Top 10 Solar Panels of 2021 – Rayah Solar

Wednesday, April 21st

Find The Best Solar Panels For Your Home text with home graphic with multiple solar panels showed as options.We are grateful for another year and the opportunity to present the Top 10 Solar Panels of 2021. This is an exciting year in solar; we have brand new solar panels by Panasonic, Silfab, and Q -Cells, as well as some newcomers to our Top 10. Will Solaria hold its crown from 202? Will LG finally take the top spot or will SunPower reclaim its former glory with its A-Series solar panels? Or……. do we have a new solar monarch reigning supreme in 2021?

Helping you Make Informed Decisions

Cartoon girl blindfolded trying to avoid holes in floor.Who likes to make choices while blindfolded? Perhaps, that’s how you feel about selecting a solar panel. We hope that this blog will help you feel educated and capable of picking the right solar panel for your home!

Companion Blogs

Instead of trying to cram an unbelievable amount of information into one blog, we will be presenting four different blogs this year (but don’t worry, this blog still has an unbelievable amount of information 😁

The Top 10 Solar Panels of 2021 Companion blogs:

  1. How to compare Solar Panels? Our 10 Metric Analysis
  2. The 5 Best Solar Panels for your Unique Home.The 5 categories compared in this blog include:
    ✓ Best Solar Panels for a Street-Facing Roof (Aesthetics)
    ✓ Best Solar Panels with Limited Roof Space (Efficiency)
    ✓ Best Solar Panels on a Budget (Price)
    ✓ Best Brand Name Solar Panel (Brand Strength)
    ✓ Best Overall Solar Panel of 2021
  3. Comparing Solar Panels by Price:This blog stems from an overwhelming demand from our audience to get solar panel pricing. Please note, in this blog (Top 10 Solar Panels of 2021), we will compare price in terms of “high” to “low” using money symbols $$$$$. In the Comparing Solar Panels by Price blog, we will compare each solar panel in the Top 10 and give you a pricing breakdown. Prices will vary based on your location, but the idea is to know how much more or less you should be paying per panel.

Industry Changes

Change Ahead traffic sign with blue sky background.Similar to last year, we are continuing to see a trend of better warranties. This is true with higher year-25 performance guarantees, longer product warranties and more companies offering labor warranties. We are also seeing the average module efficiencies increase, with 8 of our top 10 panels with efficiencies over 20%. The other two are both mid 19%! There is also a general trend towards making more beautiful solar panels. Each company does this a bit differently; some by using thinner electrical conductors, others by moving the conductors to the back of the solar cell, or Solaria, by hiding them under a shingling technology that overlaps the solar cells. The sum effect is that solar panels are getting prettier by the day!

The last industry change we want to address is the proliferation of abnormal sized solar panels. We know some will argue that there is no standard size, and to an extent that is true, but for years, most residential solar panels were about the same size, 60” x 40” (give or take). So when SunPower and Q Cells came out with 72” panels, it made it harder to compare panels. However, we’ve tried to address that and will get to that later.

Products

This year, we looked at over 20 solar brands with some having as many as five or six different models! However, unlike last year, where we would analyze both the black and white backsheet versions of the same module (like the LG NeON2 black backsheet and white backsheet), this year we are counting that as one module. Please note, as some modules only come with a black backsheet (Silfab and Solaria), we used black backsheet module datasheets as the standard (*except if that module did not have a black backsheet version).

The following is a list of solar brands reviewed in 2021 (in alphabetical order):

Axitec
Canadian Solar
CertainTeed
GCL
Hyundai
JA Solar
Jinko

LG Solar
Longi
Panasonic
Peimar
Phono Solar
QCELL
REC Alpha

Risen
S-Energy
Seraphim
Silfab
Solaria
SunPower
Trina

Methodology

Apple and an Orange on a teeter totter.In terms of methodology, some things are the same, but some things have changed. As always, we would like to remind everyone that Rayah Solar is a Massachusetts-based solar installation company, not a research institute. With that said, our goal is to perform an in-depth analysis of the tier-1 solar modules available in our market. We must emphasize the latter point, as there are plenty of excellent solar panels around the world, that just aren’t available to us. Our goal is to be unbiased so we can design and recommend the best solar panel for each unique application.

Some things have stayed the same this year; we are still comparing solar models on ten different metrics, and rank each category on a scale from 1 – 10 (10 being the best). This gives the highest possible score of 100 points!

