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Making the transition to solar energy is a costly investment. With an average initial cost of about $11,000, you want to feel confident that you’re installing the best possible solar system for your home. Researching solar panels and brands will give you the information you need to choose the best solar panels for your home. Portable Solar Panels
To assist you in this process, we at the Home Media reviews team have researched dozens of solar panel brands to compile a list of the top solar panel options. Our evaluations are based on efficiency rating, price, warranty coverage and other significant factors discussed below.
Review our top seven picks for solar panels for homes:
Take a look at the key comparison points for these top solar panels:
Silfab tops our list with its high-efficiency passivated emitter and rear contact (PERC) panels that are guaranteed to perform for 30 years. Backed by one of the longest extended performance warranties available, Silfab provides high-performing panels at a price range just below the premium brands.
Here are our top pros and cons for Silfab:
+ Offers a wide variety of efficient PERC monocrystalline panels + Panels cost between $2.85 and $3.05 per watt (W). + Offers a 30-year performance guarantee
– Carries a price point closer to premium brands – Requires use of a Silfab-certified installer to get the 25-year extended warranty
Silfab offers the following panel selection for residential systems:
Silfab provides 30-year performance guarantees with all its panels. The company promises an 83% output from its panels for 30 years. If the panels fall below this level, Silfab will take care of their maintenance or repair. Its panels also include a 12-year workmanship warranty, which aligns with the industry standard of 10 to 12 years. However, this warranty can be extended to 25 years if homeowners purchase their panels from a Silfab-certified installer.
SunPower produces some of the best high-efficiency solar panels on the market today. Although its panels have the highest price point of all of the panels in our review, an initial investment in the top solar panels will result in future long-term savings.
Review key pros and cons for SunPower solar panels:
+ Has one of the highest efficiency ratings in today’s solar panel market + Guarantees panels will produce 92% output for 25 years + Provides 25-year product and performance warranties
– Offers the most expensive panels on our list – Limits the availability of its panels to approved installers only
SunPower has four monocrystalline options for homeowners:
Homeowners looking to invest in the best solar panels available should consider SunPower. Panels with a higher efficiency rating tend to cost more than the average solar panel. SunPower solar panels start at around $3.30 per watt, much higher than the industry average of $3.
The company provides a 25-year product and performance warranty, one of the few companies to offer such extended warranties. SunPower also guarantees that its panels will produce at least a 92% output of the initially posted wattage by the 25th year. If your panels fall below this threshold, the company will update your system to restore performance.
Panasonic’s latest panel series, the EverVolt, uses half-cut heterojunction (HJT) solar cell technology to create some of the top energy-efficient panels available. Its panels are made to withstand extreme temperatures, an excellent choice for homeowners in hot climates.
Take a look at our top pros and cons for Panasonic solar:
+ Performs well in hot climates + Guarantees a 92% output for up to 25 years + Provides a 25-year product warranty
– Outsources its panel manufacturing as of March 2022, which could lead to lower-quality products – Is one of the more expensive options for homeowners
We contacted Panasonic about these cons, and although the company did not provide a comment, a representative directed us to this article instead.
Panasonic’s latest line, the EverVolt series, uses HJT technology to produce panels with higher efficiency at lower energy loss levels. The most potent panels within the series feature efficiencies between 21.6% and 22.2% in 400 W to 410 W options.
The company’s AllGuard and TripleGuard 25-year warranty covers EverVolt panels for product, parts, labor and performance. Panasonic also guarantees at least a 92% output performance from its panels over 25 years.
LG solar panels are ideal for homeowners with complicated roof designs or limited roof space. Since its panels are more powerful but compact, you can buy fewer panels and generate ample power for your home.
