SolarReviews’ top 10 solar panel brands in 2023
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It’s 2023, and time for the newest version of the SolarReviews Top 10 solar panel manufacturer rankings. Once again, our team of experts ranked the top brands in the world by how well they succeed at the most important factors that lead to long-term stability and customer satisfaction in the residential solar marketplace.
We put particular emphasis on the value of each manufacturer’s products for the price as well as each company’s financial performance because these brands must balance widespread sales with the ability to stick around and support their customers for decades to come.
This year’s rankings include a bit of a shakeup as previous name brands changed how they operate, some companies left the industry, and other huge foreign companies faced significant setbacks in the U.S. market. More on that below.
Without further ado, here are SolarReviews’ top 10 solar brands in the U.S.A. for 2023:
|Rank||Brand||What's good||What's not-so-good|
|1||Qcells||Made in the U.S.A., 25-year product and performance warranties, highest market share and product availability in the U.S. residential market, subsidiary of a strong global corporate group||Not the most efficient or highest-performing modules|
|2||Canadian Solar||Some modules made in North America, 20-year history, 25-year product and performance warranties, excellent value for the money, reputable brand, profitable company||Not the most efficient or highest-performing modules|
|3||Maxeon SunPower||The most efficient modules money can buy, excellent warranty||Some modules are exclusive to SunPower, very expensive for marginally better performance, Maxeon is not profitable on its own|
|4||REC Group||The second most efficient modules, best temperature coefficient, excellent warranty||Very high price, recent company acquisition could potentially impact manufacturing quality|
|5||Jinko||Partially made in the U.S., very efficient modules for the residential market, good value||Warranty isn’t as good as other top brands|
|6||JA Solar||Good quality modules at an attractive price point||Warranty somewhat lacking compared to the best brands|
|7||Silfab Solar||Made in the U.S., 30-year performance and 25-year product warranties, new advanced tech coming||Fairly expensive, smaller company that doesn’t publish financial information|
|8||Mission Solar||Made in the U.S., 25-year product and performance warranties, decent value for the money||Not the highest efficiency|
|9||Hyundai Solar||Company with a long history, 25-year performance and 25-year product warranty, very strong corporate group||Not the highest efficiency|
|10||Phono Solar||High-efficiency modules, successful company with Chinese government backing, good reputation, long-standing company||Warranty is industry-average, not a ton of distribution in the U.S.|
Korea-headquartered Qcells (née Hanwha Q CELLS) doesn’t make the most technologically advanced solar panels in the world. But the company does produce high-quality modules, and it serves the U.S. market more completely than any other brand.
In early 2023, Qcells announced that it would vastly increase its U.S.-based production of solar materials, including the ingots, wafers, and cells that make up the early parts of the module manufacturing process. The company currently manufactures 1.7 GW of modules every year in Dalton, Georgia, with plans to expand that capacity to over 8 GW in the near future.
That expansion should add to the company’s already market-leading offerings. Qcells solar panels were used in about 25% of solar installations in California in 2022 (the state that accounts for 40% of the country’s home solar installations), up from 16% in 2021.
The company’s current flagship line in the U.S. market is the Q.PEAK DUO BLK G10+, using 120 half-cut PERC solar cells and offering between 350 W and 370 W of output at standard test conditions (STC). Qcells offers product and performance warranties of 25 years to U.S. residential customers. These modules do everything well and exceed the industry averages for performance and longevity.
Speaking of longevity, the company’s long history as a subsidiary of Hanwha (one of the strongest corporate groups in the world) and plans for stateside expansion speaks volumes about its commitment to long-term success. The aforementioned expansion across multiple sites in Georgia will help it remain on top of the residential solar market, and its move into energy storage with the Q.HOME CORE line will open up new avenues for the brand to gain public awareness and revenue.
Canadian Solar takes second place in this year’s rankings, bolstered by its 20-year history of success in the marketplace, financial performance, and value for the money. The company’s products are made in China and Canada, but there have been rumors it’s considering a U.S. manufacturing facility in the future.
At this point, Canadian Solar has escaped the concerns that have prevented other large Chinese-made brands from being allowed to sell panels in America under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. This situation is very fluid, and U.S. Customs may investigate other Chinese manufacturers in the future.
The current best Canadian Solar panels for residential use are the HiKu6 and HiKu Black lines. These modules use 108 half-cut PERC cells to offer up to 420 W of STC output, and Canadian Solar now backs them up with 25-year product and performance warranties.
Maxeon has long produced some of the highest-efficiency solar modules in the world, which also happen to be the least prone to degradation over the long term. Known for their excellent performance in low light, very low-temperature coefficient, and low annual degradation, they truly are a cut above.
Unfortunately, that performance and quality come at a price. Maxeon modules are near the top of the market in dollars-per-watt, selling at a substantial premium that often exceeds the benefits of their increased performance (i.e., a 20 to 30% premium for 5 to 10% relative gains in efficiency and output).
