floating solar panels

The best solar panel companies & manufacturers

When choosing a solar panel brand, there are a number of factors to consider, from efficiency, to temperature coefficient, to warranties. As more homeowners are looking to use renewable energy, a growing number of people also care about where their solar panels are manufactured, especially as supply chain constraints lead to solar panel 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 to help you find the best and most energy-efficient option for going solar and saving money on your electric bill.

Key takeaways

  • The top three 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, available incentives, local net metering policies, 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 in the world

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

CompanyLocationMost popular model Warranty
LONGi SolarChinaLONGi LR4-60HPH 355M12 years
Tongwei SolarChinaPERC SOLAR CELL 166 9BB BIFACIAL10 years
JA SolarChinaJA PERC JAM72S01-385/PR12 years
Aiko SolarChina12BB Bifacial Mono PERC Cell10 years
Trina SolarChinaTrina Trina TallMax TallMax-TSM41025 years
Jinko SolarChinaJinko Eagle 72HM G2 JKM405M-72HL-V10 years
Canadian SolarCanadaCanadian Solar Inc. HikuBlack CS3N-395MS Mono Perc25 years
ZhongliChinaBIPRO TD8G66M 12BB12 years
SuntechChinaSuntech HIPower STP405S-A7212 years
First SolarUSAFirst FS-6440 FS-6440A30 years

There were some major changes over the past few years, including some new leaders in solar manufacturing who were once no names in the  solar industry. JA Solar is grabbing market share while Q CELLS has slumped. The questions for you as a rooftop solar shopper: should you care if your solar panels are made by one of the big 10 manufacturers in the world? And 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 latest bankability report, LONGi has achieved its highest bankability rating. To learn more, check out LONGi Solar’s supplier profile.

Tongwei Solar

Total shipment capacity: 12.1 GW

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

Total shipment capacity: 10.8 GW

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. JA Solar has also achieved PV-Tech’s highest bankability rating. 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).They also have an in-house solar tracking product for large-scale installations. Trina Solar has achieved PV-Tech’s highest bankability rating. Their panels also come with a 25-year warranty.


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 home solar modules, Canadian Solar also produces and sells inverters, and home energy storage solutions as well as partnerships with Enphase micro-inverters. They also offer a workmanship warranty.


Total shipment capacity: 7.4 GW

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


Total shipment capacity: 6.3 GW

SunTech (or SunTech Power) is a Chinese solar services provider  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.

Best options for buying solar panels

After reading through the options to find the most high-quality manufacturer and installer in your area, you will find that there are also many different ways to purchase solar panels. Depending on your needs and financial situation, you can choose to buy or lease a solar panel system. If you go with a solar lease, you will be able to acquire a solar energy system for little or no money down. Solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPA) mean that the panels on your roof are owned by a third party. You can also take out a solar loan  which is a way to finance your solar panel or solar battery installation cost. Buying panels outright with cash is another option that can be expensive upfront but may save you money in the long run.

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, building  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 power system and panel output will help you decide what will generate the most solar savings and most immediate payback period. Ultimately, the best way to decide what company is best for you depends on your own needs and the area you live in such as available financing options, tax credits, rebates, and incentives. You can also look at quality from third-party organizations like the Better Business Bureau.

Where are the best solar panels being made?

The simple answer to this commonly asked question is East Asia, which has become the solar manufacturing hub of the world – you’ll notice that the majority of the top 10 manufacturers are Chinese. However, domestic solar manufacturing is increasing in an effort to promote a clean energy economy and strengthen supply chains.

As we’ve noted before, 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. But, for some homeowners, the importance of energy independence is a major factor when considering what brand of panels they would prefer and they may be specifically looking for American-made panels. Though we at EnergySage support American companies, 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/Maxeon), 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. There are solar manufacturers across the U.S.,with many located in the West and Southwest and a high number in California and Arizona.

Best solar companies in America

CompanyHeadquartersU.S. locationTypes of panels offeredPower warranty
CertainTeedUSASan Jose, CAMonocrystalline, solar shingles10 years
Crossroads SolarUSASouth Bend, INMonocrystalline10 years
First SolarUSAPerrysburg/Lake Township, OHThin film12 years
GAF EnergyUSASan Jose, CASolar shingles25 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 & solar roofs 25 years

Part of these data were obtained from Solar Power World.

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

Most solar providers  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., as well as products like the Powerwall battery for energy storage. To connect with our network of local solar installers, sign up for free quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) 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. Other large energy solution companies are Panasonic, Palmetto, and Sunpro. 

What country is the largest producer of solar panels?

As noted earlier, China is the largest producer of solar panels worldwide. In 2021, they manufactured 75 percent of modules, 85 percent of cells, 97 percent of wafters, and 79 percent of polysilicon, according to data from the International Energy Agency. 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 energy consumption 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 the solar installation process, 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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