Panel Manufacturers

5 min

There are many solar panels available to purchase and install. Out of all the companies currently making solar panels the top names associated with the best solar panels for home use on the market are listed below. We encourage you to look up each of these solar manufacturers to read about how they present their panels online:

View our full online database of panel manufacturers and panel types.

Panel Types

There are 4 major types of solar panels available on the market today: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, PERC, and thin-film panels. Monocrystalline solar panels are typically the only panel type sold in residential applications since 2018.

Monocrystalline solar panels
Monocrystalline solar panels

Also known as single-crystal panels, these are made from a single pure silicon crystal that is cut into several wafers. Since they are made from pure silicon they can be readily identified by their dark black color. The use of pure silicon with highest sunlight to electricity conversion efficiency makes monocrystalline panels the most space-efficient and longest-lasting among all solar panel types.

Polycrystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline solar panels

As the name implies these come from different silicon crystals instead of one. The silicon fragments are melted and poured into a square mold. This makes polycrystalline cells much more affordable since there is hardly any wastage, and gives them that characteristic square shape.

However, this also makes them less efficient in terms of energy conversion and space, since their silicon purity and construction are lower than monocrystalline panels. They also have lower heat tolerance which means they are less efficient in high-temperature environments.

Polycrystalline solar panels are typically not used in residential applications anymore because of their lower efficiency and since monocrystalline costs have come way down over the years.

Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) panels
Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) panels

PERC solar panels are an improvement of the traditional monocrystalline cell. First introduced in 1989 new technology adds a passivation layer in the rear surface of the cell that enhances efficiency in several ways:

  • It reflects light back into the cell, increasing the amount of solar radiation that gets absorbed.
  • It reduces the natural tendency of electrons to recombine and inhibits the flow of electrons in the system.
  • It allows greater wavelengths of light to be reflected. Light waves over 1,180nm can’t be absorbed by silicon wafers and simply pass through, so they end up heating the cell’s metal back sheet and reduce its efficiency. The passivation layer reflects these higher wavelengths and stops them from heating up the back sheet.

PERC panels are not widely used in regular residential applications due to cost and availability.

Thin-film solar panels
Thin-film solar panles

Thin-film panels are characterized by very fine layers that are thin enough to be flexible. Each panel does not require a frame backing, making them lighter and easier to install. Unlike crystalline silicon panels that come in standardized sizes of 60, 72, and 96-cell counts, thin-film panels can come in different sizes to suit specific needs. However, they are less efficient than typical silicon solar panels.

Thin-film solar panels are not used often in residential applications due to the limited roof area and relatively low efficiency of thin film per unit area.

Panel Warranties

There are two types of warranties available when it comes to solar panels: the product warranty and the performance warranty. Both should be important to you. Wading through the details of different warranty options can be daunting and tiresome. Below we explain the differences in the solar warranties in an easy-to-understand way.

Product Warranty

A solar product warranty guarantees the design and construction of the solar panel itself. It covers manufacturing issues, environmental damage and early wear and tear of the solar panel. Usually the warranty for solar panels is 10–25 years with a few manufacturers offering a 30-year product warranty. The longer the warranty is, the better for you the homeowner.

Most of the time, solar panels do not have issues, and even if one panel fails, the system will keep running. However, if the failure affects other panels or the entire system you will need to take advantage of the product warranty. If there's a problem while under warranty, the manufacturer will ship them a free replacement panel. In most cases you must pay for shipping and installation charges.

Some manufacturer warranties include provisions for labor and shipping costs for the full term so customers have great peace of mind.

Performance Warranty

A solar performance warranty guarantees that the solar panel will not degrade at an unreasonable rate. All solar panels experience some decline in electricity production over time. The normal amount of production decline is about 8% reduction in 10 years and 15% reduction in 25 years. If a panel declines at a higher rate than normal, the manufacturer will fix it at no cost or ship a free solar panel replacement.

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