With tons of solar panel brands flooding today’s market, identifying a quality product for your home can be challenging especially if you are not well-versed with the ins and outs of the industry.
As a rule of thumb, it’s always wise to consider aspects such as power rating, efficiency, supplier bankability, and the kind of warranty offered by a manufacturer before you settle on a particular option.
To help you select the best solar energy system for your home, here’s a review of the 10 best solar panels in 2018:
How Do We Choose Our Rating?
To rate 2018’s 10 best solar panels, we reviewed each of the available options based on:
- Value for cost
- Product features, customer service, warranties, discounts, and other incentives
- Customer reviews
Best Solar Panels to Buy
Jinko Solar is one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of solar panels and by looking at their latest releases, it’s easy to see that the Eagle PERC 60 is their top product. It uses the monocrystalline Passivate Emitter Rear Contact (PERC) solar cell technology to crank out 300W of output, which is more than enough for residential applications.
When it comes to solar panel technology, monocrystalline and polycrystalline are the two industry leaders. The monocrystalline technology used in this solar panel is more efficient than its poly counterpart. However, it’s also more expensive.
As such, the Eagle PERC 60 is an excellent option if you are looking for a high-end solar panel, and don’t mind spending the extra bucks. It features a corrosion-resistant construction, a feature that will come in handy if you live in a coastal town (where salt corrosion is a major problem).
Trina Solar manufactures the DuoMax Twin bifacial glass solar panel, which is considered to be 22.5% more efficient.
Bifacial glass simply means that the bottom of the panel is made of transparent glass, rather than a black or white back sheet. Such a construction allows light from the sun to reflect into the solar panel easily, improving energy efficiency.
The Astronergy 325W Solar Panel is one of the best solar panels in terms of value for money. Made by China-based Astronergy, this solar panel has one of those that have the lowest cost per watt.
The 325W translates a 16.8% efficiency, so you are getting a deal of a lifetime. That is not to mention the company’s outstanding warranty policy. Astronergy’s warranty program offers third-party insurance, meaning that if they ever go out of business, you will still be eligible for a warranty claim from a third party insurer.
That said, Astronergy is one of China’s biggest electronics manufacturers, and it’s likely that they will be in business for decades to come. Nevertheless, it’s nice to have the peace of mind provided by third party insurance.
Astronergy 325 is by no means the best solar panel in terms of construction, but the low price and the extra assurance make it a worthwhile purchase for those looking for absolute value for money.
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LG is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electronics, and it’s no surprise that one of their solar panels features in this top ten picks for 2018.
The LG 360w Solar Panel is best known for being space-efficient, packing more wattage in a 60-cell panel than many 72-cell solar panels in today’s market. This makes the LG 360W one of the best solar panels for people trying to make the most out of their limited RV space.
However, space efficiency is not all there is to the LG 360W solar panel.
It also has a long lifespan. Degrading at a rate of 0.4% per year, this panel’s depreciation rate is 0.3% better than that of the Astronergy 325W solar panel. It may not sound significant, but this difference means that the LG 360 retains 7.5% more efficiency than the Astronergy 325W panel after 25 years of use.
And that’s not all. LG offers you a deal like no other when it comes to solar panel warranty. While most companies offer a 10-year workmanship guarantee, LG covers the whole lifespan of its 360W solar panel, offering up to 25 years of assurance.
As for performance, the company guarantees that this panel will be 87% efficient after 25 years of use. That’s higher than the industry standard, which averages at about 80% efficiency after 25 years.
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JA Solar is the world’s fourth-largest supplier of solar panels and one of the industry giants when it comes to making solar cells. They were the first manufacturer to break the 20% efficiency mark with a mono PERC solar cell in 2013, and the company has done nothing but grow since.
The JA Solar JAM6-PERCIUM Solar Panel uses monocrystalline technology to produce a power output of 295W, making it appropriate for medium-sized homes. In addition, it is made of resilient construction that can withstand wind, snow, and type 2 fire.
If you buy the JAM 6 Percium solar panel, you get to enjoy 25 years of performance warranty. With this warranty, the manufacturer guarantees that you get at least 97% of nominal power during the first year and an annual output decline of not more than 0.708% in the following years.
- Q Cell technology offers anti-PID/anti-LID, hot spot protection, and traceable quality
- Low electricity generation costs - higher yield per surface area, and lower BOS costs due to higher power classes and an...
- Optimal yields in all weather- excellent low light and temperature behavior
The Hanwha Q-Cells Q Peak Duo-G5 320 is a standard plus solar panel. It beats most of the standard solar panels sold in the U.S. in terms of performance but lacks some of the essential features required for a premium rating.
It uses Q.ANTUM DUO technology to deliver high performance on a small package.
Q.ANTUM’s unique concept combines half-cut solar cells, a six-busbar design, and world-class circuitry to create a 320W-rated solar panel with 19.0% rated efficiency. The sleek black finish ensures that you get a solar panel that will look good on your property.
As with all Hanwha products, you get an inclusive 12-year product warranty when you buy the Q Peak Duo. You also get a linear performance warranty of up to 25 years. This means that you are guaranteed at least 0.98% nominal power for the first year, and a maximum annual depreciation rate of 0.54.
As a result, you are guaranteed that your solar panel will be able to deliver 85% of the total nominal power during the first 25 years of use.
