Best Solar Panels for homes Reviews Guide

There are many companies that manufacture Solar panels for homes across the world.

Selecting the right photovoltaic (PV) panels for a residential solar energy system is essential to getting the most out of it.

Efficiency and durability are key factors and will make a lot of difference in the long run.

The panels must be able to maintain a high level of performance over many years to ensure the commitment you have made in switching over to solar is worthwhile.

Materials used in the creation of the panel are also important, as higher quality materials usually mean a more efficient solar panel.

The best solar panels increase a larger percentage of the sun’s rays into electricity that can be used in the home or sold as part of incentive schemes and that is one of the biggest advantages of solar panels manufactured by the best solar manufacturers.

Here we will list the top ten panels from the best manufacturers in the industry today, taking a look at the pros and cons of each in addition to discussing their technical specifications.

The article aims to make it easier for you to select the right panels for your home. However, remember that Residential solar panels cost is different for each house and each location, and depend on several factors. 

That is why we recommend talking to a solar panel installer near you beforehand to find out more about the panels that will be used in your specific system and what are the exact costs and savings.

Top 10 Solar Panels Reviews

The following list compiled with several factors in mind, and includes a short introduction of the company, a short description about its best PV module, what are the pros and cons of the panels, the specs, and how efficient and durable the panels are.

 
Company
Module
Pros
Specs
Efficiency
Durability
Conclusion

Hanwha SolarOne

Hanwha SolarOne Company
HSL 60 Mono Module
The most powerful panel Pros
1652 x 1000 Specs
16% efficiency Efficiency
Panel is extremely durable Durability
Nothing special Conclusion

JA Solar

JA Solar Company
The JAC M6SF-3 Module
Panel is extremely efficient Pros
156 x 156 Specs
19% in optimal conditions Efficiency
Panel is a little less sturdy Durability
Best efficiency today Conclusion

Kyocera

Kyocera Company
pKyocera KD315GX-LPB Module
Among the most powerful panels Pros
1662 x 1320 Specs
16% efficiency Efficiency
Panel is built to last Durability
Achieves high levels of watt Conclusion

ReneSola

ReneSola Company
ReneSola 275W Mono-Crystalline Module
The panel has a high power output Pros
1640 x 992 Specs
275W Mono-crystalline solar panel Efficiency
Very high durability Durability
One of the best panels today Conclusion

First Solar

First Solar Company
Solar Series 4 Panel Module
Panel has been rigorously tested Pros
1200 x 600 Specs
8% more efficient Efficiency
Panels have been rigorously tested Durability
high energy unrequired Conclusion

Jinko Solar

Jinko Solar Company
Solaredge Smart Module
Among the most advanced modules Pros
1650 x 992 Specs
16.5% efficiency Efficiency
Module can disconnect automatically Durability
Optimal energy levels Conclusion

Sharp

Sharp Company
Sharp ND-R250A5 Module
Sharp’s experience in solar industry Pros
1652 x 994 Specs
15.2% efficiency Efficiency
10 year warranty Durability
Among the least effective Panels Conclusion

Canadian Solar

Canadian Solar Company
CS6K-P-PG Module
Most powerful panel Pros
1650 x 992 Specs
15.5% and 15.8% depending Efficiency
30 year guarantee Durability
System maintains effectiveness Conclusion

Trina Solar

Trina Solar Company
DC80.08: 72- cell Quadmax Module
Module is extremely efficient Pros
1581 x 764 Specs
16.8% efficiency Efficiency
10 year manufacturers guarantee Durability
Relitivly small Conclusion

Yingli

Yingli Company
Panda 60 Module
Flexible system Pros
1640 x 990 Specs
19.8% efficiency Efficiency
Top of industry standards Durability
Standard residential installation Conclusion

1. Hanwha SolarOne

Based in China, Hanwha SolarOne was formed when Solarfun merged with HanWha Chemical in 2010. The company has expanded their product line and they currently sell around 5 million panels a year, most of which are used in residential installations.
 

 

HSL 60 Mono Module

The HSL Mono Module is the most powerful of Hanwha SolarOne’s PV panels and is able to reach a peak power level of 265W in peak conditions.

Pros and Cons

The panel is the most powerful of the HanWha SolarOne range, meaning it is ideal for those who want to get the most from their installation. Each panel comes with a 12 year warranty, though the performance warranty stretches to 25 years.

On the negative side it's amongst the heaviest of the panels offered by the company, which will need to be a consideration in regards to the amount of weight that can be placed on it your roof.

