Solar photovoltaic modules, often referred to as solar panels, convert light energy into a direct electrical current (DC). As solid-state devices, solar modules have no moving parts and are extremely reliable and durable compared to any other generator technology. While solar modules have become somewhat commoditized in recent years, there are important differences in form, quality and performance that can impact both installation time and long-term system performance. This section of our catalog presents a selection of high-quality crystalline modules with a variety of features and price points to suite virtually any project.

Output Characteristics

The output power, voltage and current profile of the solar module will dictate the number of modules needed and what inverters or charge controllers can be used. Small off-grid applications often require 12 VDC output modules to directly charge batteries and/ or operate DC loads. Larger modules with output voltages ranging from 24 to 50 VDC are more commonly used in grid-tie systems where a high DC voltage is required to operate the inverter.

Mechanical Characteristics

Basic mechanical characteristics, such as dimensions, frame profile, and static load rating, as well as grounding and mounting locations will need to be understood when designing your system. Frame and back sheet color may also come into play for residential customers, particularly when they are part of a home owner's association. Also be sure you know what type of connector the module output has, if any, since this can impact selection of optimizers, microinverters and cabling.

REC Solar
PE Series PV modules
The REC PE Series modules, made by REC in Singapore, offer exceptional quality and performance at a reasonable price.

REC is fully vertically integrated and is also one of the world's major suppliers of solar-grade silicon. As such, rigorous quality control is applied throughout the production process from silicon to cell to module. The -0/+5W power tolerance guarantees you the power you pay for and minimizes mismatch losses.

REC PE Series modules are made with silicon refined in the U.S. using renewable energy. Their energy payback is under 1 year and their cell and module production processes are designed to maximize recyclability and reduce environmental impact

The comparatively light weight (39.6 lbs/18 kg) of the REC PE Series allows for quick and easy installation. The modules are equipped with an environmentally sealed junction box and PV Wire cables with Radox connectors2 for problem-free inter-module connection. PV Wire Output cables meet 2011 NEC requirements for use with transformerless inverters and all modules are Listed to UL 1703 for the US and Canada.

1Data subject to change without notice
2REC modules with MC4 compatible Hosiden connectors are expected to be available in Spring 2012

The REC PE Series modules come with a 63-month workmanship warranty and a 25-year linear power guarantee that allows for no more than 0.7% degradation per year.

NEW! Sharp

As one of the world's longest-standing manufacturers of solar PV equipment, Sharp brings over 50 years of experience to the design and production of their solar modules. Sharp uses an advanced texturing process to maximize cell efficiency and light capture. The output cables are PV-wire so these modules can be used with transformerless inverters. Sharp modules carry a 10-year product/workmanship warranty and a 25-year power output warranty guaranteeing 90% of nameplate power for the first 10 years and 80% until year 25. All Sharp products we offer are assembled in Tennessee from Japanese-made cells and meet most Buy America requirements. Modules are Listed to UL 1703 for the US and Canada.

Sharp NU-Q250W2 PV Modules
Sharp's NU-Q250W2 solar module offers good area efficiency and solid performance. This 240 W module features clear-anodized aluminum frames and a white back sheet and is a good choice for most commercial and residential applications, whether being US-made is a requirement or not.

Sharp NU-Q245W4 PV Modules

Sharp's NU-Q245W4 solar module offers great aesthetics and solid performance. This 245 W module features black-anodized aluminum frames and a black back sheet for a sleek appearance on any rooftop.

Solartech Power

Solar Modules for 12 VDC Systems
These 36-cell modules have an output voltage that's well-suited for charging 12 Volt batteries and can be wired in series for charging 24 or 48 Volt battery banks with inexpensive PWM controllers (see Charge Controllers for more information).

These modules, from Solartech Power, are efficient and robust with tempered glass, tough polymer back sheets and anodized aluminum frames. The modules offered here are Listed to UL 1703 and FM-Listed for Class I/Div II requirements. The 20 W and 30 W modules have output cables (no connectors) while the larger modules feature diode-accessible junction boxes. Made in China.