I take no pride in writing this blog post about discount solar panels because no matter how hard we try to persuade our customers to look past cost, by and large, they are not convinced. In the last several months, the single most important criterion for our customers in purchasing home solar panels is price.
If you have been reading our Learning Center on Solar Panels in recent months, you know that there are numerous ways to differentiate solar modules. We have even introduced a solar panel comparison to alert you to significant differences in the panels that we sell. Of course, the essential difference is expected output, and you will want to look at efficiency and the PTC rating (PVUsa Test Conditions) to come up with an estimate of what your solar panels will produce over the life of the panels. There are other parameters that you may want to consider, such as size and weight. Aesthetics, that is the look of the panels, is no small matter if you live in a trendy area and your southern facing roof is visible from the street. But as we have been looking at the results from the past several months, we have noticed one unmistakable trend: our customers love low cost panels.
There are good reasons in some cases for some arrays to pay a little extra money for some of the panels that we carry, such as Sharp solar panels or the Sanyo solar panels. But fact is fact that our customers in the past several months have favored the discount solar panels that we offer, particularly the Conergy solar panels, the Trina solar panels, the Canadian Solar solar panels. We sell some of the higher cost panels, but certainly not in the volume of the discount solar panels that we carry.
Our experience may be an indicator of an industry trend. As much as some manufacturers may try to distinguish their modules, consumers are increasingly treating solar modules as a commodity based on cost, or in the best case scenario cost adjusted by expected output. This lesson has not been lost on solar module manufacturers. In an attempt to reduce their costs, solar panel manufacturers will manufacture as much as 75% of all the solar modules produced in the world in Asia by the end of next year, according to a recent research report.
We will continue to do our part to provide our customers with all of the information that they need to make an informed decision. In the meantime, we are adding to our product line some more discount solar panels.