In America, 64.2 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy capacity was installed in 2018. That’s enough energy to power 12.3 million homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The industry has experienced steady growth over the past decade, growing two percent from 2018 to 2019.
The best solar panels flaunt some incredible benefits, like reducing energy bills and offering owners long-term savings. They reduce a person’s (or family’s) carbon footprint and offer a less harmful and sustainable way to produce electricity. Not to mention they increase property value.
1. The Best Solar Panels for Optimal Efficiency: Sunpower
Solar power is one of the most efficient forms of energy production, and Sunpower makes arguably the most efficient solar panels on the market. The company offers four different series of panels, spanning from an elite A-series to an entry-level P-series.
The biggest difference between all four styles is wattage and efficiency rating.
With A-series panels built with a unique Maxeon® Gen 5 solar cells, that can produce 22.3% efficiency and are the world’s first 400 watt panels. The “lower-end” P-series pannels can operate at up to 17% efficiency and range from 330 to 350 watts.
Sunpower panels also have one of the most appealing aesthetic on the market. They are less bulky and come in options that blend more seamlessly into a roof.
These panels are available for both residential and commercial use and come with a 25-year warranty.
2. The Solar Panels with the Best Warranty: Solartech Universal’s EPIQ Solar Panels
The EPIQ solar panels are packed with all the industry’s leading technology, like Passivated Emitter Rear Contact (PERC), HeteroJunction Cell Technology (HJT) and SmartWire technologies. All made to make the panel operate as efficient as possible.
These solar panels have a power rating of up to 325w per panel. They’re also made to perform under any weather conditions, layered with first-rate glass and backsheet.
EPIQ solar panels are available for commercial and residential use and come with a 30-year linear performance warranty.
3. The Best Monocrystalline Solar Panels: Sunpreme
Monocrystalline solar panels are made of single-crystal silicon. The single-cell nature of these panels creates more space for energy movement, making these types of panels the most efficient for producing electricity.
Sunpreme makes commercial ground and rooftop, residential rooftop and tropical solar panels. They utilize an industry-leading “symmetric Bifacial HCT cell architecture” and sell at a pretty competitive market price.
These solar panels are also some of the most durable. Made with a double glass structure that’s strong against all types of weather. However, durability doesn’t sacrifice appeal. Sunpreme offers some of the sleekest options on the market.
4. The Best Polycrystalline Solar Panels: Trina Solar
Polycrystalline solar panels are known for their affordability, but it comes with lower efficiencies. To make these types of panels, multiple pieces of silicon are melted together (instead of a single crystal of silicon). All of these crystals take-up space, making it more difficult for energy to move, ultimately creating less efficiency.
Trina provides a handful of commercial, utility and residential solar panel options, but they definitely lean towards supplying and supporting large-scale operations. For everything from greenhouses to industrial facilities.
Their Duomax line is their multi-crystalline series. The most impressive Duomax model operates at a 17.3% efficiency.
Trina really establishes itself as not just a supplier of solar panels, but a partner throughout the process, offering technical support, customer service and logistics.
5. The Best Solar Panels for All Types of Weather: Panasonic
Panasonic is a well known and trusted brand of consumer technology that’s been around since the turn of the century. They are also consistently rated as one of the best solar panel companies, producing some of the most highly regarded solar panels on the market.
Panasonic offers “premium HIT® solar panels.” These panels boast a handful of unique benefits.
The first is the integration of heterojunction technology, that’s designed for longlasting high-efficiency. Bifacial cells and a pyramid design maximizes the amount of sunlight captured by directing sunlight inward.
These panels are made to perform well in any season. Panasonic panels feature a temperature coefficient of -0.258% /⁰C, made to literally take on any heat. While water strains prevent rainwater collection and water stains.
6. The Best Value Solar Panels: Jinko Solar
Jinko Solar is a global distributor of commercial and residential solar panels. They are one of the world’s largest and best companies for solar panels but are newer to the American markets.
The company has worked on a host of international energy projects. Including powering China’s largest independent solar power plants, spreading across 11,416 acres. A project by Solar Energy in the desert of Israel, that’s estimated to save 12,080 tons of carbon dioxide annually. They’ve also supplied the world’s largest greenhouse in Istres, France with power, which feeds 5,000 French homes.
Jink offers one of the largest selections of solar panels, which offer a wide range of performance metrics. On average, Jink panels perform at about an 18% efficiency and at about 300 watts, however, many models rate lower, and a few rates higher.
Their models include Eagle, Eagle PERC, Eagle Dual, Eagle Plus, Eagle PERC Plus, 1500V Module, and the Smart Module.
This company also offers a few different warranty options, from 10 to 30 years.
7. The Best Solar Panels for Homeowners Who Want Options: LG
LG offers four different categories of solar panels: NeON R, NeON 2, NeON 2 Black and NeON 2 72cell. These all range in module efficiency, from 18% – 21%.
This gives consumers the ability to shop around and feel like they have options, along with purchasing from a brand they know. The range in options also makes solar panels more accessible to people in all different types of living situations.
The various types of LG solar panels all come with different features. For example, the NEON line contains no boron, which is made for less Light-Induced Degradation (LID). While some feature a double-sided cell structure which is designed to generate more power.
LG panels all also come with a 25-year labor and performance warranty.
8. The Best Solar Panel Aesthetic Design: Solaria
While Solaria solar panels offer some of the highest power ratings on the market (20%), we love them for their innovative and stylish design elements.
For homeowners who see aesthetic as a top concern for solar panels, Solaria is the best option. They feature a Pure Black™ design that offers better curb appeal and has no visible circuitry.
The design is also made to dramatically lower the shading losses, increasing energy yield. Solaria is also made with a “ribbon-less, solder-free cell-to-cell connections” that improve longevity and overall strength.
Solaria is a relatively new player in the solar panel industry, but have already made a good impression, with industry-first features and patent designs like PowerXT.
The Ultimate Solar Panel Shopping Checklist
As you can gather from this list, the “best” solar panel is really in the eye of the beholder. Often some brands will offer an easier set-up, but won’t have the cheapest prices. It’s all about choosing what’s most important to you.
However, as a whole, you’ll want to add these three key things to your shopping checklist when searching for solar cells for sale:
- Efficiency ratings: This will come in a percentage form that simply ranks how efficient a panel’s performance is. Most panels fall somewhere around a 16% efficiency rating, while the highest reach almost 23%.
- Temperature coefficients: Simply put, the hotter the panel gets, the less efficient it becomes. So many manufacturers strive to produce designs and use materials that make panels less impacted by outdoor temperature.
- Warranties: Check warranties twice. You’ll want to choose a warranty that includes parts and labor. Most industry warranties are for about 25 years.
Aside from the list above and distinguishing between the different types of solar panels, you’ll also want to consider things like panel size, state tax benefits, availability, local deals, and industry standard technologies.
Are You Ready to Make The Solar Switch?
With many companies, cities, states and event countries vowing to produce 100% renewable energy in the near-future, hopping on the solar bandwagon seems more like a matter of “when” instead of “if.”
While this guide should make it easier to find the best solar panels on the market, it’s also smart to consult a professional, and if you can, someone who’s actually converted to a sustainable energy lifestyle, before you make any final decisions.
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