In February 2021, Panasonic announced that during fiscal year 2022 (ending in March 2022), it will stop producing photovoltaic (PV) modules (aka solar panels). This announcement created some confusion about Panasonic’s future role in the solar industry, causing some to wonder if the company will stop selling solar panels altogether. However, according to Panasonic’s press release, this is not the case! The company stated that it will “continue to sell outsourced photovoltaic modules as it has been doing in North America.” So the question is: how does this shift in production impact the company and its customers?
- You can still buy Panasonic solar panels
- During fiscal year 2022, Panasonic will begin outsourcing its solar panel manufacturing but will sell these panels under the Panasonic brand
- Panasonic will continue to uphold its 25-year warranty for previously installed panels and for outsourced panels in the future
- Panasonic will shift its manufacturing focus to other energy management equipment
Why is Panasonic no longer manufacturing solar panels?
While we won’t answer on Panasonic’s behalf, the biggest contributor is likely price competition from Chinese manufacturers. China dominates the solar panel manufacturing market: nearly 80 percent of panels installed in the U.S. are manufactured in China. Panasonic, a Japanese company, began manufacturing solar panels in the U.S. in late 2017 at a factory in Buffalo, New York (known as Gigafactory New York), which it shared with Tesla Motors. However, in 2020, Panasonic ceased its U.S. manufacturing of solar cells and modules and exited Gigafactory New York, which Panasonic explained was “part of the company’s broader streamlining of its global solar operations.”
In 2019, Panasonic established an agreement to completely transfer its solar manufacturing to Chinese company GS-Solar. However, in 2020, Panasonic announced that it was terminating the partnership after GS-Solar failed to meet contract deadlines. In the announcement, Panasonic stated that it would “look into every possible measure, including new business collaboration with other partners, to restore profitability in the solar business by the fiscal year ending March 2023,” signaling its struggle in reaching profitable manufacturing.
How will this impact Panasonic’s factories?
Panasonic’s exit from panel manufacturing will most greatly impact its factory in Malaysia, which will be liquidated. At present, this factory produces wafers, cells, and modules for Panasonic’s HIT modules. Its factory in Shimane, Japan, which also produces cells for its HIT modules, as well as other energy management equipment, will remain open and will shift its focus to other solar equipment, such as inverters and storage. Similarly, its Nishikinohama Factory in Osaka, Japan, responsible for research and development, will focus on other energy management equipment and will continue to produce PV modules for a specific customer (Panasonic’s only PV module manufacturing moving forward).
The future for Panasonic
As previously stated, Panasonic will continue to sell Panasonic-branded solar panels; these panels will just be manufactured by third-party companies instead of by Panasonic directly. Panasonic will proceed with its sales of EverVolt solar panels, which it began selling in February 2021. However, Panasonic has not yet announced if it will outsource production for its HIT panels, which are popular among U.S. consumers.
Panasonic will shift its manufacturing focus to its other energy management equipment, including its Home Energy Management System (HEMS), storage systems, heat pumps, electric vehicle (EV) chargers, and inverters.
What does this mean for you?
On the EnergySage Marketplace, Panasonic panels have consistently been the most quoted solar panels since 2018. If you’re already a proud owner of Panasonic solar panels, this announcement will have little impact on your system. Panasonic remains a bankable company in the solar industry and will continue to uphold its industry-leading 25-year product and performance warranty.
If you’re hoping to buy Panasonic solar panels, you can still do so! The only change is that Panasonic will no longer be the company actually manufacturing the panels, and there’s a possibility that its HIT panels will no longer be available at some point during fiscal year 2022. Importantly, Panasonic will continue to uphold its 25-year warranty for its outsourced panels.
Find the best price for Panasonic solar panels
You can compare quotes from multiple installers offering various equipment options, including Panasonic solar panels, on the EnergySage Marketplace. By reviewing Panasonic panels against other solar panel options, you can be sure that you’re choosing the equipment that will best fit your needs. If you’re set on Panasonic equipment, simply note this in your profile so our network of qualified, pre-vetted solar installers can include these panels in your quote.