Our team has researched and reviewed these Solar Module Prices to help you come up with a better decision. We’ve also put up a shopping guide with the features you can consider when buying solar for indoor or outdoor use.
There are a number of steps to follow when planning to power your home with solar energy. After choosing which option is best for you to use solar (see step 3), follow the steps afterward that apply to you. Your solar energy installer and local utility company can provide more information on the exact steps you will need to take to power your home with solar energy.
Solar Module Prices
Solar module prices in the US to surge by 15.3% in Q2 owing to the Covid-19 outbreak
The outbreak of Covid-19 has caused significant disruptions to markets around the world, including the US and has prompted the US Senate to pass a $2.2tn emergency relief package, aimed at boosting its floundering market. Despite being an advanced economy, the US is susceptible to global disturbances, as their economy is largely service-oriented that in turn is dependent on commodities produced in developing nations such as China, India, and other Asian countries. Covid-19 has substantially dented manufacturing capacity in China, an integral player in the global supply chain, resulting in a slowdown in commercial activity for several large US companies dependent on Chinese supplies. As the outbreak continues to spread, changes in consumer behaviour are expected, which is likely to stem the country’s economic growth. What is more, solar module prices are already being affected.
In particular, the US energy industry has been vulnerable to the global disruptions. Plunge in fuel prices, reduction in global demand, and price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia have delivered a severe blow for the oil and gas industry; despite best efforts by the government to open new markets such as China, India, and the UK, to support its large production output that has exceeded domestic demand. Similarly, since 2018, the renewables sector has continued to suffer, with the introduction of tariffs on imported equipment, which dramatically raised the cost of solar module prices. Nevertheless, solar continues to be cost-competitive and is one of the cheapest forms of power generation in the country. In 2019, solar emerged the nation’s top power source but now faces uncertain times, due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The Solar Energy Industries Agency (SEIA) predicts that nearly 50% of the workforce employed in the solar industry could be without jobs, as solar companies are likely to face significant headwinds in procuring capital to fund projects. Moreover, several projects under-development and construction could fail to qualify for subsidies due to manufacturing and shipping delays that can add to a developer’s woe.
The implementation of tariffs has resulted in relatively high module prices but the sustained market growth of solar is a result of continued support from state governments. Between quarter 4 (Q4) in 2019 and Q4 in 2020, module prices were likely to decline by 15.6%, as per previous estimates. However, with the sudden upheaval in the market due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the price decline is expected to slow-down to 4% between Q4 in 2019 and Q4 in 2020. A surge in price is likely to be prominent in Q2, with the price diverging by 15.3%, in comparison to Q2 estimates prior to the outbreak. The trend is expected to continue in Q3 and Q4, with the price likely to be 12.7% and 13.7% higher respectively, post-outbreak.
Developers not only face component supply disruptions such as panels and inverters, but also labour shortages; as quarantine measures are being implemented to stymie Covid-19 transmission. The shortage of labour and equipments is not only confined to the US market but also in other prominent solar markets across the world. Since the initial implementation of tariffs in 2012, the US has slowly diversified its panels procurement base to move away from being overly reliant on China to Malaysia, South Korea, and Vietnam amongst others. However, with the pandemic impacting the aforementioned countries as well, prices are expected to increase, due to various afflictions impacting their respective markets.
During Q1, the price is estimated to rise to $0.37/W, with Covid-19 market implications becoming more notable. By Q2 and Q3, the associated effects are likely to become more distinct and the price in Q2 is estimated to reach $0.378/W. In Q3, although a decline is expected, prices will remain relatively high, as a number of developers with “harboured” projects are likely to be driving the demand in a slowly recovering supply market. In 2018, the announcement of a periodic phaseout of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) incentive, prompted significant solar capacity development, which enabled developers to avail the availability of higher tax credits than the lower credits in subsequent years. By the end of Q4, the market is expected to have stabilised and the price is expected to decline to $0.345/W.
The US solar industry is facing several challenges, induced by the Covid-19 outbreak that threaten the survival of various businesses and developers within the market. With challenges in procuring equipment and labour shortages, companies with “harboured” projects would face a great deal of inconvenience, increasing their exposure to risks and liabilities. Moving forward, the federal government could provide aid in the form of loans or grants and extend the federal Investment Tax Credit, and increase the flexibility around meeting legal requirements, which would greatly benefit the solar industry.
