High Voltage vs. Low Voltage Solar Panels: What To Consider


The high voltage solar panels vs. low voltage solar panels battle has been going on for a long time now, and there are many people who have strong opinions about which is better. 

The terms “high voltage” and “low voltage” can be a bit confusing…especially when you start to read different specs on manufacturer’s websites. 

Some people want to know what a “high voltage” solar panel is, and why it’s different than the other types of panels. The answer isn’t so simple as high voltage vs low voltage-it all depends on the type of system you’re building.

What Is The Difference Between A Low Voltage And A High Voltage Solar Panel?

A standard off-the-shelf solar panel will have about 18 to 30 volts output, whereas a higher voltage output would be 60 or 72-volt panels. The higher voltage of course means more power in one go, which could mean you can run a larger load at the same time. 

If you are going to be building your own system or have some advanced knowledge of solar panels, then you will want to look for higher voltage as it allows more power output per panel and means fewer panels needed in total. This is because high voltage works better with inverters that can take advantage of it.

However, most people don’t need to worry about this because they are only looking for an off-the-shelf system that can power their homes and create clean energy. To these customers, a standard voltage is just fine as long as the wattage meets their needs. 

The size of your solar panel will also determine the voltage output. The larger the solar panel, the higher its voltage-this means a large system can have high voltage panels with many watts of power!

Why Is There A Price Difference Between Low Voltage And High Voltage Solar Panels?

The price of the solar panels themselves will depend on what you’re looking for. If you are just a homeowner who needs to power their home and connect it to the grid, then the standard voltage is usually best as it’s cheaper and easier.

However, if you want an off-the-grid system or need higher power output per panel with a smaller number of panels, then a higher voltage solar panel will be better.

The size and output requirements determine what type you need…so just make sure to do your research before making a decision! 

What Factors Into The Price Difference Between A Low Voltage And High Voltage Solar Panel?

One factor is how efficient your solar panels will be the more watts per square foot of surface area, the lower cost it will have! One way to get this number higher (which also makes your system less expensive) would be by using high voltage panels. 

Another factor is the quality of your solar panel-generally, a higher voltage will mean better construction and materials to prevent damages from things like extreme temperatures or UV rays. This means it costs more but can last much longer!

Can You Live Off-The-Grid With Low Voltage Solar Panels?

While people that use minimal appliances or tools that require electricity can live off-the-grid with a low voltage solar panel system, higher voltage solar panels would be the better choice for most people that want to use an average amount of electricity.

But if you just want to power your home and supplement energy with the grid, the standard voltage is usually fine. This also means that it’ll cost less than a high-voltage system! It’s all about what you need for your project.

A great way to get started with off-grid living is by using a solar kit. These will have everything (or nearly everything) to get set up.

Take a look at the Renogy 400 Watt Solar Kit [affiliate link] it has pre-drilled holes, the needed wiring, and almost everything you need to put together a solar array for a small off-grid home or RV.

Some people also use a low voltage solar panel system as a backup to their high voltage or grid-linked system. 

A savvy person who chooses to go towards a truly minimal lifestyle could likely get by with a low voltage solar panel setup, especially if they offset solar with other renewable energy options such as wind, geothermal, or hydro. It really all just comes down to what your needs are and what you can possibly strip away

High Voltage Solar Panels Pro-Con List

What Are The Pros Of High Voltage Solar Panels?

  • They are more powerful and generate electricity faster. 
  • The power of the panels is consistent, so it can be used as a backup in case there are any issues with low voltage solar panel systems. 

What Are The Cons Of High Voltage Solar Panels? 

  • Higher risk of electric shock due to higher voltages if the system is not properly grounded. 
  • More expensive to install and purchase than low voltage solar panels. This can get even more costly if an electrician needs to be involved due to the risk of shock or electrocution.
Low Voltage Solar Panels Pro-Con List

What Are The Pros Of Low Voltage Solar Panels? 

  • Lower cost of installation and initial purchase, which can also be less expensive if a person decides to do the installation themselves. 
  • The panels are not as powerful and don’t produce electricity as quickly, but they’re great for home use or smaller projects that just need minimal power production.
  • They pose no risk of electric shock because there is very little voltage when compared to high voltage panels. 
  • Easier to transport and install because they are less heavy due to their lower electrical capacity than high voltage solar panel systems.
  • Easier to use for commercial purposes, such as powering a clock or outside lights. 

What Are The Cons Of Low Voltage Solar Panels? 

  • The panels may not produce enough electricity to power larger projects, or anything that requires a lot of energy. 
  • They are less powerful and can be more difficult to use for commercial purposes.

Final Thoughts

High voltage panels are great for people who live in an area where the sun is blocked by clouds frequently. Low voltage panels, on the other hand, don’t have to be connected up with a regulator as they can generate power even if there isn’t any sunshine. A low-voltage solar panel has much lower start-up costs than a high-voltage panel, which means that you can save money on the initial purchase.

It’s always a great idea to strongly consider what your solar needs are going to be and then discuss these needs with your solar professional. At the same time, don’t only consider what you’re needs are right now…also consider what your needs might be in five years…in ten years, etc.

It’s always better to install what you’ll need in the future now than to have to redo some things down the line…especially if any changes will mean needing a stronger roof!

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