The process of moving to clean energy solutions for your home can be tricky. Once you have decided that solar panels are worth it for your home, you can now start the search for the best solar companies available. Along with finding a company, you will also need to choose the best solar panels for your home. If you are just learning about the solar panel marketplace, you might get overwhelmed by options. We’re here to help with our roundup of the top five solar panels for homes.
Top 5 Solar Panels for Homes
The This Old House Reviews Team has reviewed dozens of the solar panel options available and narrowed the list down to the five best options. Read about each of the best solar panels for homes and find the right solar solutions for your home:
- SunPower: Most Energy-Efficient
- Q Cells: Best Value
- Silfab: Best Warranty
- Panasonic: Best Panel for Hot Climates
- LG: Best Design Variety for Homes
Score: 80 out of 100
SunPower offers some of the best high-efficiency photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on the market today. Made in-house by its solar panel manufacturer Maxeon, these high-quality panels are the best choice for homeowners looking to invest in top-tier solar panel options.
Pros and Cons of SunPower Panels
✔ Some of the highest efficiency solar panels available for homeowners
✔ Performance guarantee of 92% over 25 years
✔ 25-year product and performance warranty
✘ More expensive than the average panel
✘ Limited to SunPower-certified dealers
SunPower Panel Options
SunPower sells four monocrystalline (or mono) panel options for residential properties:
- A Series: These panels provide a high efficiency of 22.7% while generating 400 watts (W) of power.
- X Series: Although they are made for a smaller roof, they still provide ample power at 370 W with a 22.7% efficiency.
- M Series: SunPower’s most powerful panels are available in 420 W and 435 W options with 21.7% efficiency.
- E Series: This series offers 320 W, 327 W, and 435 W at the lowest efficiency of 20%.
Given that the cost of solar power can deter some homeowners from investing in solar energy, you may find SunPower’s panels to be too high for your budget. However, you should not let the higher costs discourage you. Investing in efficient solar panels will help your system run efficiently with fewer panels needed for your home. The better the quality of your panels, the better your return on investment will be over time.
Sunpower backs its panels with a 25-year product warranty and a 25-year performance warranty. It guarantees that the panels will produce at 92% power output throughout the life of the warranty. If your panels fall below the guaranteed output at any time, SunPower will upgrade your panels at no extra cost.
Score: 85 out of 100
If you need a balance of affordable panels that don’t sacrifice efficiency, Q Cells will be the best-value option for you. Although its panels don’t meet the standards of SunPower, homeowners can trust that Q Cells delivers quality panels at a reasonable price point.
Pros and Cons of Q Cells Panels
✔ Well-known brand that produces solar panels for other companies, including Tesla
✔ Value panels that offer excellent efficiency for sensible prices
✔ 25-year product and performance guarantee
✘ Lower efficiency standard compared to premium brands
✘ Some bulky Q Cells models may not be suitable for smaller roof spaces
Q Cells Panel Options
Q Cells provides three versions of the half-cut, monocrystalline Q.Peak Duo panels: Q.PEAK DUO BLK-G10+, Q.PEAK DUO BLK-G10+/AC, and Q.PEAK DUO BLK ML-G10+. Half-cut solar cells technology increases the energy output by reducing the size of the cells. Because each half of the panel works independently, they continue to work even if one side is covered by shade. Q Cells incorporate passivated emitter and rear conduct (PERC) technology, creating cells with higher absorption rates. The Q.Peak Duo produces 20.6% to 21.4% efficiency with 350 W to 415 W panels.
Q Cells provides a 25-year product and performance guarantee. The panels are guaranteed to produce no less than 98% of the given output in the first year. Then, output reduces by 0.5% maximum for each year after that. At 10 years, the power won’t drop below 93%, and it will produce at least 86% by 25 years.
Score: 85 out of 100
North American company Silfab Solar provides solar panels with one of the longest warranties available. Backed by a 30-year performance warranty, the company promises panels that will outlast most solar panels in this review.
Pros and Cons of Silfab Panels
✔ Silfab’s warranty covers 30 years of panel performance
✔ Variety of PERC panels for homes
✔ Panels have a higher efficiency range that’s comparable to premium brands
✘ Silfab panels’ price point is just below SunPower
✘ 25-year extended warranty requires installation by a registered Silfab installer
Silfab Panel Options
Silfab offers the following monocrystalline panels in its current lineup:
- SIL-330 NL: This smaller PERC model produces 330 W at a 19.4% efficiency rating.