Best solar panels: key takeaways
- LG, Panasonic, and Sunpower are widely considered the top solar panel companies
- Make sure to consider efficiency, price, and warranty when comparing panel options
- Register on the EnergySage Marketplace to compare solar quotes with high-quality solar panels
Best solar panels for home installation
There are many solar panels available to purchase and install. Out of all the companies currently making solar panels, here are some of the top names most often associated with the best solar panels on the market:
- Q CELLS
- Canadian Solar
- Trina Solar
- REC Solar
Generally speaking, SunPower, LG, and Panasonic make the best solar panels in 2020 due to the high efficiencies, competitive pricing, and stellar 25-year warranty offered by each brand. These companies combine durability and reliability with premium protection and fair prices, making them the brands with the best solar panels available.
In almost all cases, the best solar panels are made with premium monocrystalline solar cells. Monocrystalline cells are made with a single crystal of silicon instead of many silicon fragments melted together, as is the case with polycrystalline cells. This means that the cells are more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity, plus they have a sleek black tint to them. However, it’s important to keep in mind that premium solar panels with monocrystalline cells generally come with a higher upfront price tag.
Best solar panels ranked by efficiency
A solar panel’s efficiency is a measure of how well it converts sunlight into electricity. Based only on maximum module efficiency, here are the top five manufacturers that make the best solar panels:
Best solar panels by efficiency
Best solar panels ranked by temperature coefficient
A solar panel’s temperature coefficient is a measure of how much or little a panel’s production is lowered in hot temperatures. Based only on the lowest temperature coefficient available in a panel, here are the top four best solar panel manufacturers:
Best solar panels by temperature coefficient
Best solar panels ranked by materials warranty
A solar panel’s materials warranty (or equipment warranty) protects against equipment failure due to environmental factors or manufacturing defects. Based only on the longest materials warranties available from solar companies, here are the best solar panel manufacturers:
- LG (25 years)
- Panasonic (25 years)
- Silfab (25 years)
- Solaria (25 years)
- SunPower (25 years)
- Q CELLS (25 years)
- REC Group (25 years)
- Mission Solar (25 years)
- Axitec (25 years)
- Certainteed Solar (25 years)
As shown above, all six of the top solar panel manufacturers ranked by materials warranty offer the same length of warranty, setting this tier of companies apart. For reference, the industry standard for panel materials warranties is 10 years.
Wondering if top-rated solar panels are worth it? Check out our video below about how to weigh the pros and cons of high-quality solar equipment:https://www.youtube.com/embed/rxZYD9BTios?enablejsapi=1&autoplay=0&cc_load_policy=0&iv_load_policy=1&loop=0&modestbranding=1&rel=0&fs=1&playsinline=0&autohide=2&theme=dark&color=red&controls=1&
What are the best solar companies today? Which manufacturers make the best panels?
How can you determine which of the top companies’ panel models offer the right combination of price and quality for your needs? To solve this problem, EnergySage combed through the detailed technical specifications for every panel manufactured by the most popular companies on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. In total, we assessed over a thousand panel models.
The top solar panel manufacturers
|MANUFACTURER||EFFICIENCY RANGE||TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT RANGE||MATERIALS WARRANTY|
|Amerisolar||14.75% to 17.01%||-0.43 to -0.43||12 years|
|Astronergy||18.1% to 19.1%||-0.38 to -0.38||10 years|
|Axitec||18.96% to 20.45%||-0.39 to -0.39||15 years|
|Canadian Solar||15.88% to 19.91%||-0.41 to -0.37||10 years|
|CentroSolar||15.3% to 17.8%||-0.44 to -0.42||10 years|
|CertainTeed Solar||15.4% to 19.9%||-0.45 to -0.37||10 years|
|China Sunergy||19.88% to 21.17%||-0.42 to -0.42||10 years|
|ET Solar||15.67% to 19.07%||-0.44 to -0.41||10 years|
|Green Brilliance||14.24% to 15.58%||-0.45 to -0.45||5 years|
|Hansol||14.97% to 18.05%||-0.45 to -0.41||10 years|
|Heliene||15.6% to 19.3%||-0.43 to -0.39||10 years|
|JA Solar||15.8% to 19.8%||-0.4 to -0.36||12 years|
|JinkoSolar||15.57% to 19.88%||-0.4 to -0.36||10 years|
|Kyocera||14.75% to 16.11%||-0.45 to -0.45||10 years|
|LG Solar||18.4% to 22%||-0.4 to -0.3||25 years|
|Mission Solar Energy||18.05% to 19.35%||-0.38 to -0.38||12 years|
|Neo Solar Power||16% to 17%||-0.42 to -0.42||10 years|
|Panasonic||19.1% to 20.3%||-0.26 to -0.26||25 years|
|Phono Solar||15.66% to 18.44%||-0.45 to -0.4||12 years|
|Q CELLS||17.1% to 20.1%||-0.39 to -0.35||12 years|
|REC Group||16.5% to 21.7%||-0.37 to -0.26||20 years|
|RECOM||16.29% to 19.36%||-0.4 to -0.39||12 years|
|Renogy Solar||15.3% to 18.5%||-0.44 to -0.44||10 years|
|S-Energy||15.61% to 19.8%||-0.4 to -0.39||10 years|
|Seraphim||15.67% to 17.52%||-0.43 to -0.42||10 years|
|Silfab||17.6% to 19.4%||-0.38 to -0.36||25 years|
|Solaria||19.4% to 20.5%||-0.39 to -0.39||25 years|
|Solartech Universal||19% to 19.9%||-0.26 to -0.26||15 years|
|SunPower||16.5% to 22.8%||-0.38 to -0.29||25 years|
|Trina Solar||16.2% to 19.9%||-0.41 to -0.37||10 years|
|Winaico||18.83% to 19.4%||-0.38 to -0.38||15 years|
TIPS FOR BUYING YOUR SOLAR POWER SYSTEM.
