Are you looking into purchasing solar panels for your home? If so, you are in the right place. Solar panels are the cheapest and, better yet, the most accessible source of energy. As a result, choosing to install them will reduce your monthly expenditure.
Looking for the best solar panels, let alone brands, is never easy, especially if you do it for the first time. As daunting as it may be, you could always research beforehand. You will have a rough idea of what you want; if not, you will know a few things about solar panels. The following is a buying guide for the best solar panel.
- 1 10 Best Solar Panel Brands
- 2 What to Consider When Buying Solar Panels
- 3 How Do I Find The Best Price on Solar Panels?
- 4 Which is The Best Type of Solar Panel?
- 5 How Many Solar Panels Will I Need for My Home?
- 6 Conclusion
10 Best Solar Panel Brands
SunPower is an authorized solar panel manufacturer that offers systems with Maxeon technology. Moreover, it provides SunVault storage for complete residential solutions. When buying solar panels, you should ensure that the company you buy from has certified solar installation contractors like SunPower.
Do not gamble about the latter! You should know that this company backs its panels with a warranty of 25 years which covers both labor and the solar panel’s parts. SunPower is available in 26 states; therefore, you should make inquiries from them to ascertain that it is present in your state if it is what you want.
LG is quite a renowned company since it has ventured into many electronics over the years. LG solar panels are among those at the top of the list as they are very efficient. However, there is a need to address the fact that they are costly.
In case you want to buy numerous at the wholesale level, be sure to spend a fortune. Fortunately, if they are included in installed systems at the retail level, they tend to cost cheaper than SunPower systems.
Note that they distribute their modules extensively, and as a result, these panels can be found on online websites.
Panasonic has been in the business of producing solar panels ever since 1975. With such experience, it is undoubtedly a premium manufacturer and has a product warranty of 25 years.
One of their solar panels, namely, the Panasonic HIT N340, has a 20.4% efficiency rate which is quite impressive and a low-temperature coefficient of -0.258% / degrees Celsius.
The other one, called the Panasonic HIT N300 solar panel, is a great solution for anyone looking for a lightweight solar panel. It is certainly less powerful than the N340 but has a module efficiency of 19.5%.
Both of the mentioned solar panels have a performance degradation of 3% in the first year. Then 0.5% for the next years after that.
Slifab is a solar manufacturing company based in North America. It has a material warranty of 12 years; however, there is an extension available for 25 years.
You would certainly be keen to know their solar panels’ performance guarantee is 80.3% or 79.5% for monocrystalline and polycrystalline, respectively, after 30 years.
In addition to that, the maximum module efficiency is 19.4%. They also have good reviews if you wish to check them out and have more than 35 years of solar panel production experience.
This is a brand product of Hanwha Q Cells, one of the greatest photovoltaic manufacturers globally.
It is based in South Korea and produces high-quality solar panels at affordable prices. The solar panels they manufacture have ranging efficiencies from 17.3% to 19.6%.
Moreover, they have a 12-year warranty and degrade at a rate of 15% over 25 years. Isn’t that amazing? Hanwha is backed by a FORTUNE Global 500 firm that ascertains clients that the warranty shall be honored if the solar panel does not live up to the preceded expectation.
Canadian Solar is a solar manufacturing company that attracts people who are keen on comparing solar quotes because they are a cheap option not to forget that their performance is solid.
Most of its bulk manufacturing companies are present in China and Canada. It makes solar cells, PV modules and power systems.
However, their solar panels lack efficiency in the solar industry; that is something you may want to think about in-depth. Also, Canadian Solar produces tier 1 panels with a 12-year warranty.
Jinko Solar is a global leader in the solar industry, with its headquarters in Shanghai, China. Jinko Solar offers both monocrystalline and polycrystalline photovoltaic modules.
They have a product warranty of 10 years. With an 80% performance guarantee even after 25 years, you would undoubtedly want to make that purchase.
Jinko Solar panels have a maximum module efficiency of 21.4% and great reviews too. In the past, it was never at the forefront, unlike now with the release of the new Tiger series of panels, it is undoubtedly crossing boundaries. Also, it produces a wide range of panels to serve many purposes.
The fact that Trina Solar distributes its panels to 30 countries says a lot.
Trina Solar is one of the oldest Chinese solar panel manufacturers as it was started in 1997. It has had outstanding achievements, including the 18 solar OV world records in cell and panel efficiency.
It is ranked among others as a top tier 1 manufacturer producing diversified panels for commercial, residential and utility-scale installations.
They upgraded their warranty from 10 to 12 years that guards against defects. There is an additional 25-year performance warranty meant to ensure a minimum of 83.1% power output.
REC Solar was founded in 1996 and headquarters based in Singapore. REC Solar was the first company to utilize innovative split module design in releasing panels globally.
Even though they claim to have a low warranty rate, they produce great performing and highly reliable solar panels. Their reputation sells itself as they have global support offices in Japan, the US, and Melbourne, to mention a few.
They also offer excellent services when it comes to sorting out any warranty or claim issue whatsoever. You should know that their products have low failure rates, which explains why many people prefer them.
FuturaSun was established in Veneto in 2008 and is specialized in the manufacturing of high-performance photovoltaic panels.
The latter has undergone so many tests that they have proven to be outstanding, and as a result, FuturaSun has achieved prestigious certifications by numerous laboratories in the world.
