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EnergySage 2023 Solar Panel Buyer’s Guide

Browse and compare solar panels from top manufacturers on the EnergySage Buyer’s Guide. To learn about other solar energy system components, visit EnergySage's solar inverter and solar battery buyer's guides.
Solar panels are the key component in any residential, commercial, or utility-scale solar energy system. Use this guide to compare solar panel options and understand which products are best for your installation.
1,836 - 1,843 of 1,843

GreenBrilliance LLC GB72 GB72P6-280

  • Series: GB72
  • Model: GB72P6-280


Manufacturer Reviews (373)

  • Rated Power: 280W
  • Efficiency: 14.54%

GreenBrilliance LLC GB60 GB60P6-230

  • Series: GB60
  • Model: GB60P6-230


Manufacturer Reviews (373)

  • Rated Power: 230W
  • Efficiency: 14.24%

Hyundai Energy Solutions HiD Series S320RG(BK)

  • Series: HiD Series
  • Model: S320RG(BK)

Not Rated

Manufacturer Reviews (1)

  • Rated Power: 320W

Hyundai Energy Solutions RG Black Series HiD-S310RG(BK)

  • Series: RG Black Series
  • Model: HiD-S310RG(BK)

Not Rated

Manufacturer Reviews (1)

  • Rated Power: 310W

Canadian Solar Inc. KuDymond CS3U-365P-FG

  • Series: KuDymond
  • Model: CS3U-365P-FG

Not Rated

Manufacturer Reviews (9)

  • Rated Power: 365W

Hyundai Energy Solutions HID series S315RG(BK)

  • Series: HID series
  • Model: S315RG(BK)

Not Rated

Manufacturer Reviews (1)

  • Rated Power: 315W

Jinko EAGLE JKM420N-54HL4-B

  • Series: EAGLE
  • Model: JKM420N-54HL4-B

Not Rated

Manufacturer Reviews (1)

  • Rated Power: 420W
1,836 - 1,843 of 1,843

Solar panel buyer’s guide

There are thousands of solar panels available – how do you know which ones to use for your installation? Some important aspects to consider when comparing your options include panel type, cost, wattage, efficiency, and warranty offering. All of these aspects plus more are considered in each panels' quality rating.

Types of solar panels

Solar panels are generally broken into two groups by cell type: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. While there are other types of solar technologies that exist (like thin-film cells), the majority of photovoltaic solar panels available for installation are either monocrystalline or polycrystalline, and are made out of silicon.
The main advantage of installing a solar plus storage energy system is that it gives you the ability to use solar electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. When you install a solar panel system without a battery, excess electricity that your system generates is sent back to the grid. With a solar battery, that energy can be stored and drawn on when the sun goes down, and you’ll only need to draw and pay for energy from the grid when your battery is depleted.
Monocrystalline solar panels are thought of as a premium solar product and are made with silicon wafers cut from a single crystal, hence the name "monocrystalline". In general, monocrystalline panels are capable of higher efficiencies than polycrystalline panels.
Polycrystalline solar panels are also made from silicon, but their cells are made by melting together many fragments of silicon rather than from a single silicon crystal. While polycrystalline panels usually have lower efficiencies than their monocrystalline counterparts, they often have a lower price point.
Solar Panel Types

Solar panel efficiency

What does it mean for a solar panel to have a higher or lower efficiency than another panel? Simply put, solar panel efficiency is a measure of a solar panel's ability to convert incoming sunlight into usable electricity. This is important because higher efficiency panels produce more energy with less space than lower efficiency models. Most solar panels today have efficiencies ranging from 15% to 20%, but some manufacturers sell panels that exceed 20% efficiency ratings.

Solar panel cost

The cost of a solar panel installation varies by location, property type, and, of course, the panels used for the installation. Premium solar panel products with high efficiencies and advantageous warranties usually cost more money upfront but can offer higher potential long-term savings. The best way to evaluate the price of a solar panel installation is in dollars per watt ($/W). Similar to comparing dollars per square foot when shopping for a home, $/W helps standardize the cost of solar by showing the cost of solar on a per watt basis. Currently, the average price of a solar panel system install in the U.S. is $2.91/W.
The best way to estimate how much a solar installation will cost you is with EnergySage’s Solar Calculator. Our tool takes into account how much sunlight you’ll get, local electricity rates, as well as any state and federal solar incentives like rebates and tax credits.
Solar Panel Cost Chart

How do solar panel warranties work?

There are two types of solar panel warranties to be aware of: the equipment (or materials) warranty and the performance warranty.
Equipment warranties cover the physical integrity of your solar panels. For example, manufacturing defects, premature wear and tear, and environmentally-caused damages are covered by panel equipment warranties. Equipment warranties usually cover any failure due to these factors over a specified time period.
Performance warranties cover the actual production of electricity from solar panels. Photovoltaic panels naturally degrade over time, and a performance warranty protects you against undue degradation rates. Performance warranties guarantee that a certain level of electricity production will be maintained over a specified time period.

The EnergySage solar panel rating system

The EnergySage classification system incorporates technical specifications for solar panels to compare their performance, durability, warranty and overall quality. By assessing each product across a range of metrics, the EnergySage rating system groups equipment into five different classifications: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good and Excellent.
Products rated as Poor or Fair are at the low end of what is currently available in the market, or may be outdated models no longer produced by manufacturers and rarely stocked by solar installation companies. Equipment receiving Good, Very Good or Excellent ratings must meet a baseline set of criteria rigorously developed so that you can be confident that your solar energy system will meet your needs.
Solar Panel Cost Chart

Frequently asked questions about solar panels

Whether you have experience shopping for solar panels or you’re totally new to researching renewable energy, we strive to provide comprehensive information to help you make a final decision. Check out a few more of our customers’ most frequently asked questions.

The average home needs between 20 and 25 solar panels to fully offset their utility bills with renewable energy. This number depends on a variety of factors including location, climate, panel efficiency, and individual panel specifications. For more information, read our article that helps calculate how many solar panels you will need using relevant examples.

Yes, solar panels are worth the investment if you’re looking for a long-term renewable energy solution. In general, while solar panels are worth the money, your return on investment (known as a solar payback period) will depend on a few key factors like system size, your electricity use, and your financing or payment method.

Overall, finding the best solar panel brand comes down to comparing their efficiency, temperature coefficient, and warranty. Currently, SunPower, LG, REC, and Panasonic make the best solar panels due to their high efficiencies, competitive pricing, and 25-year warranty. If you’re looking for more detail, read our article that compares the top brands and solar panel products.

Other solar panel resources

Want to learn more? Here are some of the best articles from our website to help you get started learning about solar energy:
Solar 101: Start here with the key things to understand when considering solar panel installation options.
Best solar panels: Learn about top panels on the market ranked by efficiency, temperature coefficient, and more.
Steps to a solar installation: An overview of the main parts of the solar installation process.
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100% online, no phone calls unless you want them