What are the Most Efficient Solar Panels on the Market?

For those looking for the most efficient solar panels for their PV system, the first thing you need to know is how to compare efficiency metrics for different manufacturer brands. Simply put, efficiency (expressed as a percentage) quantifies a solar panel’s ability to convert sunlight into electricity. Given the same amount of sunlight shining for the same duration of time on two solar panels with different efficiency ratings, the more efficient panel will produce more electricity than the less efficient panel.

most efficient solar panels on the market energysage

As the race for the most efficient solar panel continues, it’s important to understand how more efficient panels could mean much bigger solar savings for the everyday consumer.

In practical terms, for two solar panels of the same physical size, if one has a 21% efficiency rating and the other has a 14% efficiency rating, the 21% efficient panel will produce 50% more kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity under the same conditions as the 14% efficient panel. Thus, maximizing energy use and bill savings is heavily reliant on top tier solar panel energy efficiency.

The High Efficiency Solar Panel Brands

Many consumers and people in the solar industry consider efficiency to be the most important criterion when assessing a solar panel’s quality. While it is an important criteria, its not the only one to consider while you evaluate whether to install a particular solar panel. Solar panel efficiency relates to the ability of the panel to convert energy at a low cost and high supply rate.

The most efficient commercially available solar panels on the market today have efficiency ratings as high as 22.5%, whereas the majority of panels range from 14% to 16% efficiency rating. SunPower panels are known for being the most efficient solar panel brand available on the market. Though they will come with a higher price tag, SunPower will often be the consumer favorite for anyone concerned with efficiency as a primal metric of interest. However, check out Exhibit 1 (below) to learn about all the top brands and the most efficient solar panels you can get your hands on.

Maximum Production or Maximum Offset:  If your goal is to maximize the amount of electricity your system produces or want to ensure you buy the least amount of electricity from the utility, but the amount of roof space you have available to install solar panels is limited in size, you may choose to install higher efficiency solar panels. This will ensure you get the maximum production from your solar panel system.

Cost vs. Value:  More efficient solar panels tend to cost more than their less efficient cousins. You may want to analyze whether that upfront cost difference is justified by the increased saving achieved by generating more electricity over the lifespan of your solar energy system. Increased electricity production means you have to buy less power from your utility and in some states, may also generate higher SREC income. The EnergySage Solar Marketplace makes it easy for you to easily compare your savings from solar panels that vary in their efficiency ratings and if their premium price is justified.





most efficient solar panels graphic




How Efficient are Solar Panels? Efficiency Comparison Table

The two tables below present different views of the efficiency characteristics of the leading manufacturers who sell solar panels in the United States. Most panel manufacturers produce several solar panel models which range in efficiency ratings. The leading brands in this category will be those that utilize high efficiency solar cells such as LG and SunPower (who have battled back and forth for the world solar efficiency record) who are widely considered to be the top panel brand on the market for solar efficiency. However, it’s important to understand the difference between setting a maximum efficiency record and maintaining strong and consistent average solar energy efficiency ratings. Therefore, the following two solar efficiency tables (Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2) break down the best ways to compare different solar panel options by module efficiency metrics.

Exhibit 1 illustrates the range of each manufacturer’s offerings from the standpoint of panel efficiency whereas Exhibit 2 lists the average, minimum and maximum solar panel efficiency for the solar panels within each manufacturer’s portfolio.

Exhibit 1:  The Highest Solar Panel Efficiency by Manufacturer

solar panel efficiency comparison table energysage

Exhibit 2:  Efficiency Rating of PV Models by Solar Panel Manufacturer

Solar Panel Manufacturer

Minimum

Maximum

Average

Amerisolar

14.8

17.0

16.0

Axitec*

15.4

16.9

16.1

Canadian Solar

15.9

17.7

16.6

Centrosolar

15.3

17.8

16.2

China Sunergy

15.0

16.5

15.8

ET Solar

15.4

17.5

16.5

Green Brilliance

14.2

15.6

15.0

Hanwha SolarOne*

14.7

16.2

15.5

Hyundai

14.2

16.5

15.4

Itek

16.5

18.9

17.7

KYOCERA Solar

14.8

16.1

15.4

LG

16.8

19.5

18.3

REC Solar

14.5

17.0

15.6

ReneSola

14.9

16.9

15.9

Renogy Solar

15.3

18.5

17.3

Seraphim

15.7

17.5

16.6

Silevo

16.9

18.5

17.7

Silfab

15.3

18.4

16.8

SolarWorld

14.9

17.6

16.7

SunEdison/MEMC

15.5

16.8

16.1

Suniva

16.7

17.7

17.1

SunPower

22.2

19.1

20.6

Trina Solar

14.1

15.9

14.8

To learn more about solar panel efficiency as well as other criteria to evaluate solar panels, see the EnergySage research titled, “How to Evaluate Solar Panels





most efficient solar panels graphic




3 thoughts on “What are the Most Efficient Solar Panels on the Market?

  1. Pingback: 4 Reasons the Cost of Solar Energy Keeps Falling » GreenEnergy4.us

  2. Pingback: Solar Panel Efficiency Matters, But Not as Much as You Think

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