Buying a home solar power system can be a very exciting experience, but don’t get too carried away by advertising. Be sure to focus on the important aspects of your purchase as it’s a substantial investment and one you’ll be living with for a long time. The following are some buying solar tips on what to look for when purchasing a system.
Ask friends, family neighbours or colleagues who have had solar PV systems installed. Often the best buying solar tips com from right in your neighbourhood. They’ll be able to tell you about their experiences and perhaps alert you to any problems they experienced. Problems that you’ll be able to avoid. Learn more about potential issues in our consumers guide to solar power – avoiding tricks and traps.
Length of manufacturer’s warranty
Take note of what guarantees the manufacturer offers. If the manufacturer is reputable and the warranty period on the panels is substantial (at least 25 years) you would naturally expect your solar system to last long for a long time, long enough to pay for itself and make you a profit. However, for a warranty to be honoured, the manufacturer needs to be still operating. So, be cautious of brands without a track record in Australia.
Have realistic price expectations
If you are paying substantially less than many other similar size systems quoted, you may find poor quality equipment and/or poor installation work. Quality equipment and installation isn’t cheap and, like all other purchases, you often get what you pay for.
Compare components and warranty periods and check into the company providing the installation. While large, well established companies can pass on substantial savings due to increased buying power, other companies often reduce costs by cutting important corners.
Solar panel certifications
This applies to all solar panel purchases, but especially to the purchases that could attract a government rebate. The certification on solar panels indicates the type of testing that they have undergone. For instance, TUV IEC 61215 confirms that the solar panels have gone through testing by an independent laboratory and have met their advertised specifications. Other certification types are often self-assessed. Therefore, they rely on the company being honest in what it claims.
Decide on the type of panels
It used to be the case that if you had limited roof space you would need highly efficient (and very expensive) mono-crystalline solar panels. This is rapidly changing with advances in polycrystalline panel technology and some thin film technologies. Still, even if you have ample roof space you may still want to consider panel sizes vs. output. Filling up your roof with inefficient panels will affect your ability to add more panels at a later date, and does not maximise the power output of the space.
It’s also important to bear in mind that regardless of claim, no solar panel technology will produce a significant amount of power in full shade. Learn more about monocrystalline vs. thin film panels.
Solar panel mounting
Make sure that the roof, ground mounting or tracking system is engineer certified for the area you are in. For example, if you live in a cyclone prone area make sure the mounting system and mounting brackets are also cyclone rated. Quality systems are wind certified. After all you do not want your system to take off during a wild storm . The mounting system is a very vital component and some suppliers skimp on this item. Make sure you ask about wind certification, warranty arrangements and get copies of relevant documents.
Solar inverter efficiency
A power inverter is the box between the panels and your appliances that converts DC electricity from solar panels to AC suitable for use in your home.
Not all solar inverters are equal and inverter efficiency will have a direct impact on the amount of time it takes for a system to pay for itself. Look at the inverter efficiency before purchasing a system. Obviously, the more efficient the inverter the better. Less electricity will be wasted as heat during the conversion from DC to AC. Industry leading solar inverters for grid connect systems in Australia include SMA, Sungrow and Fronius. Be cautious of generic type brands.
Get a few solar quotes
It always wise to gather a few solar quotes when making a major purchase as you will find that prices vary widely between providers. But don’t be just swayed by price as inferior components can reduce the up-front cost of the system. However, they may wind up costing you more in the long run in terms of reliability and efficiency.
Avoid high pressure sales people
High pressure sales tactics are unfortunately common in the solar industry. Try not to make decisions on the spot, just ask the person to let you consider the offer. If it’s as good as they claim, it will still be a good deal tomorrow. Pressured decisions on the spot often turn out to be less advantageous in reflection.
High pressure sales people are only one of the pitfalls that may await you when you shop for a solar power system. Learn more about the potential issues and how to avoid them in our consumers guide to solar power – avoiding tricks and traps.