When it comes to solar panel manufacturers, there is no shortage of options for homeowners in 2019. Solar panel technology is improving every year, and many solar panel companies offer products that boast both high conversion efficiency numbers as well as impressive long-term warranties. SunPower is the leader with regard to efficiency across the board while LG solar panels are known for top tier design and aesthetic, but companies like Canadian Solar offer much more appealing prices for their solar panels. How do the top PV manufacturers stack up? We’ll help you compare and contrast your options among the industry leaders – SunPower, Panasonic, Canadian Solar, and LG.Continue reading
On January 22, 2018, the Trump Administration announced a 30 percent tariff on solar panels and cells imported into the United States. This announcement raised a lot of questions for solar customers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. One of the most popular questions: where can I find solar panels that are made in America?Continue reading
Reading Time: 3 minutesWhen you compare your solar panel options from leading companies like SunPower, Canadian Solar, LG, and Hyundai, one of the biggest factors to consider is the solar panel warranties offered with their products. Solar panels come with two main warranties attached: the materials warranty, also known as the product warranty, and the production warranty.
You may be looking for cheap solar panels available in order to really cash in on solar power. And sure, when you install solar on your home or business, you can save thousands on your electricity bills. But going solar isn’t automatically cheap: buying solar panels to install on your roof typically costs thousands of dollars. It’s no wonder that the cost of solar is among the most important considerations for today’s homeowners. If you’re thinking about going solar and worried about prices, you’re probably wondering: what are the best value solar panels and will solar get even cheaper?Continue reading
Reading Time: 6 minutesWhen homeowners are considering solar offers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, we often hear questions about a solar panel’s manufacturer origin and whether it’s a good idea to choose Chinese panels for an installation. This is a common question as the latest estimates indicate that China is manufacturing roughly 70% of the world’s solar panels today – a dominant market share and a clear indicator of China’s key role in the global solar industry. China has a significant impact over worldwide solar trends like pricing, warranties and manufacturing practices. For example, the 80% decline in worldwide solar prices between 2008 and 2013 occurred largely due to improvements in manufacturing costs in China. And because China is such a major player in solar, many U.S. homeowners are asking “should I choose Chinese solar panels and will it match the quality of other top brands?” In this article we’ll break down pricing, quality and brand influence of Chinese solar panels.
One of the things you may have questions about as you shop around for a solar system is where the solar panels are manufactured. This article will help you determine whether a panel’s country of manufacture should be a key consideration for you.
*Note: If you are looking for information on the 30% tariff levied on solar panels by the Trump Administration, read our complete analysis here.
Does it matter where solar panel companies are based and where they make the panels?
When it comes to quality, the mention of any country’s name will evoke an association; each nation has its own brand image, which may or may not be justified. You as a smart solar shopper, however, will want to look at the facts in order to make a more well-informed decision. Our recommendation is to judge each panel by its own merits.
What if the country of manufacture is important to me?
This doesn’t mean that country of origin is never important, of course: everyone has their own preferences. For example, many Americans would prefer solar panels made in the USA to ones that are imported, whether for patriotic reasons or because they trust the ‘American-made’ brand for quality.
American-made vs imported panel costs
American-made solar panels generally cost from $0.50 to $0.80 per watt (W) – about $0.10 to $0.30 more per watt than imported panels. The highest quality, ‘premium’ American panels may even come in around $1.00/W.
For a typical 6kW system, an additional $0.30/W translates into about $1,800, a reasonable amount to pay if the ‘Made in America’ stamp is important to you. Also keep in mind that some states may offer rebates for locally-made panels that can offset some or all of the additional cost.
Check out EnergySage’s list of U.S. solar panel manufacturers for more information about companies that make solar panels in America.
Manufacturing location vs headquarters location
If ‘country brand’ is important to you, be aware that the location of a company’s headquarters is not always the same as its factories. (For example, SunPower is a premium American brand that has manufacturing plants in both the US and the Philippines.) All else being equal, knowing that a company’s head office is relatively close or in a familiar country could help you make a decision.
Where do the top solar companies manufacture panels?
Below, EnergySage has compiled a list of the leading solar panel companies active in the US market based on the most recently available data in 2018. The table is broken down by each company’s market share, headquarters location, manufacturing facility locations and overall quality ranking.
The key takeaways from the table below are that: 1) no single country dominates the market (although the US and China do appear most frequently), and 2) there is little to no correlation between country of manufacture and the company’s quality ranking.
Exhibit: List of solar panel makers in the US by residential market share and country of manufacture*
|Solar Panel Manufacturers||Approx. U.S. Market Share*||Company Headquarters|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||1%||South Korea|
|MAGE Solar||< 1%||Germany|
|Perlight Solar (Zebra Energy)||< 1%||U.S.|
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 up front 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.
* 2015 Data, Residential Solar Installations, Source: GTM / SEIA
Reading Time: 8 minutesIn today’s fast expanding solar industry, there are already hundreds of different panel models and designs available to the modern day solar shopper. A growing number of premium technology brands (think Panasonic and LG) have entered the residential solar market, leaving homeowners across the country wondering: what’s next? What new technologies can we expect for solar panels in 2019? In this article we will discuss all of the new developments with photovoltaic (PV) panels, including new aesthetics like clear solar panels, bi-facial (double-sided) panels, efficiency improvements and solar inverter integration.
Reading Time: 2 minutesIn this week’s Solar News Roundup, SunPower acquires SolarWorld Americas, and Apple announces that their global facilities are 100% powered by clean, renewable energy.
Reading Time: 4 minutesThe solar industry is growing rapidly, which means solar installers and manufacturers are competing with ever-growing numbers of companies for space in the market. This can lead to bankruptcy cases for solar companies who fall behind in the industry, as seen recently with Sungevity and SolarWorld. As a solar shopper you may be concerned about the state of warranty coverage for your panels in the event that the solar company you are working with goes under. In this article, we will look at solar manufacturers and installers, and what their financial positions mean to you as their customer.
Reading Time: 3 minutesSolarWorld Industries GmbH (formerly SolarWorld AG) is a major player in the solar panel manufacturing space, and the company has had a year full of change. After it declared insolvency earlier this year and went through a reorganization and acquisition process, the company joined manufacturer Suniva to petition the government for tariffs against imported solar panels. Now, you may be wondering how SolarWorld’s financial standing impacts the coverage on their solar modules. In this article, we will look back at SolarWorld’s turbulent year and where they stand now, and we’ll examine their updated warranty offerings and consumer protections.