If you are looking for the best solar panels for your home in 2020, the lowest price on the market may be the logical option.
However, in some situations a special panel at the higher price of may be the best option for you. Why? There are many reasons why you may not want to choose the cheapest option, but here are some reasons you should consider
- You may need highly efficient solar panels if your roof area is limited or if your energy consumption is high.
- You may need the most powerful solar panel if you live in an area known for severe weather conditions, such as heavy snow or wind.
- Perhaps you need the most environmentally friendly option.
- Or maybe you just want the latest and best solar panel available on the market today.
Whatever you need, don’t worry! We looked at the best solar panel companies in 2020 for each of the categories below. We have also provided some useful tips to help you choose the solar panel option that best suits your home and energy needs.
If you’re just looking for the best solar panels for your home, you need to save time before you start. Just answer these few questions and get free information from some of the best solar panel companies who can explain everything you need to know, including which solar panels are best for your home, without any headaches or confusion.
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Let’s now move on to our selection of the best solar panels for 2020, but don’t forget that you still need to get quotes from a solar panel installer to make sure these modules are available and suitable for your home.
The top five solar batteries for 2020
- Trina Solar Panels – The best solar panels in general
- Solar power solar panels – the most environmentally friendly solar panels
- Canadian solar panel – The best solar module for bad weather
- Panasonic Solar Panels – The best top class solar panels
- Solar collectors – The best American solar collectors
* If you are looking for a smaller system that you can install yourself, you should look at these solar panel kits or the best solar generator for backup power.
Before we go into the details of each solar panel company on our list, we need to discuss the efficiency of the solar panel… Many homeowners wonder whether the best solar collectors for their homes are the most efficient.
But here is a question:. Are you looking for the highest quality solar panels on the market, from a technical point of view, or the most cost-effective ones that meet your needs?
We live in a world where technology is constantly improving and the solar industry is no different. Manufacturers are constantly producing new state-of-the-art solar cells that pump out shocking amounts of energy, usually at shocking prices. We all have friends who need the latest iPhone for $1000 (maybe you’re – that friend), but most of us are happy with a smartphone just around the corner. Think iPhone 8 instead of X. For most of us, these somewhat outdated phones represent a balance between performance and cost.
Solar batteries are no different. Of course there is the best solar module on the market. Anyone who breaks records for efficiency or performance on the news. But most of us have options. Those who are not as fast or have no extravagant parts, but are of good value and meet our needs. Besides, the phone’s just a phone. You use it, it devalues and downgrades, and then you get a new one. Solar energy systems are an investment. This makes it all the more important to find the most suitable, i.e. the most economical solar panels for your home.
One would think that a more efficient solar panel would make more financial sense. Finally, each panel can generate more power than a standard panel, so you need less for the same amount of power. In most cases, however, the savings do not justify the higher panel costs and will take longer to recoup the money invested in the panels. In some situations, however, high-end, highly efficient solar panels can be useful.
If your roof is very small or limited and you don’t have enough space to install enough panels, you can produce more electricity by choosing a very efficient option. On the other hand, if you’re the friend who has to buy the last iPhone on the day it’s released, you could be hit when you watch your high-end billboard consume a huge amount of energy.
Don’t expect this to be the best financial decision.
The best solar collectors combine quality and cost.
For most applications, solar collectors that find a good balance between quality and cost are what you need to look for. What we mean by that is:
- Discrete Efficiency – No, we are not looking for the most efficient solar panel on the market, such as Sunpower’s exceptional X-series. Instead, we aim for an efficiency of about 17-18%. Although these solar panels produce about 20% less electricity than their higher quality brothers, their much lower price makes them a more economical option.
- Call – The solar industry is notorious for its unpredictability. They want to be sure that the manufacturer of the solar panels is there for the long term. The best manufacturers of solar panels have a solid history (more than 10 years of solar panel production) and a respected name among insiders in the industry. Your installer can provide you with a fine specimen that manufacturers can rely on.
- Competitive price – That goes without saying. The exact amount you pay for your panels depends on your installer and your region. In its 2017 report, NREL found that most domestic solar panel installers can obtain solar panels at $0.65 per watt. So if you spend more than about $180 on a 275-watt solar panel, you should ask your installers how much it costs. Small local installers are generally not able to buy in large quantities like large companies, so their prices increase by about 20%. Don’t forget this when you run errands.
- Good Warranty – Yes, premium panels have an incredibly long 25-year warranty, but you pay for it too. The standard panels generally have a warranty of 10 to 12 years and production is 80 to 83% after 25 years. Everything under that flag is a red flag.
With all these thoughts in mind, read on to find out more about each of the companies on our 2020 Solar Home Panel List to help you find the perfect solution for your home.
Trina Solar panel – Overview
Best Solar Battery Total
Trina Solar is the foundation of the solar module industry. Their products are known for their quality, durability and affordability. They find the perfect balance between quality and cost and are therefore our best choice for the best solar collectors in general.
