top solar panel companies and manufacturers

Top 10 solar companies and manufacturers in 2022

When choosing a solar panel brand, there are a number of factors to consider, from efficiency, to temperature coefficient, to warranties. But a growing number of people also care about where their solar panels are manufactured, especially as supply chain constraints lead to installation delays. So, who are the biggest solar companies in the world and in the U.S.? We reviewed global shipping data and solar panel specifications to determine who comes out on top.

Key takeaways


  • The top 3 global manufacturers are LONGi Solar, Tongwei Solar, and JA Solar.
  • Most solar panels are manufactured in China, but some companies in Canada and the U.S. are gaining traction.
  • Some well known solar panel companies with manufacturing facilities in the U.S. include: LG Solar, CertainTeed, Q CELLS, Silfab Solar, JinkoSolar, Solaria, and Tesla.
  • While location of manufacture may be important to you, it’s also important to consider factors such as price, efficiency, brand, quality, and more.
  • Use the EnergySage Marketplace to receive free, custom quotes from solar installers near you.

What’s in this article?

The top 10 solar manufacturers

Based on solar panel shipment capacity in gigawatts (GW), here are the top 10 solar panel manufacturers in the world:

  1. LONGi Solar
  2. Tongwei Solar
  3. JA Solar
  4. Aiko Solar
  5. Trina Solar
  6. JinkoSolar
  7. Canadian Solar
  8. Zhongli
  9. SunTech
  10. First Solar

There were some major changes over the past few years, including some new leaders in solar manufacturing who were once no names in the PV industry. JA Solar is grabbing market share with a passion while Q CELLS has slumped. The question for you as a solar shopper: should you care if your solar panels are made by one of the big 10 manufacturers in the world? Are American made solar panels truly the better product when the majority of manufacturers are located elsewhere? Here’s our breakdown of each of these top manufacturers

LONGi Solar

Headquartered in Xi’An China, LONGi Solar is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells and panels. LONGi was founded in 2000 and in 2020 shipped 14.7 gigawatts (GW). Based on PV-Tech’s Q4 2021 bankability report, LONGi is the only company to achieve its highest bankability rating. To learn more, check out LONGi Solar’s supplier profile.

Tongwei Solar

Founded in 2009, Tongwei Solar is one of the largest crystalline silicon solar cell production companies in the world. Tongwei Solar has four locations in China and is a subsidiary of the large agricultural product company Tongwei Group. They manufacture both polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar cells and panels, shipping 12.1 GW in 2020.

JA Solar

JA Solar was founded in 2005 and their first manufacturing hub was built in Fengxian, China, where their main manufacturing hub now lives. They produce budget solar panels with half-cell technology that fall in the mid-range for efficiency – although they do outperform most of their mid-range competitors. In 2020, JA Solar shipped 10.8 GW. To learn more, take a look at JA Solar’s supplier profile.

Aiko Solar

Total shipment capacity: 10.5 GW

Aiko Solar specializes in the manufacturing of PERC solar cells. Based in China, Aiko makes three primary products: a 210 millimeter (mm), 182mm, and 166mm PERC cell, with the 210mm product being the newest, coming to market in 2020.

Trina Solar

Total shipment capacity: 9.0 GW

Founded in 1997, Trina Solar is a Chinese solar production company with solar products suitable for residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects. Recent company developments include the launch of a 210mm silicon cell panel (their Vertex series) and a solar tracking product for large-scale installations.

JinkoSolar

Total shipment capacity: 8.7 GW

JinkoSolar produces a wide range of solar and storage products for use across solar projects of all sizes. Recently, JinkoSolar opened a manufacturing location in Jacksonville, FL to help meet U.S. demand for their products.

Canadian Solar

Total shipment capacity: 8.3 GW

Its name gives it away, but Canadian Solar is a solar manufacturer originally founded (and still headquartered) in Ontario, Canada. Aside from a wide range of solar modules, Canadian Solar also produces and sells inverters and energy storage solutions.

Zhongli

Total shipment capacity: 7.4 GW

Zhongli is a Chinese technology conglomerate that owns Talesun Solar (founded in 2010), a leading PV manufacturer worldwide. Zhongli/Talesun produces both bifacial and monofacial solar modules.

SunTech

Total shipment capacity: 6.3 GW

SunTech (or SunTech Power) is a Chinese company with 21 years of experience in solar manufacturing. They produce mainly high-powered solar modules designed for large commercial, industrial, and utility-scale installation projects.

First Solar

Total shipment capacity: 5.5 GW

The lone U.S. company on our list, First Solar is also unique in that they produce thin-film solar panels (as opposed to the crystalline panels most other major manufacturers focus on). First Solar uses cadmium telluride (CdTe) as their semiconductor in their modules.

