6 Best Solar Panels for Your Home in 2018

Want to get solar panels for your home but not sure who you should buy them from? We've got you covered. Here’s our review of the 6 best solar panel companies on the market today

The solar panel market is highly competitive, with lots of different companies trying to convince you that their solar panels are “the best that money can buy”. But who really does make the best solar panels? We’ve independently reviewed over 20 solar panel brands available in the UK, on everything from efficiency to warranties, to bring you a rundown of the companies that we believe offer the best quality - and best value - solar panels. Check out which brands made our list below!

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Best Solar Panels for Your Home

The 6 best solar panel companies on the market today are: Canadian Solar, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, SolarWorld and Yingli Solar. We’ve worked out which brand is best depending on what you care about most in a solar panel, from efficiency and power to cost and warranty period. Check out the table below for our full rundown.

Company
Best for
Rating
Canadian Solar
Best Product Range
LG
Best Power
Panasonic
Best Efficiency
Sharp
Best Price
SolarWorld
Best Warranty Period
Yingli Solar
Best Product Innovation


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Canadian Solar

Best Product Range

best solar panels canadian solar

Canadian Solar is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of solar panels and provider of solar energy solutions. With operations across 20 countries worldwide, the company has produced over 70 million solar panels since being founded in 2001.

Canadian Solar produces a huge range of polycrystalline solar panels - 28 models to be precise - that are all resistant to extreme environments (e.g. wind, spray from the sea), making them suitable for installation anywhere in the UK. Its solar panels vary in power from just 210 watts up to 320 watts, and have a modest efficiency of up to 18.6%. All of Canadian Solar’s panels have an industry-leading power warranty of 25 to 30 years, although its product warranty is less impressive at just 10 years.


Solar Panel Pros:

  • • Range in power from 210 watts to 320 watts
  • • Up to 18.4% efficiency
  • • Manufacture over 25 different models
  • • Impressive power warranty of 25 to 30 years

Solar Panel Cons:

  • • Product warranty of only 10 years
  • • Efficiency 3% lower than the industry leader
  • • Only come in a polycrystalline variety


This table shows you a selection of Canadian Solar’s best solar panels:

Model

Type

Max. Efficiency

Max. Power

Product Warranty

Power Warranty

KuMax CS3U-365P High Efficiency
Polycrystalline
18.4%
365 watts
10 years
25 years
KuDymond CS3K-305P-FG High Efficiency
Polycrystalline
18.36%
305 watts
10 years
30 years
SuperPower CS6K-295P High Efficiency
Polycrystalline
18.02%
295 watts
10 years
25 years
MAXPOWER CS6U-350P High Efficiency
Polycrystalline
18%
350 watts
10 years
30 years
Dymond CS6-350P-FG High Efficiency
Polycrystalline
17.93%
350 watts
10 years
30 years

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LG

Best Power

best solar panels lg

A pioneer of electronics, LG developed solar cells for the likes of traffic signs and clocks before it began mass producing residential and commercial solar panels in 2010. Since then, its solar panels have won the coveted Intersolar AWARD in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

LG produces 13 different monocrystalline solar panels that have one of the best efficiency ratings on the market of up to 21.1%. The company’s solar panels are also hugely powerful, with its largest model being a massive 365 watts. Despite the impressive efficiency and power of LG’s solar panels, they come with a modest price tag (but are more expensive than other brands like Yingli Solar). All of its solar panels come with a generous 15-year product warranty and a 25-year power warranty.


Solar Panel Pros:

  • • Minimum product warranty of 15 years
  • • Up to 21.1% efficiency
  • • High electricity output
  • • 86% of maximum power output after 25 years

Solar Panel Cons:

  • • Only come in a monocrystalline variety
  • • More expensive than other companies


Check out the table below to find out about some of LG’s best solar panels:

Model

Type

Max. Efficiency

Max. Power

Product Warranty

Power Warranty

NeON R 365 W
Monocrystalline
21.1%
365 watts
25 years
25 years
NeON 2 335 W
Monocrystalline
19.6%
335 watts
15 years
25 years
NeON 2 Black 320 W
Monocrystalline
18.7%
320 watts
15 years
25 years
NeON 2 BiFacial 300 W
Monocrystalline
18.3%
300 watts
12 years
25 years
MonoX Plus 300 W
Monocrystalline
17.5%
300 watts
15 years
25 years

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Panasonic

Best Efficiency

best solar panels panasonic

This Japanese technology company has been producing solar panels since the 1970s. Since then, it has sold over 3 million solar panels in Europe alone. In 2016, Panasonic broke the world record for solar panel efficiency, creating a solar module with an efficiency of 23.8% (although it's not yet available to the mass market).