The company’s interdigitated back contact (IBC) modules were long sold exclusively through SunPower installers in the United States, but that arrangement has changed slightly this year. On January 5th, 2023, Maxeon and SunPower signed a new exclusive contract, but only for Maxeon 6 panels, which are white labeled as SunPower M-Series solar panels. Maxeon 3 series solar panels are now available to other North American installers for the first time, distributed by Greentech Renewables and coming with an industry-leading 40-year warranty.
It will be interesting to see how well Maxeon’s expansion into the broader U.S. marketplace translates into market share. The company posted a net loss of $285 million between Q4 2021 and Q3 2022 (and, in fact, hasn’t posted a profit since it split from SunPower in 2020), but it anticipates strong growth in demand over the next few years as its Mexican facility ramps up production of the 3 Series Modules. We’ll be watching to see whether it can turn things around.
Coming in at number four for 2023 is REC, a Norwegian company now owned by Mumbai-based mega-conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited. REC produces heterojunction and TOPCon solar cells and makes modules that rival Maxeon’s for performance, quality, and longevity. In fact, REC bests Maxeon on temperature coefficient.
Not only that, but REC has also taken over the manufacturing of Panasonic’s high-performance heterojunction modules. Again, these super-high-efficiency panels come at a price premium, but their performance over the long haul speaks for itself.
2023 will see the launch of REC’s N-Peak 3 Black modules in the U.S.A. and continued sales of REC’s excellent Alpha Pure and Twinpeak product lines. Like other top module makers, REC has recently switched to matching its 25-year performance warranty with a 25-year product warranty for its best modules.
With top-tier technology and strong performance history, REC solar panels remain a top choice for people who demand the best money can buy. Still, we’ll be watching for any big changes to manufacturing expansion plans under the new ownership.
Rounding out the top 5 is Jinko Solar, a large Chinese company with a substantial footprint in the United States. The company makes 400 MW of solar panels every year in Jacksonville, Florida, representing around 9% of its annual production capacity.
Jinko is one of the largest solar manufacturers in the world, reporting over $6 billion in revenue between Q4 2021 and Q3 2022—an increase of more than 24% compared to the previous 12 months. Its top residential modules are the Eagle 66TR G4, which offers nearly 21% efficiency and made this year’s PVEL top performers list.
Going forward, we’ll be watching to see whether Jinko expands its stateside manufacturing in the wake of the IRA and whether it can increase its U.S. market share. Numbers from California indicate that the brand’s products were installed in about 2% of home solar systems in 2022.
Perhaps better known for its supersized utility-scale solar modules, JA Solar is a huge (and hugely successful) Chinese company, with revenue growing by over 35% in 2022 compared to 2021.
Like its revenue, JA’s share of the home solar marketplace has grown by leaps and bounds in the past year. Its products are now used in 2% of California home installations, up from just 0.4% a year ago. The brand is ready to become a household name in the U.S., with a 2 GW manufacturing facility to be completed by the end of 2023.
JA’s bread-and-butter products for the home market are its 54- and 60-cell modules using half-cut mono PERC cells. They perform admirably and offer excellent value for the money.
JA Solar is a Chinese company subject to tariffs and duties, but its products are subject to lower duties than others, partly because of its extensive testimony and evidence presented to the Department of Commerce. As such, the company’s products are known for low prices, making them an excellent choice for budget installations in a marketplace with few low-cost options.
A newcomer in our rankings at number 7, Silfab is a North American manufacturer of solar panels that have proven very popular in the age of tariffs and trade restrictions. But the company’s products aren’t only interesting in the absence of cheap Chinese modules; Silfab’s Prime and Elite solar panels lines are excellent in their own right, and the company looks ready to keep producing high-quality modules and innovating in the future.
To that point, the company has promised to continue expanding its U.S. manufacturing facilities and is partnering with Endurans Solar to pioneer a new approach to manufacturing back-contact solar modules that is more environmentally responsible and aesthetically beautiful. Meanwhile, its existing products get 30-year performance warranties and 25-year product warranties.
Mission Solar is a U.S.-based manufacturer of solar modules owned by Korean conglomerate OCI Company Limited. We love an American manufacturer, and Mission is loud and proud about its history of making solar modules in San Antonio, Texas.
Still, we haven’t got visibility into the financial performance of the brand—parent company OCI is publicly traded and publishes financial statements without breaking down the performance of its solar division. If we could see some solid financial performance for Mission itself, it could leapfrog up a spot or two in the rankings.
Like nearly all brands on this list, Mission now offers 25-year product and performance warranties on its modules. The company’s current top residential solar panels comprise 66 mono PERC solar cells and come in at up to 400W STC output at 19.9% efficiency.
