Mission Solar panels: complete review
Mission Solar panels are being chosen by more and more homeowners, despite being a relatively new solar panel brand. The company's increased popularity is no surprise: Mission designs and assembles high efficiency, high-quality solar panels right here in the U.S.A.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at Mission Solar Energy and how their solar panels measure up to industry standards to help you decide if they’re the right panels for your home.
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What is Mission Solar Energy?
Mission Solar Energy is a solar panel manufacturer that opened its doors in 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Since then, Mission Solar has become the fourth-largest manufacturing firm in the city of San Antonio, with over 400 local employees on staff.
The company’s American roots mean they are compliant with both the Buy American Act as well as the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This also means that Mission Solar modules are not subject to Trump’s Section 201 import tariffs.
Mission Solar prides themselves not only on their Texan heritage, but also on their high manufacturing standards. All of Mission’s raw materials are inspected when they arrive to make sure there is no damage to the cells before module assembly begins. The cells and modules are inspected multiple times throughout the manufacturing process.
Mission also has third-party testing performed on their panels to determine how their products perform under different conditions. Mission Solar products have been used in residential, commercial, and utility applications.
What products does Mission Solar offer?
Mission Solar Energy offers a wide variety of solar panels for grid-tied and off-grid solar installations. All of Mission’s modules contain p-type monocrystalline solar cells.
All of their panels can be divided into three product lines:
- MSE PERC 60 Black
- MSE PERC 60 White
- MSE PERC 72
MSE PERC 60 Black modules
The MSE PERC 60 Black modules have power outputs ranging from 300 watts (W) to 325 W. These monocrystalline modules’ all-black design allows for a more uniform look across the solar array.
MSE PERC 60 White modules
The MSE PERC 60 White modules have a white back sheet, so they look more like the solar panels you’re used to seeing.
While this might make them a little less aesthetically pleasing, Mission’s PERC 60 White modules have higher power outputs and higher efficiency ratings. The PERC 60 White modules are offered from 305 W to 330 W, with the highest efficiency module clocking in at 19.53%.
MSE PERC 72 modules
The MSE PERC 72 modules are more popular among larger commercial and utility-scale installations.
They contain 72 solar cells, as opposed to 60, which makes them much larger than Mission's other solar modules. Their increased size does mean that they have higher power outputs - the lowest PERC 72 delivers 365 W of power, while the highest can produce 390 W.
How do Mission Solar panels compare to other solar panels on the market?
Sure, Mission Solar Energy panels sound great, but how do they stack up to other solar panels? Let’s take a closer look at the specifications of Mission Solar panels, and how they compare to solar industry standards.
|Specification||MSE PERC 60 Black||MSE PERC 60 White||SE PERC 72|
|Power output||300 W - 325 W||305 W - 315 W||365 W - 390 W|
|Efficiency rating||18.05% - 19.24%||18.35% - 19.53%||18.39% - 19.35%|
|Cell type||P-type monocrystalline||P-type monocrystalline||P-type monocrystalline|
|Power tolerance||-0 ~ +3%||-0 ~ +3%||-0 ~ +3%|
|Front & back load||5631 Pa||5631 Pa||5631 Pa|
|Warranty||25-year linear warranty||25-year linear warranty||25-year linear warranty|
|Product data sheets||Sheet 1, Sheet 2||Sheet 1, Sheet 2||Sheet 1, Sheet 2|
Mission Solar module efficiency ratings are in line with industry standards. All of their modules' efficiency ratings range between 18% and 19.53%.
While Mission Solar panels aren’t the highest efficiency panels you can buy, they’re still on the higher end of average solar panel efficiency. Their higher efficiency is largely thanks to the 5 busbars on their mono-PERC cells - which allow more electrons to flow through each solar cell.
Power tolerance rating
Power tolerance measures how much a solar panel will produce above or below its rated power capacity at any given moment under “Standard Test Conditions”, or STC. The smaller the power tolerance range, the more accurate the rated power capacity is.
Mission Solar modules have a power tolerance of -0/+3%. So, at any point in time, a Mission Solar panel will at the very least be operating at its rated capacity, but it could operate as much as 3% higher than its rated capacity. For example, a Mission Solar panel rated at 300 W will be able to operate anywhere from 300 W to 309 W (or 3% higher than 300) under STC. The panel won’t operate below 300 W.
Having a -0% tolerance rating is great for solar system performance because it suggests the panels will likely operate well under real world conditions. Plus, it is an indicator that they have a solid, high-quality manufacturing process.