- SIL-330 HL: These half-cut panels are all-black and generate 330 W at 19.4% efficiency.
- SIL-360 NX: This 360 W PERC model has an efficiency of 19.7%.
- Silfab Elite series: Its highest efficiency clocks in at 20.8% to 21.1% in 370 W, 375 W, and 380 W options.
- Silfab Prime series: This 370 W solar panel produces at an efficiency of 20.2%.
Homeowners will feel secure knowing that their Silfab panels are backed with a 12-year workmanship warranty. If you want to extend the coverage to the 25-year option, you must have your panels installed by an official Silfab installer.
If you are looking for one of the best performance guarantees around, you will also receive a 30-year performance guarantee, which is five years longer than the next longest warranty on our list. Silfab backs its panels with a guaranteed output of 83% by the end of 30 years. If your panels fall below that production level, Silfab states that it will cover the replacement of your panels.
Score: 80 out of 100
Panasonic solar panels have proven to be the best option for homeowners living in hot climates. Thanks to its excellent temperature coefficient, Panasonic panels can withstand extreme temperatures while effectively producing solar energy.
Pros and Cons of Panasonic Solar Panels
✔ Made to withstand temperatures in hot climates
✔ Panasonic promises a 92% output guarantee for 25 years
✔ 25-year product warranty
✘ Product quality may drop after it began outsourcing its panels in March 2022
✘ Panels tend to run on the higher side in terms of cost
Panasonic Panel Options
Panasonic’s latest line of solar panels, the EverVolt series, uses half-cut heterojunction (HJT) solar cell technology. By combining the best aspects of monocrystalline and ultra-thin amorphous silicon technology, HJT solar cells can produce higher efficiency at lower energy loss levels. The most powerful panels in the EverVolt series maintain an efficiency between 21.6% and 22.2% in 400 W to 410 W models.
Its AllGuard and TripleGuard 25-year warranty backs Panasonic panels. This warranty covers EverVolt panels for parts, product, labor, and performance. The company also promises at least a 92% output performance of its panels at the end of 25 years.
Score: 75 out of 100
Homeowners seeking solar panels made to accommodate unique home styles should look into getting LG panels. Backed by one of the most recognized names in the electronics industry, its panels provide high-power solutions for even the most unusual roof style.
Pros and Cons of LG Solar Panels
✔ One of the largest manufacturers of electronics in the world
✔ Variety of panels that accommodates unique roof styles
✔ Panels backed with a 25-year product warranty
✘ LG panels are more expensive than most panels in this solar panel review
✘ Panels pricing can vary within the LG dealer network
LG Panel Options
LG offers three options for residential solar panel systems. The 375W LG NeON R provides high power in a smaller size and has an efficiency of 20.7%. LG’s 365W NeON 2 Black Solar Panel has a guaranteed output performance of 90.6% after 25 years. The 400W LG NeON 2 BiFacial Solar Panel uses technology that allows for the absorption of sunlight on top and beneath the panel. This feature allows the panel to absorb more energy even on cloudy days.
The company provides a 25-year product warranty on all its panels. The production guarantee varies based on the model, though. LG NeON R panels provide an output of 98.5% after one year and at least 92.5% in its 25th year. The LG NeON 2 series is promised to produce 96.4% in 25 years.
How to Find the Best Solar Panels for Homes
When looking for the best solar panel for your home, keep these factors in mind during your search.
Solar Panel Type
Although the panels in this review are mainly monocrystalline solar panels, other types of solar panels are available on the market.
Polycrystalline solar panels use older technology than mono panels and are a cheaper option. However, these panels are not as efficient as monocrystalline offerings and, in turn, require more panels to run as efficiently.
Thin-film panels are an even cheaper option for your home project. The manufacturing process is less complicated, so they take very little time to make. However, they lack the durability of the other types of panels, making them the most vulnerable to wear and tear over time. Although these are the least efficient options on the list, they do have practical uses. Thin-film solar panels are used in off-grid and smaller DIY solar projects, including RVs and small sheds.
Solar panel efficiency plays a vital role in your solar panel system. Higher efficiencies indicate that the solar panel can convert a larger percentage of sunlight throughout the day. The more sunlight gets converted, the more power generated to run your home.