Panasonic has a very limited range of monocrystalline solar panels on offer - only 4 different models, in fact. The company does practice ‘quality over quantity’, however, with its solar panels being the industry-leader for efficiency (with an efficiency of up to 21.6%). They also come with an impressive product and power warranty of 25 years. All these benefits come at a price, however, with Panasonic solar panels being more expensive than those made by rivals like Canadian Solar.


Solar Panel Pros:

  • • Product warranty of 25 years
  • • Up to 21.6% efficiency
  • • 0.004% failure rate out of 4 million modules
  • • Over 40 years’ solar experience

Solar Panel Cons:

  • • Only come in a monocrystalline variety
  • • Only manufacture 4 different models
  • • More expensive than other companies


The table below shows you some key information about Panasonic's best solar panels:

Model

Type

Max. Efficiency

Max. Power

Product Warranty

Power Warranty

Photovoltaic module HIT N330
Monocrystalline
19.7%
330 watts
25 years
25 years
Photovoltaic module HIT N325K
Monocrystalline
19.4%
325 watts
25 years
25 years
Photovoltaic module HIT N245
Monocrystalline
19.4%
245 watts
25 years
25 years
Photovoltaic module HIT N295
Monocrystalline
19.1%
295 watts
25 years
25 years

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Sharp

Best Price

best solar panels sharp

Technology giant Sharp entered the solar power market in 1959. With innovation at its heart, Sharp has installed solar panels on homes since 2004, but has also made solar cells for everything from lighthouses and traffic lights to satellites.

Sharp offers more than 10 different types of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels with modest efficiencies of up to 20%. The company’s solar panels come in one of the widest ranges of power levels, from just 256 watts up to 360 watts. It also offers an industry leading 25-year power warranty. With all these benefits, you might expect Sharp’s solar panels to be expensive. But they’re not. The company’s prices are among the cheapest in the industry, meaning you get great value for money.


Solar Panel Pros:

  • • Over 50 years’ experience in solar technology
  • • Portrait or landscape mounting options
  • • Cheaper than other companies
  • • Anti-reflective surface to maximise efficiency

Solar Panel Cons:

  • • Efficiency over 1% lower than the industry leader
  • • Product warranty of only 10 years


The table below provides you with information about some of Sharp’s best solar panels:

Model

Type

Max. Efficiency

Max. Power

Product Warranty

Power Warranty

NQ-R Series | 258 W
Monocrystalline
20%
258 watts
10 years
25 years
NQ-R Series | 256 W
Monocrystalline
19.8%
256 watts
10 years
25 years
NU-SC Series | 360 W
Monocrystalline
18.5%
360 watts
10 years
25 years
ND-AH Series | 330 W
Monocrystalline
17%
330 watts
10 years
25 years
ND-RJ Series | 275 W
Monocrystalline
16.5%
275 watts
10 years
25 years

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SolarWorld

Best Warranty Period

best solar panels solarworld

For German-based SolarWorld, quality is its top priority, from monitoring manufacturing processes to carrying out tests on its solar panels. Because of this, its quality standards surpass the norm for the industry.

SolarWorld offers a small range of monocrystalline solar panels (just 4 different models), but the company’s focus on quality means it offers a long warranty on all its solar panels - 20 years, double that of other companies like Sharp. Its solar panels fall behind on efficiency, however, and they’re not quite as powerful as those made by LG or Canadian Solar, with a maximum power of just 300 watts.


Solar Panel Pros:

  • • Resistant to extreme environments
  • • Extremely lightweight
  • • Range in power from 280 watts to 300 watts
  • • 20-year product warranty

Solar Panel Cons:

  • • Only come in a monocrystalline variety
  • • Maximum efficiency of just 17.89%
  • • Very limited range


This table gives you a quick rundown of SolarWorld’s current solar panels:

Model

Type

Max. Efficiency

Max. Power

Product Warranty

Power Warranty

Sunmodule Plus SW 300 mono
Monocrystalline
17.89%
300 watts
20 years
25 years
Sunmodule Plus SW 290 mono
Monocrystalline
17.3%
290 watts
20 years
25 years
Sunmodule Plus SW 290 mono black
Monocrystalline
17.3%
290 watts
20 years
25 years
Sunmodule Plus SW 280 mono black
Monocrystalline
16.7%
280 watts
20 years
25 years

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Yingli Solar

Best Product Innovation

best solar panels yingli solar

Yingli Solar is one of the world’s leading solar panel manufacturers, whose mission is to provide affordable green energy to everyone. Established in China in 1998, the company has already produced over 85 million solar panels - enough to power over 6.6 million homes worldwide.

