Phono Solar panel review: cost, products, and warranties
Individual panel prices
Prices of DIY kits
Installed system prices
Phono Solar Technology Co., Ltd, is a solar photovoltaic panel manufacturing company that launched in 2007 in the Jiangsu Province of China. For over a decade, Phono Solar has worked to improve their technology and market share and has shipped over 7 gigawatts (GW) of solar modules globally.
Phono Solar's parent company, SUMEC Group, is a subsidiary of Fortune Global 500 company China National Machinery Industry Corporation (SINOMACH).
Aside from being affiliated with a large, state-owned company like SINOMACH, Phono Solar has received prestigious awards that help bolster the company's reliability. In 2014, Phono Solar was officially listed on Bloomberg's list of Tier 1 solar manufacturers, one of the highest distinctions for solar manufacturers.
But that's not the only distinction Phono Solar has received. In 2016, Phono was named one of PVEL's Top Performers, which means they passed rigorous third-party testing standards. Phono is still considered a Top Performer today.
Overall, you can expect a great solar panel system when you choose one of Phono Solar's six residential modules.
The total cost to install a Phono solar energy system is about $17,500 before incentives like the federal solar tax credit. This breaks down to about $2.50 per watt of solar installed.
The actual cost of installing Phono Solar panels will depend on the installer you chose and where you live. The price of Phono Solar panels is lower than the national average cost of solar of $3.00 per watt (as of January 2023).
Don't get us wrong - $17,500 sounds like a high price, and it is. But this is about a fraction of what you'll pay for a solar power system if you use other high-efficiency Tier 1 panels, like Sunpower, that can cost well over $21,000.
The best way to find out how much solar panels will cost for you is by using our solar calculator, which will show you accurate solar savings estimates based on your electric bill.
Phono Solar manufactures residential and commercial solar modules with both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells. Let's take a closer look at some of their solar panel product lines.
Learn more: Monocrystalline vs. polycrystalline solar panels
Phono Solar's TwinPlus X model. Image source: Phono Solar
Phono's TwinPlus Module series are made exclusively of monocrystalline solar cells. Monocrystalline solar cells are made of one singular crystal of silicon, making them highly efficient and uniform in color.
The TwinPlus series also uses half-cell technology, which cuts down on resistive losses and makes the cells more durable against mechanical stress.
There are a few different TwinPlus X modules, but only the 108-cell models are recommended for residential use.
TwinPlus X Module M6(R)-10B-R
|395 - 415 W||20.23% - 21.25%|
Phono Helios Module. Image source: Phono Solar
Just like the TwinPlus modules, the Helios product line uses half-cut monocrystalline solar cells and multi-busbar technology to make highly efficient panels.
The Helios modules come in a few different models, but only the 60-cell ones are recommended for home solar installations
Unfortunately, Phono doesn’t provide the datasheet for the residential models on its website. What we do know is that they range from 380 W to 400 W in size.
Phono Solar offers two warranties: a 12-year product warranty and a 25-year performance warranty. The warranty start date is the date of delivery by Phono Solar to the buyer or 180 days after the production of the module, whichever comes first.
The product warranty ensures that Phono Solar's modules will be defect-free under normal application, installation, operation, and use. If it proves that there are defects in the first 12 years, Phono Solar will either repair or replace the panels at no charge.
Phono's product warranty is pretty similar to most other panels on the market. However, some manufacturers allow homeowners to register their panels with the company to extend the warranty from 12 years to 25. It would be nice if Phono offered something similar, but considering their Tier 1 status and DNV-GL ratings, they have a pretty solid manufacturing process, meaning, their products likely will not have defects.
The peak power warranty is what you really want to look at when you buy solar panels. Solar panels degrade as they age, meaning they can't produce as much power as they did when they were first installed. The peak power warranty gives you an idea of how the panels will operate the older they get.
The exact power warranty your panel qualifies for depends on the model number. For monocrystalline panels, the power rating at Standard Test Conditions (STC), which is just the power rating listed on the panel's datasheet, will decline between 2.0% and 3.0% after Year 1, depending on which solar panel model you have. After that, the power rating will decline between 0.55% and 0.7%, depending on the model.
For polycrystalline panels, the power rating will decline by no more than 2.5% in the first year. After that, the panels will degrade by no more than 0.7% annually. By Year 25, the panel should operate at no less than 80.7% of its original rated capacity at STC.
Phono Solar does offer panels with impressive specs, but their warranty seems to be their weak spot. Most solar panel manufacturers offer an annual degradation rate of about 0.5%. Phono's isn't that much higher, especially for models that qualify for the 0.55% degradation rate. But the 0.7% degradation rate is a bit higher than industry standards, and over time it can add up.
You want the lowest possible degradation rate, so your panels are operating as close as possible to their original power rating.
Phono Solar panels are a great choice for home solar panel systems. The company offers a variety of solar PV product lines that are bound to meet the needs of any homeowners. All of their monocrystalline panels have high-efficiency ratings, some reaching over 21%. And the best part is, you can get these high wattage, high-efficiency panels for less than some of the other leading brands.
However, there are some downsides to Phono Solar products. The company's warranty is a little lackluster. It's not terrible but it's definitely not the best we've seen, either. But because many of Phono's panels start with a high power rating, they'll still operate at a relatively high wattage even with a high degradation rate.
Overall, Phono Solar is a reliable company that utilizes a high-quality manufacturing process to produce Tier 1 solar panels at a decent price. Phono Solar panels can make a great addition to any home that wants to make the switch to clean, renewable energy.