PTC ratings and other performance factors
Solar panel specification sheets represent how a solar panel will perform under Standard Test Conditions in a laboratory. That means everything on your solar panel specification sheet will only operate at those numbers if the solar panel has a cell temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, is receiving 1000 watts per square meter of sunlight, and the air mass is 1.5.
The chances of your solar panel constantly (or ever) operating in Standard Test Conditions are slim to none. This is where PTC ratings are helpful. PTC ratings are performed by third-party laboratories where solar panels are tested under real-world conditions - such as higher temperatures, higher wind speeds, and less sunlight.
High PTC scores mean that a solar panel will operate better under these real-world conditions than a solar panel with a lower PTC score. Mission Solar has the highest PTC ratings of any American-made solar modules - beating out premium brands like Sunpower.
Mission Solar modules are able to withstand higher pressures than many other solar panels. This means Mission panels are better equipped for heavy snow loads or debris. Their fire, hail, and salt mist ratings are pretty consistent with industry standards.
Mission Solar offers a linear, 25-year production warranty and a 12-year product warranty.
The product warranty ensures that the solar panels will be free from defects as long as they are installed and used properly, for 12 years. If you register your panels online with Mission after they are installed, the product warranty will be extended to 25 years.
The production warranty outlines how the solar panel’s output will degrade over time. In Year 1, Mission Solar panel production will not decrease by more than 3.0%. After Year 1, the panel production will not decrease by more than 0.7% per year. By the 25th year, your solar panel should operate at no less than 80.20% of its original power capacity.
The good news is that Mission’s warranty explicitly states that their solar panel production can not decrease by more than 0.7% per year. What’s not so great is that a 0.7% degradation rate is a little high. Most solar panels have a degradation rate closer to 0.5%, with many being much lower than that - around 0.3%.
This means that over time, your Mission Solar panels could degrade faster than other solar panels, thus producing less energy.
Mission Solar panels come at a pretty reasonable price point - especially for having a high efficiency rating.
Before installation, Mission panels tend to go for between $0.60 and $0.70 per watt. Other solar panels with comparable efficiency ratings to Mission’s panels, like certain Panasonic HIT and LG NeOn panels, cost closer to $1.00 per watt. That’s nearly $0.40 more per watt than Mission for similar specs!
When professional installation is included, the price for Mission Solar panels comes out to around $2.45 per watt, which is in line with the national average cost of $2.49 per watt of solar installed.
This means that a 6kW Mission Solar solar panel system would cost around $14,700, before the federal tax credit. After the 26% tax credit is applied, a Mission Solar system price would fall to about $10,878.
Of course, the actual cost to install Mission Solar panels on your roof will vary depending on the size of the system, the installer you choose, and the exact Mission modules installed.
Are Mission Solar panels worth getting?
While Mission Solar modules don’t have record-breaking efficiency ratings or outrageously high power outputs, they are still a great option for homeowners looking to switch to solar.
Multiple inspections during manufacturing and third-party testing ensure that you will have a high-quality solar panel system when you go with Mission - without having to spend a fortune.
The biggest downside to Mission Solar’s modules is that the degradation rate in their warranty is a bit high. But, because they are rated to perform better under real world conditions than many other solar panels on the market, this slight increase in degradation rate isn’t such a big deal.
Overall, you can’t go wrong installing Mission Solar modules. They’re a reliable company producing a high quality product. Mission Solar’s customer reviews here on SolarReviews are a testament to their product - they 4.70 out of 5 stars with over 200 reviews.
And as an added bonus - they’re American-made! Mission Solar let’s you power your home with clean solar power and support American workers and the economy while doing it!
- Mission Solar Energy is an American solar panel manufacturer located in San Antonio, Texas.
- Mission Solar has three different solar panel lines: MSE PERC 60 Black, MSE PERC 60 White, and MSE PERC 72.
- All of Mission Solar Energy’s solar panels are monocrystalline, with power output ratings ranging from 300 W to 390 W and efficiency ratings between 18% and 19.35%.
- You can expect to pay around $2.45 per watt when you install Mission Solar panels, which is a great price considering the quality and performance of Mission Solar panels.
- Although Mission Solar panels have a higher degradation rate than some other solar panels on the market, their high quality control measures, great performance specs both in a lab and in harsh conditions, and being American made makes them an excellent investment for homeowners looking to go solar.
Author: Catherine Lane | SolarReviews Blog Author
Catherine is a researcher and content specialist at SolarReviews. She has strong interests in issues related to climate and sustainability which led her to pursue a degree in environmental science at Ramapo College of New Jersey.