Image source: Panasonic
What is the background of Panasonic solar panels?
Panasonic, like a couple of other electronics powerhouses, has been a staple in the solar panel industry since 1975. Panasonic began making amorphous solar modules (old style thin film technology) panels in the beginning until 1997 when the transfer to their staple HIT range of solar panels (crystalline cells with thin layers of amorphous silicon). The module manufacturing processes took place in Panasonic’s native Japan, until recently, when a deal with energy giant, Tesla, saw a joint factory open in Buffalo, for Panasonic to produce solar cells for Tesla’s solar roof venture, and solar panels for their recently rebadged Tesla Solar (formerly Solar City). They will continue to generate a healthy supply of cells through a Japanese location for the supply to competing premium Asian manufacturers.
Where do Panasonic solar panels rank in terms of efficiency?
The Panasonic solar cells that are to be used for Tesla’s solar roof and that are incorporated into the Panasonic HIT panel range have recorded results pushing above the magical 20% solar panel efficiency level.
What solar cell technology do Panasonic solar panels use?
The unique HIT cell structure used by Panasonic incorporates both crystalline and amorphous technology into the cell to retain more power that is lost through conventional crystalline cells. The HIT technology allows the solar cells to have a market leading .258% temperature coefficient, where the panels experience only .258% loss for every degree Celsius above 25 degrees. This in comparison to SunPower at .29% and tier 1 Chinese manufacturers at around .40%. The benefit of this specification is that as panels get hotter on Summers days as lose efficiency, the Panasonic cells experience the least losses.
What are the advantages of Panasonic solar panels?
Panasonic falls in line with other premium solar panels manufacturers by offering a 25 year product and performance warranty on its panels. The Panasonic HIT modules will still retain 90.7% of their generating capacity 25 years after installation, which falls marginally short of the industry leading SunPower X panels (92%). The American factory in Buffalo, opened as a joint venture with Tesla, ensures that you will receive an American manufactured panel with the warranty held here in the US. The ongoing and strengthening relationship with Tesla also ensures viability in the solar cell and panel industry for Panasonic. If a premium panel is a requirement for your solar system, Panasonic should have a price point advantage on LG and SunPower systems.
What are the disadvantages of Panasonic solar panels?
The Panasonic HIT solar panels are still expensive. This still increases the price per watt to a level that may be out of reach for many people. The HIT technology is also aging. All though it's still well and truly proving itself with efficiency levels and panel quality, eventually newer technologies may leave it behind. Panasonic Solar is a branch of an international and diverse company. As with previous large Japanese electronics giants, they may decide at some point to remove panel manufacturing from their core business.
Would our SolarReviews experts choose Panasonic panels for the roof of their homes?
Panasonic panels are an excellent choice for a solar consumer looking to install a solar panel that has matching similar warranties to the most respected brands on the market, but doesn’t take your life savings. The HIT cell technology and partnership with Tesla here in the United States ensure at least a medium term presence in the industry. Tesla had the choice to partner with any manufacturer on the market, but they chose Panasonic. If it’s good enough for the power brokers at Tesla, it should be good enough for the American solar consumer looking for a high quality solar panel.