Thanks to the wonderful input from people around the globe, we have changed a few things in our evaluation system this year. One of the most common suggestions we received was to evaluate solar panels of different sizes. Last year, we did not include the SunPower A-Series because it was larger than a standard panel. Our question was, how do you do that when panels are all different sizes? The answer is…

Replace the metric of STC panel “watt” rating with “watts per square foot” (watts/ft2). For this, we literally entered in the exact dimensions of each solar module (yes, this took a lot of time) and that gave us the square footage (ft2). We then divided the ft2 by the panel watt rating, giving us the watts/ft2. This broke down the walls of ambiguity and for the first time and allowed us to accurately compare panels of different sizes.

An interesting tidbit to keep in mind is that the average size of our Top 10 Panels is 19.21 ft2 with an average watt/ft2 of 18.98. The average solar panel has a negative ratio of size to watts. Remember the goal is to have a higher watt/ft2!

This new metric allowed us to tweak the “value” metric, which was panel cost divided by wattage with a much more scientific equation: price divided by watts/ft2. We labeled this $/watt/ft2$/watt/ft2 allowed us to truly compare the differences between performance and price, which is what so many customers want. As you’ll see, some panels are quite efficient and produce a lot of power per ft2, but are very expensive $/watt/ft2. Alternatively, some very cheap panels show their true colors as having a high $/watt/ft2 – meaning, they are “cheap” because they are “inefficient!”

Lastly, we received some complaints that we placed too much value on aesthetics. By combining solar modules with both a white and black backsheets (which nearly every solar model has both), we have truly reduced aesthetics to just one category.

10 Metric Solar Panel Comparison:

  • Warranties: 30%
    • Performance Warranty: Year-25 guarantee & degradation
    • Product Warranty: Number of years
    • Labor Warranty: Number of years
  • Price: 20% (we used money signs: $ = Cheapest, $$$$$ = most expensive)
    • Cost per watt ($/watt)
    • Price per watt per ft2 ($/watt/ft2)
  • Solar Production: 20%
    • Module efficiency
    • Watts per ft2 (watts/ft2)
  • Brand Strength: 10%: Company size, years in solar, R&D in solar, fiscal data, etc…
  • Aesthetics: 10%: Visibility of silver conductors, cell construction
  • Technology: 10%: P-Type, N-Type, patents, conductors, temperature coefficient (temp coef). There has been a lot of talk about temp coef in recent years. The theory is that the lower the temp coef, the better the panel will perform in hot environments.

*For a complete breakdown of our methodology, please click the following link to read our Blog: How to Compare Solar Panels: A 10 Metric Analysis

Top 10 Solar Panels of 2021

Without further ado, here we go, the Top 10 Solar Panels of 2021 are:

*Click Here to View our Detailed Top 10 Comparison Chart (includes information on each company, panel technology, warranty details and so much more!)

10) Canadian Solar HidM-Black: Cs1H-330Ms: 330 Watt | All Black

After years of heartfelt agony, Canadian Solar can finally claim a spot on Rayah Solar’s Top 10 Panel list! Canadian Solar has long been known for their utility-scale operations, but in recent years, they’ve made a concerted effort to enter the residential market.

We like the clean all black look of this panel backed by the strong reputation of Canadian Solar. This panel utilizes a high-density mono perc module (HidM) technology that performs very well in warm conditions; with a really good temp coef of -0.29.%. This is close to the industry best of -0.26.%.

Unfortunately, that low temp coef didn’t translate into their warranty. Their annual degradation is .6%, the highest (worst) on this list and double some of the other modules! Also, their year-25 performance guarantee is 83.1%, which is the second lowest ranking.

Performance wise, it ranks amongst the bottom in watt/ft2, at only 18.17. However, due to its extremely low selling price, it performs well in terms of $/watt/ft2. In other words, the value is not bad.

So the verdict: this panel looks great, but in terms of warranty and performance, it’s not really in the same league with the other panels in our Top 10. However, if you have a big roof and aren’t limited with space, then the Canadian Solar HidM-Black might be a great budget panel for your home!

9) Q Cells Q.Antum: Q.PEAK-DUO-BLK-MLG9+380: 380 Watt | All Black

The all new Q Cells Q.Antum is a pleasant surprise in 2021. For over a decade Q Cells have been making excellent German-engineered solar panels. The Q.Antum is probably their best module yet and made right here in the United States!