Specs

Dimensions: 1652mm × 1000mm
Power Output: Up to 265W
Weight: 20kg
Cell Size: 156mm × 156 mm
Amount of Cells Used: 60

Efficiency

The panel offers the industry standard of 16% efficiency when placed in a standard testing environment. This efficiency level may be reduced in practice, depending on the conditions.

Durability

The panel is extremely durable and can withstand heavy loads of snow. essentially this means that ity can stand up to most harsh weather conditions, excluding natural disasters.

Conclusion

The HSL 60 Mono Module doesn’t do anything spectacularly well in terms of efficiency or output. However, it has a long guarantee period and is one of the sturdiest panels on the market.

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2. JA Solar

Formed in 2005, JA Solar has expanded rapidly thanks, in part, to agreements and subsidies from the Chinese government. The company is currently moving into areas that are not typical for solar, such as Fiji, to continue their expansion.

JAC M6SF-3 (Cypress2) Module

The JAC M6SF-3 module is amongst the most powerful panels offered by the company and offers a nearly unrivalled level of efficiency.

Pros and Cons

The panel is extremely efficient, with figures from the company’s product specification sheet stating the panel can achieve efficiency levels between 18.4% and 19.5% in standard test conditions.

However, the module is smaller than many of its contemporaries and is also a little more fragile. While this won’t be an issue in most cases, in times of heavy weather problems may be caused.

Specs

Dimensions: Dependent on amount of cells used
Power Output: Up to 265W
Weight: Dependent on panel size
Cell Size: 156mm × 156 mm
Amount of Cells Used: Dependent on panel size

Efficiency

With an efficiency level that can reach higher than 19% in optimal conditions, the JAC M6SF-3 module is amongst the best on the market today. While the price often reflects this, it is certainly a worthy investment for those who want the most effective system.

Durability

The panel is perhaps a little less sturdy than its contemporaries, though in most cases this shouldn’t be an issue. However, it should be taken into account if the installation is to be done in an area that experiences difficult weather conditions.

Conclusion

The panel is one of the best on the market for sheer efficiency, though this is tempered somewhat by the fact that it is not as sturdy as some of its rivals.

The company is shifting its focus more to the solar panel market now, having previously been more invested in the solar cell market.

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3. Kyocera

Kyocera already had a reputation as one of Japan’s largest producers of electronics before entering the solar market. They are known for innovation in regards to the development of solar in cars and other products.

pKyocera KD315GX-LPB Top Module

Kyocera’s KD315GX-LPB Top module offers a lot of power that is complemented by an extremely high level of durability.

Pros and Cons

The panel is amongst the most powerful on the market when it comes to pure wattage, which makes it ideal for homes that use a lot of electricity.

Keep in mind that the panels are quite heavy, which needs to be taken into account during installation, and the Kyocera website does not have a live chat function so if you have a question for the manufacturer you may have to wait a while for your answer.

Specs

Dimensions: 1662mm x 1320mm
Power Output: Up to 315W
Weight: 27.5kg
Cell Size: Information not provided
Amount of Cells Used: Information not provided

Efficiency

The panel offers 16% efficiency in standard testing conditions, which places it at the industry standard level. Performance is improved by proper positioning of the panel and also remedying any build-up of dirt that rain doesn’t remove.

Durability

The panel is built to last and comes with a long life guarantee and the standard 25 year performance guarantee that most good solar panels now have. The panel itself is quite heavy and will be able to withstand most conditions.

Conclusion

This panel is for those who want to achieve a higher level of wattage. It isn’t one of the most efficient panels out there, but it does achieve the industry standards and is great for those with high power requirements.

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4. ReneSola

ReneSola work with a number of other prominent solar manufacturers from their base in China.

They currently have a healthy relationship with JA Solar. The company is most known for the development of multicrystalline wafers in recent years, but their standard PV offerings are also of a high quality.

ReneSola 275W Monocrystalline Solar Panels

ReneSola offers a range of mono and polycrystalline solar panels, with the 275W mono version being the best of the lot.

Pros and Cons

The panels have a high power output and are amongst the most efficient on the market as they exceed industry standards by around 1%.

Bear in mind that for large scale orders the company will usually require time to manufacture the panels, as they don’t keep a very large stock of them. Manufacturing time is fairly short but must be considered for orders of 250 panels or more.

Specs

Dimensions: 1640mm x 992mm
Power Output: Up to 275W
Weight: 19kg
Cell Size: 156mm x 156mm
Amount of Cells Used: 60

Efficiency

While not the most efficient panel in this list, the ReneSola 275W Monocrystalline solar panel is more efficient than the industry standard of 16%. In standard testing conditions it is able to reach an efficiency level of just under 17%.

