Living in California, we already know the advantages of solar energy. Still, finding the best solar panels for your home can be difficult. With over a hundred different solar panel brands, choosing the right panels for your solar power system may be challenging.
In this comparison, we will discuss how top brands of solar panels for residential stack up with competitors and show you the best solar panels for home use.
We’ve narrowed down the top 5 solar panels on the market based on components, price, efficiency, and warranty offerings.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels are made up of smaller units called solar cells. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, these solar cells absorb the sunlight energy and create electrical charges.
Solar panels generate electricity through Alternating Current (or AC), but your home needs Direct Current (or DC). The solar inverter converts the electricity from AC to DC, and then it can be used by your home.
Solar panels for homes have no moving parts, just electrical currents, so maintenance is very easy. You just need to make sure sunlight can hit your solar panels and clean them once in a while.
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For homeowners who want to take advantage of solar power and its benefits, the first step is choosing what solar equipment to use. Since this solar technology will become part of your home for 30 years or more, it’s important to make the smart choice.
Comparing factors like solar panel performance, efficiency ratings, and warranty period, here are our Top 5 Solar Panels’ Manufacturers:
- REC Alpha® Pure Series Premium Solar Panels
- SunPower A-Series Residential Panels
- LG NeON® R Prime High-Efficiency Solar Panels
- Panasonic EverVolt™ Series Solar Modules
- Q CELLS Q.PEAK DUO BLK ML-G10+
REC is widely considered to be the top solar panel brand due to its superb overall efficiency and excellent solar panel performance warranty.
LG, Panasonic, and SunPower panels are also known as some of the best on the market for similar reasons. Hanwha Q CELLS are also very popular.
All of these solar panel manufacturers combine premium protection and fair prices, which is why they have made it on our list. However, REC solar panels win the top spot of the best solar panels for several reasons, with the biggest reason being the longevity and reliability they provide.
REC Alpha® Pure Series Solar Panels
For over two decades, REC solar panels have been the Most Trusted and Tested solar panel manufacturer.
The REC Alpha® Pure solar panel is the latest award-winning series of innovative REC solar panels, empowering homeowners to take full advantage of solar energy for many years. The 25-year warranty they offer guarantees 92% power performance in year 25, much higher than any of the other solar panel warranties.
REC solar panels have a reputation for durability, as they test their panels three times harder than anyone else. They also offer a 25-year labor warranty which is a significant added value to solar for home use.
Aside from that, the 410W panel can also boast a 21.6% efficiency rating, which wins the industry best over SunPower 400 Watt solar panels which sit at 21.4%.
REC solar panels beat SunPower in terms of efficiency. SunPower has been known for having the highest efficiency panels for years, but REC solar panels have surpassed them in the last couple of years.
Keep in mind that solar efficiency refers to the amount of sunlight the panels can absorb, so a small difference can build up over time.
SunPower modules are by far the most expensive modules on the market in comparison to other brands.
LG NeON® R
LG is a top-tier electronics company with a good reputation for quality products that carry over to their solar panels. How well do the LG panels actually perform?
In our extensive experience, LG solar panels are top-tier panels, falling right in the middle of the best home solar panels top 5 rankings. Although they have a higher power rating, it also comes at a far higher price.
Update – Feb 23, 2022
Just last night, LG announced they are closing their solar panel business. LG is planning to leverage its renewable energy experience in new sectors, focusing mainly on Energy Storage Systems (solar batteries). The company will continue to produce panels through the second quarter of 2022 and support existing customers for a period of time after the closure is completed.
Despite being one of the oldest and most well-known names in consumer electronics, Panasonic has not always been synonymous with top quality. Over the years they have developed a reputation for top-quality solar modules.
However, Panasonic has announced that this year they are going to stop manufacturing solar panels in March.
The specs on these new solar panels match the top-performing solar panels in our list of the best solar panels, but they haven’t yet hit the real-world market.
Panasonic also modified its manufacturing deal with Tesla in 2021, leaving Tesla to find another manufacturer for their solar panels.
Q CELLS Q.PEAK Series
Q CELLS may be the most popular solar panel manufacturer on this list. It’s designed in Germany and mainly manufactured in Singapore.
The Q CEllS solar PV offers competitive pricing with 25 Years of Manufacture Warranty and with an outstanding efficiency rating of 20.6%. The major downside is the long-term performance will be decreasing from the 1st year significantly.
With the high depreciation rate, Q CELLS panels will only generate about around 90% starting from the 5th year, and that’s why Q CELLS did not make it to the throne.
These are the solar panels that Tesla installs. Tesla’s solar roof shingles are an entirely different product manufactured by Tesla themselves.
The main problem with the Tesla solar roof vs solar panels is efficiency. Tesla solar roof shingles perform at a much lower efficiency than traditional solar panels and are around 3 times the cost.
The premium solar panels from Hanhwa’s Q CELLS are the solar panels Tesla installs, but their long-term performance is low compared to competitors.
REC wins again regarding reliable performance in the long term and especially when considering REC’s 25-year labor warranty.
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The Right Residential Solar Installer Has The Best Solar Panels
The company you choose is one of the biggest factors that will affect your experience with solar energy installation.
50% of rooftop solar panel systems are now orphaned – meaning the company that installed the solar panels has gone out of business.
People always ask “What are the best home solar panels and how long do solar panels last?” If you pick the wrong company, it doesn’t even matter.
When choosing a company for your solar panel installation, make sure to go with a local company with a track record of success.
National companies focus more on quantity, and not the quality they provide to their customers, in our opinion.
Option One Solar is a local Southern California company that has been trusted by customers for many years.
We have a proven reputation for great solar panels and even greater customer service. We keep premium REC Alpha® Series panels in stock and ready for your home.
If you want the world’s best panels and the industry’s best warranty, we really are your only option.