Founded in Germany in 1999 by a group of German engineers and acquired by Hanwha Group in 2012, Q CELLS (formerly Hanwha Q CELLS) is one of the world’s largest solar panel manufacturers. Now headquartered in South Korea, they produce panels in the United States, Malaysia, and China. In North America, they are based in Dalton, Georgia, where they have the largest solar manufacturing facilities in the Western Hemisphere! The combination of aesthetically pleasing and high-quality panels at a relatively low cost has made Q CELLS an increasingly popular choice for solar shoppers comparing their options on the EnergySage Marketplace.
When evaluating your solar panel options, it’s essential to compare what’s available so you can be confident in your solar investment. So, let’s look at Q CELLS’ solar panel technology and how it compares to other leading solar panel brands available today.
This is an unbiased review: EnergySage is not paid to review brands or products, nor do we earn money from affiliate advertising in this article. The content of this blog is based on research and information available at the time of writing. Learn more about our mission and how we make money as a company.
- Q CELLS solar panels range in efficiency from 17.4% to 21.4%, and they have a materials warranty lasting for up to 25 years.
- Q CELLS solar panels cost between $2.32 and $3.16/W on the EnergySage Marketplace – that’s $13,920 to $18,960 for a 6 kW system before the federal solar tax credit.
- Many homeowners choose Q CELLS panels for their aesthetics and competitive prices.
- Start powering your home with solar power and shop for Q CELLS solar panels (and many other brands!) today on the EnergySage Marketplace.
What’s in this article?
- Q CELLS solar panel series
- How do Q CELLS panels compare to other manufacturers?
- How much do Q CELLS panels cost?
- Pros and cons of Q CELLS solar panels
- Finding the best price on Q CELLS panels
Q CELLS solar panels: what series are available?
Q CELLS is the most popular panel brand on the EnergySage Marketplace, frequently quoted by installers and chosen by homeowners as part of their solar system. They have multiple lines of solar panels available, designed for residential, commercial, and industrial applications (such as large-scale ground-mounted solar farms). In this review, we’ll focus on the Q CELLS Q.PEAK Duo BLK series, which is their most updated line of photovoltaic panels designed for residential solar power installations.
The Q CELLS Q.PEAK Duo BLK series panels are a great option for those concerned about aesthetics, with a sleek black finish that blends in nicely with your roof. The series consists of monocrystalline (often shortened to “mono”) solar panels, which are more efficient than polycrystalline solar panels, and have Q CELLS Q.ANTUM Duo Z solar cell technology. This is what Q CELLS called the implementation of their PERC (“passivated emitter and rear contact”) technology, known as Q.ANTUM technology, and their DUO Z cell connection, which allows them to interconnect their panel’s solar cells without gaps and increases the power generation of the panels.
Q CELLS puts all of their panels through intensive stress testing and includes features such as hot-spot protection and anti-PID technology to keep their panels from degrading at a faster rate (more on panel degradation below). The Q.PEAK Duo BLK lines are also highly rated for performance in low-light and shade conditions, allowing you to get the most out of your solar system as long as there is any sunlight.
Q.PEAK Duo BLK-G10+ series
The Q.Peak BLK-G10+ series includes high-performance solar modules offered in five output options: 350 Watts (W), 355W, 360W, 365W, and 370W. The maximum efficiency of this series is 20.6% (but varies by panel output). These panels come with a fully integrated Enphase IQ 7+ microinverter.
Q.PEAK Duo BLK ML-G10+ series
The Q.PEAK Duo BLK ML-G10+ series has all of the same features as the previous series, offers higher output capacities, ranging from 385W to 410W, and comes in at a slightly higher maximum efficiency of 20.9%. These panels also include a fully integrated Enphase IQ 7+ microinverter.
We’ll dive into the efficiency ratings, performance, and warranties of the Q CELLS solar panel series below.
How Q CELLS solar panels compare to other panel manufacturers
There are four key metrics that you should review as you evaluate solar panel quality and determine the best solar panels for you: efficiency, performance, warranty, and price. We’ll explain what each of these means and why they’re important, and show how Q CELLS solar panels stack up against each other and other leading brands in the solar industry.
The term “solar panel efficiency” refers to how well a solar panel captures sunlight and converts it into useful electricity. In the same conditions, a high-efficiency solar panel will produce more electricity than a lower-efficiency panel of the same size. For this reason, a higher efficiency rating is generally preferable.
The efficiency of Q CELLS solar panels varies depending on the specific model that you choose for your system. Across the full Q CELLS product line (residential and commercial), you can get solar panels with anywhere from 17.4% to 21.4% efficiency. Overall, most Q CELLS panels fall into the middle-of-the-road efficiency range for solar, but any panels that have 18% efficiency or higher can be considered “high efficiency.” The Q CELLS BLK lines all have efficiency ratings between 19.5% and 20.9%, putting them in that high-efficiency category.
