Coupled with our introduction of the top solar companies in 2018 is a comprehensive guide in which we demystify the important terminologies that often hinder the understanding of photo-voltaic energy. We further drew a table in which we compared these best solar panels for homes per manufacturer.
Solar panels have risen in popularity in many households across the United States and the world over, the reason being that they provide efficient alternative energy. Competition has also risen fiercely and accordingly. That being said, there is a broad range of solar panels on the market and that can be confusing even to the tech-savvy homeowner. In this guide, we will introduce the Top 10 Solar Companies in 2018 with their powerful flagships.
Solar Panels for Homes Buyer’s Guide
Before we can delve into the actual reviews of the best solar panels for homes and the top solar companies in 2018, we define several terminologies that can help you understand and pick the best product. Many people struggle to select the best solar panels for their homes because the metrics that define the performance of the panels seem foreign to them hence we compiled this buyer’s guide.
The manufacturer refers to the maker of solar panels. There are now many companies that are producing different types of solar panels. East Asia, among others, is leading the world with many of the top companies emerging from China. They are usually rated based on the market share they have in the number of solar panels sold. This, therefore, does not necessarily mean that companies with a small market share offer inferior products.
Efficiency Range Percent
The efficiency range percent denotes the efficiency and effectiveness of the solar panel in converting solar radiation into electricity. The higher the percentage is, the more powerful the solar panel is, meaning it has more power output. It will produce more kilowatt per hour of energy. Modern solar panels can have an efficiency of over 20%.
A solar panel with high efficiency can save you more energy bills. It is also ideal for homes with a limited roof space.
Min and Max Temperature
Solar panels are normally tested at 77 degrees Fahrenheit(25°C). The typical range from min to max temperature would be 59°F to 95°F(15°C to 35°C). During this range is when the panels have maximum efficiency. Manufacturers often state the temperature coefficient for each panel, which tells how much the panel performs during unbearable temperatures. What the coefficient means is that, for every degree above the standard temperature of 77°F, the electricity production will decrease by the coefficient figure. The table below, however, shows the temperature range which a solar panel can operate in general. Usually, this rate varies from -40°F to 185°F(-40°C to 85°C)
The weight of the solar panel refers to its density. It is important to understand the weight of whichever panel you want to install to check if the roof can withstand a number of solar panels. Typically, solar panels weight about 40 pounds on average. Others such as the Canadian Solar panels can weigh up to 50 pounds(22.7 Kg). Some may even weigh below 40 pounds(18 Kg) to 33 pounds(15 Kg.).
Price per Watt
It helps to know the cost of solar panels per watt so that you can plan your budget properly. In the US, homeowners can embrace themselves for the tax credits for these alternative energies. Usually, a solar panel would cost about $3.14 per watt. The overall cost will depend on the amount of energy you need for your home. The average solar energy system of 5 kW in the US would cost you around $10 990 after the government tax credits. The cost per watt differs from one manufacturer to the other.
Here is a useful tool to give you an idea of an average retail electricity rate for your home: Solar Estimate
Durability refers to the longevity of your solar panel. Some can last for 25 years or even longer. Before you make any purchase, you need to ascertain if a particular solar panel is more durable. In our review, we have handpicked the solar panels that have great longevity.
Product warranty reassures us that the company cares about its products and is certain about the quality thereof. The warranty of solar panels can come in different ways, viz. warranty against the equipment and warranty against efficiency or performance of the solar panel. Manufacturers differ in warranties. Some can offer 10 years, 15 years or 25 years against all the defects that can occur during the warranty period.
Top 10 Solar Panels for Homes By Alternative-Energy-Sources Table in 2018
Since we are done with the buyer’s guide above, it’s time to delve into the core of the review – best solar panels per the top company in the world. With this in mind, the table below gives you a glimpse of the performance characteristics of these solar panels.
(Min & Max)
|Eagle Black 72 Solar Panel||JinkoSolar||17.26||-40~+185°F|
|Trina Solar’s DUOMAX 72-cell||Trina Solar||18.8||-40~+185°F|
|SST-300W Mono Black Frame||SunSpark||18.2||-40~+185°F|
|POLY PERC KuMax CS3U-P Gen4||Canadian |
|Itek SE 72-Cell Module||Itek |
Eagle Black 72 Solar Panel
Manufacturer: JinkoSolar in China
JinkoSolar in China is a renowned solar manufacturer of a wide range of solar panels in the industry. Accordingly, the company has a range of products with Eagle Black 72 being the top of the range. This polycrystalline 72-cell module has a power output if 335W which is sufficient to power your household appliances at an efficiency of 17.26%. It is great in low-light environments. Not to mention, the module is weather resistant and it is certified to withstand wind loads at 5400 Pascal and snow loads at 2400 Pascal.
