Switcheroo Logo

Best Solar Panels 2024

The choice between solar panels can be difficult to make. There are so many panels out there, and they all claim to be the best. At Switcheroo, we know that the best way for you—a potential solar panel buyer—to make an informed decision is to have as much information as possible laid out in front of you. After all, when it comes to a possible 25-year investment, a little extra homework just may give you that warm and fuzzy for when you sit down with a pen and an iron-clad contract in front of you.

Best Overall: Project Solar Evolution Titan 445

  • Power Output: 445W
  • Efficiency: 21.01%
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty
  • Temperature Coefficient: -0.35%/°C
  • Price Expectation: A 4.5kW system costs around £4,000 (excluding installation and labour costs)

Pros: The Project Solar Evolution Titan 445 panel offers an impressive 99-year warranty, which is one of the longest in the industry. It features a bi-facial design that optimizes power generation by capturing sunlight from both sides. Additionally, the innovative drainage corners minimize maintenance requirements, making it a highly efficient and low-maintenance option for homeowners.

Cons: One of the main drawbacks is its weight; at 28.6kg, it is one of the heavier panels available, which may pose installation challenges.

Company Overview: Project Solar, the UK’s largest and most accredited solar panel installation company, has installed over 45,000 solar panels. The Evolution Titan 445 panel stands out due to its lifetime warranty, high efficiency, and excellent performance in low-light conditions.

Best Degradation Rate: Jinko Tiger Neo 420W N-Type 54 Cell

  • Power Output: 420W
  • Efficiency: 21.51%
  • Warranty: 25-year product warranty, 30-year power output warranty
  • Temperature Coefficient: -0.30%/°C
  • Price Expectation: A 4.5kW system costs around £1,770 (excluding installation and labour costs)

Pros: The Jinko Tiger Neo 420W N-Type 54 Cell panel is a Bloomberg Tier 1 panel, indicating its high reliability and performance. It has excellent resistance to salt mist, making it ideal for coastal properties. Furthermore, it is widely available, making it easy to source and purchase.

Cons: Despite its benefits, the panel is relatively heavy at 23kg, which could be a consideration for some installations.

Company Overview: Jinko Solar, headquartered in Shanghai, is a major solar module manufacturer with products available in over 160 countries. The Tiger Neo 420W panel boasts high efficiency, low degradation rate, and strong resistance to environmental conditions.

Most Efficient: SunPower Maxeon 5 AC 415W

  • Power Output: 415W
  • Efficiency: 22.60%
  • Warranty: 25-year warranty (optional 40-year extension)
  • Temperature Coefficient: -0.34%/°C
  • Price Expectation: A 4.5kW system costs around £4,000 (excluding installation and labour costs)

Pros: The SunPower Maxeon 5 AC 415W panel stands out for its optional 40-year warranty extension, providing exceptional long-term assurance. The company’s longevity in the market adds to its reliability, and its commitment to recycling panels is an added environmental benefit.

Cons: The primary downside of the SunPower Maxeon 5 AC 415W is its higher cost compared to other panels, which may not be affordable for all homeowners.

Company Overview: SunPower Corporation, founded in 1985, specialises in solar energy systems and battery storage. The Maxeon 5 AC 415W panel is renowned for its high efficiency and low degradation rate, offering significant energy savings.

Best Output: JA Solar JAM72S30

  • Power Output: 550W
  • Efficiency: 21.3%
  • Warranty: 12-year product warranty, 25-year linear power output warranty
  • Temperature Coefficient: -0.35%/°C
  • Price Expectation: A 4.5kW system costs around £1,640 (excluding installation and labour costs)

Pros: The JA Solar JAM72S30 panel boasts a high power output, making it a strong performer. Its slimline, robust frame design, which is about 5mm thinner than most panels, adds to its aesthetic appeal. Additionally, it is a Bloomberg Tier 1 panel, signifying its high quality and reliability.

Cons: The panel’s warranty is lower than average, with a standard 12-year product warranty, which may be less appealing compared to other options with longer warranties.

Company Overview: JA Solar, based in Shanghai, provides high-power output panels with competitive efficiency and a strong degradation rate. The JAM72S30 panel is notable for its robust design and affordability.

Best Budget Solar Panel: Suntech Ultra V Mini Mono 405W

  • Power Output: 405W
  • Efficiency: 20.7%
  • Warranty: 15-year product warranty, 25-year performance warranty
  • Temperature Coefficient: -0.36%/°C
  • Price Expectation: A 4.5kW system costs around £1,700 (excluding installation and labour costs)

Pros: The Suntech Ultra V Mini Mono 405W panel is corrosion-resistant and incorporates shade-resistant technology, ensuring consistent performance even in less-than-ideal conditions. It offers a good balance of efficiency and power output at an affordable price.

Cons: A significant drawback is its higher degradation rate, with a 2% power degradation in the first year and 0.55% each subsequent year, which is among the highest found in our research.

Company Overview: Suntech, with over 20 years of experience, offers the cost-effective Ultra V Mini panel, known for its good efficiency and power output. It’s an affordable choice with a reliable performance warranty.

How We Chose the Best Solar Panels

The manufacturers’ experience is a key factor in reliable solar panels. When you choose a solar panel, you want to know it’s coming from a manufacturer with a long, sturdy history in the development and creation of solar technology.

Every solar panel on our list fulfills that requirement. We’ve vetted the manufacturers. We’ve checked their histories. We’ve reviewed their installations. And, most importantly, we’ve examined the warrantees (because a good warranty tells you a lot about a company). We would trust each of these companies to put a reliable solar panel on our roof.

Our selection criteria for this list were strictly limited to high-efficiency solar panels—that is, solar panels that had the most efficient energy production. Most of the models on our list had efficiency ratings of 20% or higher, which makes our options very pleasing if you’re concerned primarily with the most efficient use of energy. Monocrystalline is the most effective technology compared to other technologies like polycrystalline and thin-film solar panels.

We took a good, hard look at the power outputs of the solar panels on our list because it’s a big deal. And it’s a big deal because…wait for it…if you don’t have enough power output from your solar panels—meaning, if you don’t generate enough power—you won’t have enough electricity to satisfy your energy needs at home. And so, we had to go with solar panels on our list that generate, on average, enough electricity to satisfy most or all of your energy needs; in other words, you need to install fewer solar panels overall, but they have to generate at least enough electricity to pay off the energy-less promise of a regular old house.

Panel performance over time is a common issue in the industry. After all, they do age. Researchers have come up with some pretty good modeling to figure out how long panels will last and how much they’ll degrade over time.

The standard for rating that performance is the industry’s 25-year warranty. For a model to make our “best” list, panel makers had to be experiencing less than a 15-percent power (electricity) loss after that time. But many of them are much better than that.

You should factor in the warranty period when it comes to buying solar panels. The warranty is undeniably one of the most critical facets of the purchase of solar panels—just as you would when buying a car, for example. The wattage rating most certainly goes into any rational buying decision, but the warranty is right up there with any other determinants. If you have a system that generates a lot more electricity, won’t you also have a lot more to worry about if the system malfunctions?

Solar panels are anything but inexpensive. We ensured that the prices were reasonable for the quality (or even a more in-depth look: “cost-quality”) ratio. If you can get a good price for solar panels, then we can invest in them without feeling too much of a financial hit. But we acknowledge that even with these nominal price figures, we’re still dealing with a budget item for which many of us have to save for quite a long time.