Homeowners should shop for high-efficiency panels that meet their solar system budget.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) states that solar panels typically fall between 16% and 22% efficiency. Of course, the panels with the highest efficiencies will cost the most money. However, the cost of solar panels will be worth it when you have the best system in place that helps you save money on your energy bills for years to come.
Solar panel warranty options usually cover the product and the performance. However, the coverage may not always be separate. Some companies provide comprehensive warranties that include both types of coverage.
A standard product warranty will cover 10 to 12 years and may include protection for defects, labor, and normal wear and tear. Some companies, however, offer extended product warranties
A standard product warranty will last for 10 to 12 years. Some companies offer longer warranties, extending to 25 or more years. Additionally, some companies only offer extended product warranties if you use one of their authorized dealers or installers. Be sure to review the restrictions for any warranty options that are dependent on your installer.
The standard performance warranty guarantees 90% production for 10 years, with incremental drops over the years to 80% by 25 years. Some premium solar panels come with performance warranties that include 90% or higher output in 25 years. These warranties typically include coverage for any failed performance as well. If your solar panels are not performing to the standards outlined in your warranty, the solar installer will replace the panels or upgrade them at no charge.
SunPower offers the most energy-efficient options in our review. Although its panels will cost more initially, you will benefit from top-tier panels in the long run. If overall cost is still a major factor for you, consider Q Cells panels for the right balance of affordability and great efficiency. If guaranteed product performance matters most for you, Silfab’s 30-year guaranteed panels will be the right addition for your home.
Solar panel installers will work with you to find the right number of panels for your home based on your energy needs. The selection offered between the different solar panel brands will vary. The best solar panel companies will keep your best interests in mind and select solar panels that fit your budget as well as your energy needs.
Your best option is to compare solar panels from various companies. Because solar panel installers have varying availability throughout the United States, it’s important to verify that their services are available in your area.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Solar Panels for Homes
What is the average cost of a solar panel system?
The price of a solar power system usually includes the full solar power system with panels, inverter, and any optional accessories including a solar battery. According to the Center for Sustainable Energy, homeowners can expect to pay an average of $15,000 to $25,000 for a full solar system. This comes out to about $3 to $5 per watt.
You can lower these costs with any rebates or incentives offered by your local utility company. Some states also offer tax credits and property tax incentives for moving to a renewable energy source. You can also qualify for the federal solar tax credit if you install a solar power system before the end of 2023. Homeowners would receive a 26% credit for the cost of a solar system installation completed in 2022. In 2023, the federal tax credit drops to 22% and will be phased out by 2024.
What is the best type of solar panels for homes?
In terms of efficiency, monocrystalline panels are the best options for homes. Mono panels are also the most popular option in the solar industry. They offer high efficiencies, durability, and have a lifespan of roughly 25 years. The top solar panel companies offer mono panels, so you can compare the selections to find the best panels for your home. Although the upfront cost will be higher for this type of panel, you will be investing in the best equipment available, which will pay off in the future.
How big of a solar panel do I need to run my home?
Your energy needs will determine the size and wattage of the solar panels that are installed. Panels can range between 200 and 400 watts per panel. A solar installer will typically review your electricity bills and usage to determine the best options for your homes.
In terms of the panel’s physical size, installers will choose panels that will best use your roof space. Larger homes will require more panels to run efficiently but could achieve this by using more efficient solar panels. For example, a 60-cell panel with an efficiency of 21% would generate more power than a 72-cell solar panel with 16% efficiency. Reputable installers will ensure the selected solar panels work effectively for your home’s needs.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for solar service providers is on a 100-point scale based on five factors:
- Payment options (40 points): Options include purchase, loan, lease, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Companies receive points for each of those four options it provides.
- Solar services (30 points): Does the company provide in-house installation of solar panels and battery backups? Can the company also monitor energy production and perform energy-efficiency audits to ensure system performance. The more options available, the higher the score.
- Warranty options (10 points): The success of a residential solar system depends on the workmanship, performance guarantees, and length of product coverage. We score companies based on the number of warranty options available. The more warranties a company offers, the higher the score it receives.
- State Availability (10 points): We award the most points to companies with the broadest service area and state availability.
- Reputation (10 points): We factor in how the Business Better Bureau (BBB) scores each company. We deduct points for any alerts or pending lawsuits.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at email@example.com.