Top 3 Solar Panels Available in 2017

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One of the biggest decisions that you need to make when making the switch to solar is selecting a solar panel for your home. Most solar installers have a certain panel that they install but it might not always be the best option for you.

There are many solar companies that are simply installing the cheapest panels available, which could leave customers vulnerable to failures or warranty issues.

Let’s explore the 3 best panels on the market today. We will break the list into 3 categories, best premium panel, best overall panel, and the best value panel.

Important Panel Characteristics

Before we get started let’s break down the qualities of a good solar panel. The top 3 qualities of a good solar panel are efficiency, warranty, and reliability. 

Efficiency

Solar panel efficiency is the amount of sunlight that a solar panel can convert into electricity. The higher the efficiency, the more sunlight that will be converted to electricity.

There are two important efficiency numbers to keep in mind; starting efficiency and 25-year efficiency. Solar panels degrade slowly over time which causes the efficiency of a panel to go down.

Because solar is a long term investment, taking a look at how much a panel degrades will help you make a better long term decision and ensure that your system will still produce enough power in 25 years.

Warranty and Reliability

Different solar panel manufacturers will offer various warranties on their solar panels. The current standard is to offer a 10-year product warranty and a 25-year performance warranty.

Choosing a reliable manufacturer with a long history of production, quality assurance, and a long term warranty is essential. Making sure you choose an established company will give you peace of mind knowing that the company will be able to honor their warranty.

Best Premium Solar Panel: LG 365 W Neon R

  • Starting Efficiency: 21.1%
  • Efficiency Guaranteed at year 25: 18.36%
  • Product Warranty: 25 years
  • Performance Warranty: 25 years

You have likely heard of LG.  LG has been in the Electronics business for 59 years and has earned a very good reputation for their display technology and consumer goods.

 LG Launched its business in 1995 and invested $435 million in 2016 to expand its production.

What makes this panel special is that it packs so much into a small package. Other manufacturers are producing 360-watt solar panels in 72 or 96 cell footprints.  LG has managed to pack 365 watts of energy generation into a 60 cell footprint. 

This makes this panel incredible for homes with limited roof space or for homeowners who need to maximize their system.

LG has also increased its temperature coefficient which means that this panel performs better on hot days than traditional panels. 

Honorable Mentions: Sunpower X Series, LG Neon 2 ACe, 

Best Overall Solar Panel: SolarWorld 290 W Mono

  • Starting Efficiency: 17.3%
  • Efficiency Guaranteed at year 25: 13.87%
  • Product Warranty: 20 years
  • Performance Warranty: 25 years

 SolarWorld was founded in 1975 and has been manufacturing solar panels and solar technologies for over 41 years.

 SolarWorld’s solar panels were rated the best overall panels of 2016 by reviews.com. This panel is a newer version of the panels that were rated best overall by reviews.com in 2016.

What makes SolarWorld’s panels so attractive is the price to performance ratio.  SolarWorld offers very competitive prices on their panels which help homeowners reduce their total cost while still delivering a high-quality product.

Additionally, this panel is made in the USA.  It is manufactured in Oregon at their state of the art facility.

Best Value Solar Panel: Silfab SLA-M 285 W

  • Starting Efficiency: 17.4%
  • Efficiency Guaranteed at year 25: 14.27%
  • Product Warranty: 12 years
  • Performance Warranty: 25 years

Silfab is a Canadian based solar panel manufacturer.  They were founded in 2010 and have quickly become one of the biggest solar manufacturers in North America.

Silfab has set its sights on building highly affordable solar panels which is the main reason they have seen so much growth in their first 7 years.

Conclusion

There are many solar panel options currently available.  Depending on your budget, energy consumption, and roof space some solar panels will work better for you than others.  

Depending on your needs, we believe that the best panels currently out are LG 365 W Neon R for maximum production, SolarWorld 290W Mono for best overall value, and Silfab 285 W for value shoppers.