The best solar panels for homes in 2023



best solar panels for your home in 2023
Many brands make excellent solar panels in 2023.

Are you interested in solar panels for your home? Are you the kind of person that demands the best of everything and accepts no substitutes for the best in life?

This article is for you.

But it’s also for people who want the best solar panels for their specific situation, whether that means the best value for the money, the best solar roof, or the best solar panels for their RV.

Here’s our list of the best solar panels for homes in 2023:

  • Sunpower M-series - Best performance
  • REC Alpha Pure-R - Best high-temperature performance
  • Qcells ML-G10+ - Best overall value
  • Silfab Elite - Best made in the USA
  • GAF Timberline - Best solar roof
Find installers that carry the best solar panels for your home

Why you can trust SolarReviews:

SolarReviews is the leading American website for consumer reviews and ratings of residential solar panels and solar panel installation companies. Our industry experts have over two decades of solar experience combined and maintain editorial independence for their reviews. No company can pay to alter the reviews or review scores shown on our site. Learn more about SolarReviews and how we make money.

Key takeaways

  • There are a number of objective measurements to determine the best-performing solar panels.
  • The best solar panels for any individual home depend on a number of factors, including performance, cost, and availability.
  • All of the solar panels in this article are designed to meet high-performance standards for at least 25 years, and were evaluated using our ranking methodology.
  • Choosing the right solar installer is more important than choosing the best solar panels. Find the best installers near you by reading reviews of solar companies.

Best performance: SunPower M-series

Category: Highest performance

SolarReviews rating: 4.53/5

Efficiency: Up to 22.8%

Temperature coefficient: -0.29%/°C

Product warranty: 25 years

Performance degradation warranty: -0.25% per year

Full review of SunPower solar panels

Why we chose SunPower

SunPower’s M-series solar panels are made by Maxeon using Maxeon 6 series solar cells. Maxeon was part of SunPower but split from the company in 2020 to sell to the wider marketplace. SunPower retains the exclusive right to sell Maxeon 6 solar panels in North America, but Maxeon 3 series panels are now available to any North American solar installer.

If money is no object and you have to have the best home solar panels on the planet, accept no substitute for Maxeon solar panels. When it comes to efficiency, their interdigitated back contact (IBC) solar panels have been ahead of the rest of the industry for years.

The M-series is the highest-efficiency residential solar module on the market with one of the best temperature coefficients. Its output decreases by a smaller amount than most other solar panels when its operating temperature increases.

Pros and cons


  • Super high efficiency
  • Great low-light and high-temperature performance
  • SunPower's 25-year warranty covers replacement, labor, shipping


  • SunPower has some of the most expensive prices in the industry
  • Cost to performance isn’t as good as high-quality value solar panels
  • Maxeon 3 series panels are now available from other installers at lower prices, with performance nearly as high as the 6 series and 40-year product and performance warranties

Best high-temperature performance: REC Alpha Pure-R

Category: Best high-temperature performance

SolarReviews rating: 4.39/5

Efficiency: Up to 22.3%

Temperature coefficient: -0.24%/°C

Product warranty: 25 years

Performance degradation warranty: -0.25% per year

Full review of REC solar panels

Why we chose REC

When it comes to performance under high-temperature conditions, REC Alpha Pure-R solar panels are the absolute best on the market. On top of its excellent heat tolerance, the Pure-R’s module efficiency is nearly as high as SunPower’s M-series and matches its annual degradation warranty.

These are some seriously good solar panels, and many installers in the U.S. offer REC products as a premium option alongside more value-oriented solar panels.

Pros and cons


  • Super high module efficiency and temperature performance
  • Great warranty coverage


  • High price

Best overall value: Qcells ML-G10+

Category: Best overall value

SolarReviews rating: 4.47/5

Efficiency: Up to 20.6%

Temperature coefficient: -0.34%/°C

Product warranty: 25 years

Performance degradation warranty: -0.5% per year

Full review of Qcells solar panels

Why we chose Qcells

In 2022, Qcells solar panels rocketed to the top of the U.S. residential solar market. SolarReviews research shows that 60% of installers now offer Qcells panels, which were installed as part of more than 25% of California home installations in 2022.

That dominant market share is not by accident. Despite being a South Korean company, Qcells is one of the largest solar manufacturers in the United States – and it has plans to grow its manufacturing capacity by hundreds of megawatts in the coming years.

Its head start in manufacturing means it can offer reasonable prices across the industry. Qcells solar panels are solid performers that are easy to install, with a 25-year product and power production warranty coverage at a good price.

Pros and cons


  • Solid performance
  • 25-year power and performance warranties
  • Excellent pricing
  • Made in America


  • Not the highest efficiency

Best made in the USA: Silfab Elite

Category: Best made in the USA

SolarReviews rating: 4.26/5

Efficiency: Up to 21.4%

Temperature coefficient: -0.38%/°C

Product warranty: 25 years

Performance degradation warranty: -0.48% per year

Full review of Silfab solar panels

Why we chose Silfab

Silfab is a privately-owned company with headquarters in Canada and two large U.S. manufacturing facilities in Washington state.