Durability

Despite being one of the lighter panels on the market, it is rather durable and has a mechanical load capability of 5400 Pa. They also come with a 10 year materials warranty in addition to the standard 25 year performance warranty.

Conclusion

This is one of the best panels on the market, combining high efficiency with good power output. Furthermore, the fact that it is so light makes it easier to install and allows for weaker roofs to have a solar installation.

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5. First Solar

First Solar are widely considered to be the foremost manufacturer of solar panels in the United States.

The company built a reputation on early innovations in the field and has since grown to the point where it sells 7 million panels every year.

First Solar Series 4 Panel

First Solar are constantly redesigning their panels to match the latest installation techniques, with the Series 4 having been designed with 1500V system architecture in mind.

Pros and Cons

The panel has been rigorously tested and holds a number of certifications to demonstrate that it exceeds industry standards in most areas.

Having said that, the panels are generally smaller and less powerful than those offered by many other companies, though this is offset by the superior quality in some respects.

Specs

Dimensions: 1200mm x 600mm
Power Output: Approx 100W
Weight: 12kg
Cell Size: Information not provided
Amount of Cells Used: Information not provided

Efficiency

The panel reaches and even exceeds industry standards in the majority of cases. The company has obtained a variety of certifications to demonstrate this fact and they confidently proclaim that the panels are 8% more efficient than those of equivalent size and power.

Durability

Again the panels have been rigorously tested so they are extremely durable and will be more than adequate for standard use.

Conclusion

The panel has a lot going for it when it comes to the quality of the build and the efficiency levels it offers. However the lower power levels could be an issue for larger homes so the panel should mostly be used for properties that don’t have high energy requirements.

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6. Jinko Solar

Jinko Solar is a major manufacturer based in China and they take their commitments to superior energy efficiency quite seriously. The company works on a lot of large scale projects but also supplies solar panels for residential use.

Solaredge Smart Module

Jinko are currently looking to move beyond basic panels and into smart panels that maintain energy generation levels more effectively.

Pros and Cons

The module is amongst the most advanced on the market and this is reflected in its performance. While most solar panels maintain a good level of performance over time, the Solaredge generally edges it when it comes to long term performance.

However, the technology is still fairly new. This places these panels on the more expensive side of things for residential installations.

Specs

Dimensions: 1650mm x 992mm
Power Output: Between 255-315W
Weight: 19.7kg
Cell Size: 156mm x 156mm
Amount of Cells Used: 60

Efficiency

The module reaches around 16.5% efficiency in standard testing conditions but the true test comes when the panel begins to compensate for underperforming cells. In the case of standard panels this will see a dip in efficiency, whereas the Solaredge is more able to handle the situation.

Durability

The module is able to disconnect automatically if there are issues with health and safety compliance. Furthermore, as the module features power optimization technology there are more options when it comes to installation.

Conclusion

The Solaredge is the panel for those who want to be a little bit ahead of the curve or live in areas where standard panels will not deliver optimal energy levels. For others it may be best to stick with standard panels or perhaps wait until smart panels approach the level where they are ubiquitous.

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7. Sharp

Sharp is an internationally recognized electronics brand that has also been researching solar energy since the late 1950s.

This makes them one of the pioneers for solar power and they are still near the top of the industry today.

Sharp ND-R250A5 Module

The company currently offers two panels in its polycrystalline range, with the ND-R250A5 being the more powerful of the two.

Pros and Cons

With Sharp’s experience in the solar industry you can guarantee a level of quality in panel manufacture. Furthermore they are a trusted brand that many will feel comfortable with.

Having said that, this panel is one of the least efficient on this list and will not be as effective in areas that do not have optimal conditions.

Specs

Dimensions: 1652mm x 994mm
Power Output: Up to 250W
Weight: 19kg
Cell Size: 156mm x 156mm
Amount of Cells Used: 60

Efficiency

The panels achieve 15.2% efficiency in standard testing conditions, which places them below the others on this list and is also a little below the industry standard. Bear in mind that polycrystalline panels are often a little less efficient than the mono equivalents and this is reflected in lower prices.

Durability

The module comes with a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty in addition to the standard 25 year performance warranty. The panels are not as rigorously tested as some others on the list but will stand up to everyday use quite handily.

