature coefficient: -0.376% Wp
- # of cells: 72
- Cell type: Mono PERC
Looking for panels that won’t break the bank? Astronergy makes the best solar panels you can get from a pure value perspective.
Of the major module producers, Astronergy has the lowest cost-per-watt panels we’ve found. Their 365W panel retails at $257 (at the time of publication), which shakes out to 70 cents per watt.
A few of our employees run their home systems on Astronergy panels, and we also picked them for the system that powers the Unbound Solar flagship office.
Their 17.7% efficiency is very respectable at this price point, and the warranty is on par with industry standards.
Astronergy also sets their warranty program apart from other companies by offering third-party insurance. Should they ever go out of business, the warranty would still be valid from the third-party provider.
That’s more for peace of mind than anything. Astronergy is a part of one of China’s largest electronics manufacturers. We expect them to be around for a long time to come.
But the extra bit of insurance on the warranty coupled with the low price point makes these panels a popular choice.
Best American-Made Solar Panels: Heliene 320W
- Cost: $256 (80 cents per watt)
- Workmanship warranty: 10 years
- Performance warranty: 25 years
- Efficiency: 19.26%
- Degradation: -0.7% / year
- Temperature coefficient: -0.38% Wp
- # of cells: 60
- Cell type: Mono
Among the American solar panel manufacturers, Heliene is our top pick. Based out of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, they assemble high-efficiency panels with factories in the USA and Canada.
With solar panels getting cheaper all the time, the price gap between imported and American-made panels has shrunk considerably. Imported 365W Astronergy panels now sell for 70 cents per watt, while American manufacturer Heliene sells 320W panels at 80 cents per watt.
Compare that to the premium LG panels featured in the next section, which go for $1.34 per watt.
Looking at the price distribution, Heliene’s place in the market is clear. Their prices are competitive with imported panels, and they also give the high-efficiency models a run for their money on output (while blowing them out of the water on the price tag).
If you want to pick up some high-efficiency panels at a competitive price (and support American-made goods in the process), Heliene is the go-to choice. We recommend both their 320W (60-cell) and 365W (72-cell) panel.
Best Premium Solar Panels: LG 375W
- LG NeONR LG-375Q1C-V5 Mono Black Frame Solar PanelLG Solar 375 NeONR, Mono, Black Frame Module – LG-375Q1C-V5 – 40mm Frame
- Cost: $513 ($1.36 per watt)
- Workmanship warranty: 25 years
- Performance warranty: 90.8% efficiency after 25 years
- Efficiency: 21.7%
- Degradation: -0.4% / year
- Temperature coefficient: -0.3% Wp
- # of cells: 60
- Cell type: Mono
LG doesn’t just make solar equipment; they’re one of the leading electronics manufacturers in the world.
We feature LG’s 375W panel in our premium packaged systems. They are super space-efficient, packing more output into a 60-cell panel than most 72-cell panels on the market are capable of producing.
Every solar project is different, and some people have the challenge of building a system in a compact space. For example, you may only have room for 10 panels on your roof. These LG panels will help you squeeze as much output as possible out of the limited space available to you.
They also have a long lifespan. At -0.4%/year, the degradation rate of these panels is 0.3% better than our featured Astronergy 365W panel.
That may not sound like a lot, but when you work the math out, it means LG panels will retain 7.5% more efficiency than Astronergy panels at the 25-year mark.
And LG’s solar panel warranties are a thing of beauty.
Where most companies aim for a 10-year workmanship warranty, LG covers the full 25 years.
On the performance warranty side, LG ensures their panels will still be 90% efficient after 25 years. That’s a stronger promise than the standard 80% after 25 years.
TIPS FOR BUYING YOUR SOLAR POWER SYSTEM.
Buying a home solar power system can be a very exciting experience, but don’t get too carried away by advertising. Be sure to focus on the important aspects of your purchase as it’s a substantial investment and one you’ll be living with for a long time. The following are some buying solar tips on what to look for when purchasing a system.
Ask friends, family neighbours or colleagues who have had solar PV systems installed. Often the best buying solar tips com from right in your neighbourhood. They’ll be able to tell you about their experiences and perhaps alert you to any problems they experienced. Problems that you’ll be able to avoid. Learn more about potential issues in our consumers guide to solar power – avoiding tricks and traps.
Length of manufacturer’s warranty
Take note of what guarantees the manufacturer offers. If the manufacturer is reputable and the warranty period on the panels is substantial (at least 25 years) you would naturally expect your solar system to last long for a long time, long enough to pay for itself and make you a profit. However, for a warranty to be honoured, the manufacturer needs to be still operating. So, be cautious of brands without a track record in Australia.
Have realistic price expectations
If you are paying substantially less than many other similar size systems quoted, you may find poor quality equipment and/or poor installation work. Quality equipment and installation isn’t cheap and, like all other purchases, you often get what you pay for.
Compare components and warranty periods and check into the company providing the installation. While large, well established companies can pass on substantial savings due to increased buying power, other companies often reduce costs by cutting important corners.
Solar panel certifications
This applies to all solar panel purchases, but especially to the purchases that could attract a government rebate. The certification on solar panels indicates the type of testing that they have undergone. For instance, TUV IEC 61215 confirms that the solar panels have gone through testing by an independent laboratory and have met their advertised specifications. Other certification types are often self-assessed. Therefore, they rely on the company being honest in what it claims.
Decide on the type of panels
It used to be the case that if you had limited roof space you would need highly efficient (and very expensive) mono-crystalline solar panels. This is rapidly changing with advances in polycrystalline panel technology and some thin film technologies. Still, even if you have ample roof space you may still want to consider panel sizes vs. output. Filling up your roof with inefficient panels will affect your ability to add more panels at a later date, and does not maximise the power output of the space.
It’s also important to bear in mind that regardless of claim, no solar panel technology will produce a significant amount of power in full shade. Learn more about monocrystalline vs. thin film panels.
Solar panel mounting
Make sure that the roof, ground mounting or tracking system is engineer certified for the area you are in. For example, if you live in a cyclone prone area make sure the mounting system and mounting brackets are also cyclone rated. Quality systems are wind certified. After all you do not want your system to take off during a wild storm . The mounting system is a very vital component and some suppliers skimp on this item. Make sure you ask about wind certification, warranty arrangements and get copies of relevant documents.
Solar inverter efficiency
A power inverter is the box between the panels and your appliances that converts DC electricity from solar panels to AC suitable for use in your home.
Not all solar inverters are equal and inverter efficiency will have a direct impact on the amount of time it takes for a system to pay for itself. Look at the inverter efficiency before purchasing a system. Obviously, the more efficient the inverter the better. Less electricity will be wasted as heat during the conversion from DC to AC. Industry leading solar inverters for grid connect systems in Australia include SMA, Sungrow and Fronius. Be cautious of generic type brands.
Get a few solar quotes
It always wise to gather a few solar quotes when making a major purchase as you will find that prices vary widely between providers. But don’t be just swayed by price as inferior components can reduce the up-front cost of the system. However, they may wind up costing you more in the long run in terms of reliability and efficiency.
Avoid high pressure sales people
High pressure sales tactics are unfortunately common in the solar industry. Try not to make decisions on the spot, just ask the person to let you consider the offer. If it’s as good as they claim, it will still be a good deal tomorrow. Pressured decisions on the spot often turn out to be less advantageous in reflection.
High pressure sales people are only one of the pitfalls that may await you when you shop for a solar power system. Learn more about the potential issues and how to avoid them in our consumers guide to solar power – avoiding tricks and traps.