The company’s latest Elite module has an innovative conductive copper backsheet and back-contact solar cells. This design produces beautiful all-black solar modules with improved performance at real-world temperatures. The backsheet platform lends itself to future improvements in cell technology without requiring the company to retool its assembly lines.

Indeed, Silfab is close to finalizing a new solar manufacturing facility in South Carolina, which will eventually manufacture 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar cells every year. The future is bright for Silfab, and the present isn’t too shabby, either.

Pros and cons


  • Very high efficiency
  • Sleek all-black appearance
  • Excellent operation at higher temperatures
  • 25-year product and 30-year production warranties


  • Somewhat higher annual degradation than other top brands’ modules
  • More expensive than Silfab’s Prime modules, which are nearly as efficient

Best solar shingle: GAF Timberline Shingles

Category: Best solar roof

SolarReviews rating: 3.85/5

Efficiency: Up to 15.4%

Temperature coefficient: -0.35%/°C

Product warranty: 25 years

Performance degradation warranty: -0.54% per year

Full review of GAF solar shingles

Why we chose GAF

Of the three main solar roof products (GAF, Certainteed, and Tesla), GAF offers the best temperature coefficient and is the only one verifiably manufactured in the United States. GAF’s Timberline solar shingles are the first “nailable” solar shingle, making them easy for roofing crews to install alongside a new GAF shingle roof and increasing the chance that your local GAF-certified roofer will be interested in adding the solar shingles to their product lineup.

The company stands behind its product with product, power output, and electrical workmanship warranties that correspond with its roofing warranties. GAF warranties work on a tier system depending on the level of certification of the roofing company and the type of shingles being installed. In some cases, the product warranty can extend up to 50 years, with up to 10 years on the electrical workmanship and 25 years for power output and energy generation.

Update: the warranty described above is currently being put to the test, as GAF has issued a recall for certain components of its solar shingle system. Thus far, the company has impressed us with its response; it has remotely deactivated Timberline solar systems and offered affected homeowners monetary compensation for the value of the energy their systems do not produce as it works on repairs.

We don’t love building-integrated photovoltaic systems as a rule because they’re much more expensive than just adding solar panels to new or existing roofing material. Still, if we had to pick one, GAF is the one that rises above, despite the current struggles with the recall (and perhaps because of their excellent response to the issues).

Pros and cons


  • GAF Timberline solar shingles are integrated roofing materials that are installed alongside traditional asphalt shingles right onto the roof deck
  • They offer a sleek appearance that some people find more appealing than solar panels
  • GAF’s solar shingles are covered by the company’s excellent warranties


  • Solar shingles generate less electricity per square foot than traditional solar panels and are more susceptible to heat because they are installed directly onto the roof deck
  • The cost of solar shingles is much higher than a similar-sized solar panel installation


In order to determine the best solar panels in the United States, we developed a rubric based on objective measures of quality and value. The criteria used in our rankings cover panel performance, reliability, warranty coverage, and independent testing.

Here’s a little more about what goes into our rankings:

Efficiency: 20% of grade

Efficiency is one of the most important factors when it comes to solar panel performance. Being able to eke out just a little more energy out of every square inch of a solar panel can be absolutely essential when solar is installed on smaller roofs or on a house that uses a lot of electricity. 

Temperature coefficient: 15% of grade

In addition to efficiency, temperature coefficient is an essential measurement of solar panel performance. Short for “temperature coefficient of maximum output power,” this measurement relates to the decrease in output solar panels experience as the temperature rises above 25 degrees Celsius.

A lower temperature coefficient is preferable; solar panel design can improve this number.

Presence on the PVEL Top Performers list: 15% of grade

Every year, PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) produces a module scorecard for every solar module submitted for testing that year.

Our scoring system awards full points for modules that appeared on the PVEL top performers list for the year in which they submitted the module for consideration and zero points for modules that didn’t make the list.

Warranty: 20% of grade

Warranty protection is an essential part of module quality, but a measure of the quality of the company must also factor into the analysis. Before a company can qualify for our rankings, we analyze the publicly available information about its financial performance. We select only those companies with a proven history of success.

With a list of eligible companies narrowed down, we assess the warranties based on the number of years of product and power output coverage and the annual degradation rate the panels are guaranteed not to exceed. 

Made in the USA: 10% of grade

While it isn’t a measurement of quality per se, being made in the USA is increasingly important to ensure a stable supply of products now and in the future. Tariffs and trade restrictions have caused many solar panels from overseas companies to hit the U.S. market in reduced quantities, if at all.

A reliable domestic supply of solar panels is vital to our future, so companies with stateside manufacturing get full points in this category. Companies that manufacture modules in Canada and Mexico) notably Silfab and Maxeon, respectively) earn half points.

