The solar panel you choose to use for your home or business solar system is extremely important. Some are more efficient and reliable but cost more money, and some are very cheap and not reliable at all. It can be a tough task reading every solar panel review and data sheet to work out what’s best for you, so we have done the hard work for you and written a really simple article, to give pros and cons of all the major solar panel brands.
LG are a massive Korean powerhouse most well known for their electronics. Most of us have had a TV made by LG over the years so they really are a household name! They are in a league of their own in many ways as a manufacturer that produces extremely high quality panels and has a household name brand to back up warranties.
😊 South Korean. LG Solar manufacture their solar panels in Gumi, South Korea. The reputation for quality and reliable manufactures in this region rings true for LG Solar. They are also a large, well established and diversified manufacturer – which we love!
😊 Reliability. It’s very rare for a LG Solar panel to have issues. This is both due to their excellent design and rigorous quality control.
😊 Efficiency. LG make very efficient solar panels. They in the top 2-3 for most efficient solar panels in the world most years.
😊 Warranties. LG have been trading for over 60-years and involved with solar since the mid 1980s. They are by far the biggest brand name which means they are almost certainly going to cover your 25-year product and 25-year performance warranties you get with the Neon range.
☹ Price. LG Solar panels are expensive. For this reason they are not for everyone.
See our full LG review here
Sumec Phono Solar
Sumec Phono Solar manufacture a really high performing panel, without the expensive branding and fanfare. They are also a massive, diversified company.
😊 Quality. When you look at the real-world results from Sumec Phono Solar panels the results are absolutely outstanding. The do not come with the “premium” label some others do, but what really matters is real results and Phono kick butt here!
😊 Price. Phono Solar are just above the mid-price point panel. For this price point, we have not seen anything perform any where near as good. It is champagne performance for beer budget!
😊 Manufacturer. This is the biggest selling point. They are a massive Fortune 500 company with a long trading history. They have lots of revenue streams. This means they are highly likely to be around in 20-30 years if you ever need anything.
☹ Branding. Have you ever heard of Sumec Phono Solar? They are not a household name like solar panel brands LG.
☹ Range. They only have a small range of solar panels to choose from.
See our Phono Solar review here
More info on Phono here
See case study here
See real life results here too
The biggest solar panel manufacturer in the world! Jinko shipped over 14GW last year – thats nearly 7 times the whole Australian market for systems 100kW or less!
😊 Massive. Jinko are the biggest out there. They ship more than anyone else globally.
😊 Range. Jinko have a big range of solar panels and lots of distributors so you will have lots of options if you want to install them.
😊 Price. Jinko are one of the cheaper solar panels from the range of reputable solar manufacturers.
☹ Manufacturer. Jinko are not a diversified manufacturer. They are also fairly new (2011). Will they stand the test of time? Sometimes the biggest are most vulnerable when the volume dips!
☹ Performance. Nothing wrong here, Jinko make decent enough panels. Some are better than others in their range but they are a volume manufacturer – not a performance panel.
☹ Build Process. Jinko buy cells from many different places for their panels. To reach the massive volume they do, they have to buy from varies places. A vertically integrated manufacturer (everything done in place) can offer better quality control.
See our Jinko Solar review here
Another top 5 manufacturer for volume. Canadian Solar rank well in third party testing and have a good track record in Australia.
😊 Testing. Canadian Solar perform really well every third part test we have seen. Most well known testing facility is Desert Knowledge in Alice Springs.
😊 Value. They are a mid-priced solar panel and offer exceptional value for money. Possibly the best value product on the market.
😊 Company. Canadian Solar have been accredited in Australia since 2009 – longer than most of the “big 10” global manufacturers.
😊 Customers. Canadian Solar have some impressive clientele: they are used on all Ikea warehouses globally, as well as all Amazon warehouses. These big players do lots of research before choosing a solar panel!
☹ Diversification. They are not diversified like panels such as Q Cell, Hyundia, Sumec Phono or LG.
See our Canadian Solar review here
More info on Canadian Solar here
Q Cell Solar
Just outside the top five globally for volume last year – definitely the most premium solar panel out of all the top ten manufacturers for volume!
😊 Company. Hanwha, who own Q Cells, are a Fortune 500 manufacturer with history stretching back to the 1970’s. They are very well diversified too which means they should be around long-term.
😊 Pedigree. Q Cells were the flagship German manufacturer for many years and used to manufacture in Germany. They were purchased by Hanwha in 2012 and are now mostly manufactured in South Korea. They have German pedigree and Korean efficiency!
😊 Performance. They manufacture really high performing panels, which is very different to the rest of the top ten volume players who are almost all low to mid-performance panels focused on cost.