Review LG’s key pros and cons:
+ Is one of the most well-known manufacturers of electronics in the world + Fits best with homes that have atypical roof styles + Provides a 25-year product guarantee
– Has inconsistent panels pricing within the LG dealer network – Can cost upward of $500 per panel, making them one of the more expensive options
LG offers three options for residential solar systems. The smaller 375 W LG NeON R has an efficiency of 20.7%. The company guarantees the output of the 365 W NeON 2 Black Solar Panel at 90.6% after 25 years. Finally, the 400 W LG NeON 2 BiFacial Solar Panel employs technology that allows sunlight to be absorbed on the top and bottom of the panel. This technology allows the panels to continue to collect energy even on the cloudiest days.
LG backs its panels with a 25-year product warranty. However, the energy production guarantee varies based on each model. For example, LG NeON R panels have a guaranteed output of 98.5% after one year and a minimum of 92.5% in 25 years. On the other hand, the LG NeON 2 series will produce 96.4% of its output by the end of the 25 years.
Q Cells panels offer an excellent balance of solid performance, high efficiencies and affordable pricing. The company also provides warranties that exceed industry standards for product and performance protections.
Here are the top pros and cons to consider for Q Cells:
+ Is an excellent option for homeowners with smaller budgets + Offers a 25-year product and performance guarantee + Is known for producing quality panels for other companies (e.g., Tesla)
– Has decent efficiency rates but not the highest in our solar panel review – Produces some larger Q Cell models that won’t work well on a smaller roof
Q Cells’ newest selection includes three half-cut, monocrystalline Q.Peak Duo panels models:
The Q.Peak Duo generates 20.6% to 21.4% efficiency with 350 W to 415 W panels.
Q Cells backs its panels with a 25-year product and performance guarantee. The company promises that its panels will produce no less than 98% output in the first year. Then, output drops by 0.5% each year after that. After 10 years, production will level out at 93%, reducing to at least 86% by 25 years.
Canadian Solar provides well-made solar panels that may be a better option for homeowners looking to keep their costs to a minimum. Although the efficiency of these panels is lower than the mid to premium offerings, they provide a good solution for anyone looking for low-cost options for a home.
Here are a few key pros and cons for Canadian Solar:
+ Selection includes polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels + Excellent option for colder weather environments where snowfall can accumulate easily + Some models use HJT technology for improved efficiency
– Shorter product warranties for its basic panel options – Performance isn’t as good in warmer environments
Canadian offers three models for homeowners:
The HiDM models have a shingled, mono PERC solar design that uses more solar cells in a smaller space, ideal for limited spaces. Although these panels are more cost-effective than the HiKu line, this model suffers in its efficiency and durability. The HiHero is Canadian Solar’s most high-efficiency option. These 405 W to 430 W panels have an efficiency of 22%.
The product warranties vary according to the model. The HiKu line provides a 12-year product warranty, whereas the HiDM models come with a 15-year product warranty. Both lines include a 25-year performance guarantee. HiHero models have a 25-year product warranty and a 30-year linear power output guarantee.
Trina Solar panels provide the best lower-budget options of all the panels reviewed. Its panels rank above the industry standard but still fall short of the top-tier solar panel options.
Check out our key pros and cons for Trina Solar:
+ Offers a 25-year performance warranty + Features an efficiency range that is higher than the industry standard of 17% + Increased product warranty from 12 years to 25 years
– Has faced quality issues in the past – Lacks high power wattage panel options
Trina offers two new half-cut, monocrystalline models for residential systems:
Trina Solar’s newest panel models are backed by a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty and 25-year performance guarantee, exclusively offered in the United States. Since these longer warranties do not require the use of a Trina installer, homeowners will have these protections in place starting on the date of purchase.
Note: We reached out to each manufacturer on this list for a comment on the cons listed in this article. Unless otherwise noted, we did not receive a response from the brand.
Find A Solar Panel Installer in Your State
Here are essential factors to consider when choosing the best solar panel for your home.
You want to look for solar panels with the best efficiency that you can afford. The better the solar panel efficiency, the better the panels can effectively absorb the sunlight and convert it into energy. If you settle for panels with lower efficiency ratings, you will need more panels to run your home. Despite the expensive up-front cost, an investment in high-performing, efficient solar panels will be a sound investment into an effective solar power system in the long run.
