Understanding Solar Panel Efficiency: What Australian Consumers Need to Know

Uncover the secrets of solar panel efficiency! (Australians, this is for you!) Learn how to choose efficient solar panels and maximise solar power generation with our expert tips. Discover the impact of solar efficiency on your investment and get the most out of your solar power system.
solar panel efficiency

Updated June 17, 2024

Solar power is a rapidly growing industry in Australia, offering a sustainable and cost-effective way to generate electricity. However, with a wide variety of solar panels available, one crucial factor often needs to be clarified: solar panel efficiency. This article deepens the understanding of solar panel efficiency, empowering Australian consumers to make informed decisions for their solar power journey.

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What is solar panel efficiency?

Solar panel efficiency refers to the percentage of sunlight a panel can convert into usable electricity. It reflects how effectively a panel captures the sun’s energy and transforms it into power for your home. Panels with higher efficiency ratings are generally more desirable, generating more electricity per unit of surface area.

How is solar panel efficiency measured?

Solar panel efficiency is measured under controlled laboratory conditions, typically at a standard temperature and light intensity. The resulting value, expressed as a percentage, represents the ideal scenario. Real-world factors like weather conditions and panel temperature affect actual efficiency.

Typical range of solar panel efficiency?

The efficiency of commercially available solar panels in Australia generally falls within 15% to 23%. Let’s explore the different types of solar panels and their typical efficiency ranges:

Monocrystalline silicon

These are the most efficient solar panels, boasting 19% and 23% efficiency ratings. They are constructed from a single, pure silicon crystal, producing a highly organised structure for efficient energy conversion. However, they are also the most expensive option.

Polycrystalline silicon

These panels are slightly less efficient than monocrystalline panels, ranging from 15% to 18%. They are formed from multiple silicon crystals, making them more affordable but less efficient.

Thin-film solar panels

A hybrid system combines grid connection with battery storage. This offers the security of grid backup while maximising self-reliance on solar power

The most solar panel efficient in May 2024



Max power (W)

Cell type

Solar efficiency


Maxeon 3

445 W


24.1 %

Aiko Solar

Neostar Series

470 W


23.6 %

Recom Tech

Black Tiger Series

460 W


23.6 %


BC Premium

460 W



LONGi Solar

Hi-Mo 6 Scientist

450 W



Huasun Solar

Himalaya G1

450 W



Canadian Solar


470 W



TW Solar

Repower N

455 W



Philadelphia Solar

Nexus Series

455 W





445 W

N-type TOPCon


Source: Clean Energy Reviews


N-type: N-type solar panels are a recent advancement in solar technology that utilises silicon wafers doped with phosphorus, creating a negatively charged base. This design offers advantages like improved efficiency and reduced degradation compared to traditional p-type panels, making them a promising option for the future of solar energy.

HPBC: Hybrid Passivated Back Contact (HPBC) is a cutting-edge technology in solar panels. It removes metal grids from the front surface, allowing for increased sunlight absorption and boosting overall efficiency compared to traditional solar cells. This innovative design paves the way for a new generation of high-performing solar panels.

HJT: Heterojunction Technology (HJT) is a cutting-edge method for building solar panels. It combines crystalline silicon, the workhorse of most solar panels, with thin-film silicon layers. This unique structure boosts efficiency by capturing more sunlight and performing better in hot climates, making HJT a leader in the race for high-performing solar technology.

TOPCon: Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact (TOPCon) is a cutting-edge solar cell design that builds upon the efficiency of PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact) cells. By adding a thin tunnel oxide layer, TOPCon reduces electrical losses and boosts the overall efficiency of converting sunlight into electricity. This innovation is poised to become a leading technology in solar panels, generating more power from the same amount of sunlight.

Benefits of solar efficiency

Solar efficiency isn’t just a technical detail. It’s the key to maximising clean energy production. Highly efficient solar panels convert more sunlight into usable electricity, allowing you to generate more power with a smaller system. This translates to cost savings, reduced environmental impact, and potentially greater energy independence for your home or business.

solar panel efficiency

Why is solar panel efficiency important for Australian consumers?

Solar panel efficiency is crucial for Australian consumers for several reasons:

  • Energy production: Higher efficiency translates to more electricity from the same amount of sunlight. This is particularly important in Australia, with its abundant sunshine hours.
  • Space requirements: Less efficient panels require more space to generate the same amount of electricity as their more efficient counterparts. This can be a significant factor for homeowners with limited roof space.
  • System cost: While high-efficiency panels may have a higher upfront cost, they can generate more power over their lifetime, offsetting the initial investment.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): A more efficient system will likely generate more electricity, leading to a faster return on your investment in solar power.

Factors affecting solar panel efficiency beyond efficiency rating

While the efficiency rating is a valuable indicator, it’s not the sole factor determining a panel’s overall performance. Here are some additional considerations:

  • Temperature coefficient: Solar panel efficiency typically decreases with rising temperatures. Look for panels with a low-temperature coefficient to ensure optimal performance in Australia’s hot climate.
  • Age and degradation: Like most electronics, solar panels experience a slight decrease in efficiency over time. However, reputable manufacturers offer warranties that guarantee a minimum power output for a specific period.
  • Sunlight intensity: Direct sunlight hitting the panels directly impacts their efficiency. Locations with more sunshine hours will naturally see better performance.
  • Warranty: A longer warranty on a solar panel indicates confidence in its performance and durability.
  • Shading: Shading on a panel can significantly reduce its electricity output. Consider your roof layout and potential shading throughout the day.

Solar efficiency tips for Australian consumers

While efficiency plays a crucial role, it’s not the only factor to consider when choosing solar panels for your Australian home. Here are some additional points to ponder:

  • Choose the right panels: When selecting solar panels, consider your budget, available roof space, and efficiency needs.
  • System design and installation: Ensure a qualified installer designs your system to optimise panel placement and minimise shading.
  • Regular maintenance: Keep your panels clean and debris-free to ensure optimal sunlight absorption.
  • Monitor your system: Use a monitoring system to track performance, identify potential issues, and ensure maximum efficiency.
  • Warranty and after-sales service: Opt for reputable brands with robust warranties covering efficiency and performance over time. Reliable after-sales service ensures prompt assistance in case of any issues.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Consider the balance between efficiency, upfront costs, and long-term savings. High-efficiency panels may have a higher price tag, but they generate more power, potentially leading to a faster return on investment.
  • Get multiple solar quotes: Compare quotes from reputable solar installers to ensure you get the best value for your investment. Be bold and ask about the efficiency of the panels they offer and how they align with your needs.

Takeaway for solar panel efficiency

Understanding solar panel efficiency is crucial for Australian consumers to make informed choices and maximise the benefits of their solar power system. By considering the various factors and utilising the tips, you can ensure your solar investment generates clean, reliable electricity for years. Balancing solar efficiency rating, cost, and your specific needs is key to a successful solar power journey.

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