Yingli Solar currently manufactures 20 different types of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels, which come in the standard monofacial design as well as a cutting-edge bifacial design. Bifacial solar panels expose both the front and back of the solar cells, enabling power to be produced from both sides and therefore increasing total energy production. The company’s solar panels have a maximum efficiency of 20.5% (just below that of the industry leader), and come with a generous 25-to-30-year power warranty.


Solar Panel Pros:

  • • Up to 20.5% efficiency
  • • Range in power from 260 watts to 350 watts
  • • Bifacial to maximise efficiency
  • • 83.5% of maximum power output after 25 years

Solar Panel Cons:

  • • Product warranty of just 10 years
  • • Efficiency over 1% lower than the industry leader


The table below shows a selection of Yingli Solar’s best solar panels:

Model

Type

Max. Efficiency

Max. Power

Product Warranty

Power Warranty

PANDA BIFACIAL 60CF
Monocrystalline
20.5%
295 watts
10 years
30 years
PANDA BIFACIAL 60CL
Monocrystalline
20.5%
295 watts
10 years
30 years
YLM 60 CELL HSF SMART
Monocrystalline
19.9%
350 watts
10 years
25 years
YGE 60 CELL SERIES 2 MULTI-BUSBAR
Polycrystalline
19%
295 watts
10 years
25 years
YGE 60 CELL SERIES 2 HSF SMAR
Polycrystalline
18.5%
275 watts
10 years
25 years

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Methodology: What Solar Panel Features Did We Review?

Efficiency

A solar panel’s efficiency refers to how well it can convert sunlight into electricity. A solar panel with a higher efficiency can produce a higher amount of electricity. If you want to maximise the amount of electricity you produce - or you only have a small amount of roof space on which to install solar panels - we’d recommend choosing a solar panel with an efficiency of over 19%. Highly efficient solar panels do cost more money, however, so they might not be the best option if you want to earn a good return on investment from the Feed-in Tariff.

If your property has a large roof space, it may be worth installing solar panels with a lower efficiency. A larger number of less efficient solar panels will produce the same amount of electricity as a smaller number of more efficient solar panels (and will probably save you a bit of money).

The table below shows you the solar panel efficiency of the top solar companies:

Company

Solar Panel Efficiency

Canadian Solar
15.81% to 18.63%
LG
16.8% to 21.1%
Panasonic
19% to 21.6%
Sharp
16.5% to 20%
SolarWorld
14.91% to 17.59%
Yingli Solar
15.3% to 20.5%


Warranty Period

The warranty period of a solar panel is a good indication of its quality. The longer a solar panel’s warranty period, the more faith a company has that its product is durable and reliable. Solar panels come with 2 types of warranty: a product warranty and a power warranty.

  • The product warranty is a guarantee that the physical components of a solar panel will not break from manufacturing defects during the stated period (e.g. 10 years). If your solar panel does break during this period, the product warranty covers the cost of returning, replacing or repairing your solar panel (meaning you don’t have to pay a penny).

  • The power warranty is a guarantee that a solar panel will produce electricity for the stated amount of time (e.g. 25 years). In most cases, this means guaranteed electrical generation for 10 years at 90% of its maximum power output, and 25 years at around 80% of its maximum power output.

Always choose a solar panel with a long product and power warranty, as you’ll be less likely to encounter any problems with it, and you’ll be able to produce more electricity over a longer period of time.

The table below shows you the product and power warranty periods of the top solar panel companies:

Company

Product Warranty

Power Warranty

Canadian Solar
10 years
25 to 30 years
LG
15 to 25 years
25 years
Panasonic
25 years
25 years
Sharp
10 years
25 years
SolarWorld
20 years
25 years
Yingli Solar
10 years
25 to 30 years


Type

The type of solar panel you choose can have an effect on how much electricity you’re able to produce. There are 2 main types of solar panels on the market today: monocrystalline solar panels and polycrystalline solar panels.

  • Monocrystalline solar panels have a sleek black finish to them. They are smaller and more efficient, and are designed to have a longer lifespan. Because of this, they’re typically more expensive.

