LA Solar Factory solar panels: The complete review

LA Solar panel review

LA Solar has been installing solar panels since they were founded in the Los Angeles area in 2011, with current installations spanning three states: California, Nevada, and Texas. During the past 12 years, they've installed over 25,000 systems and approximately 625,000 solar panels. In 2019, LA Solar Group took their years of experience as solar installers and expanded their business to offer their own line of solar panels under their new manufacturing arm, LA Solar Factory.

So, how do their panels compare to other leading panel brands? In this article, we'll explain what you need to know about LA Solar Factory and the products they offer.

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Key takeaways

  • The southern California-based LA Solar Factory entered the solar panel manufacturing industry to become vertically integrated, allowing them to offer more competitive system prices, be better protected from supply chain constraints, and offer a competitive warranty.

  • The wide range of solar panels from LA Solar Factory comes with competitive wattages and efficiencies.

  • LA Solar Factory panels cost between $2.27 and $2.73 per watt on the EnergySage Marketplace – that's $13,620 to $16,380 for a 6 kW system before the federal solar tax credit.

LA Solar Factory offers an extensive line of solar panels with various wattages, aesthetic designs, and functionalities. They manufacture their solar panels in Armenia, importing materials from Germany, China, and Vietnam. The primary steps of solar panel manufacturing include: making the solar cell, making the lamination, making the frame, and then putting it all together into a solar module; in the case of LA Solar Factory, they complete all of these steps in-house except the solar cells, which they purchase from a third-party. (Most solar panel manufacturers don't make their solar cells, and most purchase from the same handful of cell manufacturers.) LA Solar Factory also uses automated assembly lines, leading to low manufacturing error rates. Generally, it takes LA Solar Factory about five to six months to procure raw materials, build the solar panels, and ship them out to installers.

LA Solar panels

If you're going solar with LA Solar Factory panels, your installer will install panels from one of the lines below as part of your system – all of them are monocrystalline modules (meaning they're highly efficient).

LS430BL - LS550BL

This series comes in wattages from 430 Watts (W) to 550W, increasing in increments of five Watts from 430W - 450W and 530W - 550W. The panels in this series range in efficiency from 19.7% to 21.8% – relatively high due to their half-cut solar cell technology, which increases the panels' efficiency by reducing heat loss. This type of solar cell structure can be more expensive to produce but also speeds up the installation process, as you'll need fewer panels to meet your electricity needs due to their increased efficiency.

LS390HC - LS450HC

This series is offered in wattages ranging from 390W to 450W, increasing by increments of five Watts (although they skip 425W). The panels range in efficiency from 19.61% to 20.93% and have the same solar cell technology as the BL line.

LS340ST - LS400ST

This series is offered in wattages ranging from 340W to 400W, increasing in increments of five Watts. The efficiency of these panels ranges from 17.52% to 20.19%, and LA Solar Factory notes that the lower wattages (ranging from 340W to 370W) are best suited for temperate climates or higher-temperature areas.

LS530BF - LS550BF

This series includes LA Solar Factory's highest wattage panels ranging from 530W to 550W. These panels range in efficiency from 20.56% to 21.28%. Although they are very efficient, it's unlikely that your installation company would include these panels as part of a home solar system, as their wattages are higher than the typical 500W cap across the solar industry for home solar projects. Generally, they're better suited to small-scale commercial and industrial installations.

We'll dive into these series' efficiency ratings, performance, and warranties below.

There are four key metrics that you should review as you evaluate solar panel quality and determine the best solar panels for you: efficiency, performance, warranty, and price. We'll explain what each of these means and why they're important – and show how LA Solar Factory solar panels stack up against each other and other leading brands in the solar industry.

Efficiency

"Solar panel efficiency" refers to how well a solar panel captures sunlight and converts it into useful electricity. In the same conditions, a high-efficiency solar panel will produce more electricity than a lower-efficiency panel of the same size. For this reason, a higher efficiency rating is generally preferable.

The efficiency of your LA Solar Factory solar panels will vary depending on the specific model (and wattage) that you choose for your system. LA Solar Factory panel efficiency ranges from 17.52% to 21.28% – for contrast, SunPower has the most efficient solar panels on the EnergySage Marketplace at 22.8%.

LA Solar Factory panel series efficiency

LA Solar Factory Panel Series
Efficiency Rating
LS430BL - LS550BL19.7 - 21.8%
LS390HC - LS450HC19.61 - 20.93%
LS340ST - LS400ST17.52 - 20.19%
LS530BF - LS550BF20.56 - 21.28%

Performance (temperature coefficient)

Temperature coefficient indicates how well your solar panels perform in less-than-ideal conditions. Solar panels, like other electronic equipment, perform better when kept cool (ideally around 25°C/77°F). The temperature coefficient tells you how much your panel's performance will change during hot, sunny summer days.

For every degree above 25°C (77°F), your solar panel's electricity production will decrease by its temperature coefficient. The temperature coefficient of all of the LA Solar Factory panels is 0.37%/°C. This means that if the panel's temperature increases by one degree from 25°C (77°F), its electricity production will decrease by 0.37%. If its temperature rises to 35°C (95°F), electricity production will reduce by 3.7%

Your solar panels will likely see more than a few hot and sunny days each year, so ideally, they will have the lowest temperature coefficient possible. For comparison, the most popular brand of solar panels on EnergySage, Q CELLS, offers panels with a temperature coefficient of -0.34, while Panasonic panels all have a temperature coefficient of -0.26.

