The Best Solar Panels for homes in 2022
With so many products on the market, a lot of consumers are asking themselves, “what are the best solar panels”? Solar Negotiators is breaking down what qualities to look at and which solar panel brands stand out among the rest. These qualities can help consumers determine the best solar panels for their needs. We will also list our top four choices of best solar panels in 2022.
If you’re just starting the solar research process, it can be difficult to know exactly what to ask your sales consultant. During your appointment, focus on the qualities that are most important when shopping for solar panel brands to find best solar panels.
Qualities of Top-Rate Solar Panels
- Warranty Coverage
Product Quality is Key
Efficiency is the best way to measure the performance of your solar panels. By definition, solar panel efficiency is “how well your panels can convert sunlight into energy you can use to power your home” (energysage.com). Homeowners tend to focus on this when selecting a solar panel product for their home’s new installation. Efficiency is an important factor because if a solar panel has higher efficiency it results in more money saved. However, it is important to consider all the factors that lead to choosing the right product for your solar system.
So how do you measure efficiency to determine the best solar panels? The process for calculating and measuring efficiency isn’t as complex as you might think. A solar panel’s efficiency rating means that it can convert that % of the sunlight absorbed into it’s cells into usable power, “most solar panels are between 15% and 20% efficient” (energysage.com).
Pay Attention to the Price Tag
The best solar panels for your needs should consider affordability. The reason we recommend focusing on more than just panel efficiency is that high-rated panels often come with a heavy price point. Sunpower is well-known for it’s high-performance panels, but the price difference can be anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 extra depending on which of their dealers you get a quote from. You can get a comparable product (LG, Hanwha Q-Cell, REC) for much less. In the last five years, panel design and manufacturing practices have rapidly increased in efficiency, while pricing has come down. Opting for a comparable alternative provides immediate savings and shortens your solar payback period. Therefore, affordability should be a factor when considering the best solar panels for your home.
Think about it, how long would it take you to recoup an extra $10,000 in energy savings? The investment is only worth it if you plan on being in the home for 20-30 years, and for most homeowners that may not be ideal.
Make Sure You’re Protected
It is important that solar customers understand the differences between the three types of solar warranties. The best solar panels include having a good solar warranty coverage. You can read more in our article What Does a Solar Warranty Cover?. Today we are focusing on the two warranties that pertain to your panel manufacturer warranty.
Product Warranties are very important because it protects you from future costs associated with replacing failed or faulty equipment. A standard manufacturer warranty for most solar panels is anywhere from 10-12 years. This timeline was designed to cover the original buyer as long as they live in the home. Just like any other warranty, the longer the better. You want that extra layer of protection for as long as possible so you can save on the cost of replacing equipment if something goes wrong.
Performance Warranties relate to the efficiency of your solar panels. Your system could appear to be “working” but not producing as expected. A performance warranty is a guarantee that your solar panels will maintain a certain output over a determined time period. An article on What You Need to Know About Solar Panel Warranties states, “Typically, a performance warranty will guarantee 90% production for the first ten years and 80% for up to 25 years” (goingsolar.com). However, newer panels on the market can have up to an 85% guarantee at year 25. Therefore, the best solar panels are those that include a good warranty cover to match their intended use.
Our Best Solar Panel Choices
- Hanwha Q-Cell
We have ranked our 4 best solar panel manufacturers, taking into account all the factors mentioned in this article. Affordability plays an important role in a consumer’s buying experience, and Solar Negotiators is an advocate for value over price. We believe LG is the top-ranking panel of choice for our clients. Our team recommends it to anyone looking for the best solar panel on the market for their new solar installation project.
- LG ranks number one for an all-around best solar panel for homes. LG is well known as a manufacturer and their solar panels are crafted with durability and premium quality. The qualities that make this manufacturer our first pick for best solar panels are that efficiency is around 20% and product warranty is about 25 years. Although some of LG’s solar panels can become costly, the pricing and quality still make it a suitable alternative to other premium brands. Some additional reasons for choosing this solar panel manufacturer is that they cover a wide range of roof sizes and shapes. LG offers three different solar system panel options for residential customers one is the compact 375 W LG NeON R, which is compact yet powerful enough to generate all the energy your home would need.
- Hanwha Q-Cell
- The manufacturer, Hanwha Q-Cells ranks as our 2nd choice for best solar panels because it has excellent performance at a low cost. Q-Cell solar panels have a 25-year product and performance warranty with around 20% efficiency. Hanwha Q-Cell is a rising solar panel manufacturer because they have high-quality products with pricing options for homeowners with smaller budgets.
- Sunpower’s efficiency standards place it as one of the best solar panels for homeowners in 2022. Sunpower has high efficiency rates reaching around 22%. The warranty for these solar panels is 25 years for product and performance. Although Sunpower solar panels are one of the best solar panels for homeowners they are a costly option. Sunpower has four different solar panel options for owners to choose from and with their high industry efficiency ratings, they are a great investment for any homeowner.
- REC’s newest solar panels, the Alpha Black, are popular with homeowners who value aesthetics and want their panels to blend with a dark roof. The Alpha Black solar panels have a high efficiency of around 21% and a 25-year output warranty. Beyond the black cells, frames, and back sheets, the Alpha Black solar panels are produced with a new temperature coefficient rate that puts it above other panels. The temperature coefficient is the percentage of power that is lost due to temperatures rising above their specific panel’s maximum power output. To learn more about solar panel technology read our article on solar panel types.
Consider Long-term Sustainability
LG and Hanwha Q-Cell are included in our top two panel choices for best solar panels because they are both manufactured by some of the biggest companies in the world. These are companies with a higher likelihood of long-term sustainability, which can be advantageous from the buyer’s perspective for a number of reasons. In the case that a panel manufacturing company becomes insolvent, replacing the panel will become very difficult. This is due to the fact that no one will continue manufacturing your brand of solar panel. At this point, your manufacturer warranty will likely become null and void.
The same is true for your workmanship warranty if your installing contractor goes out of business. Brand strength is often overlooked as a factor in a consumer’s buying decision. Our team wants solar shoppers to know what role long-term sustainability plays, and why it can benefit them down the road.
Make sure you look ahead to the future and consider more than price in your purchase decision when looking at installing solar panel brands. We hope we have helped you in selecting the best solar panels for your project. Get a quote and learn how Solar Negotiators customers have a lifetime of solar success.