In the first of our three part series, we learned key factors on how to choose the right solar contractor. In our second part, we will learn about how to choose the right solar equipment when installing a solar system for your home. Once you select your contractor, you’re going to be asking what brands they carry and why one brand is a better option than another. This guide will help you better understand the differences between today’s most popular solar pv modules.
STEP #1 – Research the equipment directly from manufacturer.
Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen a shift in the market. U.S. made solar modules have fallen behind non U.S. brands. This due to U.S. brands struggling to maintain low costs to compete and win big contracts. In comparison, non-U.S. brands are generally more sustainable, have a larger market share, and are Tier 1 A-grade (highest quality) module manufacturers. For example, two major players are the Chinese companies Canadian Solar and Trina Solar; both are publicly traded, have solid financial standing and a dedication to sustainability, and have been in business over 20 years.
Whether or not you want to buy a U.S. or non-U.S. brand of solar panel should factor into your final decision. What kinds of modules does your preferred contractor carry?
*Pro Tip: Read The Manufacture’s Product Warranty: When shopping for solar, we recommend that you read the product warranty for the panels that a solar contractor has presented to you. You can either request it from the contractor or visit the manufacture’s website to download it.
STEP #2 – Look for a brand that contractors and homeowners trust.
Regardless of where you source your equipment it is important to buy from a trusted brand. One that is well established, has good credibility, and intends to stand behind their products. Even though failure rates for solar panels are low, it is important to choose a company that will be around for the next 30 years to cover the warranties they promise when you buy. There are three categories of popular solar panels available to homeowners, and choosing the right one depends on your unique requirements and goals:
- Supreme: Sunpower, Panasonic
- Premium: SolarWorld, LG
- Standard: Canadian Solar, Hyundai, Hanwha
*Pro Tip: Choosing Popular Solar Panels: While it might not be right for everyone, Panasonic, for example of one of today’s most popular choices for many homeowner for the following reasons:
✅ High efficiency
✅ 25-year labor warranty
✅ Lower degradation
✅ Relatively lower cost
Generally speaking, if you have a large enough roof and there is no efficiency issue, you should go with a low cost, high return-on-investment (ROI) panel option, like Canadian Solar. If you are limited by the amount of space on your roof, you might need to go with a smaller more efficient solar panel option such as Panasonic to get maximum production and cost benefits.