Complete review of CertainTeed solar panels

Updated

CertainTeed solar panels on a residential roof
Is CertainTeed’s Solstice solar panel system the best way to save on your electric bill? Image source: CertainTeed

Does CertainTeed ring a bell? If so, you won’t be surprised to learn that CertainTeed is one of the country’s largest building material manufacturers in the world. Best known for its shingles and siding, the company started in the roofing industry in 1904. Nearly 120 years later, the company is still running and offers so much more than shingles and sheathing.

One of CertainTeed’s newest ventures is home solar energy, offering solar panels and solar shingle options. But should you trust CertainTeed with your solar just because you trust them with your roof? Let’s take a closer look.

CertainTeed solar panels at a glance:

  • CertainTeed has three different solar panel lines that can be installed as part of its Solstice solar energy system.
  • CertainTeed panels are average in terms of performance, with power outputs ranging from 360 watts to 440 watts in size.
  • You can expect to spend between $15,600 and $18,000 before incentives for a CertainTeed solar panel installation, but costs will vary depending on system size and the installer you choose.
  • The company offers a comprehensive system warranty, but their panels degrade a bit faster than competitors.
  • CertainTeed also offers the Apollo II solar shingles and solar roof tiles for homeowners who don’t want bulky solar panels.

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    Going solar with CertainTeed

    The easiest way to go solar with CertainTeed is through either Certainteed-credited solar installers or Master Installers. Solar companies must meet specific requirements, like being in good standing with CertainTeed, in order to be considered a Credited or Master Installer. We give CertainTeed bonus points for having an installer network, as it makes it easier for you to vet who you can trust to install the system on your roof properly. 

    When you sign up for a solar energy system through CertainTeed, your entire system is covered by CertainTeed’s warranty. That’s right - the panels, the racking, and even the inverters are all under one warranty. The entire system is referred to as the Solstice energy system.

    All of CertainTeed’s solar panels, solar shingles, and solar tiles are manufactured right here in the United States. However, it’s not entirely clear who manufactures the inverters, and the specifications of the inverters aren’t listed on their website. It’s possible that the installation company supplies the inverters, but it’s not entirely clear how the warranties for those inverters would coincide with CertainTeed’s warranty. 

    If you’re getting a quote from a CertainTeed installer, ask what inverters they’re using to get a clearer picture.

    What solar panels does CertainTeed offer?

    CertainTeed’s Solstice energy system can be installed with one of their three panel lines:

    • CT Series 120 Split Cell
    • CT Series 144 Half Cell (35 mm)
    • CT Series 144 Half Cell

    Each line has three different models to choose from, with power output ratings starting at 360 watts and maxing out at 440 watts. All Soltice panels use monocrystalline solar cell technology and are best suited for residential and small commercial solar installations.

    How much do CertainTeed solar panels cost?

    An average-sized CertainTeed solar panel system costs between $15,600 and $18,000 to install, which works out to between $2.60 and $3.00 per watt of solar. When you take the 30% federal solar tax credit into account, the price can drop as low as $11,000!

    This falls right in line with the average cost of solar in the United States. Remember, the actual price you pay will vary depending on where you live, the size of your system, and the installer you choose.

    See how much solar will cost for your specific home

    How do CertainTeed solar panels compare to other solar panels?

    Now we know what you can get from a CertainTeed Solstice solar system, but how do these panels stack up to other popular brands on the market? To be honest, CertainTeed’s panels are pretty average when it comes to performance, but that’s not a bad thing. They’ll get the job done and come at a decent price point.

    Let’s break it down.

    Model CT Series Split 120 Cell CT Series 144 Half Cell (35 mm) CT Series 144 Half Cell
    Power output 360 - 370 W 390 - 400 W 430 - 440 W
    Efficiency 19.73% - 20.29% 19.4% - 19.9% 19.76% - 20.21%
    Temperature coefficient -0.36% -0.42% -0.36%
    Workmanship warranty Up to 25 years Up to 25 years Up to 25 years
    Performance warranty 25 years 25 years 25 years

    Power output

    The power output of the panel tells you how much power it can produce under ideal conditions. CertainTeed’s panels fall between 360 watts and 440 watts, depending on your chosen model. 

    Most homeowners will probably be quoted for the 120 Split Cell panels, as they take up a bit less space and are easier to install on residential roofs. This means you’ll probably be getting panels in the range of 360 W and 370 W.

    A few years ago, these would have been considered great wattage ratings. Now, they’re a little bit on the lower side of average. Most residential solar panels start at 370 watts, with more and more getting into the 385 to 400 W range. 

    Both of the 144 Half Cell panels do have higher power ratings, as high as 440 watts. But they’re bigger and closer to what you’d typically find on a small commercial installation. These can be installed on your home, but it depends on the characteristics of your roof and what your installer prefers.

    Efficiency

    A solar panel’s efficiency rating measures how much of the sunlight that hits a solar cell gets turned into electricity. The average efficiency for a monocrystalline solar panel is between 17% and 20%. All of CertainTeed’s panels sit on the higher end of this average, with some models exceeding 20%.