Conclusion

These panels are amongst the least effective on the list when it comes to pure quality, but at the same time they will generally be cheaper. For the price their performance is actually quite good, but they may not be an ideal solution for homes that can afford monocrystalline panels.

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8. Canadian Solar

Canada’s primary solar manufacturer also maintains plants throughout the world, including China, and the company currently sells around 8 million solar panels every year.

 

Efficiency and durability are crucial in your solar panels selection

 

CS6K-P-PG Module

This module is notable for having a double-glass design that goes a long way towards enhancing durability.

Pros and Cons

As mentioned the design ensures the panel is extremely durable, however, it is also important to remember that the panel is designed with the 1500V system architecture in mind, making it ideal for more modern installations.

This quality in design also factors into the pricing, which can be quite high for a standard residential install. The panel offers quality in regards to its slower degradation and high durability, but at the same time some homeowners may elect for other panels based on the cost.

Specs

Dimensions: 1650mm x 992mm
Power Output: Approx 255-260W
Weight: 23kg
Cell Size: 156mm x 156mm
Amount of Cells Used: 60

Efficiency

The design ensures that the panel doesn’t degrade in the same way as many of its contemporaries, which in turn means it maintains higher levels of efficiency for longer. Base efficiency in standard testing conditions ranges between 15.5% and 15.8% depending on the model.

Durability

As mentioned the design ensures the panel doesn’t degrade as quickly as others, so some consideration will need to be taken with installation as a result. It comes with a 30 year performance guarantee.

Conclusion

This is a great panel for those who want a long lasting system that maintains its effectiveness over time. While the cost is a little higher and base efficiency is lower than some models, it is still a superior choice.

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9. Trina Solar

Trina Solar has expanded from its roots as an installation company to become one of the largest manufacturers in the world. They currently hold 575 patents relating to solar, which demonstrates the level of innovation that they strive for.

 


DC80.08: 72-cell Quadmax Module

This PV module is an excellent choice for residential properties but is also versatile enough for installation on commercial properties too.

Pros and Cons

The module is extremely efficient and operates above the industry standard of 16%. The black framed design also makes it ideal for those who worry about the aesthetic issues related to having panels installed.

Due to the quality of the panels the pricing may be an issue, but it is possible to find installers that can fit them at a reasonable price. Power output is also on the slightly lower end.

Specs

Dimensions: 1581mm x 764mm
Power Output: Approx 210-215W
Weight: 14.9kg
Cell Size: 125mm x 125mm
Amount of Cells Used: 72

Efficiency

The overall efficiency of the panel is better than the industry standard, clocking in at around 16.8% in standard testing conditions. It also offers good performance on low light days where many other panels would begin to struggle.

Durability

The company offers a 10 year manufacturers guarantee that indicates a level of confidence in the durability of the panel. This is supplemented with a 25 year performance guarantee.

Conclusion

The panel is interesting as it has smaller cells than most of its contemporaries, however it is an excellent choice thanks to its excellent design aesthetic and the fact that it is amongst the more efficient panels out there.

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10. Yingli

Yingli is one of China’s premier manufacturers and it is an excellent choice for low-cost installations.

In fact, a number of installers currently operate joint programs with the group to offer solar power to homes that would otherwise not be able to afford it.

Panda 60 Cell Series

The series includes a number of modules that incorporate the same design but offer different power levels.

Pros and Cons

The fact that power levels range from 260-280W means that some flexibility is offered in regards to the system itself. The panel is also extremely efficient.

 

The panel itself does not have much in the way of cons, though people in Germany and Italy will need to be aware that their warranty will be subject to different conditions.

Specs

Dimensions: 1640mm x 990mm
Power Output: Between 260-280W
Weight: 18.5kg
Cell Size: 156mm x 156mm
Amount of Cells Used: 60

Efficiency

The panel is one of the best on the market, claiming efficiency levels of 19.8% in standard testing conditions. Due to the build quality of the panel degradation is also less of an issue than it is with some others.

Durability

Like many of its contemporaries the panel has a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty and it should be able to stand up to most weather conditions.

The maximum static load is 5400 Pa, which is right at the top end of the industry standards.

Conclusion

This is probably the best panel for a standard residential installation as it combines superior levels of efficiency with high quality design. Furthermore, many installers like to use this panel, which makes it quite easy to find somebody to fit the system.

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Selecting the best Solar panels for homes can make all the difference for your system.

If you are interested in exploring more options and find out how much you can save with solar panels, we recommend you get a free quote from qualified solar installers near you.
Learn more about solar panels and costs of Installation: Panel Quote
 

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