Like the rest of the solar panel companies, it also produces a wide range of products. These solar panels generate energy in more than 70 countries in the world which is very impressive.
As much as the photovoltaic panel plants produce a capacity of 500 MW per year, it is looking into increasing its production capacity to 1 GW.
What to Consider When Buying Solar Panels
Solar Panel Efficiency
This can be broken down as the rate at which solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. Since you use electricity every other day, you must put this into consideration.
If the efficiency is on the higher side, the panels required tend to be fewer and vice versa. However, keep in mind that where you reside matters a lot as it will affect the output; this is why hotter areas have higher sun exposure.
Solar panels have the ideal conditions that they work best under. Temperature coefficient, therefore, tells you how your solar panel will work in otherwise conditions, for example, during hot summer days where their performance degrades. That way, you will know what to expect and how to handle it.
Like other electronics, solar panels operate most efficiently when kept around 25 degrees Celsius or 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Note that your solar panel’s electricity production will be lower by the temperature coefficient for every degree above the latter. If anything, a lower temperature coefficient is better.
Like any other thing, you buy especially electronics, checking or inquiring about the solar panel’s warranty should be a priority. You will undoubtedly look at numerous manufacturers’ guarantees; thus, compare what each offers and then choose the one with a substantial warranty period.
Do not settle for a solar panel with less than 25 years warranty. There is a need to keep in mind that purchasing a solar panel is an investment, and in that regard, you should not think twice about going for those with a good warranty.
Remember that most solar panels come with a performance warranty of 25 years on top of the material warranty.
Solar Panel Aesthetics
You certainly have to consider the solar panel’s appearance you would want to get installed on your premises. The color options for solar panels entail blue and black.
The blue one is made from polycrystalline silicon, while the black one monocrystalline silicon.
The solar panel system has different types of aesthetics, including the silver frame, advanced black on black, black frame, black on black and black on white. When choosing the best-looking solar panels, you will also have to consider the cost, as the black ones tend to be costly.
Reviews are essential in the world you live in today. You ought to look the different companies up and see what their clients have to say about their products on their websites.
Ensure that you look at both the good and the bad comments. This is because most companies know that their online presence should positively reflect the public if they make any sales.
Note that when the bad reviews overpower the good, you should continue researching for the ultimate solar panel company, as that is a red flag. There ought to be a balance because no company is perfect.
Local Tax Benefits and Incentives
State and federal governments usually offer extensive tax credits to anyone installing solar panels.
One of the most considerable ones is the federal tax credit. It allows you a 22% claim of the installation cost on your tax return. Note that no money will be added to your refund; however, the amount of taxes you owe the government will be decreased or eliminated.
Also, depending on the state you are in, the government provides incentives like property tax exemption alongside others.
Brand Availability in Your Area
The beauty of buying a solar panel from a local company is that the installers will be available when you need them. If it is an international company with its team in your locality, that is okay. However, can you imagine getting a hold of the company if you are experiencing issues with your solar panel and it is miles away? That will certainly be stressful.
On the other hand, locally-based companies are great since they strive to make the communities around them better. If you want to find local installers, you can look for them online.
Finding A Reliable Solar Installer
You will undoubtedly have to choose a reliable installer if you want to reach them easily. Using a solar panel may be challenging, and there will be a need to contact them if things are not going as they should.
Can you imagine how bad things will be if your solar panel installer is always playing cat and mouse games? Ensure that the company they work under also works around the clock; after all, you never know when the solar panel may have issues.
How Do I Find The Best Price on Solar Panels?
If you are on a budget, you will certainly want to purchase affordable solar panels.
Chinese solar panels are known for being the most affordable ones in the world. However, nations like the US and Germany are second in line.
Besides the fact, they all offer value solar panels with world-record performance. To get the best solar panel quotes, you can choose to look at the solar panel costs in your area from reliable brands.
Also, read equipment reviews, check your installer’s reputations, and be sure to explore your financing options.
Which is The Best Type of Solar Panel?
Monocrystalline are the most popular type of solar panel. Many people tend to go for them because of how they look. The solar cells in these panels are usually single, flat and black.
They are easy to identify because of the shape of the silicon wafers. In addition to that, they have the highest efficiency ranging from 17% to 22% and power capacity.
You should know that they are the most expensive panels because of how they are manufactured. Also, they are the most common for people who need residential solar installations.
How Many Solar Panels Will I Need for My Home?
This goes down to factors like your location, energy consumption habits and the type of panels you wish to install, not forgetting the sunshine availability.
Solar calculators can be used to determine the number of panels you need. To know the number of solar panels required, it takes an average monthly energy usage in kilowatt-hours.
Therefore, you can seek a professional’s help if you cannot figure out the number; hence, making your work easier. It is, however, estimated that for 4 kW, the estimated number of solar panels needed is 10 to 12, for 5kW is 13 to 15 and 20kW is 50 to 59, to mention but a few.
The above points show detailed information about solar panels. If you are planning to invest in solar panels, this is your guide.
Research thoroughly if you want to get the best solar panel. After all, solar panels are meant to last an extensive period. Remember to look for locally available brands to make work easier when you need a replacement and what have you.
Also, looking at the reviews of the company you are eyeing is key as it will help you know what you are getting yourself into.
Ensure that you plan yourself financially because solar panel installation could cost you an arm and a leg. In conclusion, do not be in a rush to choose a solar panel; take time.