Expert review of Qcells solar panels for 2024
Qcells is a Tier 1 solar panel manufacturer that makes high-performance photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage products for the residential, commercial, and industrial solar energy markets. Its solar panels are near the top of the market for efficiency, performance, and warranty structure, and they are used by installers worldwide.
Qcells is one of the most popular solar brands in the U.S. If you’re shopping for solar and comparing offers from solar installers, you’ve probably seen at least one quote that includes Qcells panels and wondered if they’re any good.
Well, we think they’re great. In fact, we liked them enough to crown Qcells as #1 on the SolarReviews Best Solar Manufacturers list.
Qcells are high-quality, high-reliability panels sold at a good price. Qcells solar panels’ quality, the company’s huge investment in American manufacturing, and their commitment to long-term support are all reasons we recommend Qcells modules to anyone looking for a new solar installation.
Qcells solar panels have a history just as long as the modern solar industry. The company has been sold and rebranded a few times since its inception and has grown from humble roots into a worldwide manufacturer.
Founded in 1999 in Thalheim, Germany, as Q CELLS AG, the company quickly grew to be one of the top solar module manufacturers in the world. Unfortunately, the late-2000s worldwide economic downturn and strong competition from government-subsidized Chinese solar panel companies took their toll, and in 2011, the company filed for insolvency. The Hanwha Group, a South Korean company with a robust solar business, purchased its assets.
In the years since, Hanwha has brought together its German engineering team and world-class manufacturing capabilities to reinvigorate the Q CELLS brand, becoming one of the world’s top 10 solar module manufacturers. In 2018, Hanwha removed its name from the brand, leaving its products simply called “Q CELLS”. It further streamlined the brand name in 2022, becoming the less-shouty “Qcells.”
However, you’d be forgiven for using any format of the brand name. Hanwha still owns the company, and even the Qcells North America website includes the old all-caps style of the name in various places.
Qcells now has manufacturing facilities worldwide, most notably its huge U.S. facility in Dalton, Georgia, the largest solar manufacturing plant in the Western Hemisphere, upon its completion in 2019. The company currently makes more solar panels in North America than any other and is set to continue to grow its production capacity in Georgia. Any Qcells panel you buy in America will likely have been made by workers in Georgia.
|Seoul, South Korea
|Design & engineering
|China, Korea, Malaysia, United States
Qcells has been a leading innovator in solar cell technology and has grown its business by wiring those cells into the solar modules covered below. Recently, Qcells has expanded its offerings to include Q.HOME CORE solar batteries and hybrid solar inverters, but their bread-and-butter products are still their solar modules.
Qcells offers three main residential solar panel lines:
|Q.PEAK DUO BLK ML-G10+
|Q.PEAK DUO BLK-G10+
|405 - 430 W
|385 - 410 W
|350 - 370 W
|20.7% - 22.0%
|19.6% - 20.9%
|19.5% - 20.6%
|90.58% power output after 25 years
|86% power output after 25 years
|86% power output after 25 years
The Q.TRON models are far and away the brand’s most impressive home solar panel. Using what the company calls Q.ANTUM NEO technology, Q.TRON models are more powerful and efficient than ever, reaching impressive efficiency ratings of 22%. The panels also degrade much slower than their predecessors, with a performance warranty guaranteeing almost 91% output by the end of the 25-year term.
Both Q.PEAK DUO lines are Qcells “standard” options, using proprietary PERC technology dubbed Q.ANTUM DUO. Their power output and efficiency ratings are right in line with industry standards. These panels' real “wow” factor is less about their performance specifications and more about the quality and Qcells’ company reliability.
|Estimated cost per watt
|19% - 21%
|25-year. 0.50% annual degradation rate
|Up to 440W
|Up to 22.0%
|25-years, annual degradation as low as 0.33%
To know whether or not a solar panel brand is good, it helps to look at how its offerings compare to other companies in the industry. Here’s a look at how Qcells panels measure up when it comes to efficiency, performance, warranties, and cost.
Most solar panels in the industry are between 19 and 21 percent efficient, with the most efficient residential solar panel clocking in at about 22.8%.
Efficiency was historically Qcells’ weakest point. With the Q.PEAK DUO Series sitting around 20%, Qcells panels were pretty average—still great performers, but nothing record-breaking.
But, with the release of the Q.TRON panels, Qcells is making its way higher up on the list with 22% efficiency.
Solar panels are designed for an operating temperature of 25° C (77° F). Still, because they are black, the surface of the panels increases in temperature faster than the air around them, especially under the direct sun they need for full output. For each degree Celsius in temperature increase, average solar panel output decreases between 0.3% and 0.5%. This decrease in production is known as the temperature coefficient.
The average Qcells solar panel has a temperature coefficient of 0.34%, putting them at the low end of the average range (lower is better).
Qcells warranties are fantastic, especially for the Q.TRON series.
Qcells’ current offerings come with a 25-year product warranty, more than double the industry standard of 12 years.
Q.PEAK DUO panels have a standard performance warranty that guarantees a panel will operate at least at 86% of its original output by the end of the warranty period. The Q.TRON will continue to operate at least at 90.58% of its initial output, which is substantially higher than what many manufacturers offer.
Qcells is a brand you can trust. A solar warranty doesn’t mean anything if the company won’t be around to honor it. Based on Qcells' financial history and reputation in the solar industry, you can rest assured knowing that Qcells will almost certainly be around to honor any warranty claims and that their panels are of the best quality. SolarReviews’ experts strongly believe that getting panels from a reliable, financially stable manufacturer is key to a good solar installation.
Recent quotes from solar companies through our solar panel cost calculator show prices of between $2.80 and $2.95 per watt for installations that include Qcells panels. The national average cost of solar panels is $3.00, meaning solar systems using Qcells solar panels are competitive with the rest of the market.
Remember, the Q.TRON panels are relatively new, and their higher performance means they’ll likely cost more money to install. So, if you’re looking for a cheaper solar installation that still uses quality equipment, the Q.PEAK DUO panels are a great choice!
Homeowners who have gotten quotes from solar installers can rest assured that Qcells solar panels are a high-quality choice backed by a good warranty at a reasonable cost.
While not all of its panels are the absolute best for performance or warranty, they meet the standard set by other Tier 1 solar manufacturers and come in at about the industry average for cost.
For those seeking American-made solar panels, Qcells products are as good or better than Silfab and Mission Solar options. The Qcells brand is well-known, and Hanwha is a long-lived company that will surely last for many years to come, so you can count on them to stand by that warranty if you ever need service.
If you want to switch to solar power, use our calculator to get estimated costs and savings and compare quotes from different providers. Many installers provide quotes for various solar panel brands, so look up information on all solar brands here at SolarReviews!