The best solar panels to buy for your home in 2023
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Are you looking for the best solar panels for your home?
For a quick recommendation, check out the 5 best solar panels in 2023 as chosen by our experts; it’s a mix of the best-performing solar panels (premium panels) and the best-value solar panels (value panels).
For a deeper dive, read through our entire article, where we cover the best solar panels according to criteria such as solar panel efficiency and company market share.
Happy solar panel hunting!
About this guide
We’ve designed this guide to help residential solar consumers – homeowners like you – find the right solar panels for their needs and preferences.
We’ve drawn on many different sources to produce our best-of lists: solar industry experts, official government data, and thousands of consumer reviews.
All rankings in this article were compiled based on expert opinions, consumer reviews, and solar installation data. SolarReviews was not paid for any of the reviews or rankings.
We asked our in-house group of solar industry experts to weigh the pros and cons of different solar panel brands, and choose which ones they would install on their own homes.
After comparing and scoring all major solar brands sold in the U.S. market, here are the top 5 solar brands they recommend:
|#||Solar panel brand||Panel category||What the experts like about it|
|1||Qcells||Value||Solid all-around performance, U.S. manufacturing|
|2||Canadian Solar||Value||Highly reliable panels at budget prices|
|3||Maxeon (SunPower)||Premium||The most efficient solar panels on the market|
|4||REC Group||Premium||Outstanding specs including industry-leading high-temperature performance|
|5||JA Solar||Value||Strong reputation for high-quality solar panels|
The experts focused on three key criteria when making their judgment:
They explained that since solar panels last so long, it is crucial that the brand will be around to honor any warranty claims over the 25-year lifespan of the panel.
Their picks are divided into two categories: premium solar panels and value solar panels.
Solar panels from Qcells, Canadian Solar and JA Solar offer the best value for money, according to our experts.
Solar panels from all three companies are considered to be among the most reliable solar panels available, and they consistently rank highly in independent third-party reliability testing.
Qcells is their #1 pick for best solar panel overall. While foreign-owned, Qcells operates a huge 1,700 MW solar panel assembly plant in Dalton, Georgia, allowing them to avoid import tariffs, keep prices low, and create American manufacturing jobs.
In terms of costs, all three are reasonably priced, typically costing 20% less than their premium rivals. This translates to savings of between $500 and $2,000 in your upfront installation costs.
These brands should be top of your list if you’re on a budget but still want a quality solar panel system on your roof.
That said, all three solar panels do make some tradeoffs to achieve their lower price. They won’t perform quite as well as the premium brands in high temperatures, and they are slightly less efficient as well. They’ll also see more significant performance drops over time, with none among them guaranteeing more than 86% output at the 25-year mark.
Our experts’ top choices in the premium solar panel category are Maxeon (SunPower) and REC Group.
Maxeon – formerly known as SunPower – has been the industry leader in solar panel efficiency for years, and looks set to hold its title through 2023 and beyond. Their current flagship line, the M Series, is 22.8% efficient, over half a percent clear of their nearest competitor.
Maxeon (SunPower) also offers the very best product warranty we’ve seen in the residential segment – an astounding 40 years.
REC Group’s solar panels, meanwhile, have the lowest temperature coefficient among all residential solar panels. This means that they suffer the lowest output losses under high temperatures, making them an excellent choice for those living in hot climates. Their efficiency rating – 22.3% – is also very high, second only to Maxeon’s.
Both brands guarantee that their solar panels will continue performing well over time, outputting at least 92% of their capacity at the 25-year mark.
Solar panel efficiency tells you how much of the sunlight hitting a solar panel is converted by its constituent solar cells into electricity.
Here are the 5 most efficient solar panels currently available.
|1||Maxeon (SunPower)||M-Series||425 W||22.80%|
|2||REC Group||Pure-R Series||430 W||22.30%|
|3||LG Solar**||NeON R||405 W||22.30%|
|4||LONGi||Hi MO 6||430 W||22.00%|
On its own, a high efficiency rating only means that a panel takes less space to produce the same amount of energy; as such, it’s only directly relevant to homeowners working with limited roof space.
That said, solar panel efficiency has a close correlation with overall solar panel performance, and our experts believe that the two most efficient solar panels, SunPower (Maxeon) and REC Group, also offer the best overall performance.
