As the solar energy business continues to expand globally and solar firms flourish, determining which of the hundreds of manufacturers produces the finest solar panels may be challenging. We provide the most critical factors to consider when evaluating the quality of solar panels in this post and share current findings from third-party review sites.
Evaluation Criteria of Best Solar Panel Brands
Numerous factors may be used to assess the quality of solar panels, including the following:
- Efficiency and productivity
Efficiency and productivity
These linked performance metrics have a direct influence on the amount of electricity generated per watt installed by your system. The more efficient and productive your solar panels are, the greater the financial return on your investment will be during the system’s lifespan. The term “efficiency” refers to the quantity of energy generated during peak daylight hours per watt of sunlight absorbed. Yield is determined by high-temperature performance, spectral response (the ability to capture energy from re-shifted sunlight in the morning and evening can increase production), and the use of anti-reflective glass or ARG (which enables the panels to capture more light when the sky is cloudy or the sun is not directly overhead).
There is a direct association between the projected life of equipment and the duration of a company’s performance guarantee. Three factors to consider while considering a solar manufacturer’s warranty are the following:
- Equipment: Inquire about the warranty coverage for performance and materials, and confirm that you understand whether the inverter, monitoring, and other equipment are covered separately from the panels.
- How difficult would it be to obtain warranty service? Ascertain that you understand the procedure for filing a claim and determine whether the corporation will make it simple for you to replace, repair, or receive reimbursement for any defective parts.
- Longevity: A warranty is only as good as the reputation of the issuing firm. You may be left without coverage if your solar firm goes out of business before the conclusion of the term. How certain are you that the manufacturer will continue to exist throughout the warranty period?
The dependability of a solar panel is another sign of its quality. Independent testing of various solar panels may provide insight into how well your panels will perform in extreme weather circumstances (hurricanes, hail, etc.) and over time. Numerous credible third-party companies with experience in assessing the dependability of various solar panels are available. Fraunhofer, a leading applied research organization with a global reputation for expertise in solar energy technology, evaluates panels from nine leading photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers for resistance to humidity and thermal cycling, potential-induced degradation (PID), mechanical loading, and UV light exposure. TÜV, a German-based worldwide leader in product safety certification, performs Sandstorm Testing to simulate the severe conditions of desert environments. DNV-GL publishes an annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard based on their Product Qualification Program, which utilizes independent laboratory testing to determine the reliability of solar panels from multiple manufacturers. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the primary government-run laboratory for renewable energy testing.
This is a “soft” indicator of quality that is significant to certain purchasers. The current solar panel trend is toward less visible panels, particularly those with a black backing (sometimes called black-on-black panels). The future is anticipated to contain a variety of solar roof tile types that Tesla has presented on a small scale but have not yet been mass manufactured commercially.
Another indicator of quality is a manufacturer’s dedication to accountability in their goods, operations, and influence on other stakeholders. The finest solar panels have a negligible environmental effect both throughout the production process and at the end of their useful life. Numerous groups set sustainability standards for the solar photovoltaic supply chain. The Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM label evaluates items such as solar panels for their safety to human and environmental health, their design for future usage cycles, and their production practices. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) publishes a biannual Solar Scorecard in which solar manufacturers are evaluated based on sustainability and social justice criteria. Solar panels can also be included on the Declare label platform, which gives information about a product’s origins, contents, and end-of-life choices, such as recycling.
Top Solar Panel Manufacturers
Numerous websites give independent reviews of the top solar panels from prominent manufacturers in the United States and throughout the world.
After analyzing the exact technical data for hundreds of panels, EnergySage ranks the top 46 manufacturers based on their efficiency, temperature coefficient range (which indicates how much power production is lost as the temperature rises), and warranty. The leading manufacturers, according to their study, are:
- SunPower, Panasonic, LG, and Solartech Universal are all efficient (all greater than 20 percent for their most efficient panels)
- Stion, Silevo, Panasonic, and SunPower all have temperature coefficients of less than -0.3 percent per degree Celsius.
- SunPower, Panasonic, and Solaria all provide warranties (all 25 years)
- According to SolarReviews’ expert ratings, Panasonic, LG, Canadian Solar, SunPower, and Hyundai Heavy Industries are the top five solar panel manufacturers.