Trina was founded in 1997 and was one of the first Chinese companies to specialise in solar energy. The company currently employs more than 15,000 people and has 32 GW of solar panels.
They produce mono and polycrystalline solar panels and their ALLMAX series is designed for homeowners. With efficiencies ranging from 17.4% to 19.1% (depending on the type of element), Trina panels are in the mid to high range compared to other similar standard solar panels on the market.
Trina solar panels come with a 10-year warranty on spare parts and the guarantee that their modules will produce 80 percent of their nominal capacity of 25– – both after other solar panels of similar value.
Overview solar panels
Most environmentally friendly solar collector
You may be wondering how one solar panel can be more environmentally friendly than another. Doesn’t everyone create green electricity using a renewable energy source?
Although all this is true, the materials used in solar panels are not renewable. They use glass, aluminium, silicon, copper and rare earth metals to convert sunlight into electricity. And while today’s solar collectors are generally designed to last more than 25 years, the industry is already discussing how to dispose of the millions of solar collectors currently in use properly.
The premium solar panel manufacturer Sunpower is already addressing this problem and was the first solar panel manufacturer to be placed in a certified silver cradle. This certification guarantees that the materials for solar panels are supplied in a way that is safe for the environment and people, that the products are manufactured in a responsible and environmentally friendly way and that they are disposed of properly at the end of their life cycle.
The Sunpower E and Sunpower X series are Cradle to Cradle Silver certified, and if you’re looking for high-end solar panels, you can’t find any better than the Sunpower X series. It’s a first-class solar panel.
Firstly, with an efficiency of 22.8%, they are officially the most efficient solar panels for home use available on the market today. This gives you more energy per square metre of your roof, which means fewer panels and less space – ideal for small compact roofs.
Secondly, their solar cells are built on a solid copper base so that their electrical connections can withstand years of extreme weather without damage.
Finally, Sunpower offers a 25-year product warranty on these modules and a 25-year/92% manufacturer’s warranty, perhaps the highest in the industry.
But it’s all true, and you can be sure that Sunpower solar modules pay a lot more. But this is a high quality product, made by a company that takes steps to keep our planet clean. It’s a win-win situation for us. Unfortunately, there are two sides to every story, and Sunpower is actually owned by the French company Total, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, so all these environmental benefits can simply be offset by the parent company’s activity. For more information, read our detailed Sunpower presentation.
Canadian solar panel research
Best solar module for bad weather
If you are looking for solar panels that can withstand bad weather but don’t blow up the sofa, you should look for Canadian solar panels.
Solar collectors are solid devices. And since they will be on your roof 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for decades, they should be. Their solar collectors must withstand extreme heat, extreme cold, hail, snow, rain, dust and everything Mother Nature throws at them. All solar panels are rigorously tested to make sure they are up to the task, but some companies take their solar panels to the next level by producing genuine Herculean panels.
All Canadian solar modules for residential buildings can withstand a snow load that is more than 10% higher than almost all other modules and a wind load that is almost 70% higher. This is in line with Sunpower’s wind and snow load statistics, or even higher, at a much lower price.
Like other standard panels, Canadian Solar residential panels have an efficiency of around 17% and come with a 10-year product warranty and a 25-year/80.7% production guarantee. If you’re worried about snow and strong winds, but don’t want to spend more money on a quality panel, then Canadian Solar is for you.
Panasonic solar panels – Overview
Best quality solar panel
What’s a high-end solar panel, you ask? As a rule, high-quality solar batteries are offered:
- Above-average efficiency, generally between 19% and 22
- Beef components Designed for optimum processing in extreme weather conditions
- Bestwarranty, typically a 25-year product warranty (compared to 10-12 years for a standard panel) and a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty of approximately 87%.
Of course, solar cells with these high-quality components also have higher prices. Before you make a decision, you need to weigh the benefits against the additional costs of high-quality solar panels.
However, if you choose to install high quality panels, Panasonic HIT+ can’t go wrong. At 20.3%, they are among the 3 most efficient solar collectors currently available on the market. They generate an incredible 340 W per panel, compared to 275 W for a standard solar panel.
In addition, they have an extremely low temperature coefficient of -0.258%/°C, which is almost half that of most solar collectors, meaning that they produce more electricity in hot weather. And your roof can get damn hot in the summer!
How does Panasonic produce solar panels of this quality? Panasonic uses smaller solar cells than most other manufacturers, allowing it to place 96 cells in a panel, as opposed to the 60 most common cells. Thanks to these smaller cells, they take up less space at the front of the solar panel, resulting in higher production. And these small cells are also less susceptible to wear and tear and damage than the large solar cells used by most solar modules, resulting in increased energy production for years to come.
With these high-end components, Panasonic offers a 25-year warranty on parts and an incredible production guarantee of 90.76% after 25 years – much higher than the Trina Solar panels mentioned above. For more information about Panasonic solar modules, see our detailed overview of Panasonic solar modules.
