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Even though every panel is rated out to 20 to 25 years, that does not mean they are all necessarily equal, nor will a panel developed for use in warm, arid areas be the best choice in the colder Northern climates:

Manufacturers can differentiate themselves from their competitors and optimize their module designs for the intended applications, according to a paper summarizing the efforts, “Three-Prong Path to Comprehensive Technical Standards for Photovoltaic Reliability.” Modules built for heavy snow may need not only thicker glass but heavier-duty frames and support rails, all of which increase upfront costs. But money may be saved in the long run by the manufacturer who differentiates, building a hardier module for the most difficult climates and a slimmed-down, less expensive module for milder climates.

By John Fitzgerald Weaver

John Fitzgerald Weaver is a solar developer; known digitally as the 'Commercial Solar Guy.' As a project developer and installer, he’s sold and managed 50+ solar projects, valued over $25 million, ranging in size from 5kW to 1500kW. He’s been involved in many aspects of the solar supply chain –- as a company founder, developer, project manager, manufacturer, permit runner, salesman, contractor and financier. In his free time he tries to get away and clear his mind by climbing mountains, or more regularly by enjoying an IPA or scotch, and really loves the strange connection between politics, energy, finance, and environment in the energy world.

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