The Q.Antum replaces their much older looking Q.PEAK DUO, which actually took the #10 spot last year. However, this module is a big step up in both efficiency and aesthetics. As you can see, it is a sleek all black module with a 20.10% module efficiency.

Technologically speaking, the Q.Antum utilizes a mono Q.ANTUM DUO Z Technology with zero-gap cell layout. Sounds fancy, right! It just means it’s really good. Also, its temp coeff of −0.35% is about average.

The Q.Antum has a good 25-year performance warranty, but only a 12-year product warranty and no labor warranty. So, they lose a few brownie points there.

In terms of size, it is quite big at 20.40 ft2. This is more than 1ft2 larger than the average panel on our list. However, it has a lower watt/ft2 score than other Top 10 competitors at 18.63 watt/ft2 😟. In terms of price, the Q Cells is both on the lower end of the cost/watt spectrum and cost per watt/ft2. So, it’s certainly a good buy.

We recommend the Q Cells Q.Antum to shoppers looking for a US-made brand name product at a low price. We call this both quality and value.

8) Silfab: SIL 330 BL: 330 Watt | All Black

Silfab: SIL 330 BL: 330 Watt | All Black information graph.
Silfab: SIL 330 BL: 330 Watt | All Black.

We’ve always liked this American-made panel, and it was great to see that it still stacks up well against the competition. In fact, it beat out some stiff competition from Trina, Canadian Solar, Hyundai and other tier-one brands to make it into the Top 10.

In some regards, this panel has an older looking construction, with its plethora of silver conductors on the front. But somehow, Silfab has always found a way to make them look more integrated than other manufacturers. Good enough for a solid 8 score on aesthetics.

While still great technology, we think Silfab may retire the technology on this 330 watt panel after 2021, especially with the Silfab Elite coming out. For technology, this panel consists of mono PERC MWT Technology, has 3 diodes, and temp coeff of -0.419%. This is a considerably higher temp coeff than their new Silfab Elite, at -.377%.

Silfab still boasts the longest performance warranty of all the tier-one panels we reviewed, at 30-years! However, comparing it to other modules, the 25-year portion of the performance warranty is 82%, which is the lowest of all the panels in the Top 10. Similarly, it only has a 10-year product warranty and no labor warranty.

For a standard sized panel, its power output is alright, with 330 watts, but it could potentially win you over with its price. We still love the way this panel looks, and with the newer Silfab Elite just being released, it is possible you may be able to get a really good deal on it.

7) SunPower A-Series: A400-BLK: 400 Watt | All Black

SunPower A-Series: A400-BLK: 400 Watt | All Black information graph.
SunPower A-Series: A400-BLK: 400 Watt | All Black.

Like usual, SunPower has made one the most technologically advanced and best-looking solar modules on planet Earth. There is a lot to like about this all-black A-Series module.

For starters, SunPower takes “sleek” to a whole new level with its seamless black interface. This is due to SunPower’s new Maxeon® Gen 5 cell, which is 65% larger than prior generations. The Maxeon cell’s patented solid metal foundation prevents breakage and corrosion, which translates into an expected lifespan of about 40 years! Also, it has a very respectable temp coef of −0.29%. All this translates into one of the best solar warranties out there.

SunPower has long boasted a comprehensive 25/25/25 year warranty on the performance, product and labor. And with a 92% year-25 performance guarantee and a degradation rate of just .25%, it just speaks of the durability of this panel!

On the other hand, things start to get interesting when you compare SunPower’s performance and pricing to the competition. According to the spec sheet for the A400-BLK, SunPower claims “more power per square meter than any commercially available solar panel,” so we put this to the test. This all black module has 19.94 watts/ft2. However, the REC Alpha produced 20.48 watts/ft2, so I guess we have to debunk this claim.

In terms of price, it’s kind of downhill from here. The A-Series $/watt/ft2 is over 50% more expensive than the average panel in the Top 10. In real dollars, that translates into thousands more for the same-sized solar system. For more information on this, we will be publishing our price comparison blog shortly. When that is ready, the link will be made available here: TBD

It’s been a couple turbulent years for SunPower, with extensive defects in their Equinox line, the closing of their US factory and their manufacturing split into Maxeon (the name of the new wholly owned manufacturing company). With that being said, the A-Series is still considered by many one of the best panels on the market. Technology speaking, we’d have to agree, but not by much. Years ago, SunPower’s tech outpaced the competition by far. But with more and more panels with similar power output and true all-black facades, >SunPower has lost some of its luster.