😊 Range. They have a great range of panels available including an entry level Q Maxx model which is made in China to keep costs down. The Q Maxx still performs really well, albeit it not as well as the more expensive Q Peak range.
☹ Price. They are priced towards the top end of the market, although you can get a more cost effective version with the Q Maxx.
See our Q Cell Solar review here
More info on Q Cell Solar here
Hyundai Green Energy
Another South Korean monster for this list – we all know the Hyundai brand, don’t we?
😊 Company. Hyundai have been a household name for many years now. Hyundai have been trading since the 1940’s, with divisions including ship building, car manufacturing and solar panels. Like most massive companies, there are seperate entities and the solar division is seperate to the cars we all know so well.
😊 Credibility. A hugely credible brand that is really only comparable with LG, Sumec Phono Solar and Q Cell for size and trading history. Hyundai stopped selling solar panels for quite a few years in Australia, but continued their support and warranty help while they were gone!
😊 Performance. Their panels perform really well, especially when you consider the price point. The new SG HiE350SG has an efficiency rating of 20.2%.
😊 Warranty. They have a 25-year product warranty. Most panels only offer 10 or 15 years on the product warranty.
☹ Branding. It sounds crazy to say the branding is a downside for a company like Hyundai, but the solar division is lacking online presence.
☹ Testing. The testing that is available shows great results for Hyundai, but there is not as much data available when comparing to other premium brands.
See our Hyundai Solar review here
More info on Hyundai Solar here
Shingled SG Series solar panel review here
Just outside the top ten globally for volume last year – Seraphim are another big Chinese player!
😊 Massive. A big Chinese manufacturer who ship a ridiculous amount of solar panels.
😊 Price. Seraphim are extremely well priced – this is their biggest selling point. If you are looking for a very cost effective solar system, Seraphim can help!
☹ Manufacturer. They are quite a new manufacturer (2011) and have only had an office here in Australia since 2017. They are also not diversified.
☹ Performance. There are no wide-spread performance or reliability issues that we are aware of with Seraphim panels. They are not designed to be a performance panel – you get what you pay for!
See our Seraphim Solar review here
The second largest solar panel manufacturer in the world for volume.
😊 Massive. Jinko Solar are the only solar panel that beat JA Solar for volume.
😊 Price. JA Solar panels are very well priced. And the efficiency rating is very good for the price point.
☹ Diversification. Founded in 2005 and second largest on the worlds means JA Solar do have a lot of credibility as a business. However, they have no diversification which is a fairly big downside.
☹ Performance. There are no massive issues here to report. However, JA Solar are a volume manufacturer (hence being only second to Jinko for amount of panels shipped). They are not designed to be performance panels!
See our JA Solar review here
REC are a Norwegian manufacturer of good quality solar panels, which are now also a good price (for the TwinPeak version).
😊 Singapore. REC are made in Singapore, which is usually a sign of high quality products.
😊 Performance. REC make a range of solar panels and the REC Alpha is among the best performing solar panels in the world.
😊 Strength. The frame of a REC panel has extra support bars in the middle (see photo), which makes them structurally very sound.
☹ Price. The REC Alpha, which is the best performing, is a similar price to LG and Sunpower. The TwinPeak is much more reasonable priced.
☹ Size. REC are a fairly small manufacturer, who have made slightly over 10GW of solar panels in the whole history added up. They are also a stand alone solar panel manufacturer so the diversity of larger brands is not there either.
See our REC Solar review here
The third largest globally for volume last year. Trina also have multiple records for efficiency which sets them aside from most huge Chinese manufacturers.
😊 Manufacturer. Trina solar shipped nearly 10GW last year! What that basically means is that Trina Solar shipped enough panels for around 1.3 million home installations. Pretty impressive!
😊 Efficiency. They have multiple records for efficiency over the years which shows Trina strive for more than just massive volume. Spoiler alert – hypocrite coming up…
😊 Company. Founded in 1997 which makes them one of the more established manufacturers among the “big ten”.
☹ Diversification. They are not diversified like panels such as Q Cell, Hyundia, Sumec Phono or LG.
☹ Efficiency. I know we put this as a plus… but they make a lot of panels and the most popular (Trina Honey) is not a world beater by any stretch. Often, consumers think they are getting the panels that break the efficiency records, which is rarely the case here in Australia.
See our Trina Solar review here
These guys are the big dogs for solar panel efficiency. Very rarely is there a solar panel available for purchase in Australia that beats them in this department.
😊 Efficiency. The SunPower Maxeon 3 is the words most efficient solar panel with an efficiency rating of 22.6%
😊 Reliability. SunPower do not just make efficient solar panels, they make a good all round panel for pretty much everything, including the reliability.
