What is the best solar panel brand in Australia?

What the Guru says

Hi Solar Guru, I am thinking of going solar - what solar panel brand is the best?

This is a hard one, because there are many solar panel brands to choose from. So here is what I recommend.

Choose a company that has been around for a while. Do not choose a new brand. Choose a solar panel brand that has been in Australia for a while and supporting the local market.

And lastly - ask your solar installer: "Why are you recommending this brand"? Find out a bit about their backstory, then choose a panel that is the right balance between brand strength, technology and budget to suit your application.

There is not just one “BEST” panel

Choosing the best solar panel brand in Australia does not necessarily produce the same result for each customer. Considering that the Clean Energy Council has close to 5000 solar panel models by 99 manufacturers registered demonstrates that there is not just one option. Making this decision requires several considerations and some research. Below are some of these considerations to reach a positive conclusion and result.

Your requirements related

  1. Determine your requirements: Do you have a very large roof, so the panel’s efficiency is not as critical as if you reside in an inner-city townhouse?  What are your energy needs and budget? Can you see the panels from the street, and do you care about the visual effect? Clarifying your specific wishes and needs will help you to narrow down the options.
  2. Consider the local conditions: Australia has diverse climate conditions, so choosing panels suitable for your specific area is important. Factors such as temperature tolerance, wind loading in harsh weather, and low light or heat performance can vary reasonably between brands.

As you have only one roof in one location, you want the solar panel best suited for your installation.

man carrying solar panel
Undertake your solar research and consult your installer

Product related

  1. What about the Product Warranty: Check the product warranties different brands offer. You can do this easily via our solar panel product page and associated filters. Look for companies that have been here for a while or have a strong distributor backing them.  While a longer warranty can seem to provide a better offer, the strength of the product warranty and who is backing it must also be considered.
  2. Is this a reputable brand? Research how reputable the brand you consider is. Look for well-established solar panel manufacturers with a strong presence in Australia. Consider factors such as brand reputation, industry experience, size of after-sales team, customer reviews and your installer’s recommendation.
  3. What is the panel efficiency? Different solar panel brands use different technology in their panels. This, in turn, results in different efficiencies of the actual panel. Just because a solar panel is a 460 Watt model does not mean it is more efficient than a 420 W model. The 460 W could be 20% bigger but only delivers 9.5% more output. Therefore the lower-wattage panel is more efficient and needs less roof space. Higher efficiency panels generate more power per square meter. If you are after the biggest possible system on your roof, use the most efficient panel your budget can afford.

Research related

  1. Check customer reviews: Research online for reviews and feedback on solar panel brands. Real-life experiences from other customers can provide insights into the performance, warranty support, reliability and customer communication of various brands.
  2. Ask your installer: Consult with reputable local solar install companies with decades of experience with different solar panel brands. These professionals can provide valuable insights based on local knowledge and experience to help you make an informed decision.
  3. Request multiple quotes and compare: Once you have shortlisted a few solar panel brands, request quotes from multiple installers for the gear you want. Compare the pricing, warranty terms, and any additional services offered. Do not necessarily go with the cheapest, but aim to get the biggest value from the offer. Do not undervalue the local location of the installer. 10, 15 and 25 years is a long time, but that’s how long you seek support and after-sales service for your solar & battery system.
installers working on panels
Make sure your request multiple quotes using local suppliers

What does YEA recommend?

So please consider that the “best” solar panel model may vary based on individual needs and preferences. Here are Your Energy Answers. We recommend 4 specific panel brands for various reasons, and these 4 PV module brands are REC, Trina, SunPower and Tongwei. The reasons are as follows:

  • REC: Has been in Australia since 2007 with very few issues. REC panels are known for their strong durability, and while they cost a little more, many models have higher efficiency and are made in a high-quality factory in Singapore. REC panels have a strong frame and are certified to withstand heavy loads.
  • Trina: One of the oldest and most established brands in Australia. Had some warranty issues in the past, especially with the 250W Trina Honey model, but stayed the test of time, supported warranty recall, replaced the product and invested in research to create a new generation of quality modules.
  • SunPower: A crowd favourite of anyone looking for a highly efficient panel. It used to be made in the US, but now most panels are manufactured in China. Very low warranty returns. Looks good, performs excellently, and is reliable with a solid presence, after-sales service, and a strong local installer network.
  • Tongwei: A relative newcomer to the Australian market, the company is the largest solar cell manufacturer in the world. Therefore many competitor panel manufacturers have Tongwei cells in their products.  The company has now decided to create a full in-house panel product, and the early results are very good.

In summary

It’s worth noting that solar panel technology and market dynamics evolve, so it’s essential to research and compares the latest panel products and asks your installation company why they recommend a particular brand and model.

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