Warranties protect both the solar panels and their performance. The industry standard is 10 years for the product and 25 years for performance. According to the Federal Trade Commission , solar panels typically last 20 years. We recommend finding a solar company with at least a 20-year warranty to ensure your solar panels are protected throughout their lifetime.
According to Garrett Nilsen, the acting director of the Solar Energies Technologies Office with the Department of Energy , asking your installer about warranties and system maintenance is crucial. You should ask the installer for recommendations about keeping your system updated, as well as what’s in your agreement and how they fulfill warranty issues.
Because solar panels are exposed to the elements daily, it is essential to consider their durability. Panels with a good temperature coefficient can withstand extreme heat and continue to produce at near-optimal levels. Some panels have been constructed to support the weight of several inches of snowfall. You should select solar panels that work best in your local climate and weather conditions.
Residential solar panel prices will depend on the type of solar panels and their efficiency. Although you may focus on the cost of the solar panels , the price of the solar panel system overall is most important. Residential solar systems can cost between $16,000 and $40,000 on average. With an investment of this size, you want to ensure you get the best return on your investment.
Your best option would be to buy high-efficiency panels to help cut down on the number of panels you will need for your home. Buying cheaper, less efficient panels will cost more overall since you will require more panels to produce the same energy levels that fewer, more efficient panels could achieve.
The best solar panels depend on your priorities and individual needs. We recommend Silfab if you’re looking for high-efficiency panels that provide the performance of a premium brand without the price tag. Q Cells also offers high-quality panels at an affordable price. Finally, Trina Solar has cost-efficient offerings with decent power and efficiency ideal for homeowners on a tight budget.
There are pros and cons to both national and local providers. Nilsen says that national providers can often provide lower costs because they’re able to purchase equipment at larger scales, and that they may also have quicker, automated processes. Alternatively, local installers might have better relationships with local permitting groups to speed along the installation process.
You should also verify the solar panel companies’ availability to ensure you are in their service area. Some solar panel manufacturers list every state for their coverage area but, in reality, only service select ZIP Codes.
The most efficient solar panel for homes is a monocrystalline (mono) panel. These panels, made of silicon crystal, have the highest efficiency, falling between 15% and 22%. Thanks to the technological advancements in the solar industry, mono panels can generate more power using smaller panels with half-cells. Although they cost more than other types, such as polycrystalline or thin-film panels, mono panels are worth the higher costs.
Yes, solar power does continue to work even on cloudy days. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels work to continuously collect sunlight every day, though they work best when they receive direct sunlight. You also can add a solar battery to your home system. These solar storage devices collect the excess energy that your system generates and stores it for later use. Solar battery storage comes in handy during power outages or brownouts.
Yes, solar incentives and tax credits are available for homeowners to help lower the overall cost of a solar power system. The federal government offers the federal solar tax credit that provides tax relief to homeowners. You receive 30% of the cost of your solar system in the form of a tax credit. The system must be installed between 2022 and 2032. Then, the credit drops to 26% in 2033 for installations taking place that year. In 2034, the credit decreases to 22% and will be phased out by the year’s end.
Many states also have programs that reward residents for converting to clean energy and may include incentives, tax credits and property tax exemptions. Check with your local utility and energy cooperative for rebates for switching to renewable energy.
We collected data on dozens of solar companies and created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings, grade each company and provide objective findings to our readers. The result of weighing a wide range of factors is a cumulative score for each provider.
We called companies and spoke with representatives to understand their products, services and solar installation processes. We also reviewed each company’s product, production and workmanship guarantees in detail, and we closely examined customer reviews to understand the customer service experience with each provider.
All company data is monitored on an ongoing basis to keep rankings and information up to date.
Once we gathered all relevant data, we used the following scoring system to grade each moving company on a 100-point scale:
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