You’ve just finished reading over a dozen articles from various solar manufacturers about their panels and other products.
Now you’re thinking about investing in your own solar system, but you can’t quite figure out which company to go with — it’s a tough decision to make.
Solar energy is growing at a rapid pace. A report from the International Energy Agency showed that renewable energy capacity increased by 45% in 2020.
The arrival of new solar companies has significantly contributed to this statistic. It stands to reason why there’s an overwhelming number of options out there to choose from.
Knowing this, you start asking yourself, “who are the best solar panel manufacturers out there?“
When looking for an answer to such a question, it’s human nature to motion towards companies with very high market share. In this case, solar manufacturers like JinkoSolar, Canadian Solar, and First Solar come to mind.
But there’s much more to choosing quality solar companies than just their financial standing and visibility. You’re also looking for quality products and value for money.
That is a fair bit to consider — this is where we at Climatebiz come in.
This article will provide you with 10 of the best solar panel manufacturers currently out there.
In doing this, we’ll discuss the various essential criteria that you need to know about and pay attention to when shopping for your new solar setup.
What Are The 10 Best Solar Panel Manufacturers?
As previously mentioned, there are plenty of companies to choose from when looking for solar panels. So we’ve decided to make things a little bit easier for you.
Here is a list of the 10 best solar panel manufacturers currently on the market:
- LG Solar
- LONGi Solar
- Canadian Solar
- Jinko Solar
- JA Solar
- Trina Solar
- First Solar
- REC Group Solar
- Q Cells
Solar Panel Manufacturer Info
- Company Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea
- Year Founded: 1985
- CEO: Koo Kwang-mo
- Revenue: $56.45 billion
- Total Employees: 40,000
- Company Headquarters: San Jose, California, United States
- Year Founded: 1985
- CEO: Peter Faricy
- Revenue: $1.39 billion
- Total Employees: 8902 (2016)
- Company Headquarters: Xi’an, Shaanxi, China
- Year Founded: 2007
- CEO: Li Zhenguo
- Revenue: $8.416 billion
- Total Employees: 30,000 (2019)
- Company Headquarters: Guelph, Canada
- Year Founded: 2001
- CEO: Xiaohua Qu
- Revenue: $3.36 billion
- Total Employees: 13,478 (2020)
- Company Headquarters: Shanghai, China
- Year Founded: 2006
- CEO: Xiande Li
- Revenue: $5,38 billion (2020)
- Total Employees: 13,500+
- Company Headquarters: Beijing, China
- Year Founded: 2005
- CEO: Jin Baofang
- Revenue: US$3.93 billion (2020)
- Total Employees: 1465
- Company Headquarters: Changzhou, China
- Year Founded: 1997
- CEO: Jifan Gao
- Revenue: $29.418 billion in 2020
- Total Employees: 12,000 (2020)
- Company Headquarters: Tempe, Arizona, United States
- Year Founded: 1999
- CEO: Mark R Widmar
- Revenue: $3.5 billion
- Total Employees: 6400 (2020)
REC Group Solar
- Company Headquarters: Singapore
- Year Founded: 1996
- CEO: Steve O’Neil
- Revenue: $2.61 billion
- Total Employees: 4200 (end 2010)
- Company Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea
- Year Founded: 1999
- CEO: Kim Hee-cheol
- Revenue: $3 billion in revenue (2018)
- Total Employees: 8500 (2018)
How We Chose The Best Solar Panel Manufacturers
A company’s financial visibility and stability aren’t the only factors you need to look out for when looking for the best solar panel manufacturers.
Product quality, performance, durability, and the warranties that a company provides are just as, if not more important.
As such, we’ve chosen the above solar companies based on the following criteria:
- Price Per Watt
- Solar Panel Efficiency
- Temperature Coefficient
- Warranty Period
Before we provide you with the stats, let’s have a closer look at what these terms mean and why they’re essential:
Price Per Watt
Before you decide on a solar company that you want to go with, you’ll want to know the price per watt of their systems.
How Do You Calculate Price Per Watt For A Solar Panel System?
Solar systems sizes are usually described in kilowatts (kW, where 1kW = 1,000 watts).
To calculate the price per watt, you’ll need to take the total out-of-pocket cost of the system that you are considering and divide it by the wattage capacity of that system.