    These high-efficiency ratings are thanks to the half-cut technology the panels use, which increases the amount of surface area that is covered by solar cells.

    Temperature coefficient

    A solar panel’s temperature coefficient gives you a little insight into how the panel will operate in the real world. Believe it or not, solar panels operate better the colder they are. As the surface of the panel gets hotter, they operate less efficiently. The temperature coefficient represents how much increasing surface temperatures impact a solar panel’s performance. 

    CertainTeed’s 120 Split Cell and 144 Half Cell lines have a temperature coefficient of -0.36% per degree Celcius. This means for every one degree above 25*C the surface of the panel gets, the power output drops by 0.36%. The 144 Half Cut (35 mm) line has a temperature coefficient of -0.42%. The industry average is between -0.3% and -0.5%, so CertainTeed falls right in line. 

    Truth be told, the temperature coefficient doesn’t matter that much. But it gives you just a little insight into the quality of the panel. As long as it’s within industry standards, you really don’t have much to worry about.

    Workmanship warranty

    CertainTeed’s workmanship warranty varies depending on if the installer you choose is CertainTeed Credentialed Installer or if they’re a CertainTeed Master Installer. Credentialed Installers qualify for a 15-year warranty, while Master Installers get 25 years. Both options are pretty average, with the 25-year warranty clearly the best one. 

    This warranty covers damages that may occur during the installation process. Don’t confuse this with the product warranty, which covers damages or defects caused by the manufacturing process. For CertainTeed, the product warranty is 10 years, just shy of the industry average of 12 years.

    Performance warranty

    Manufacturers include performance warranties to clue you into how the panel will degrade over time. Most panels today come with 25-year linear performance warranties that outline how much you can expect panel output to decrease each year. The average degradation rate is about 2% in the first year, followed by a 0.5% drop in production each year for the remainder of the warranty period.

    CertainTeed’s 25-year performance warranty states the panels will decrease by no more than 3% in the first year and no more than 0.7% annually for the final 24 years. This isn’t the best warranty out there. You can definitely find panels that will degrade slower than this.

    CertainTeed solar roof shingles and tiles

    CertainTeed is a roofing company, so it’s no surprise that they’ve taken a stab at the solar shingles game. You can choose between either:

    • CertainTeed’s Apollo II solar shingles, which blend in best with asphalt shingles, or
    •  Apollo II solar tiles, which are designed for concrete tile roofs.

    Both options are supposed to solve homeowners’ most glaring issue with solar panels; how they look. We here at SolarReviews don’t think solar panels are all that ugly. If you ask us, regular solar panels often look better than most solar shingle options. 

    CertainTeed’s solar shingles and tiles are still pretty noticeable on your roof. They’re a different color, they’re a different texture, and the shingles are a different shape than asphalt shingles. But they have a low profile and are installed right to your roof decking, so they don’t stick out as much. 

    If you like the look of CertainTeed’s solar shingles or solar tiles, they can make a great addition to your home. But, solar shingles inherently perform worse than traditional solar panels because of the angle they’re installed and because there isn’t airflow beneath the shingles to keep temperatures down. So to meet your energy needs, you’ll probably need to install more watts of solar shingles than you would watts of solar panels.

    How much do CertainTeed solar shingles cost?

    CertainTeed has no official pricing for its Apollo II solar shingles or solar tiles listed. Because solar shingles are a newer technology, they could end up costing more per watt than a conventional solar system. 

    But, the Apollo II’s price will probably be lower than its biggest competitor, the Tesla Solar Roof, mostly because Tesla’s solar shingle option requires a complete roof replacement with expensive roofing materials. With CertainTeed, you might not have to reroof your home completely; if you do, the cost of roofing materials will probably be cheaper than Tesla’s offering. 

    Remember what we said about solar shingles, though! They likely won’t generate as much electricity as solar panels. So, you could end up paying more for the shingles but get lower electricity bill savings.

    Should you go solar with CertainTeed solar panels?

    The fact of the matter is that CertainTeed is a roofing and building manufacturer first and a solar manufacturer second. This probably means CertainTeed isn’t spending as much time, money, and research on developing its solar products as a solar manufacturer would.

    This isn’t to say you should avoid CertainTeed. We think that they are average panels backed by a huge company that will most likely be around to cover the warranty if you need it in 25 years. A CertainTeed Solstice system that will be able to meet your energy needs and reduce your electricity bills with clean energy. That’s what it’s all about, right?

    But before you settle on CertainTeed, consider getting quotes from a few other installers. See what kind of products they have and if those solar panels operate better than what CertainTeed offers. The best way to do this is to use our solar panel cost and savings calculator, which provides a custom estimate based on your home’s energy needs. If you want more information, we can put you in touch with local installers in your area.

    Find out how much you can save annually by installing solar panels
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Catherine Lane

    Written Content Manager

    Catherine is the Written Content Manager at SolarReviews. She has been researching and writing about the residential solar industry for four years. Her work has appeared in Solar Today Magazine and Solar Builder Magazine, and has been cited by publications like Forbes and Bloomberg.

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