How to compare the best solar energy companies in the world

Because solar panel manufacturer rankings are based on the total volume of solar panels that the companies ship, being in the top position does not necessarily mean they offer the highest quality panel. Some of the smaller manufacturers specialize in premium products, whereas most of the larger manufacturers have gotten to where they are by either making a panel for the high volume market or by focusing their efforts on large-scale projects. That being said, a company’s proven ability to produce and sell a large amount of product is testimony to its brand’s credibility, buildng trust among consumers and installers alike.

The important thing for you to keep in mind as a solar shopper is the ability to differentiate between them to find the panel that best suits your needs and budget. To this end, EnergySage has developed a solar panel quality ranking system of our own so that our customers can confidently choose a panel and manufacturer.

If you’re interested in learning more about how panels are ranked, visit our Solar Decision Guide. When it comes to metrics like solar panel efficiency, the simple cost per watt of a single solar panel is not a unit of measure that can stand on its own. It’s important to understand the conversion potential of your panels as a way to decide which brand to go with. SunPower, for example, is heralded for its impressive conversion efficiency which has regularly fluctuated over the past 10 years for holding the world record. That being said, SunPower panels are much more expensive than a cheaper brand such as AXITEC and thus the size of your solar system and panel output will help you decide what will generate the most solar savings and most immediate payback period.

Where are the best solar panels being made?


The simple answer to this commonly asked question is East Asia, and you will notice that the majority of the top ten manufacturers are Chinese as the bulk of global solar panels are manufactured there. East Asia has become the solar manufacturing hub of the world and the latest emerging trend is that companies outside of China are starting to have success, including Canadian Solar.

As we’ve noted before, however, a panel’s country of manufacture is not usually the most important consideration for someone going solar. Instead, most people will find a balance between cost and quality, with a panel’s country of manufacture being a secondary consideration – a possible deal-breaker. For some homeowners, the importance of energy independence is a major factor when considering what brand of panels they would prefer. Though we at EnergySage support American companies and sustainability of the U.S. nation, we do recommend getting advice from your installer and considering their suggestions. After all, they will have the most up to date experience with long term efficiency, maintenance and durability of various solar panel brands and will also know which models are most popular on the market.

What are the top companies making solar panels in the U.S.?

Though the large majority of solar manufacturers import their equipment from southeast Asia (even in the case of leading American solar companies like SunPower), there is a short list of American solar companies that actually make their solar panels here in the U.S. It’s important to note that not all of these companies have headquarters in the U.S., but they all have manufacturing facilities – or obtain their panels from companies that have manufacturing facilities – in the U.S.

Top American solar companies

CompanyHeadquartersU.S. locationTypes of panels offeredPower warranty
CertainTeedUSASan Jose, CAMonocrystalline10 years
Crossroads SolarUSASouth Bend, INMonocrystalline10 years
First SolarUSAPerrysburg/Lake Township, OHThin film12 years
GAF EnergyUSASan Jose, CAShingle25 years
Q CELLSSouth KoreaDalton, GAMonocrystalline25 years
HelieneCanadaMountain Iron, MN & Riviera Beach, FLMonocrystalline & polycrystalline15 years
JinkoSolarChinaJacksonville, FLHalf-cell technology & monocrystalline25 years
LG SolarSouth KoreaHuntsville, ALMonocrystalline25 years
Merlin SolarUSASan Jose, CAMonocrystalline15 years
Mission SolarUSASan Antonio, TXMonocrystalline25 years
Next Energy AllianceUSARiverside, CAMonocrystalline10 years
Silfab SolarCanadaBellingham, WA & Burlington, WAMonocrystalline25 years
SolariaUSAFremont, CAMonocrystalline25 years
TeslaUSABuffalo, NYMonocrystalline & shingle25 years

Part of these data were obtained from Solar Power World.

Who are the biggest solar installers in the U.S.?


Most companies that manufacture solar panels don’t install the panels themselves. In the U.S., the biggest solar installation companies are Sunrun and Tesla – and Tesla also manufactures their solar panels in the U.S. To connect with our network of local solar installers, sign up for free quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace.

Frequently asked questions about solar panel companies

What are the top 10 solar panel companies?

The top 10 solar panel companies globally with the highest shipment capacity are, in order, LONGi Solar, Tongwei, JA Solar, Aiko Solar, Trina Solar, JinkoSolar, Canadian Solar, Zhongli, Suntech, and First Solar. 

What country is the largest producer of solar panels?

As noted earlier, China is the largest producer of solar panels worldwide. In 2017, the nation’s market share reached 51% and has since declined to just 27% in 2019—this indicates that new countries are producing and installing solar panels at a higher rate in a short period of time. As for the company with the largest production rate, JinkoSolar, headquartered in Shanghai, China, ranked first according to the most recent data.

How do I find a reputable solar company?

When you select an installer, you want to know that it’s a reputable company, with a strong track record, that has all the licenses and certifications required in your state, and with the expertise to design a solar panel system that’s right for your needs. 

Picking between solar installers can be a daunting task, but EnergySage is here to help. We vet the installers that quote on our Marketplace, present installer-specific differentiators in the quotes you see, and have created a badge tier system that helps you find the top solar installers in your area.

Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to explore solar quotes

For any homeowner in the early stage of shopping for solar that would just like a ballpark estimate for an installation, try our Solar Calculator that offers upfront cost and long-term savings estimates based on your location and roof type. For those looking to get quotes from local contractors today, check out our quote comparison platform.

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66 thoughts on “Top 10 solar companies and manufacturers in 2022

  1. subramanian

    when we look at solar or green energy sector , in india who are the best companies and regarding the solar panel , how many years they will give – i mean it will work for 12 years or 25 years,
    which is the best and efficient company in india and also their collaborator – foreign know how
    can you give me for my future

    Reply
  2. Lucien Friedel

    How many hours per day do you plan on using your solar powered spotlights? You will need to choose a period of time that you plan to use them. If you plan on putting them in all night, you may want to purchase an option that automatically shuts off at night.

    Reply
  3. David Wilson

    My name is David Wilson. I work at Royal C consulting,located in Virginia. We have a couple of project work in terms of building solar power plants in Cetral Asia. We would welcome investors who have long to come this true.

    Reply
  4. Fred

    In an ideal world, reducing ENTROPY would guide ALL energy decisions. We should focus on improving efficiency within energy consuming systems, locally and globally, before we pursue any increase in energy resource production.
    If one adds up the combined energy consumed due to mineral extraction (Cu, AL, Fe, Si, transportation to factory, smelting, fabricating, transport to site, etc.) and the CO2 intensive coal fired plants used to manufacture silicon wafers (combined with the environmental impacts of HCl wastes, mineral tailings from manufacturing wafers), you will question whether we attain a positive net energy with PV panels.
    Environmental degradation from PV production systems (entropy) will eventually impose a future “entropy restoration cost” on the society (requiring consumption of even more energy and resources). Picture a mouse chasing its tail…
    If we reduce energy losses due to inefficient, insulation, transfer systems and energy storage systems, match renewable resource sites to appropriate energy density sites (photovoltaics to high solar density areas for example) we will reduce overall entropy as well as maximize our economic return on investments. Does it make sense to deploy photovoltaic arrays in New England as opposed to Arizona?
    “You can pay me now or pay me later” for production and use inefficiencies, but as China, Korea and other “producers” have found the entropy created in the environment will extract a future cost that will, again, consume energy and resources to repair.

    Reply
    1. Zach

      Wouldn’t it make sense to lower emissions first to give ourselves a buffer for the next 25+ years and then within that timeframe figure out a way to deal with entropy degradation costs?

      Reply
  5. Terry Orzechowski

    Does any manufacturer of the Solar Panel use solar power exclusively to make Solar Panels? If not how can I be certain that it does not take more fossil fuel energy to make the panels than I will get out of the panels?

    Reply
    1. AOK

      “Does any manufacturer of the Solar Panel use solar power exclusively to make Solar Panels?” No.

      “If not how can I be certain that it does not take more fossil fuel energy to make the panels than I will get out of the panels?” This is a complex response. In an attempt to simplify, you will be generating electricity for a minimum of several decades with energy generated from the sun, from equipment that was manufactured once. It is not a fair comparison to think about in terms of the energy to manufacture the modules, but rather the fossil fuels that are no longer generating the equivalent amount of electricity over the ensuing decades. Over the lifetime of the system, there is a significant reduction in fossil fuels use.

      Reply
      1. AHM

        The answer to this question is rather simple. You look at the energy payback time. There are several studies published on the subject and all of them are more or less in agreement. To the best of my recollection, the energy payback time for c-Si is about 3 years while that for CdTe is close to 1.5 years or less. These panels will efficiently produce electricity for at least 25 years. Do solar panels produce the energy over its lifetime that it requires to be manufactured is more like a 1980s question.

        Reply
      2. BrianA

        A lot of manufacturing equipment is 480 three phase. I would assume that its dependent on if there is enough room on the roof to have enough panels to handle that need.
        I would assume that most of the solar on the roof of the plant supports the lights and all other 120 volt items in the building.

        Reply
    2. John McCullough

      What if a Solar Panel manufacturer figured out how to use diesel fuel produced by plastic pyrolysis. Seems like it could be a win-win.

      Reply
      1. Michael Whitney

        Best case long term would be to manufacture in a location that would allow for a hydroelectric plant in the vicinity and use a small solar array for backup. Excess solar could be sent to the grid and loads for the factory and potentially local area could be covered by the hydro.

        Reply
    3. Hayden Mullen

      It generally takes 6 months to 1 year for panels to offset the carbon created from manufacturing. Former Blue Raven Solar installer.

      Reply
      1. Jerry Baack

        So to manufacture panels at a 0 carbon footprint it would take between 500 and 1000 panels for every panel produced. Based on 1.5 – 3 years energy payback with 365 days per year and parallel generation.
        This is a rough generalization since energy usage in any manufacturing process will fluctuate at any one point in time.

        Reply

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