SunPower can be compared to a BMW. Its technology is top notch, and for some, the name SunPower alone is enough to spend a few extra bucks. For others that drive a Toyota Camry, this panel may seem overpriced. What car do you drive?

6) Silfab Elite: SIL-380 BK: 380 Watt | All Black

Silfab Elite: SIL-380 BK: 380 Watt | All Black information graph.
Silfab Elite: SIL-380 BK: 380 Watt | All Black.

Frankly, we are thrilled about the brand new Silfab Elite module. In previous years, we were starting to feel that Silfab’s technology had stagnated, but boy, were we wrong. All along, they had this killer panel in the works. The Silfab Elite makes a 50 watt leap over its predecessor, which is remarkable!

While it’s hard to really see the panel in this picture, you can rest assured, this is a beauty! This all-black gem owes its appearance to back cell conductors and a “metal wrap through” technology. In other words, they put the annoying silver behind the active solar surfaces. This of course has an additional power boost, which is also utilized by SunPower and LG.

The Silfab Elite has Mono/P-type cells and according to the Silfab rep, their backplate cells act as a “heat sink” allowing the panel to perform better in warmer climates. Normally, solar manufactures explain heat tolerances with their temperature coefficients. Silfab’s is -0.377%, which is about average, but they are claiming that their technology doesn’t need to rely on temp coeff..For us, we are reporting – but not necessarily promoting this claim – until we can see some data. Another point of interest is that Silfab manufactures these panels in Washington State, USA!

The one area this Elite solar panel loses some points is with its warranty. It actually has an industry leading 30-year performance warranty, with a year-25 guarantee of 85.1%, which is pretty good. It also has a 25-year product warranty, but… no labor warranty! 😒 Sorry Silfab, you are doing yourselves a disservice here! Your competitors are offering labor – you need to too!

Now the fun stuff – POWER. This panel is a standard sized solar module, 19.13 ft2, but it produces 380 watts with a black backsheet – That’s freakin’ nuts! And at 19.87 watts/ft2, it has a positive power ratio (19.87/19.13=1.04), and is more powerful than the other top 10 panels, except REC Alpha and SunPower. But here is the really interesting part; it is much less expensive than the aforementioned. Even REC, which sells below the average of the Top 10 panels, the Silfab Elite just blows it out of the water.

Of all the modules in this list, the new Silfab Elite rightly deserves to be a top 3 panel of 2021. It looks great, it has the juice (power, baby!), but its lack of labor warranty knocked 7 points off its total score. With that said, should you get the Silfab Elite? Maybe. For the looks, the price and the power output, it’s quite the catch.

5) Panasonic EverVolt: EVPV360K: 360 Watt | All Black

Panasonic EverVolt: EVPV360K: 360 Watt | All Black information graph.
Panasonic EverVolt: EVPV360K: 360 Watt | All Black.

Finally, after years and years of waiting, Panasonic has a new solar panel! Ughh….We asked for it last year, so we are really excited to announce the new Panasonic EverVolt!!!

Hold on though, we feel we need to address the elephant in the room before we go any further. First, no, Panasonic did not exit the solar industry. They have ceased doing their own manufacturing, but like many great companies worldwide, they are having another factory produce their products. Not comfortable with that? Ok, do you own an iPhone or iPad, because they are made in the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. In other words, this practice is more common than you might think.

Now with all that said, we have one more revelation for you. REC Solar Group is making the EverVolt on their REC Alpha assembly line. And from what we’ve been told, Panasonic is getting their lower wattage modules. Basically, this panel is the twin of the REC Alpha, just with a different label. Ok, now that the disclosures are done, let’s get on with it.

First, as you can see, it’s a black module, but perhaps not as sleek looking as some others. There are hundreds of silver lines and they are noticeable. But keep in mind, being 25 feet up on the roof, will you care?

The EverVolt is built with half-cut N-type monocrystalline cells with heterojunction technology. In layman’s words, it is super efficient and durable. With an industry best -0.26% temp coef, this panel will perform well for years in the hottest weather conditions.

Again, this technology translates into an equally impressive 25/25/25 year warranty, boasting a record-low degradation of .25% annually and year-25 output guarantee of 92%. 😳 And yes, labor is included!

