What are the best solar panels to buy for your home in 2018?

Published on 18 Jul, 2018 by Zeeshan Hyder

10 minutes read

Categories: Solar 101, Solar panels, Solar power


Solar panels 2018

Image source: Clean energy reviews

Are you thinking of buying solar panels for your home? Many homeowners have already found installing solar panels to be a great investment. Recent advances in solar panel technology, combined with great incentives currently on offer, means the math is looking better than ever. If you want to work out how much you stand to save given your energy needs and location, check out Solar Estimate’s online calculator.

Once you have done the maths on the savings, the question arises which are the best types and best brands of solar panels to buy for your home. Solar panels are expected to produce energy for a long time - 25 years or more - so durability and reliability are crucial. At the same time, it is natural to want to minimize the initial cost and get maximum value-for-money.

After considering all the factors what are the overall BEST solar panels to buy?

Our sister site SolarReviews offers expert reviews on solar panel manufacturers. After comparing the different solar panel models on offer, they produced a list of the top 5 solar brands for 2018. This is an attempt by a group of industry veterans to weigh up all of the pros and cons of the various solar panels and come out with the ones they would buy for their homes. None of the solar panel manufacturers listed below paid SolarReviews for their expert opinion:

1. Panasonic
2. LG
3. CanadianSolar
4. SunPower
5. REC Solar

You can read our expert summary and the justifications for the ranking of top solar panels manufacturers in 2018 on our best solar panels brands-expert reviews page.

The 5 best solar panels based on consumer reviews in 2018

SolarReviews has a list of the top 20 solar panels in 2018 based on reviews by actual residential solar panel owners. The top 5 based on customer ratings are:

1. SunPower
2. LG Solar
3. SolarWorld Americas Inc.
4. Canadian Solar
5. Silfab

What solar cell technology is used in the best solar panels?

There are 3 types of technology utilized in the solar panels available on the market today, these are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film amorphous.

It is difficult to say which technology is best because there is often a tradeoff between maximum cell efficiency and value. You can see the pros and cons of different types of solar cells, and decide which one is best for your needs.

Solar Cells

Image source: Coastal climate control

What are the 5 best manufacturers of polycrystalline solar panels?

In terms of volume, there are far more polycrystalline solar panels produced than monocrystalline modules. Typically the polycrystalline modules are less efficient than monocrystalline modules but they are also usually much more cost effective. Sometimes they can be as much as 30-40% cheaper than the most efficient brands of monocrystalline panels but produce a similar amount of power per watt. This is why polycrystalline panels are the most popular globally even though they are not the most efficient panel type.

1. Trina Solar
2. ReneSola America
3. REC Solar
4. Canadian Solar
5. Jinko Solar

What are the 5 best brands of monocrystalline solar panels?

The best brands of monocrystalline solar panels are also the most efficient solar panels on the market.

1. Sunpower X Series
2. LG Solar
3. Panasonic HIT panels
4. Sunpreme
5. Upsolar

You can head over to SolarReviews to learn more about solar panel efficiency, and see which other brands are highly rated for efficiency.

What are the 5 best residential solar panels in terms of cost and value for money?

Solar panels on roof

The tier 1 Chinese solar panel manufacturers dominate our list of the best value solar panel brands. The only exception in the list below is REC Solar who are actually a Singaporean company. Each of these companies are large and have established a reputation for excellent manufacturing quality. Their cost advantage has been eroded by the solar import tariffs imposed at the start of 2018 but they remain more cost competitive compared to some of the best premium solar brands:

1. Canadian Solar
2. Trina Solar
3. Jinko Solar
4. REC Solar
5. ReneSola

What are the most efficient brands of solar panels for homes in 2018?

The importance of solar panel efficiency can be overplayed a lot in the solar industry by solar panels manufacturers who are looking to sell the most efficient modules at the highest prices. Solar panel efficiency is taken into account when a panel is rated at a specific wattage and so theoretically, with all other things being equal two 285 watt solar panels, one more efficient and one less efficient will produce the same amount of power. It is just that the more efficient panel may need slightly less space to produce this amount of power. (this is assuming the other specifications of the two panels are the same). Here are the manufacturers of the 5 most efficient residential solar panels in 2018:

1. Sunpower
2. Panasonic
3. LG
4. REC Solar
5. Canadian Solar

So once you’ve chosen what you think is the best manufacturer of solar panels what else do you need to consider?

There are a number of other factors to look at when making a decision in relation to solar panel installation. Some of the things that need to be taken into account are:

The best strategy would be to get quotes from several local solar panel installers who will offer you solutions based on your needs. Once you have a clearer idea of the kind of system that will work for you, you can compare the different solar offers available. You can then check out SolarReviews for reviews or check out their handy solar panels brand comparison tool, which offers a side-by-side comparison of the features and specifications of different panels.

 

Find out how much solar panels would cost for your home

 

 

 

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Author: Zeeshan Hyder

Zeeshan is passionate about promoting renewable energy and tackling climate change. He developed these interests while studying at beautiful Middlebury College, Vermont, which has a strong focus on sustainability. I have previously worked in the humanitarian sector, communications and journalism.