However, keep in mind that this solar panel is not the most space-efficient panel on the list. As such, it might not be the ideal choice for homeowners with limited roof space. Regardless, the built-in PERC technology offers solid performance at a reasonable cost.
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LG is known for designing space-efficient solar panels, and the LG Neon R – 360-370W modules are no different. They boast a 21.4 percent efficiency, and quite impressively, generate 370W of output on panels that are slightly bigger than the traditional 60-cell solar panel. This is achieved using the high-grade IBC N-type cells.
Neon R modules are premium-rated and cost more than the widely used mono P-type panels. However, the long life, ultra-high build quality, efficiency, and unrivaled performance make these modules worth every extra penny.
It’s worth mentioning that the 370W modules are currently only available in North America and Europe. LG is also working on its technology to improve the efficiency rating and power output of the Neon R module.
- Renogy Solar Panel this version was discontinued, single panel compact design 100W mono solar panel has been launced
- Usages - high in power but compact in size, this 100-watt Solar panel is a favorite for RVs, boats, campers and similar...
- Installation - pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel allow for fast mounting and securing. Pre-drilled holes...
Perfect for 12-volt battery charging, Renogy Monocrystalline Solar Panel can be wired in a series for grid-tied application or 12/28 battery charging. It has preinstalled diodes in the junction box and automatically comes with a 31-inch cable pair with MC4 connectors.
If you live in an area with strong winds, this Renology panel is one of the best solar panels you can choose. It withstands winds as high as 2400Pa and snow loads of up to 5400Pa. With the resistant aluminum frame on it, the panel can last for decades. It is compatible with both on-grid and off-grid inverters and has a Maximum System Voltage of 600V DC (UL).
Other features of this high conversion efficient panel are an open circuit voltage of 22.5 Volts, a 5.29 Amps optimum operating current, 5.75 short circuit current, and an ideal output of 500 watts per day based on the sun’s availability.
The panel’s 5-year workmanship and material warranty, as well as the 25-year transferable power output warranty, will definitely give you peace of mind over the years.
- Anti-reflective, high transparency, low iron-tempered glass with enhanced stiffness and impact resistance, Withstand...
- Pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel allow for fast mounting and securing. Compatible with different mounting...
- High module conversion efficiency. Ideal output: 500Wh per day (depending on the availability of sunlight). Bypass...
The HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline high-efficiency & anti-reflective Solar Panel comes with a low-iron tempered glass with a high impact and stiffness resistance.
The ability to withstand high snow and wind levels (5400Pa & 2400Pa respectively) makes it ranked among the best solar panels to use in harsh weather conditions. It has an IP65 rated junction box for protecting it from low-pressure water jets and environmental particles.
With its predrilled holes, it’s easy to mount and secure this solar panel – you don’t need the help of a professional. It is highly compatible with Tilt Mounts, Pole Mounts, and Z-brackets mounting symbols.
Based on the sunlight intensity, this panel has a high conversion efficiency module of 500Wh per day. It also has Bypass diodes to reduce power drop resulting from shade and ensures ideal performance even in environments with low light.
With the panel’s advanced encapsulation material that comes with multi-layered sheet laminations, cell performance is enhanced, and a long service life guaranteed. The corrosion-resistant aluminum exterior construction makes it ideal for harsh weather environments. Even better, this panel has a 25-year power output warranty and a 5-year workmanship and material warranty.
- 【Potential Uses】The Renogy 50 Watt Monocrystalline Panel can be used in various off-grid applications that include...
- 【Reliable】Advanced encapsulation material with multi-layered sheet laminations to enhance cell performance and...
- 【Durable】Guaranteed positive output tolerance (0-3%); withstands high winds (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa)....
If you are looking forward to going off the grid, the Renogy 50 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel will efficiently serve you. Its multiple uses include dry camping, marine, and other off-the-grid applications like mountain climbing and having a walk at the beach.
It comes with MC4 leads and is highly compatible with Renogy’s adaptor kit to help you smoothly set up your system. The panel has high efficiency on space and can withstand high snow and wind levels.
Solar Panel Buying Guide
While these are the best solar panels of this year, not all will suit you.
It’s important to consider your needs and choose a panel whose features match your requirements. Below are some solar panel purchase tips.
Cost per Watt
Full-sized panels range from 275-400 watts, however, there are smaller panels specifically made for off-the-grid applications. Divide the panel price with the watts to know a panel’s cost-per-watt.
A panel’s performance warranty is a guarantee that your solar will work past the rated efficiency for the specified time. Most are rated at 80% efficiency for 25-30 years.
A workmanship warranty gives you protection from manufacturing defects and other panel’s physical problems. Make sure that the panel you buy comes with both guarantees.
This is the sun amount converted by a solar panel into useable energy. The best solar panels have a 14% to 22% efficiency range.
If you are in an extremely hot environment, you need to get a panel with a high-temperature coefficient as high temperature levels reduce the panel’s output and efficiency levels.
Reputation of the Solar Company
A long-serving company with a reputation of producing quality models is always recommended.
Best Solar Panels – Make a Wise Purchase!
Having a solar panel installed in your home is one of the best ways to make big savings on electricity.
Harnessing solar energy is also a good way to conserve the environment, and with the “clean energy” campaign now in full force, there has never been a better force to shop for a solar panel.
As you look forward to buying one, consider the best solar panels and guidelines above to make an informed decision.
Last update on 2023-05-06 at 08:29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API