Highest Rated Solar Panel Brands of 2019

 

*See our updated blog on Top Rated Solar Panel Brands To Install In 2020

 

Browsing the market of solar panel brands and models can be an overwhelming experience when deciding to install or upgrade a solar system. To the naked eye, all solar panels look pretty much the same with slight variations of colours, sizes and makes. So how do you select a brand and model of quality that will be sufficient for your energy needs and be reliable throughout its lifetime?

Back in mid-2018, we brought you a blog on the Best 3 Solar Panel Brands available in Australia and it’s no surprise that those three brands are still in the lead for quality, value and reliability. However thanks to Clean Energy Reviews we’ve been able to source an updated list of the best reviewed and highest regarded solar panel brands available in 2019. Reviews were based on quality, performance, value and feedback by solar industry professionals.

Top 4 Brands Available In Australia

SunPower

SunPower is considered the world leader of solar panels but can generally cost around 30% more than their competition. World record holder for the most efficient rooftop solar panels, SunPower is at the forefront of the solar PV industry.

What to expect when investing in SunPower Panels?

More Power / Same Space – SunPower holds the record for the highest efficiency silicon solar panel, which means you can create more power, on smaller roof spaces, with fewer panels (or leave more roof space free for future expansion).

Industry Leading Warranty – SunPower pioneered the solar industry with the first 25-year combined Power and Product Warranty. Unlike most solar warranties that cover just the panels, SunPower’s warranty also covers transport and labour costs to uninstall and re-install the panels. This makes Sunpower one of the safest, long-term solar power investments.

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $512
  • Country of Manufacture: Malaysia/Philippines/Mexico
  • Average Warranty Length: 25 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: Yes

SunPower also had two models rated as the most efficient solar panel models of 2018 with their SunPower X series (up to 21.5% efficiency) & SunPower E series (up to 20.4% efficiency).

LG

LG has a long history in solar photovoltaics beginning over 30 years ago when they first began research into silicon crystalline cells. LG panels can range from competitive pricing to premium pricing, covering a range of modules which are highly regarded and widely available, putting them at the top of the list when it comes to both quality and value for money. LG panels are highly rated by customers and professionals within the solar industry with their impressive black anodised aluminium frames, construction quality and detail.

What to expect when investing in LG Panels?

Similar to SunPower, LG also offers a 25-year warranty which covers transport and labour costs to uninstall and re-install the panels.

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $386
  • Country of Manufacture: South Korea
  • Average Warranty Length: 25 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: Yes

LG also had one of their models rated as one of the most efficient solar panels of 2018 with their LG energy Neon R (up to 21.4% efficiency).

Winaico

>Winaico is a relatively small volume manufacturer offering a premium range of very high-quality panels which are reasonably priced. Winaico is highly regarded in the solar industry and trusted by installers due to their track record of reliability and performance in the harsh Australian conditions.

What to expect when investing in Winaico Panels?

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $231
  • Country of Manufacture: Taiwan
  • Average Warranty Length: 15 years

REC

REC manufacture quality, cost-effective panels which have proven to be very popular among solar professionals, in particular, the TwinPeak range of panels. Those in the solar industry rate REC for their reliability and good performance, especially in the harsh Australian climate. REC is now the largest European owned supplier of solar modules and growing rapidly with a total production volume increase of almost 40% in 2018.

What to expect when investing in REC Panels?

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $197
  • Country of Manufacture: Singapore
  • Average Warranty Length: 10 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

Other Highly Regarded Brands

Q Cells

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $202
  • Country of Manufacture: South Korea/China/Malaysia
  • Average Warranty Length: 12 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

Trina Solar

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $185
  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Average Warranty Length: 10 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

Jinko Solar

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $216
  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Average Warranty Length: 10 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

JA Solar

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $188
  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Average Warranty Length: 12 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

Seraphim

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $221
  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Average Warranty Length: 10 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

Canadian Solar

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $187
  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Average Warranty Length: 10 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

Phono Solar

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $177
  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Average Warranty Length: 12 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

SunTech

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $211
  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Average Warranty Length: 12 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

Hyundai Solar

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $250
  • Country of Manufacture: South Korea
  • Average Warranty Length: 12 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

Tindo Solar

  • Approx. Cost Per Panel incl GST (AUD): $319
  • Country of Manufacture: Australia
  • Average Warranty Length: 12 years
  • Warranty Inclusive of Removal and Reinstallation of Panels: No

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.
 

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