😊 Looks. The “all black” SunPower solar panel looks incredible when installed. For those who are particular about aesthetics – it doesn’t get much better!
☹ Price. SunPower are very expensive, and the extra cost is difficult to justify. Even with improved performance it is difficult to see value here.
☹ Range. They make an entry level SunPower P Series panel in China but even this is more expensive than most direct competition, and the performance does not get anywhere close to the Maxeon.
☹ Value. As good as the Maxeon is, it is out of reach for most customers and is difficult to justify even if you have the cash. The SunPower P Series is cheaper, but not better value for money.
See our SunPower Solar review here
The one and only Australian made solar panel. Proudly flying the flag for Ozzy solar panels, Tindo assemble their solar panels in Adelaide, SA.
😊 Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy. As mentioned above, Tindo manufacture in Adelaide. The parts mostly come from overseas (including cells).
😊 Quality. Tindo Solar make a high quality panel in terms of the assembly. The reports we get back from installers in the field are always positive.
☹ Price. As you can image they are quite expensive. Unfortunately the cost of Australian manufacturing simply means they will never compete with foreign imports.
☹ Volume. They only manufacture a very small amount of panels when you compare them to all the manufacturers above. The range is also very limited.
See our Tindo Solar Solar review here
A small family owned solar manufacturer based in Taiwan, Winaico make good panels, but at a high cost.
😊 Impressive Test Results. Winaico have been tested here in Australia at the Desert Knowledge Solar Centre for many years and the results are consistency very good.
😊 Warranty. You get a standard 15-year product warranty with Winaico, which is already pretty decent. This can be upgraded to a full 25-year product warranty if you use an accredited Winaico installer.
😊 Manufacturer location. Made in Taiwan with a reputation for good quality control and products that stand the test of time.
☹ Price. Winaico solar panels are priced as a premium solar panel and can be as expensive as LG or Sunpower. If you had two quotes for the same price, it would be pretty difficult to choose them over LG or Sumpower.
☹ Manufacturer. The manufacturing capacity at Winaico is only around 200MW per annum. This makes them a very small player and possibly more vulnerable to market dips.
See our Winaico Solar review here
Once the largest solar panel manufacture in the world, Suntech make budget solar panels but are no longer one of the “big guns”.
😊 Price. Suntech are one of the cheapest recognisable solar panels on this list.
😊 Range. They have a good range of panels and have been trading here in Australia for a long time. Their all-black solar panel looks very cool (similar to the SunPower panel shown above)
☹ History. Suntech have struggled over the years with financial difficulties and have defaulted on $541mUSD in US bonds. They have more recently been bought by a renewable energy investment company but have not reached the heights they once did.
☹ Performance. They are a budget solar panel so the performance is relative to the cost. They are not terrible, but if you want a high performing solar panel, Suntech are not for you.
☹ Future. Given the history (see full review) we are not particularly confident that Suntech will be a really long-term player. Not every large Chinese solar company will be here to honour the really long warranties and we are far less confident in Suntech compared to many others at a similar price point.
See our Suntech Solar review here
Another massive Chinese company that are fairly new in comparison to many others on this list.
😊 Price. Longi are very affordable. Similar price point to other large Chinese brands like Jinko, Suntech, JA Solar and Seraphim.
😊 Size. They manufacture a lot of solar panels, much like the other brands listed in the previous dot point.
☹ Performance. Longi are a reasonable solar panel for performance, but as with other low cost modules, you cannot expect a really high performing panel.
☹ Manufacturer. Longi are a relative new company and are a solar only manufacturer. Although they are a large business, they have a much shorter trading history than some in this list and no diversity.
☹ USP? Longi sit among all the other high volume Chinese brands and are neither great performers or cheaper than others. We do not really know why you would choose them over any other direct competitors.
See our Longi Solar review here
Risen are a long serving Chinese manufacturer with a good track record both globally and here in Australia.
😊 Massive. Consistently in the top ten manufacturers for volume with most recent published figures suggesting 14.1GW were shipped in 2020.
😊 Trading history. Risen have been trading since 1986 which makes them one of the oldest solar manufacturers on this list.
😊 Value. Risen are priced towards the bottom end of the market but the performance and trading history mean you get really good value for money.
☹ Diversity. Risen are deeply embedded in the solar industry with their long trading history and large manufacturing facilities. They are not diversified like LG, Q Cell, Hyundai and Sumec Phono Solar though.
☹ Presence. Despite their long trading history you do not see or hear much about Risen in Australia. The representation here is fairly minimal which suggests Australia may not be a key target market for them.
The best solar panel for you, may be the worst solar panel for your neighbour. You will need to consider what is most important to you: Value for money? Best efficiency? Best long-term Support?
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