- High energy output
- Weather resistant
- Higher efficiency
- It is costly
Trina Solar’s DUOMAX 72-cell
Manufacturer: Trina Solar China
Trina is also amongst the top solar panel manufacturers in the world. The monocrystalline DUOMAX 72-cell module is one of its top products designed for ground-mount and rooftop solar installations. The module’s performance helps you save more energy while it produces the high energy output. It also comes with a 30-year warranty.
The power output of this module ranges from 330 to 365W with a maximum efficiency of 18.8%. Furthermore, it comes with the industry rating of 1500V.
- High efficiency
- High energy output
- Great 30-year warranty
- No information about weather resistance
Manufacturer: Mission Solar
The MSE295SQ5T panel is a flagship of Mission Solar, the American solar company. It embraces a higher efficiency of 17.75% and high performance with a power output of 295 W. The solar panel comes with a temperature coefficient of 0.318, which is not that bad in higher temperatures. The company is offering a 25-year warranty against all the defects. Other products produced by this company include the Mission Solar MSE265SO5T with an efficiency of 15.98% and the Mission Solar MSE270SO5T with an efficiency of 16.26%.
- High efficiency
- 25 years of warranty
- Power output not the best among others in this guide
SST-300W Mono Black Frame
SST-300W Mono Black Frame is a high-end product produced by one of the top solar companies in the world, SunSpark. This solar panel embraces the power output of 300 W with an efficiency of 18.2%. It is rated as the standard 60-cell mono-crystalline solar panel with the operating temperature range of -40°F to +185°F(-40°C to 85°C).
- The high efficiency of 18.2%
- Great power output
- 60-cell not the best compared with others in the guide
POLY PERC KuMax CS3U-P Gen4 Solar Panel
Manufacturer: Canadian Solar
Canadian Solar is also a respected company in the world with its superior solar panels. It is one of the three biggest manufacturers in the world. POLY PERC KuMax CS3U-P Gen4 is part of series that the company produces. This solar panel is a 72-cell module backed by a 25-year warranty and has a wind load of 5400 Pascal. The product has the output of 360W. It comes with an efficiency of 18.15% and price per watt of $461. Lifting this solar panel shouldn’t be cumbersome with its 50 Pounds (22.6 kg).
- High efficiency
- High power output
- Relatively expensive
Itek SE 72-Cell 365W Module
Manufacturer: Itek Energy
Itek SE 72-Cell Module comes with the power output range of 350 – 370 Watt. It is one of the top performing solar panels on the market and one of the flagships of Itek Energy. The other impressive panel is the Itek 60-cell module with the power output range of 290 – 305 Watts. The 72-cell weighs 49 pounds(22 Kg) which is a manageable weight. Finally, Itek Energy is offering a 25-year and 12-year warranty options.
- Higher power output
- A bit pricey
PowerXT 330R-WX Solar Panel
PowerXT Solar Panel is a product of Solaria. The product is characterized by a high energy production at reasonable costs. In addition, Solaria Company is offering a 25-year warranty against all the defects. This 60-cell module has a power output of 330W at an efficiency of 19.3%, which is fairly higher than similar products in its range. The product’s rugged design improves its durability and reliability.
- Higher efficiency in 60-cell class
- Longer 25-year warranty
- No information about its weather resistance
Seraphim SRP-290-6PA poly
Seraphim Solar is one of the best Chinese and world solar panel producers. The company gives a 10-year and 25-year product warranty options. In its product range, we found the monocrystalline 72-cell 290W Module SRP coming with an efficiency of 18.8%. Although this company was formed in 2009, it has risen in popularity to become one of the respected the world over with its high-performing solar panels. Its cost per watt after the tax credit is $1.05, which should be one of the cheapest on the market.
- Higher efficiency
- Cheaper cost per watt
- The power output of 290W not the best on the market
This marks the end of our review of the best solar panels for homes. We have handpicked the best products as per the best companies rated top on the market. On top of that, we have compiled a comprehensive buyer’s guide in which we have highlighted the important terminologies to help you understand solar panels and ultimately choose the best.