As you might expect, the square footage performance ranks amongst our best at 19.13 watts/ft2. However, here is the one kicker with this panel: it is dramatically more expensive than its REC Alpha twin. We can’t say we find that surprising, since they are buying it from REC, but it is a bit of a disappointment. However, it is still less expensive than the LG Prime or SunPower.

So the question – should you buy it? We’ll throw the question back at you. Do you like the REC Alpha but want the security of the Panasonic corporation backing your solar panels? If the answer is yes, get these puppies on your roof! If not, Panasonic will likely cyber spy on you. Just kidding.

4) LG NeON2: LG350N1K-L5.AUS: 350 Watt | All Black

LG NeON2: LG350N1K-L5.AUS: 350 Watt | All Black information graph.
LG NeON2: LG350N1K-L5.AUS: 350 Watt | All Black.

The flagship LG NeON2 panel continues to be the workhorse of LG. The NeON2 is the evolution of their original Mono-X line. At Rayah Solar, we have installed thousands of these modules over the years and we can speak first hand of their durability. Our joke was that we never had even one fail. However, last year, we actually had one diode (each panel has three diodes) of one panel fail, but…that is still remarkable!

You’ll notice it is still striped with silver conductors on the front, but even with that, it has a clean look on the roof. Now to be fair, it doesn’t hold a candle to its sister-at-arms, the LG Prime, but it doesn’t come with the Prime’s high price tag either.

In spirit with its tried and true reputation, the NeON2 operates on the stable monocrystalline N-Type PERC construction with 3-bypass diodes, double-sided cell structure and a good temp coef -0.36%. Again, this platform has been so deeply refined by LG over the years it can be compared to a smooth running German engine.

Because of its reliability, the LG NeON2 really shines when it comes to its warranty. It exceeds the industry standards in every column: year-25 performance warranty of 90.8%, degradation only .33%, and both product and labor warranties for 25 years!

In terms of price and performance, at #4 on our list, it really is just above average in all capacities. It’s a standard size, 18.58ft2, and just about the same 18.83 watts/ft2. In terms of price, it is comparable with Solaria.

Anyone shopping for solar that wants the brand reputation of LG, but doesn’t want to fork over the big bucks for the LG Type-R (Prime), then look no further! This is a great panel for big roofs, ground mounts and just anyone that wants one of the world’s top electronics manufacturers backing their solar warranty!

3) Solaria PowerXT: PowerXT-370R-PD: 370 Watt | All Black

Solaria PowerXT: PowerXT-370R-PD: 370 Watt | All Black information graph.
Solaria PowerXT: PowerXT-370R-PD: 370 Watt | All Black.

I can’t believe it – why isn’t Solaria at #1 again? The answer here is pretty simple; it didn’t come out with a new panel this year, and everyone else did! In fact, this is the exact same model that was #1 last year. We asked Solaria if they were going to launch a new product this year, and their answer was basically “no.” To be fair, they did come out with a 400 watt panel, but it is basically an exact replica of this module, except bigger. We did actually rank both modules and they were about the same, so we didn’t think it was appropriate for Solaria to get two spots in the top five with basically the same panel.

With all that said we still really, really like this panel. Of course, this is still the same knockout brunette from last year. So in terms of aesthetics, this is a true all-black and only really in league with SunPower and the LG Prime.

There are over 65 patents built into the 370 watt Solaria PowerXT. They hide their conductors by using a “shingle technology”, where they overlap enormous monocrystalline solar cells. The conductors are placed under the overlapping sections, essentially hiding the silver lines. Brilliant, if you ask me!

Additionally, the Solaria modules have 4 unique sections (diodes), each with “substring technology”. More diodes means that this panel will perform better than its competitors in shaded conditions such as snow, tree branches and basic soiling (dirt or pollen). Substring means that the diodes are all connected in parallel. Check out this study comparing Solaria’s performance to conventional 3 diode solar modules: https://www.solaria.com/shading-whitepaper

The Solaria warranty is very good with a 25/25/25 comprehensive warranty. One technology note: their temp coef of -0.39% is slightly higher than average, and this does result in a 86% year-25 performance guarantee, which is middle of the pack for a Top 10 Panel. However, their extended product and labor warranty separates them from most of their competitors.

