– American-based company
– Most efficient on the market, but also the most expensive
– Designed the first solar panels to win the Cradle to Cradle Certified Silver recognition, a science-based certification that recognizes products good for the environment and society
Featured Series: A-Series (22.3% Efficiency)
– The world’s first residential 400W and 415W panels
– Made with SunPower® Maxeon® Gen 5 solar cells now 65% larger to generate a little more power
– 25 year product warranty, 92% power at 25 years warranty
– South Korean company
– Innovated not only solar panel design but also solar storage
– Have only been making panels since 2010 but still an excellent choice
Featured Series: NeON R & NeON 2 (20.8% / 19.5%)
– Improved performance during both sunny and cloudy days
– NeON R doesn’t have front electrodes to maximize energy absorption, NeON 2 has Cello Technology which replaces the front busbars with twelve thin wires to improve performance
– 25 year product warranty and 86% performance at 25 years warranty
– Japanese company
– In the solar industry since 1975
– Highly efficient with a relatively affordable price
Featured Series: HIT series (19.7% efficiency)
– Features HIT technology, a combo of monocrystalline and ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers to decrease power loss
– Incredibly low temperature coefficients – generates power efficiently even when it gets hot
– 25 year product warranty, 90.76% performance at 25 years warranty
4. Trina Solar
– Chinese-based company
– Fast-growing and affordable
– Leads the solar industry in IBC (Interdigitated Back Contact) technology, designed so the back of the cell can also absorb light
Featured Series: AllMax Split M Plus (19.4% E)
– Half-cell design with a new cell string layout/split J-box location that decreases resistance to improve efficiency by over 2%
– More modules connected per string, meaning balance of system costs are low so the panels are ideal for large-scale projects
– 10 year product warranty, 80.2% performance at 25 years warranty
– American company
– Started in 1999, made solar tracking equipment so good it became its own company
– Notable for modern aesthetic with all-black panels that blend into roofs
Featured Series: PowerXT (20% efficiency)
– Substrings interconnected in parallel to decrease shading loss
– Solder-less interconnections designed to last well beyond the warranty
– 25 year product warranty, 80.7% performance at 25 years warranty
So, what would we recommend?
It depends on your needs.
SunPower leads the industry but comes with a hefty price tag.
Both LG and Panasonic are fairly evenly matched in moderately priced alternatives that still perform well.
Trina is a reliable option that’ll fit well in a budget.
Solaria makes good panels known for their classy, modern appearance.
Whatever you choose, keep in mind that the newest and flashiest models will become progressively outdated with each year’s more advanced releases.
Rather than spending a lot of money trying to keep up with the latest and greatest for only slight improvements in performance, a better long-term approach might be to choose less expensive panels that still give you the power you need.