For example, a 5kW solar system has 5000 watts. If that system costs $15,000, then the cost per watt is ($15,000 / 5000W =) $3/W.
Solar Panel Efficiency
By now, you’ve more than likely heard of solar cell efficiency. This refers to the portion of energy in the form of sunlight that can be converted via photovoltaics into electricity by the solar cell.
As such, this solar panel metric details how well your solar panel will be able to convert sunlight into usable energy.
Currently, the average efficiency rating for solar panels stands at 15%-18%.
You want your panel efficiency to be as high as possible.
Because the more efficient your solar panels are, the higher their energy output, meaning more bang for your buck.
The temperature coefficient is another crucial stat. This metric tells you how well your solar panels will perform in adverse conditions.
Like most other electronic equipment, solar panels are at their best when operating at cooler temperatures, with manufacturers testing their panels at a temperature of 77 °F (25 °C)
Generally, solar panels are at their best when operating between 59°F and 95°F (15 °C and 35 °C), but some are better at operating in higher temperatures than others.
How Is Solar Panel Temperature Coefficient Measured?
The coefficient predicts the decrease in efficiency for every degree above 77°F (25 °C).
A typical temperature coefficient is 0.5%/°C. So, if on a hot day your solar panel heats up to 35°C, you can expect your solar panel’s efficiency to drop by around 5%.
The general rule of thumb — the lower the temperature coefficient, the better.
You’ve managed to save up for a brand new TV, and you think you’ve found the perfect one – the size, the specs, the price. But there is one issue, the warranty period seems a little shorter than you’d like, and it isn’t very comprehensive. Now that TV is no longer an option for you.
This scenario also applies to the purchasing of solar panels.
Let’s be honest here; solar systems are not cheap. It stands to reason why you would want to choose a solar company that trusts its products enough to back them up with extended, comprehensive warranties.
So what you’re really looking for here is a warranty that covers both the equipment (product warranty) as well as the performance of your panels (power output warranty).
What Is The Industry Standard?
Most solar companies offer at least a 10-year materials warranty.
Most solar panel manufacturers back their product with a linear performance warranty for 25 to 30 years.
The linear performance warranty guarantees that the performance of a panel will stay above a specified degradation rate (the decline in output that all solar panels experience).
This assures you that the panel will continue to have the capability to produce a specified percentage of power during the warranty period.
On average, a solar panel’s performance warranty will guarantee 90% production at 10 years and 80% at 25 years.
Check the T’s & C’s
Yes, this part is not enjoyable and probably the last thing that you want to do, but it is something that you cannot overlook.
The majority of these warranties are limited in their scope. Make sure to check what sort of coverage your panels have before you commit to a product.
Solar Panel Manufacturer Stats
Now that you have a better understanding of what the above terms mean and why they’re important, let’s take a closer look at how the solar companies in this article stack up against one another:
|Manufacturer||Price Per Watt||Panel Efficiency Range||Temperature Coefficient||Warranty Period|
|LG Solar||$2.78||18.4% to 22.1%||-0.40 to -0.29||25-yr Product & Performance|
|SunPower||$3.35||19.6% to 22.8%||-0.38 to -0.29||25-yr Product, Performance & Service.|
|LONGi Solar||$2.81||18.2% to 20.9%||-0.37 to -0.35||12-yr Product|
|Canadian Solar||$2.96||15.88% to 19.91%||-0.41 to -0.37||15-yr Product|
|Jinko Solar||$2.79||18.67% to 20.38%||-0.39 to -0.35||10-yr Product|
|JA Solar||$2.66||15.8% to 20.4%||-0.40 to -0.35||12-yr Product|
|Trina Solar||$2.82||16.2% to 20.4%||-0.41 to -0.37||10-yr Product|
|First Solar||$2.53||17% to 18.3%||-0.32 to -0.32||10-yr Product|
|REC Group Solar||$2.76||16.5% to 21.7%||-0.37 to -0.26||25-yr Product Performance & Labor.|
|Q Cells||$2.70||17.1% to 20.6%||-0.39 to -0.35||25-yr Product & Performance|
Healthy competition in any industry is vital, and at the end of the day, the more options there are on the market, the better for you, the consumer.
With that being said, we recognize how difficult it can be to make an informed choice when there are so many solar companies to choose from.
In closing, we hope that this article gives you the direction and confidence that you need with your future solar system purchase.