Q CELLS panel series efficiency
|Q CELLS panel series||Efficiency rating|
|BLK MLG10+ 385W||19.6%|
|BLK MLG10+ 390W||19.9%|
|BLK MLG10+ 395W||20.1%|
|BLK MLG10+ 400W||20.4%|
|BLK MLG10+ 405W||20.6%|
|BLK MLG10+ 410W||20.9%|
Performance (temperature coefficient)
For this portion of EnergySage’s Q CELLS reviews, we use the temperature coefficient to evaluate solar panel performance. The temperature coefficient is an indicator of how well your solar panel can handle less-than-ideal conditions. Solar panels, like other electronic equipment, perform better when they’re kept cool (ideally around 25°C/77°F). The temperature coefficient tells you how much your panel’s performance will change during hot sunny summer days.
For every degree above 25°C (77°F), your solar panel’s electricity production will decrease by its temperature coefficient. For example, all panels in the Q CELLS BLK series have a temperature coefficient of -0.34%/°C. This means that if the panel’s temperature increases by one degree from 25°C (77°F) to 26°C (79°F), its electricity production will decrease by 0.34%. If its temperature increases to 35°C (95°F), electricity production will reduce by 3.4%.
Your solar panels will likely see more than a few hot and sunny days over the year, so ideally, they will have the lowest temperature coefficient possible. Q CELLS BLK panel series offers panels with a temperature coefficient rating of -0.34. For comparison, popular brands like SunPower and LA Solar Group have temperature coefficients of -0.29 and -0.37, respectively.
Whether you’re buying a TV, a car, or solar panels, the manufacturer should stand behind their product with a strong warranty. A solar panel’s materials warranty (sometimes referred to as the equipment or product warranty) is a guarantee from the manufacturer that they will replace your panel if it fails as a result of manufacturing defects or environmental issues.
Q CELLS offers a 25-year warranty on all of their panels, attesting to their confidence in the quality and durability of the panels that they produce. This warranty covers both the materials, as mentioned above, and the panel’s power output. The power warranty (often referred to as a performance warranty) guarantees that your Q CELLS panels will still produce at least 86% of their original output by the end of the warranty period (year 25).
As with most warranties, Q CELLS’ warranty covers degradation of the panel quality from normal wear and tear as a result of being installed on a roof but does not cover any damage caused by things like extreme weather events or maintenance by workers without the proper certifications. The annual degradation of Q CELLs solar panels cannot exceed 0.5%.
How much do Q CELLS solar panels cost?
For many homeowners, the final decision around the solar equipment they choose rests on cost. The total price you pay for a solar energy system with Q CELLS panels will vary depending on the other equipment (such as inverters and mounts) used in the installation, as well as the characteristics of your roof.
To identify the range of prices for Q CELLS systems, we analyzed quotes including Q CELLS solar panels that homeowners received from installers on the EnergySage Marketplace. Most Q CELLS systems are typically priced between $2.56 and $3.32 per watt, which makes Q CELLS one of the best values on the market for home solar.
This means that, for a 6 kW system, your gross cost (before you subtract any tax credits or other incentives) would be anywhere from $15,360 to $19,920. Additionally, most homeowners end up paying much less than the total gross cost. There are plenty of solar incentives and rebates to help you reduce upfront costs, including the 30% federal tax credit for solar.
Q CELLS solar panels may not offer industry-leading efficiency or performance, but their price-to-quality ratio makes them a great value for many homeowners who are considering solar. Overall, there are plenty of compelling reasons to consider Q CELLS panels for your home solar installation.
Advantages & disadvantages of Q CELLS solar panels
As with any product that is such a significant investment, Q CELLS panels have advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind before deciding to make a purchase. Whether your primary motivation for switching to solar is sustainable living or decreasing your reliance on the electric grid by pairing your solar system with energy storage, it’s important to weigh your options.
Pros of Q CELLS solar panels
- Aesthetics: Q CELLS’ panels all come in a sleek black finish, meaning they’ll likely blend in with your roof nicely.
- Great value for the price: while Q CELLS panels are not at the top of industry lists for efficiency or performance, they are a solid choice if you are looking for a quality panel at an affordable price point – there’s a reason they are the most quoted brand on the EnergySage Marketplace!
Cons of Q CELLS solar panels
- Efficiency: if efficiency is your main concern when installing solar, other panel brands on the market have a higher efficiency rating than Q CELLS, but they will likely come at a higher price.
- Performance: similar to efficiency, Q CELLS panels do not rank at the top of the list for performance when looking at the solar market as a whole. If this is your primary concern, the solar company installing your panels will point you in a different direction.
How to find the best price on Q CELLS solar panels
The best way to determine whether Q CELLS solar panels are the best solar panels for your home is to review multiple quotes with different solar equipment options before making a decision. When you compare all of your options on the EnergySage Marketplace, you’ll find the right combination of price and quality that meets your needs. Many of our qualified, pre-vetted solar installers offer solar panels in their quotes to EnergySage users. If you’re interested in specific equipment in your quotes – Q CELLS or otherwise – simply make a note in your profile when registering.