For more details, check out our in-depth blog discussing solar panel efficiency.
For this ranking, we decided to draw on the experience of homeowners themselves.
SolarReviews has thousands of solar panel reviews by consumers who have systems installed on their roofs. We used these to calculate a review score for each solar panel brand.
The 10 solar panel brands with the best review scores on our site are presented below. Four of the solar panels here are also among our experts’ choices for the best solar panels. Panasonic, which along with Silfab Solar is the solar panel that consumers are happiest with, was also the #1 solar panel according to our experts. LG Solar, Canadian Solar, and Trina Solar panel are also panels that our experts loved.
Only one of the experts’ five choices didn’t make it to the list of consumers’ favorites: SunPower. The company currently has a review score of 4.54 (based on 895 reviews); it’s a decent score, but not good enough to make the consumers’ choice list. While SunPower’s panels are undoubtedly top-of-the-line, the company’s reviews reveal that it loses points with consumers due to its poor customer service.
There’s no doubt you are curious about what solar panel models are most popular among homeowners. To find out, SolarReviews compiled official data on recent residential solar installations in California, the largest solar market in the U.S.
Here are the top 10 solar panel brands chosen by Californian homeowners, along with their consumer review scores.
|Market share||Manufacturer||Review score (out of 5.00)*|
|1||Qcells||4.81 from 536 reviews|
|2||Maxeon (SunPower)||4.63 from 1,240 reviews|
|3||LONGi Solar||4.06 from 34 reviews|
|4||REC Group||4.56 from 94 Reviews|
|5||Silfab Solar||4.84 from 486 reviews|
|6||Trina Solar||4.55 from 152 reviews|
|7||Canadian Solar||4.68 from 165 reviews|
|8||Solaria||4.75 from 81 reviews|
|10||JA Solar||4.63 from 27 reviews|
Qcells boasts the highest market share as well as a very high review score, which indicates that the brand’s popularity is well justified.
Here is a ranking of the best solar panels manufactured here in the U.S.
For this ranking, we decided to consider all solar panel brands that manufacture solar panels domestically, regardless of where they are headquartered.
|#||Company||U.S. manufacturing location||Global HQ|
|1||Qcells||1,700 MW plant in Dalton, GA||South Korea|
|2||Silfab Solar||400 MW plant in Bellingham, WA||Canada|
|3||Solaria||40 MW plant in Fremont, CA||U.S.|
|4||Jinko Solar||400 MW plant in Jacksonville, FL||China|
|5||Mission Solar||200 MW plant in San Antonio, TX||U.S.|
REC Group, rated #1 by our experts, does not currently manufacture in the U.S., although it did recently announce plans to open a large 1,000 MW (1 gigawatt) plant here in the near future.
In 2023, monocrystalline solar panels are best for home solar systems.
There are actually three main technologies used in solar panels today: monocrystalline (mono), polycrystalline (poly), and thin film amorphous solar cells.
Monocrystalline solar panels are touted for their uniform, sleek look, whereas polycrystalline panels have a fragmented appearance and a blue hue. Thin film is the least efficient, but the least expensive.
Monocrystalline (mono) solar panels have always been preferred for their better performance and aesthetics, while polycrystalline (poly) solar panels attracted budget-conscious consumers due to their lower cost. Thin-film panels, meanwhile, are rarely used in homes.
Recent improvements in monocrystalline manufacturing mean that the price difference between mono and poly panels has largely been erased; it’s now as little as $0.10 per watt. As such, we recommend that consumers stick to using mono solar panels for their home systems.
Here’s a brief summary of the two main types of residential solar panels:
Learn more: Pros and cons of different types of solar cells
Every solar panel on this page is a high-quality, Tier 1 solar panel. Installing a solar power system with any of these brands should result in an efficient, high-performance setup that can power your home for at least 25 years.
Picking the best solar equipment is only part of the equation though. Equally, if not more important, is picking the right solar company to install the solar equipment.
The solar installer you choose will be responsible for designing a system that matches your needs. They’ll also be your point of contact for any performance or warranty issues you face. To ensure you have the best solar experience possible, make sure to work with one of the best solar installers in your area.