There are a number of factors to consider when choosing an installer, including experience, years in business, online reviews, licensing, and more. A lesser-known factor you may want to consider as you’re comparing one installer versus another is whether a solar company has received any manufacturer endorsements.Continue reading
When it comes to solar panel manufacturers, there is no shortage of options for homeowners in 2019. Solar panel technology is improving every year, and many solar panel companies offer products that boast both high conversion efficiency numbers as well as impressive long-term warranties. SunPower is the leader with regard to efficiency across the board while LG solar panels are known for top tier design and aesthetic, but companies like Canadian Solar offer much more appealing prices for their solar panels. How do the top PV manufacturers stack up? We’ll help you compare and contrast your options among the industry leaders – SunPower, Panasonic, Canadian Solar, and LG.Continue reading
Its a great time for consumers considering installing solar panel systems in Massachusetts. Solar PV system prices fell over 64% during a recent 5 year span. It’s figures like this that have analysts from Deutsche Bank reporting that solar is well on its way to beating conventional generation technologies on cost.
In line with this trend, prices for solar panels in Massachusetts are also on the decline. But how can residents of the Bay State make sure that they’re not paying last year’s prices? We’ve identified three things shoppers can do to make sure they get a good deal based on some analysis of price figures from across the state (summarized in the chart below).Continue reading
When you compare your solar panel options from leading companies like SunPower, Canadian Solar, LG, and Hyundai, one of the biggest factors to consider is the solar panel warranties offered with their products. Solar panels come with two main warranties attached: the materials warranty, also known as the product warranty, and the production warranty.Continue reading
Inverters are an essential component of any solar panel system. They’re responsible for converting direct current energy (DC) generated at your solar panels into usable alternating current (AC) electricity for your home’s appliances. When it comes to choosing an inverter solution for your solar panel system, there are a few options to consider. In this article, we’ll go over one of the more popular types of inverter technologies: microinverters.Continue reading
Earlier this month, EnergySage published our eighth Solar Marketplace Intel Report™. The publicly available report provides data on the state of the solar market nationwide and at the state level, the breakdown of equipment packages quoted by solar installation companies, and additional energy interests from solar shoppers. Our key takeaways are outlined below. We welcome your analysis of this data as well!Continue reading
When you’re buying a turnkey solar installation, a portion of your total cost is attributed to the labor required to set up your system. Manufacturers are constantly innovating new technology to cut down the time, labor, and costs of installations. As a result, there’s one type of solar panel that’s becoming increasingly popular throughout the solar industry: the alternating current (AC) module, or AC solar panel.Continue reading
In this week’s Solar News Roundup, Massachusetts moves forward with a new incentive structure for battery storage, and SunPower begins operations at an old SolarWorld facility.Continue reading
Who are the top solar leasing companies in the country, and how do they differ in structure and business model? This article aims to answer these questions, examining some of the biggest solar lease providers in the US – SolarCity, Vivint Solar, Sunrun, SunPower and Clean Power Finance.Continue reading
One of the things you may have questions about as you shop around for a solar system is where the solar panels are manufactured. This article will help you determine whether a panel’s country of manufacture should be a key consideration for you.
Note: If you are looking for information on the 30% tariff levied on solar panels by the Trump Administration, read our complete analysis here.
Does it matter where solar panel companies are based and where they make the panels?
When it comes to quality, the mention of any country’s name will evoke an association; each nation has its own brand image, which may or may not be justified. You as a smart solar shopper, however, will want to look at the facts in order to make a more well-informed decision. Our recommendation is to judge each panel by its own merits.
What if the country of manufacture is important to me?
This doesn’t mean that country of origin is never important, of course: everyone has their own preferences. For example, many Americans would prefer solar panels made in the USA to ones that are imported, whether for patriotic reasons or because they trust the ‘American-made’ brand for quality.
American-made vs imported panel costs
American-made solar panels generally cost from $0.50 to $0.80 per watt (W) – about $0.10 to $0.30 more per watt than imported panels. The highest quality, ‘premium’ American panels may even come in around $1.00/W.
For a typical 6kW system, an additional $0.30/W translates into about $1,800, a reasonable amount to pay if the ‘Made in America’ stamp is important to you. Also keep in mind that some states may offer rebates for locally-made panels that can offset some or all of the additional cost.
Check out our list of U.S. solar panel manufacturers for more information about companies that make solar panels in America.
Manufacturing location vs headquarters location
If ‘country brand’ is important to you, be aware that the location of a company’s headquarters is not always the same as its factories. (For example, SunPower is a premium American brand that has manufacturing plants in both the US and the Philippines.) All else being equal, knowing that a company’s head office is relatively close or in a familiar country could help you make a decision.
Where do the top solar companies manufacture panels?
Below, EnergySage has compiled a list of the leading solar panel companies active in the US market based on the most recently available data in 2018. The table is broken down by each company’s market share, headquarters location, manufacturing facility locations and overall quality ranking.
The key takeaways from the table below are that: 1) no single country dominates the market (although the US and China do appear most frequently), and 2) there is little to no correlation between country of manufacture and the company’s quality ranking.
Exhibit: List of solar panel makers in the US by residential market share and country of manufacture*
|Solar Panel Manufacturers||Approx. U.S. Market Share*||Company Headquarters|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||1%||South Korea|
|MAGE Solar||< 1%||Germany|
|Perlight Solar (Zebra Energy)||< 1%||U.S.|
For any homeowner in the early stage of shopping for solar that would just like a ballpark estimate for an installation, try our Solar Calculator that offers up front cost and long term savings estimates based on your location and roof type. For those looking to get quotes from local contractors today, check out our quote comparison platform.
* 2015 Data, Residential Solar Installations, Source: GTM / SEIA