Best solar panels in 2024: Which one should you choose?

After reviewing hundreds of solar panels, we found that SunPower offers the best (and most expensive) solar panels.

Written by:
Edited by: Rich Brown
Updated Jun 4, 2024
11 min read

Choosing the best solar panel can feel overwhelming, but it's easier than you might think. If you select a quality solar installer, in most cases they'll install quality solar panels

Many companies offer great solar panels. It's your installer's experience and your solar system's size that really determine your installation's effectiveness. Still, every home is different, and some can benefit from the highest quality panels. If it’s important that you have the "best" solar panels, efficiency, power output, and ability to perform in warm temperatures are all important. You'll also want to choose panels from a company that backs its panels (and ideally your entire system) with a strong warranty. 

We reviewed hundreds of solar panel models and found that five brands stand out: SunPower, REC, Panasonic, Maxeon, and Jinko Solar.

Brand
Our Take
SunPowerBest performance overall
REC GroupBest for warm climates
PanasonicBest for roofs with tight spaces
Maxeon solar teechnologiesBest warranty
Jinko SolarBest performance per penny
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Key takeaways

  • SunPower, REC, Panasonic, Maxeon, and Jinko Solar offer the best solar panels.

  • The type of solar panel, power output, efficiency, performance in warm climates, warranty, and price are the key factors to assess when comparing solar panels.

  • The best solar panel for your home can depend on your roof space, shading, and climate.

SunPower solar panels on a roof

Choosing the highest quality solar panels will likely mean a higher upfront cost, but it's often worth it in the long run. With higher output, efficiency, and longer lifespans, solar panels from the following five brands will maximize your savings:

1. SunPower

SunPower solar panels on a house

SunPower

Best performance overall

SunPower's M-Series 440 W solar panels offer the most power at 21.2 watts (W) per square foot. They're highly efficient and come with a great warranty, which covers your entire system (the panels, inverters, and racking equipment). The biggest downside of SunPower panels is the price. They're the most expensive brand on our list, with at least a $4K premium compared to the average 10 kilowatt (kW) solar panel system. We recommend considering SunPower panels if you have limited roof space or significant shading. Otherwise, you may be better off with a slightly lower performance but more cost-effective option.

Soon, SunPower may no longer exclusively offer these solar panels. Maxeon (also one of the best solar panel brands) currently manufactures SunPower's highest quality line of solar panels (the M-Series). Beginning in March 2024, their exclusivity agreement will end and Maxeon will be able to sell these panels to other U.S. solar panel companies. Through February 2024, Sunpower plans to purchase 85 megawatts (MW) of M-Series solar panels–enough to support about 8,500 installations. 

Read SunPower reviews from real homeowners

2. REC Group

REC solar panels on a roof

Summit Energy via REC Group 

Best for warm climates

REC is a European-based solar company that offers a range of solar panels. Its newest series, the Alpha Pure-R, has an impressive temperature coefficient compared to other panels at 0.24%/°C, making them the best choice if you live in a consistently hot area. The Alpha Pure-R panels are the second most efficient panels on our list at 22.3% efficiency. REC offers a strong bang for the buck at an average of $2.82/W. With black cells, frames, and back sheets, they also blend in nicely with most asphalt shingled and metal roofs.

Read REC reviews from real homeowners

3. Panasonic

Panasonic solar panels on a roof

Panasonic

Best for roofs with tight spaces

Panasonic is most commonly known in the U.S. as a TV and small appliance manufacturer, but the Japanese company is also a global leader in solar panels. In 2021, Panasonic began outsourcing its solar panel manufacturing to third-party companies, but panels with Panasonic's name on them continue to uphold the same standards for quality workmanship and high efficiency. They also still include a 25-year warranty. Panasonic panels are the smallest on our list at just 19.9 sq ft, making them a great choice if you have an awkward roof with tight spaces.

Read Panasonic reviews from real homeowners

4. Maxeon Solar Technologies

Maxeon solar panels on a house

Maxeon Solar Technologies

Best warranty

As we mentioned before, Maxeon is the company behind SunPower's highly efficient and power-dense M-Series solar panels. Maxeon offers an industry-leading warranty, guaranteeing its solar panels will produce 88.25% of their original output at year 40. That's 15 years longer than traditional solar performance warranties. 

Maxeon's own line of solar panels doesn't perform quite as well as SunPower's, but its panels cost about 9% less. It's also possible that Maxeon will start offering the highest performance panels soon since their exclusive relationship with SunPower ended in April 2024.

Read Maxeon reviews from real homeowners

5. Jinko Solar

Jinko Solar panels on a house

Jinko Solar

Best performance per penny

Jinko Solar may have the lowest power per square foot of the top five panels on our list, but when you consider cost, they offer the best value in the market. At over 22% efficiency for their highest quality panels and an average cost of $2.55/W, Jinko panels are a great deal. Just keep in mind that they're a bit larger than the other panels, so they might not work as well for installations on smaller roofs.