Hyundai solar panels are made by an offshoot of the Korean giant Hyundai Heavy Industries called Hyundai Energy Solutions. The company’s current flagship modules are the XG series, which include 120 half-cut cells and offer outputs between 350 and 375 W, based on total module efficiencies of 19.2% to 20.6%.
Sales of Hyundai solar modules represent a very small portion of the U.S. home solar market. Still, the company’s long history and financial success should encourage anyone considering these modules for their home. Hyundai is a powerful corporate group with the deep pockets needed to ride through the ups and downs of the solar industry.
The final spot in our 2023 manufacturer rankings goes to Phono Solar. Founded in 2007, the company is a subsidiary of the Chinese government-controlled SINOMACH Group. The company’s products aren’t as popular in the U.S. as some others on this list, but they have been around for a long time, and we have never heard anything bad about them.
Phono’s top solar panels—TwinPlus and TwinPlus Pro—include modules that reach efficiencies significantly higher than 21%. That’s an impressive number, and combined with the brand’s pricing at about the industry average, it’s a big reason why Phono is included in this list.
Now that we’ve covered a bit about each of the top 10 brands, here is some information about the data we collected and analyzed to perform the 2023 solar panel brand rankings:
|Ranking factor||Points (out of 50)||What is covered|
|Value||15||Average wholesale pricing per watt|
|Company financial performance||10||Publicly-traded, availability of financial statements, operating revenue, positive net profit, YoY revenue growth|
|Module quality||10||Efficiency, temperature coefficient, listing on PVEL Top Performers list in 2022|
|Warranty||5||Years of coverage for product and performance warranties|
|Investment in the U.S.||5||HQ or offices in U.S., manufacturing capacity in U.S., attendance at trade shows|
|Dealer network||5||Percentage of market share|
2022 was a big year for the solar industry. President Biden took executive action to boost solar in June, and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act quickly followed in August. These two government actions are history's most significant steps forward for the U.S. solar industry. The effects are already being felt, as several companies listed below have announced new U.S. manufacturing facilities, and there is news about reopening raw materials manufacturing.
Solar panel manufacturers have benefited significantly from an increase in the demand for solar worldwide as governments set aggressive emission reduction targets and seek greater energy independence. Some companies on this list saw their revenues grow by more than 50% year-over-year in 2022, and established players are more bankable than ever. There’s never been a better time to be a solar panel manufacturer.
Like each year since the start of the pandemic, the solar industry also saw its share of challenges in 2022. There were supply shortages, tariff, and trade battles, and issues with certain Chinese modules in U.S. ports. As we mentioned above, these bumps in the road have caused a shakeup in the SolarReviews brand rankings, as have the closure of LG Solar and Panasonic shopping out the manufacturing of its modules.
Still, all the trials and triumphs have led us to a new high water mark for the industry. The brands in our rankings all have the chance to become household names as the industry begins to serve the millions of U.S. homeowners and small businesses who haven’t yet installed solar panels.
Keen observers of the solar industry will no doubt have noticed a couple of big omissions among the brands in the list above. Two huge Chinese solar companies—LONGi and Trina— make products just as good as some of the best names above but don’t appear on the list.
Both companies are hugely profitable and will undoubtedly be around for many years. LONGi’s products alone account for over 14% of the residential installations in California in 2022, and the company’s solar panels top out at 21.8% efficiency, the third highest of any company on this list. Trina also offers modules with up to 21% efficiency. Had we included them in this ranking, they would have taken 1st and 7th places, respectively.
The reasons for their exclusion in this year’s brand rankings are twofold: both companies have been found to circumvent U.S. tariffs, and each has had its products seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) due to concerns that they contain materials processed using forced labor. LONGi and Trina stopped shipping products to the U.S. due to the seizures.
This is an ongoing story, which we will closely follow as 2023 progresses. We will update this article with new information as it becomes available.
Of the brands in our rankings, Canadian Solar was also found to be circumventing tariffs, and Jinko had modules seized by CBP, some of which were later cleared for release. But in their favor, Jinko was explicitly found not to circumvent the AD/CVD tariffs, and both companies produce modules in the Americas in addition to overseas.
With Qcells’ blockbuster $2.5 billion investment in its U.S. manufacturing base kicking off the year in style, 2023 promises to be full of big news. We’ll be watching how many other companies announce major new investments in stateside manufacturing. We’ll also be watching for announcements of raw material sourcing that will likely come as a result of the incentives in the IRA.
We’ll also be looking to see how the big Chinese companies respond to the AD/CVD rulings and whether they can successfully get their products out of U.S. Customs and into the hands of installers.
Finally, we’ll keep our eyes on many of the brands listed above as they begin shipments of their new energy storage products. Any company that figures out how to successfully combine solar, storage, and smart load controls in an affordable, streamlined solution that most homeowners want will no doubt have a place high on this list for years to come.
Nearly 92% of U.S. homeowners do not yet have solar panels, meaning there is a huge opportunity for the industry to grow, and the top contenders of the future are being decided today.