Important: Please note the opinions below belong to those who have extensive experience within the PV industry, however, they are still opinions only.
The below ranking is based on panel efficiencies, quality, reliability, and warranties.
Founded in 1985, SunPower’s global headquarters are located in California, USA. Since their inception, SunPower has generated a total of 18,000,000 MWh of energy in residential, commercial and utility solar energy markets. With more than 200 patents for solar technology and the world record holder for the most efficient rooftop solar panels, SunPower are at the forefront of the solar PV industry.
Boasting the ability to generate 70% more energy than competing solar panels, SunPower modules’ solid copper back is almost completely resistant to corrosion, and removes 85% of the reasons conventional panels fail.
One of their many patents, SunPower’s Maxeon technology allows their panels to absorb more sunlight, and thick built-in connectors expand and contract effortlessly with intense temperature swings.
With a return rate of only 27 panels per million sold, SunPower is one of the most reliable solar modules on the market.
SunPower E20 panels are the highest efficiency modules on the market at 20%. .
A premium solar panel, SunPower modules are on the expensive end of the scale. However, thanks to agreements with local Australian suppliers, prices have reduced significantly in the last year.
SunPower panels come with a 25-year performance warranty, in addition to an industry leading 25-year product warranty that includes both labour and transport in addition to material and workmanship. Most module product warranties are only 10 years in length, and do not include labour and transport costs.
– SunPower supply the panels behind Solar Impulse 2.
– SunPower was the first US renewable energy company to win a Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) silver certificate (one of the strictest sustainability standards in existence) for their solar panels.
– SunPower’s Helix System won The Architect’s Newspaper Best of Products Award.
An integrated company, SolarWorld is the only solar panel provider in the world today whose headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Germany. Founded in 1988, SolarWorld are a pioneer in the PV industry, boasting nearly 30 years of experience and innovation.
Designed with innovative PERC cell technology, SolarWorld panels deliver superior performance compared to modules of the same size. All panels are guaranteed with a positive power tolerance and an extremely long service life.
Their premium Bisun module is active on both sides, ensuring light from all directions can be converted into electrical energy, generating up to up to 25% more yield per installed kWp.
SolarWorld’s Sunmodule Bisun modules have efficiencies of 16 to 17%.
SolarWorld panels come at a high price due to their innovative technology and scarcity in the Australian market.
SolarWorld panels come with either a 25-year of 30-year linear performance warranty (depending on the module) and a 10-year product warranty that includes workmanship.
– SolarWorld was named Germany’s Most Sustainable Production 2008 at the German Sustainability Awards.
– SolarWorld has been awarded the GREEN BRANDS Seal several times, which is presented to companies with a proven track record of environmentally sustainable actions.
Since conducting their very first solar cell multicrystalline Research and Development in 1985, LG Solar has grown into one of the leading solar panel manufacturers in the world today. Renowned for producing high quality solar products, LG panels are backed by 30 years of intense research and development, and their product testing laboratory has been certified by TUV Rheinland of Germany and Underwriters Laboratories of the USA, which is a first in the solar manufacturing industry.
All LG panels come with a positive power tolerance meaning you’ll either always get the panel size you pay for, or receive one of higher wattage. Other panel manufacturers have a negative and positive power tolerance meaning you could pay for Watts you never get.
LG panels are also designed with CELLO Multi wire busbar cell technology, which effectively lowers electrical resistance and increases panel efficiency.
LG Panels average efficiencies of around 18%. Their premium Neon 2 module has an efficiency of 19.5%.
Like all premium panels, LG are on the expensive end of the scale.
All new generation LG Panels come with a 25-year performance warranty, in addition to a 12-year product warranty that includes labour and transportation costs.
– LG’s MonoX NeON module received the Plus X Award at the Intersolar Awards 2013.
– LG’s MonoX NeOn module was also named Korea’s 10 Best New Technologies in 2013.
– LG’s NeON 2 module received the Plus X Award at the Intersolar Awards 2015.
A leading manufacturer of solar panels, WINAICO was founded in Taiwan in 2003. With subsidiaries and branches across Asia, Australia, USA and Europe, WINAICO supply high-performance crystalline photovoltaic panels to customers around the world.
Thanks to stringent quality control including, visual, micro-optic, mechanical inspections, as well as examinations under electroluminescence equipment to check for micro-cracks, hot spots, uneven soldering and other defects, WINAICO solar panels are among some of the highest quality panels on the market.
WINAICO PERC modules retain relative efficiency of 99% even in low light, making them highly reliable.
WINAICO PERC modules have an efficiency of 18.6%.
WINAICO panels are a highly cost effective panel, delivering incredible bang for buck.
All WINIACO panels come with a 25-year performance warranty and a 12-year product warranty, which as of 2016, includes labour costs.
– In 2014, WINAICO’s WST range became the first ever module to pass the hail test according to IEC 61215.
– WINAICO’s WSP-310M6 PERC monocrystalline module received the 2015 Top Solar Panel Products award by Solar Power World.
– WINAICO’s 300W PERC 60-cell module received the Taiwan Excellent PV Award.
Established in Norway in 1996, REC is one of the largest European solar brands in existence today. Directly involved in every aspect of their manufacturing processes and project development, REC is a completely automated and integrated solar company. While REC is headquartered in Europe, the manufacturing of panels found in Australia takes place in their state of the art facility located in Singapore.
REC solar panels are one of the most sustainable in the market, with an energy payback time of just one year. This means after just 12 months on your roof, your REC panels would have produced the same amount of power it took to manufacture them.
Thanks to their internal testing, which is twice as stringent as industry standards, only an average of 400 REC panels come back every year out of the 4 million that are manufactured. This is a return rate of just 0.0001%.
REC’s premier panel, TwinPeak, has an efficiency of 16.7%.
While REC Panels are highly cost-effective, they are becoming increasingly harder to source in Australia.
All REC solar panels come with a 25-year linear power output warranty, and a 12-year product warranty that includes material and workmanship.
REC’s TwinPeak Panel won the Intersolar Award 2015 in the category of Photovoltaics.
Remember: The right solar panel brand for your home may not be the right brand for another. If you decide to go with a brand mentioned in this article, still remember to shop around to secure the best price available. Different solar providers may offer different prices, even for the same components. For three solar power quotes from installers in your local area, click here.