Solar Panels Performance Test

Here at SKYLIT, our highly qualified technical team is constantly testing our products. Our goal is to make sure that we are offering the best quality premium gear to our valued customers. So, we perform all the testing in our own laboratory following the manufacturers’ standards. We use specialized testing equipment and precision measuring tools. Read on for the results of our solar panels performance test.

The purpose of these tests is to develop an “in-house” expertise of all the components we use in our solar installations.

This is part 2 in our technical blog series, part 1 was our solar racking test.

Background on ‘Standard Test Conditions’ (STC)

Manufacturers provide solar panel peak output and efficiency figures based on STC (Standard Testing Conditions). These ideal conditions (solar irradiance of 1,000 W/m2, Air Mass of 1.5, Solar Cell Temperature of 25°C) are rarely present in our environment. Therefore, we wanted to find out how the LG Neon2 solar panels we use would perform in ‘the real world’, vs other tier 1 solar panels.

Our testing

​For our solar panels performance test, we compared the real performance of the LG Neon2 solar panels that we use in our installations with another well-recognized brand. For this particular test, we measured the performance of the 315W 60 cell LG Neon2 (19.2% rated efficiency) against another premium 315W 60 cell solar panel (19% rated efficiency).

We set up the solar panels next to each other on a south-facing roof. They are at the same tilt and same azimuth, with no shading year-round. We connected each panel to an identical 500W AC microinverter.

Solar Panel Test Lab
Solar Panels we tested

To measure the panels’ performance, we used a third-party certified energy meter, Brultech GreenEye Monitor (GEM). The Nova Scotia Community College Applied Energy Research Lab uses this same energy meter in their research. Using this meter we measured the output of each microinverter; logging real-time energy production data every minute. We conducted this test for nearly a year.

Solar Panel Test - Meter Results
Real-time results from the meter

At the end of the testing period we downloaded the data and ran some analysis. From this we generated a report that details the kW and kWh generated by each 315W solar panel during the recorded time.

The results

Both brands we used are classified as premium (tier 1) solar panels, and we exposed them to the same conditions. According to the spec sheets provided by the manufacturers there is only a difference of 0.2% in the efficiency of these two brands; however the LG Neon2 solar panel outperformed the other brand, generating 5.6% more energy.

Performance results sample (20 day period)
Performance results sample (20 day period)

The average sized residential system that we install is 12kW. This size system on 8:12 pitch roof facing south is expected to produce about 16,100kWh/year (based on the NREL PVWatts calculation). By installing premium LG solar panels, that additional 5.6% could make your solar array produce more power – around 900kWh/year. That’s about $150.00 in your pocket in the first year alone – just by choosing SKYLIT as your solar PV provider.

Keep checking our news section for more entries in our technical blog series!

Amanda Brulé

Amanda is VP Sales & Residential Projects at SKYLIT.