Set to be announced 30th June 2020, has the Solar Review algorithm just predicted the distinguished InterSolar Award winner of 2020 in solar module innovation? We crunched the numbers and the results will surprise you.
2020 is in full swing and there is no better time to reflect on the solar panels which truly sit a class above with proven strengths. As with any “Best of” feature, one should always consider – The Best of What? Solar Review has collated the Best Solar Panels of 2020 based on certified specifications and performance data in the criteria which is relevant to common buying decisions.
Solar panels (similar to cars) have manufacturers, and solar panel manufacturers build models of various solar panels. Often each model is desired to be the best suited for a selected purpose. This is what must factored when considering the best solar panels of 2020.
Simply considering manufacturer alone doesn’t pose much insight into a particular solar panels own strengths and weaknesses for a given task. The Solar Review best solar panels 2020 list delivers the information you seek for refined module selection purposes.
Residential 60-cell and 66-cell (or equivalent) solar panels considered only.
A three-way tie in the design stakes ensures solar module designs are becoming more competitive as the year’s progress.
REC Alpha series has evolved HJT technology (previously mastered by Panasonic) into the now popular half-cell design of which they claimed Intersolar honours half a decade ago. Infusing N-Type monocrystalline cells with HJT technology and an Intersolar Award for innovative design, a recipe sure to have many admirers.
SunPower Maxeon 3 has long been the pinnacle of innovative solar module design. However, with the race turning away from cheap, there appears to be more competion in advanced solar module designs. Nonetheless the Sunpower Maxeon 3 remains one of the worlds best designed solar modules.
LG NeON R models exceed the limitations set within the original 60-cell format by utilising high purity monocrystalline composites, advanced cell connectivity, combined with ultra-refined build qualities which potentially linger as the LG NeON R’s greatest asset beyond efficiency.
Based on certified specifications, the LG NeON 2 and NeON R models have a reputation in previous years for standing a class above. Come 2020, and a new best durability contender is on par in the form of the REC Alpha series.
LG NeON R & LG NeON 2 range mostly excel above alternatives in extreme loading capabilities. The LG NeON range advanced build design enhances two critical elements for excessive load and durability; Frame design/quality and advanced encapsulate materials.
REC Alpha series boasts an additional 2 bar rear bracing system (within the frame) to reinforce the high profile module design further. As of such extreme environmental loading pressures are negated while combined with a high tolerance to Salt Mist, Hail impact, Ammonia resistance criteria for versatile installation locations.
Durability criteria within the LG NeON range and REC Alpha series consistently rank in the highest calibre of certified specifications to ensure an industry-leading Elite durability rating.
Sunpower Maxeon 3 is a clear leader in terms of efficiency alone. Temperature Coefficient and Power tolerance though are what lets the Maxeon 3 down from a perfect score in efficiency criteria.
In reverse, even though the efficiency of the Panasonic HIT+ isn’t quite as high as the Sunpower Maxeon 3 range, the -0.25%C Temperature Coefficient and outstanding +10% power tolerance from nameplate value balance out for an equal best efficiency score.
Five different modules, five identical scores, five unique reasons.
Both the REC Alpha series and Sunpower Maxeon 3 factor a maximum 2% degradation in year-1 while degrading at no more than 0.25% per annum guaranteed for 25-years. Such a guarantee provides a manufacturer-backed assurance that each will still be producing within 92% of their nameplate value at year-25.
Impressively the Jinko Tiger N-Type factors in only a 1% degradation in year-1 while degrading at no more than 0.4% per annum over an outstanding 30-year period.
Performance guaranteed for 30-years has always been synonymous with the SolarWatt Vision 60M glass-glass module range. The 3% first-year degradation is quickly negated by the impressive 0.3% per annum degradation rate over 30-years.
Slightly different again but equal in terms of ranking criteria, the Panasonic HIT+ also considers a 3% first-year degradation while degrading at no more than an outstanding 0.2% per annum over 25-years.
All are considered unmatched and equal on performance criteria.
Not the longest parts and service product warranty (credit SolarWatt), however, what sets the REC range apart in the best Guarantee department is the unique REC Protrust Warranty which benefits both end-user and installers alike.
End-users are provided with an additional 5-year manufacturers warranty extension when using a REC certified and trained installer. By ensuring training and a process which encourages installer competence in manufacturer installation guidelines, the guarantee has a greater chance of being valid should a defect occur over time.
In return, brand loyal installers are shielded by untrained installers towards manufacturers best practice guidelines.
A testament to an advanced all round product, the REC Alpha series consistently ranks Elite to Outstanding in all criteria to present as the Solar Review Best Solar Panel 2020.
Followed very closely (only 0.1 of a point) the Panasonic HIT+, Sunpower Maxeon 3 and LG NeON R prove that there is admirable competition towards the pointy end of the solar module buyers spectrum.
The Chart - Top 25.
|Panel Make||Panel Model||Overall||Design||Durability||Efficiency||Performance||Guarantee||wdt_ID|
Cant find a particular solar module? There are a number of instances which could affect this result;
- There is insufficient publicly available data online to support all the required criteria.
- The product has not been submitted for a score request by either a reader or manufacturer.
To ensure a solar module is listed refer to – https://review.solar/manufacturer-documentation/
*AVG references industry average specifications.
How was the score for the Best Solar Panels 2020/21 calculated? By using the Solar Review Module Assessment Criteria V2.5 >
This article was originally published June 26, 2020.
To reflect evolving criteria this content has been updated over time.