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Detailed reviews and information of the best solar panels, inverters and batteries. Plus hybrid and off-grid solar system reviews and information articles on how solar and battery systems work.

Blog

Reviews and information of the best Solar panels and inverters from SMA, Fronius, SunPower, SolaX, Q Cells, Trina, Jinko, Selectronic, Tesla Powerwall, ABB. Plus hybrid inverters, battery sizing, Lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries, off-grid and on-grid power systems.

Best Solar Panels 2018

Jason Svarc

Best solar panels 2018 review.jpg

By combining years of experience in the solar industry and feedback from hundreds of solar professionals around Australia we have put together a list of the best quality and most popular solar panels from the leading manufacturers.

As highlighted in our guide to choosing a quality and efficient solar panel, when it comes to selecting panels higher cost generally equals higher quality and reliability. The solar panels from the leading manufacturers listed below have proven to out perform and out last most cheaper, lower quality panels, with many of the lesser known 'cheap' manufacturers either going bankrupt or being de-listed from the Australian Clean Energy Council's list of approved suppliers.


Best Solar Panel Manufacturers

Here is our short list of the best quality and most reliable panel manufacturers on the Australian market based on company history, quality, real world performance and feedback from solar industry professionals.

See the complete list and details of the many innovations being used to improve panel efficiency, reliability and performance in the complete solar panel technology review.

  • SunPower

Sunpower is the world leader in high efficiency IBC solar cells which offer the best power output warranty at 92% retained capacity after 25 years on both the E series and  X series, plus a 25 year manfacturers warranty. Although the high performance IBC N-type cells used in Sunpower panels do come at a high price and are not widely available in Australia. In North America however Sunpower panels, in particular the E series are very popular and are one of the most trusted and highest performing panels available.

  • LG Energy

LG energy is considered a world leading manufacturer with a range of high quality, high performance panels. As of May 2018 LG offer both a 25 year manufacturers and performance warranty on the Neon 2 and Neon R modules which use the high grade, longer lasting N-type cells. LG's range of premium panels use several industry leading technologies with the Neon 2 modules multi-wire busbars cells being one of the most popular high end panels available in Australia. See full LG review here.

  • Winaico

Winaico is a relatively small volume manufacturer offering a premium range of very high quality panels which are reasonably priced. The well known Winaico M6 PERC panels come with a 15 year manufacturers warranty and are very well regarded and trusted by installers having a very good track record for long term reliability and performance in the harsh Australian conditions. Winaico’s attention to detail and extremely strong frame design with corner inserts also put them ahead of many other manufacturers.

  • REC

REC manufacture quality, cost effective panels which have proven to be very popular among installers, in particular the TwinPeak range of panels. REC’s TwinPeak panels were the first to use half-cut cells in the split module format providing higher efficiency and improved shade tolerance. The recently released N-Peak range of high efficiency panels utilising N-type half-cut cells position REC among the industry leaders in high performance modules. See the full REC review here.

  • Q Cells

Hanwha Q cells is a well known quality panel manufacturer offering a wide range of quality panels for all applications. The latest Q cells monocrystalline panels are backed by an above average 12 year product warranty and improved long term performance with 83% rated capacity after 25 years. The new Q.Peak Duo range of half-cut cell panels are the latest innovation from Q cells with 6 bus-bars and up to 19.3% efficiency.

  •  Trina Solar

Trina solar is one of the worlds largest solar panel manufacturers and are investing heavily in new generation of lower cost high efficiency panels. The well known Trina Honey range of panels from Trina solar are considered great quality and very good value for money, in particular the Honey M (monocrystalline) panels. See the full Trina Solar review here.

Other well known manufacturers

Below is a short list of other well known manufacturers which offer a balance of good value and quality. The complete list of the top 10 panel manufacturers and the Australian made Tindo solar panels are shown in the complete solar cell technology review article including:

  • Canadian Solar

  • LONGi Solar

  • Jinko Solar

  • JA solar

  • Seraphim

  • Risen

Other Quality Manufacturers

There are several other notable panel manufacturers which are very well regarded for producing high quality, reliable panels. Besides Panasonic which is not yet available in Australia, most of these are either new to Australia or we have very limited experience and feedback from our solar specialists.


Most Popular Solar Panels

In addition to the best manufacturers there are a few models which are favorites among our specialists and many Australian installers due to a combination quality, efficiency, performance and value for money. These panels are also proving very popular in the US and much of Europe, in particular the range of modules from Sunpower, REC, LG and Q-cells.

LG NeON 2

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LG Neon panels use high efficiency mono N-type cells with advanced technology similar to PERC cells, along with Cello thin wire busbar technology to further improve efficiency and performance. The Neon 2 range from 325W to 335W power rating are now covered by a leading 25 year product warranty and above average performance warranty of 86% retained capacity after 25 years. LG panels also have frames with very high wind load ratings which make them one of the strongest panels on the market. See full LG solar review here.

See full LG Neon 2 specifications here.

Winaico M6 PERC

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The Winaico M6 PERC modules from 310 to 315W are highly regarded by installers due to the extremely high build quality, great service and 15 year manufacturers warranty. Winaico is a smaller manufacturer with a great reputation for reliability and performance supported by the outstanding real world results at the Australian Desert Knowledge testing facility. The Winaico range of panels have extremely high strength frames using extra deep aluminium extrusions and unique corner inserts for maximum rigidity.

See full Winaico M6 specifications here

REC TwinPeak 2

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REC’s renowned TwinPeak range of panels with PERC cell technology use half-cut cells in the split module format with the upper and lower sections combining at a centre junction box. The half size cell format increases efficiency and improves performance especially in partially shaded conditions. The new generation N-peak panels from REC take the half-cut panel design the next level utilising advanced high purity N-type silicon cells.

See full REC TwinPeak specifications here

Trina Solar Honey

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The Trina Honey range of panels have been a favorite among installers for many years. They offer high quality and very good value for money from a large, trusted manufacturer together with good service. The recent Honey M plus range offer higher performance and efficiency over the standard Honey panels using monocrystalline (Mono PERC)* cells. See full Trina Solar review here.

See Trina Honey M plus specifications here

Hanwha Q Cells

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Hanwha Q cells previously known as Q cells founded in 1999 are rapidly re-gaining popularity as a medium to high-end panel option for many solar installers as the the company releases advanced new modules including the new Q.Peak Duo range of split cell modules with 6 bus-bars and up to 19.3% efficiency.

See the full Q cells Q.Peak Duo-G5  specifications here


Latest PV cell technology review

Learn more about the leading solar panel models and cell types here including PERC, multi busbar, split modules and bifacial panel technology here.

 Close up of the LG Neon 2 Cello multi busbar cell design

Close up of the LG Neon 2 Cello multi busbar cell design