Read Jinko Solar reviews from real homeowners

To determine which solar panels are best, we evaluate thousands of solar panel models from hundreds of manufacturers quoted through the EnergySage Marketplace. Here's how we compare them: 

Top 10 solar panels, compared

Brand
Model
Efficiency
Power Output
Size
Power Per Square Feet
Temperature Coefficient
Product Warranty
Performance Warranty
Average Cost Per Watt*
Value (W/sq Ft/$/W)
1. SunPowerM series SPR-M440-H-AC20.8%440 W20.8 sq ft21.2 W/sq ft0.29%/°C25 years92% at year 25$3.49/W6.1
2. REC GroupAlpha Pure-R 430 W22.3%430 W20.8 sq ft20.7 W/sq ft0.24%/°C25 years92% at year 25$2.82/W7.3
3. PanasonicEverVolt HK EVPV Black 410-Watt22.2%410 W19.9 sq ft20.6 W/sq ft0.26%/°C25 years92% at year 25$3.16/W6.5
4. Maxeon Solar TechnologiesMaxeon 3 BLK-R 420W20.2%420 W20.4 sq ft20.6 W/sq ft0.27%/°C40 years88.25% at year 40 (92% at year 25)$3.12/W6.6
5. Jinko SolarTiger Neo N-type 54HL4R-B 440 W20.02%440 W21.5 sq ft20.5 W/sq ft0.29%/°C25 years87.4% at year 30 (89.4% at year 25)$2.55/W8.0
6. Q CELLSQ.TRON BLK M-G2+ 430 W22%430 W21.0 sq ft20.5 W/sq ft0.3%/°C25 years90.58% at year 25$2.89/W7.1
7. Silfab SolarSIL - 420 BG21.9%420 W20.6 sq ft20.3 W/sq ft0.377%/°C25 years89.3% at year 30 (90.8% at year 25)$2.86/W7.1
LA Solar FactoryLS550BL21.28%550 W27.8 sq ft19.8 W/sq ft0.35%/°C25 years84.2% at year 25$2.63/W7.5
9. Universal SolarUNI-460-120M-BB21.46%460 W23.3 sq ft19.7 W/sq ft0.32%/°C25 years82.05% at year 30 (85.05% at year 25)$3.25/W6.1
10. Solar4AmericaS4A 72MH5 410W21.17%410 W21.4 sq ft19.2 W/sq ft0.307%/°C25 years85.48% at year 25$2.92/W6.6

*Prices reflect the average quoted price for each solar panel brand based on EnergySage Marketplace data. Prices may differ for the specific model listed.

Even the best solar panels perform poorly in difficult conditions. Some panels are better suited for small spaces, while others excel in hot temperatures. It's important to choose the solar panels that work best for your home, considering your roof and climate.

Your roof's size and shading

Have a small roof with a lot of shading? Unless you don't use much electricity, you'll want a very powerful solar panel. Even light shading can have a negative impact: Subtle shading that covers a few cells or a single panel can reduce solar energy production by 50% or more. Look for solar panels with high power output and high efficiency. 

If you have a complex roof with a lot of small, awkward spaces, it's also worth choosing a more compact, but highly efficient solar panel. We recommend selecting a solar panel that's small in size but still offers a lot of power.

Your region and climate

It's no secret that solar panels are more prevalent in the Sun Belt than in other parts of the country, but they're still an excellent investment if you live in the Northeast or Midwest. You just need to choose the right panels. Your region and climate influence irradiance, shading, panel orientation, temperature, precipitation, wind, dust, and dirt. All of these factors impact the performance of your solar panels.

If you live in an area that frequently experiences rain, snow, or other cloudy conditions, opt for high-output and high-efficiency panels. If you live in a hot and sunny region, you're in a prime spot for premium solar panel efficiency. You should consider the temperature coefficient as a leading factor in your decision-making.

Learn more about choosing the best solar panel for you

Solar panels spend their entire functional lives outdoors, subject to everything nature throws at them. A solar panel's durability measures its ability to perform at maximum capacity in conditions that diminish optimal performance.

You'll want to invest in durable solar panels that you can trust not to break or malfunction in the elements. Manufacturers put solar panels through several standardized tests to determine their durability: 

Your solar panel's durability directly impacts its efficiency: The most durable solar panels have the lowest degradation rates, enabling them to maintain their efficiency ratings.

Learn more about solar panel degradation

If your roof is small and you don't have a lot of space for your system, investing in the most efficient, highest-performing panels can get you the performance you need. If you have enough room for a larger system, installing slightly less efficient panels could provide ample output at a competitive price. The easiest way to get the best solar panels for your home? Get free quotes from vetted installation companies on the EnergySage Marketplace. You can compare multiple quotes side-by-side based on factors like equipment quality, installer reputation, and cost so you can go solar with confidence.

Find out what solar panels cost in your area in 2024
Please enter a five-digit zip code.
  • 100% free to use, 100% online
  • Access the lowest prices from installers near you
  • Unbiased Energy Advisors ready to help
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