Warranty

Whether you're buying a TV, a car, or solar panels, the manufacturer should stand behind their product with a strong warranty. A solar panel's materials warranty (sometimes referred to as the product or equipment warranty) is a guarantee from the manufacturer that they will replace your panel if it fails due to manufacturing defects or environmental issues.

LA Solar Factory offers a 25-year warranty, guaranteeing that their panels will still produce at least 81.4% or 85% (depending on the series) of their original output by the end of the warranty term. Their warranty also includes a provision that their panels will still produce 90% of their original output by year 10. This warranty coverage is available without the requirement of product registration.

As with most warranties, LA Solar Factory's warranty covers degradation of the panel quality from normal wear and tear due to being installed on a roof but does not cover any damage caused by things like extreme weather events or maintenance that a certified electrician does not complete. You can view the degradation warranty coverage of all of LA Solar Factory's panels in the table below.

LA Solar Factory panel series warranties

LA Solar Factory Panel Series
Annual Degradation (%)
Power At Year 25 (%)
LS430BL - LS550BL0.65%81.4%
LS530BL - LS550BL0.5%85%
LS390HC - LS420HC0.65%81.4%
LS430HC - LS450HC0.5%85%
LS340ST - LS370ST0.65%81.4%
LS370ST - LS400ST0.65%81.4%
LS530BF - LS550BF0.65%81.4%

For more information, check out our in-depth review of LA Solar Factory's warranty and our guide to comparing the solar panel warranties of the top brands on the market.

For many homeowners, the final decision around which solar equipment to choose comes down to cost. The total price you pay for a solar energy system with LA Solar panels will vary depending on the other equipment (such as inverters) used in the installation and the characteristics of your roof.

To identify the range of prices for LA Solar systems, we analyzed quotes from installers on the EnergySage Marketplace that included LA Solar Factory solar panels throughout 2022. Most LA Solar systems are typically priced between $2.27 and $2.73 per watt – generally lower than the average price of solar quotes across the whole EnergySage Marketplace over the same period.

This means that, for a 6 kW system, your gross cost (before you subtract any tax credits or other incentives) would be anywhere from $13,620 to $16,380. Additionally, most homeowners pay much less than the total gross cost. Plenty of solar incentives and rebates to help you reduce upfront costs, including the 30% federal tax credit for solar, make purchasing your solar system with cash or a loan an attractive alternative to a solar lease.

LA Solar Factory solar panels are some of the most competitively priced panels available on the EnergySage Marketplace. They offer many products with great efficiencies and power outputs for reasonable prices, especially compared to industry-leading products like SunPower, which fall at the pricier end of the spectrum.

LA Solar offers several services, from solar panel installations to roofing repairs to battery storage installations. In 2019, they launched the LA Solar Factory to manufacture their own line of solar panels and racking equipment to become a more vertically integrated company (meaning they produce as much of the equipment they use as opposed to relying on other manufacturers' products).

With this approach, LA Solar is unique among solar companies as it has complete control over the price of its solar panel systems (except inverters and microinverters, which they don't manufacture but instead source from companies like Enphase and SolarEdge). They also don't produce their batteries, so you can pair your system with other batteries like the Tesla Powerwall or the Enphase IQ for storage. This allows them to offer high-quality panels at very competitive prices. If, for some reason, you need your LA Solar Factory panel replaced, this also ensures that they'll have compatible solar panels in their inventory to fulfill their 25-year warranty.

As with any product that is such a significant investment, LA Solar Factory panels have advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind before deciding to purchase. Whether your primary motivation for switching to solar is sustainability or lowering your electric bills, it's important to weigh your options.

Pros of LA Solar Factory solar panels

  • Vertically integrated company: LA Solar Factory has control of the price of almost all aspects of their solar system production, making them a reliable source as supply chain constraints continue to impact the solar market.

  • Price: the panels offered by LA Solar Factory fall squarely in the middle of the market regarding cost, making them a good choice for those looking for a reliable but affordable renewable energy source for their home.

  • Quality: LA Solar Factory produces panels with a quality that puts them in line with some of the best panels on the market, but because of their production process, they can keep costs lower.

Cons of LA Solar Factory solar panels

  • Location: LA Solar Factory is currently only operating as an installer in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Nevada, and Texas, although some other installers may install their solar panels in other states.

  • Performance: the panels from LA Solar Factory have a high-temperature coefficient compared to the rest of the market, impacting the panel's overall performance and longevity.

Whether you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint or pay less to your utility company each month, the best way to determine whether LA Solar Factory solar panels are the best for your home is to review multiple quotes with different solar equipment options before deciding. When you compare your options on the EnergySage Marketplace, you'll find the right combination of price and quality that meets your needs. If you're set on specific equipment, LA Solar Factory panels or otherwise, make a note in your profile so our qualified, vetted solar installers know your preferences.

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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