The best solar panels

The best quality panels in Australia

The best solar panels are more efficient, perform better and will operate for 25 years. SunPower and LG manufacture the best solar panels available in Australia, both provide the best warranties the highest performance ratio and the most efficient modules. However, there are many very good options available.

The table below ranks the best quality solar panels available in Australia according to our ranking criteria.

The best quality solar panels
Brand: Efficiency: Performance: Warranty: Value:
SunPower 22.0% 92.0% 25 Years Good
LG 21.4% 90.8% 25 years Very good
REC 21.7% 92.0% 20 Years Very good
Q Cells 20.2% 85.0% 12 Years Good
Winaico 19.4% 82.0% 15 Years Good
Trina Solar 19.7% 80.0% 10 Years Good
Jinko 20.4% 80.2% 10 Years Good
Canadian Solar 19.9% 80.2% 10 Years Good
graphic showing monocrystalline solar panels

How we rank and compare the best panels

We rank the best panels based on:

  • Efficiency
  • Performance
  • Product warranties
  • Australian presence
  • Value

Panel efficiency

Solar panel efficiency is an indicator of the quality of the module and how it might perform throughout 25 years. It’s no coincidence that the most efficient solar panels also have the lowest level of degradation and perform well in adverse conditions. Efficiency isn’t everything, but more efficient panels will take up less of your roof space.

Performance

Measuring the performance of the actual module can be difficult as so many factors affect solar panel output. However, manufacturers must provide a guarantee of the performance of the panel after 25 years, based on laboratory tests. Typically, the performance ratio is around 80%, which indicates the level of degradation after 25 years. The best panels all have higher output ratios after 25 years, with top of the range brands achieving above 90%.

Solar panel warranties

Another important point of comparison is the solar panel product warranty; a manufacturer guarantees that your panel will continue working as it should. Do not confuse the performance warranty with the product warranty. Product warranties range from 10 to 25 years. If a company is prepared to provide a longer product warranty, it’s normally an indication that they are producing a higher quality panel.

Australian presence

An important consideration when buying solar panels is whether or not the manufacturer has an office and representatives on the ground in Australia. Often this is an indication of their commitment to the Australian market; if they do not have an office Down Under, it will make warranty claims far more difficult.

Value for money

The final point of comparison is also the most subjective; value. Does the panel represent value for money? Value is very much a decision you need to make for yourself. We assess the value of the best panels if the quality outweighs the added solar panel cost; if it doesn’t, we factor that in too. Value is an important consideration, but ensuring you are buying a good quality panel that will not let you down is more important.

Buy with confidence

Types of solar panels

Our list of the best solar panels only features monocrystalline panels, as they are the most efficient modules available. Importantly, the manufacturers provide the same product warranty and performance output guarantee for their polycrystalline solar panels. The cost of the solar panels and their level of efficiency are the two major differences between monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels.

Are Tier 1 panels the best?

We explain Tier 1 panels in great detail here, but we’ll summarise the findings as the term often comes up in discussions of the best solar panels. The Tier 1 criteria consider the use of the modules in large scale projects over the recent two-year period; it does not measure performance. The Tier 1 list is also not made available to household consumers, so if a salesperson tells you they are supplying a Tier 1 panel, you have no way of verifying it.

That said, there is typically a strong correlation between Tier 1 panels as compiled by Bloomberg and the what we consider to be the best solar panels.

Clean Energy Council approved panels

You need to ensure that the solar panels you buy are approved by the Clean Energy Council. If they are not, you will not be able to receive your solar rebate, but also it means you are buying a module that has not passed the safety and quality tests that the CEC applies to each module. It is far more important to buy CEC approved solar panels than tier 1 panels.

All of the modules in our list of the best solar panels are approved by the Clean Energy Council. You can view the full CEC list here to check on other panels.

What is best for you?

For all our research into the best panels, you may disagree with the ranking criteria, or, you may place far more importance on one of the criteria like performance in shade conditions, or value. You must, of course, select the best panel for your property and financial circumstances.

Important considerations

Buying solar successfully is not only about selecting the best solar panels; you also need to consider the other system components, the quality of the installation and your property’s specific needs.

If you are serious about buying high-quality panels, you need a good inverter to match. An inferior inverter won’t maximise the output from your panels. You need to consider the best angle on which to position your solar panels. Above all, though, you must select a company that will perform a quality solar installation. We can refer you to the solar companies that will install your system to the highest industry standards.

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