Cost: 20% of grade

Cost is one of the most critical measures and also one of the most difficult to pin down. Solar distribution companies are typically bound by many layers of NDAs and other legal proscriptions of their ability to release pricing data.

In general, we use publicly available pricing information from wholesale and retail websites, supplemented by reports of pricing from installers and manufacturers themselves when necessary and prudent. All prices are compared on a dollars-per-watt basis.

Differences between solar panels

A solar panel consists of a few major components:

  • Solar cells made of photovoltaic semiconductor material
  • Wires or other connectors between solar cells that gather excited electrons from the semiconductor and transmit them as electricity
  • An EVA plastic encapsulant that seals the electrical components with a watertight barrier
  • Tempered glass on the front of the module (front and back for bifacial modules) that protects the other layers
  • For monofacial modules, a backsheet that protects the rear of the module and completes the seal
  • A junction box with positive and negative leads to connect the solar panel to others

For the most part, the differences in the solar panels listed above have to do with the first two components: the solar cells and the connections between them.

Additional reading: how solar panels are made.

Solar cells

All of the solar panels listed above use monocrystalline silicon solar cells. These cells are made from ingots of pure silicon grown in special machines as long cylindrical crystal structures. The cylinders are sliced into super thin wafers and then “doped” with other chemical solutions to produce the photovoltaic (energy from light) effect.

Monocrystalline (or simply “mono”) solar cells are currently the most efficient cells on the market, but that may not be the case for much longer. One of the companies listed above, REC, uses heterojunction (HJT) technology, in which ultra-thin layers of amorphous silicon are deposited onto a mono cell. This technology can exceed the efficiency of simple mono cells, but researchers are still working on making such highly-efficient cells available to the marketplace.

Other differences in the solar cells used in the panels listed above have to do with slight variations in how the cells are made, like whether they use n-type or p-type silicon or use PERC solar cell technology.

Module wiring and connections

The second main difference between the modules in our ranking is how the cells are connected.

Traditional crystalline silicon solar cells have tiny “fingers” of silver paste screen printed on top of the cells in a horizontal pattern. Then, tiny wires called busbars are attached to the cell surface, connecting the solar cells together in a vertical string. The strings are wired together and then directed to the wires at the back of the panel.

Of the panels listed above, Qcells, REC, and GAF use this method of wiring solar cells together. One criticism of this type of panel architecture is that the busbars and connections create places where the cell can fail or experience hotspots where the busbars contact the edges of cells.

Maxeon’s solar panels use a technology called Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC), in which the back of the solar cells are connected to a metallic substrate, which conducts the electricity without wires across the front of the cells. The cells are then connected by study plates attached to the metallic layer. This technology improves module efficiency and helps the Maxeon panels last longer when exposed to high temperatures.

Silfab’s Elite modules use a newer technology where special back-contact cells are laid over a conductive backsheet. It’s similar to Maxeon’s technology in that it eliminates any shading from busbars on the front of the cells.

Future advancements in technology

What will the future hold for our ranking of the top solar panels? Will there be some wild new technology that kickstarts a massive jump in efficiency and longevity?

The answer is very likely “no,” at least for the next 5-10 years.

The photovoltaic effect has been studied extensively over the past 70+ years, and it’s well understood that crystalline silicon has just the right mix of energy generation ability and durability compared to its cost and manufacturing complexity. The solar panels we have right now are powerful enough to generate all the electricity most houses need in a year when installed on just the sunniest portions of the roof.

Solar panels will likely see performance improvements with novel materials added in ultra-thin layers on top of crystalline silicon cells. We already covered what REC is doing with amorphous silicon in its HJT cells, and similar things are happening with many kinds of materials, including perovskites.

Advances in solar cell technology will continue to be slow as researchers discover how to make newer materials more durable and cost-effective. In 20-30 years, there may be a doubling of solar panel efficiency, but the panels that are around today will have produced billions of kilowatt hours by that time.

It is imperative that our society uses the current technology to meet the challenges of climate change while scientists and the solar industry work to make future products even better.

Why choosing the right installer matters more than choosing the best solar panel

When it comes down to it, many companies today are producing extremely high-quality solar panels that will reliably make energy for decades to come. In 20 years, they’ll operate nearly as well as they do today.

What’s more important is choosing the right solar installer. They are the people who will be up on your roof, drilling through shingles and running wires across your roof, and they are who you will reach out to in case something happens in the future. You want to pick a company that will be around for that future.

It’s imperative that you choose the right solar installer, and you can get the process started by finding at least three companies to give you an estimate of the cost and energy production you can expect for a home solar installation.

Find out what a solar installation would cost based on recent installations in your zip code
 - Author of Solar Reviews

Ben Zientara

Solar Policy Analyst and Researcher

Ben Zientara is a writer, researcher, and solar policy analyst who has written about the residential solar industry, the electric grid, and state utility policy since 2013.

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