  • Polycrystalline solar panels are more blue in colour, and are larger and less efficient. They also often have a shorter lifespan, making them a cheaper alternative.

The type of solar panel that is best for you will depend on your own preferences and what you want to achieve from installing them on your property.

  • If you want to maximise the amount of electricity you produce, we’d recommend opting for the more efficient monocrystalline solar panels.

  • But if you’re more interested in the cost and want to recoup your investment from the Feed-in Tariff quickly, then it’s worth installing the cheaper polycrystalline solar panels.

  • On the other hand, if you’re concerned about the look of solar panels on your home, choosing the sleeker monocrystalline solar panels is probably the best option.

The table below shows you what type of solar panels the top solar panel companies produce:

Company

Type of Solar Panel

Canadian Solar
Polycrystalline
LG
Monocrystalline
Panasonic
Monocrystalline
Sharp
Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline
SolarWorld
Monocrystalline
Yingli Solar
Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline


Power

The power of a solar panel is measured in watts. Solar panels can range in power from a small 10 watts up to a huge 300 watts or more. The greater the power of a solar panel, the more electricity it can supply to your home (and so the more appliances it can power).

How powerful you’ll want your solar panels to be will depend on how much of your home you want them to power at once. If you want your solar panels to cover your entire electricity usage, you’ll need solar panels with a high wattage - around 300 watts or more. Most experts recommend that you get solar panels that provide at least 20% more electricity than you need, to allow for things like unexpectedly high energy usage or low levels of sunlight.

If you want your solar panels to subsidise only part of your home’s electricity usage, then you can opt for a less powerful solar panel at around 200 to 275 watts.

This table provides you with an overview of the power of the solar panels the top solar panel companies produce:

Company

Solar Panel Power

Canadian Solar
275 to 365 watts
LG
290 to 365 watts
Panasonic
245 to 330 watts
Sharp
256 to 360 watts
SolarWorld
280 to 300 watts
Yingli Solar
250 to 360 watts


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Best Solar Panels for Your Home: The Verdict

If you’re looking to install solar panels on your home, there’s plenty of top quality solar technology companies for you to choose from. Whether you want to maximise the amount of electricity you can generate, enjoy financial security from generous warranty periods or simply want to get great value solar panels that won’t break the bank, then there’s a solar brand for you.

The top 6 solar panel brands for your home are:

  1. Canadian Solar: best for product range
  2. LG: best for power
  3. Panasonic: best for efficiency
  4. Sharp: best for price
  5. SolarWorld: best for warranty
  6. Yingli Solar: best for product innovation

If you've got a boat or a caravan, you can check out our marine solar panels and caravan solar panels pages to discover the best products on the market.


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FAQs

Which type of solar panel is best for home use?

Monocrystalline solar panels are generally regarded as the best type of solar panel for home use. Although monocrystalline solar panels cost slightly more than polycrystalline solar panels, they’re smaller meaning you can fit more onto your roof (great news if you live in a terraced or semi-detached property with a small roof). What’s more, monocrystalline solar panels are typically more energy efficient. This means they’ll generate more electricity, so you can maximise the amount of money you earn from the Feed-in Tariff.


What is the most efficient solar panel?

The most efficient solar panels on the market today have an efficiency of more than 21%. Panasonic and LG currently make the most energy-efficient solar panels, with a maximum efficiency rating of 21.6% and 21.1% respectively. Although this might seem quite low, solar panels at this efficiency are able to produce enough electricity to cover most (or all) of a household’s energy usage.


How many solar panels are needed to power a house?

The number of solar panels you’ll need to power your house will depend on how much electricity you use. As a rule of thumb, the more electricity your household uses, the more solar panels you’ll need. Homes in the UK typically need between 4 and 16 solar panels; a 1-bedroom property will need about 4 panels, while a large 4-bedroom property will need around 16 panels.


Do solar panels really save you money?

Yes they do. Solar panels can save you between £100 and £350 per year through savings on your electricity bills and monthly payments from the Feed-in Tariff. In fact, most homeowners turn a profit over the 25-to-30-year lifespan of their solar panels, making them a safe investment.


Who should install solar panels?

Never attempt to install solar panels yourself. You should always use a professional installation company - but make sure that it is accredited by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). Using a non-accredited person to install your solar panels will mean you won’t be able to earn cash for the electricity your solar panels generate under the Feed-in Tariff, so it’s not worth taking the risk. If you want to check whether a solar panel installer is accredited by the MCS, you can enter their details into the MCS installer search tool.

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