Solar emission report
Best solar module in the United States
You may not have heard of Mission Solar, but it’s a growing American company. By 2018 they are expected to double their production capacity to 400 MW, making them probably the 4e largest producer of solar panels in the United States.
Mission Solar is based in San Antonio, Texas, and unlike some American solar cell manufacturers who import raw materials (such as silicon) from abroad and simply carry out the process in the United States, Mission Solar designs, develops and assembles all its solar cells in a factory in San Antonio. It will no longer be American (although, ironically, the company itself is owned by a Korean conglomerate).
Mission Solar produces solar collectors of surprising quality – for private and commercial installations – at surprisingly low prices. Unlike the American manufacturer Sunpower, your company does not focus on highly efficient and extremely expensive modules. Instead, they produce high quality standard efficiency panels, which are a domestic alternative to the ubiquitous Chinese imports of comparable quality.
The 60 household solar cells have an efficiency of 18.9% and produce up to 315 W of energy.
Your solar panels come with a 12-year product warranty and a 25-year production warranty of 80.2%, both better than Trina Solar, our choice for the best solar panels in general.
The only problem with the solar mission is its size. As it is still a relatively small company, it can be difficult to find a local installer who actually transports his products. It is best to call several local installers to see if they can order them.
How important is the efficiency of solar collectors?
When trying to decide which solar module is best, you may be tempted to focus on the module’s efficiency. This is certainly one of the most important factors when assessing the cost of a solar panel, but it should not be the ultimate goal.
The yield is only a percentage of the total sunlight it can convert into electricity. For most good solar collectors, the efficiency is generally between 16 and 23%.
It may not seem like such a big difference, but think about it: Sunpower produces the most efficient solar collectors available on the market today. Their X-Series solar panels have an incredible efficiency of 22.8%. On the other hand, Trina Solar produces solar panels with an efficiency of about 18% – a much more standardized offer.
The higher the efficiency, the more electricity a solar panel can produce. Just do the math and you’ll see that the X-Series panels generate about 27% more power than the Trina panels.
You can think about it: Okay, Sunpower panels are the best, but it’s not that simple. The more energy you produce, the more money you can save, of course, but there’s a catch. Many very efficient solar collectors also have a very high price. Of course, you produce almost 30% more energy, but do you really save money by spending twice as much on these highly efficient solar collectors?
Most homeowners want to save money by installing solar panels, so the best solar panels also mean the most cost-effective solar panels.
And to find the most cost-effective solar panels, you need to evaluate both yield and cost. A useful measure for this is the cost price of the solar cells dollars per watt (or $/w), which takes into account both the power of the solar panel (where efficiency is the most important factor) and its price. Let’s compare some fictitious solar panels, for example:
- Standard version: 275 W, 190 ($0.69/watt)
- High quality option: 320 W, 385 ($1.20/S)
In our small example here you can see that the high efficiency version above produces 16% more electricity than the standard version, but is almost twice as expensive. Even with higher production volumes, you need much more time to make this initial investment pay off – perhaps too much time to make it worth your while.
Of course, at $/Watt only the power and price are taken into account. There are times when other factors are more important and powerful solar cells can be more meaningful. If, for example, you want a first-class warranty, high-quality options are the best solution. Or, if you have very little roof space and can’t install many panels, more efficient options can help you get the most out of that small space.
The cost of $per watt is an excellent indicator to compare the wide range of sizes and quality of solar panels. And most of us will find that the most economical solar collectors have a standard efficiency.
Talk to the installer to Buy
All this information is good to know, but now we want to use it. How do I find the right solar collectors for my home? Can you simply tell your solar panel installer which panels to buy? Do you even have the right to vote? Firstly, most homeowners do not choose their own solar collectors. Instead, most installers have a choice of a handful of solar panels. Aesthetics, price and return play a role in the purchase of solar panels. And even though not all installers have 8 different panels, even the smallest company should have at least one standard and one superior quality version.
When you call the installer for an evaluation, they will look at your energy bills and your roof and discuss the size of the system and the type of panels best suited to your needs. In most cases a standard solar cell plate is sufficient. However, if you are short of space, they can recommend high-quality solar panels if you don’t want your energy production to suffer. Or, if you live in an area with a lot of snow, a more sustainable solar system is recommended.
Don’t forget that reputable solar panel installers should be there to help you install the solar panel in the most cost effective way. You know the industry and are a valuable resource in finding a solar power plant for your property. They may recommend one of the above solar collectors, or they may have other recommendations. In any case, don’t forget that your solar system is an investment. Remember that the best solar panels are not always a matter of yield or price, but generally of the profitability and total cost you will get.
Find out if solar panels are suitable for your home by visiting UnderstandSolarPower.com or enter your zip code below and contact an installer who can answer all your questions about purchasing solar panels for your home today.
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