Last year, 370 watts for an all black panel led the industry, but as we mentioned, SunPower, REC, Silfab and LG have caught up. But don’t get us wrong, at 20.5% efficiency and a 19.0 watts/ft2, this is still a premium product. The price point on the Solaria 370 is below the LG Prime and new Panasonic EverVolt, but higher than the REC Alpha and the Silfab Elite.

Ultimately, Solaria definitely has a great combination of traits. If your southern roofs face the street, and you want the best looking solar panel in the market, at the best price, with a comprehensive warranty, then Solaria should still be one of your first choices!

2) LG NeON®R Prime: LG380N1K-L5: 380 watt | All Black

LG NeON®R Prime: LG380N1K-L5: 380 watt | All Black information graph.
LG NeON®R Prime: LG380N1K-L5: 380 watt | All Black.

If not for price, the LG NeON Type-R Prime would surely be the #1 panel in our Top 10. And we get it, this is a luxury cruise ship with all an inclusive meal plan and excursions included.

We love the backplate conductors allowing the pure black surface to get all the attention. Attention from whom you might ask? Well, the sun of course! By putting the metal on the back, it allows every photon to hit the active solar surface. What do you get? A fabulous looking solar panel that is built to harness the sun’s energy with 380 watts of power. That is a lot of freakin’ power!

The LG Prime builds off the NeON2 N-Type Mono/PERC platform with a great temp coef of -0.29% and a yearly degradation rate of just .25%. The Type-R also has something called “Cello Technology” with 30 collecting bars, which is supposed to both enhance durability and light absorption. And here is the best part – it has the BEST year-25 performance guarantee of 92.5%!

So what it may lack in fancy descriptions (no offense Solaria), it makes up by scoring first or tied for first in 6 out of 10 categories. But as we first mentioned, it loses some points for price. At 19.13 watts/ft2, it’s amongst the top of the pack, but when you throw that dollar sign in front, $/watts/ft2, it can raise a few eyebrows. It’s not quite as eye-poppingly expensive as SunPower, but it’s up there. We will elaborate more on this in our price comparison blog.

Here’s the deal, if you want the best panel from one of the world’s top electronics conglomerates, you need to get the LG Prime – PERIOD. If that’s you, then call Deon Sanders and tell him that it’s “Prime Time, Baby!”

1) REC Alpha: REC370AA-BLACK: 365 watt | All Black

REC Alpha: REC370AA-BLACK: 365 watt | All Black information graph.
REC Alpha: REC370AA-BLACK: 365 watt | All Black.

Congratulations to the REC Alpha 365 module, the Rayah Solar #1 Solar Panel of 2021! Last year this gem was not available through our local distribution, but boy are we happy it is now. This panel is consistent and/or superior in almost every way that matters!

It ranks in either first or second in just about every metric. The one exception to this is its looks. Sorry, we are not body shaming. But really, while it is all black, just like its twin the Panasonic EverVolt, you can see the silver lines. In fact, it kind of makes us wonder where this panel would be if it put the lines behind the solar cell?!

So what’s so great about the REC Alpha:

  • High Module Efficiency: 21.4%
  • Perfect 25/25/25 year warranty
  • Lowest Degradation Rate: .25%
  • Lowest temp coef: -.26%
  • Small size – BOOMING performance:
    • 18.07 ft2
    • 20.48 watts/ft2
  • Second lowest installation price watts/ft2

Let’s dig in a little. We already described the N-type monocrystalline cells with half-cut heterojunction technology. We don’t expect anyone to understand what that means, other than it is basically some of the best performing technology on two major points; 1) it’s super efficient at harnessing electricity from the sun even in warmer climates, and 2) it’s ultra durable and lasts a long time. Evidently, they use a “support brace” that adds flexibility and longevity to the solar cells. This sounds reminiscent of the flexible Sunpower Maxeon cell.

The warranty on the REC Alpha mirrors Panasonic with a 92% year-25 output guarantee and a .25% annual degradation. It also has a 25-year warranty on both the product and labor.

In the end, what really makes the REC Alpha the #1 panel of 2021 is VALUE! At 20.48 watts/ft2, it gets more solar energy per square foot than the other compared solar panels. Also, it’s a bit smaller than the average panel, at only 18.07 ft2, which sometimes means you can fit more REC Alphas than a larger solar panel. But you need three for the “trifecta”, here is the third point: the REC Alpha costs less $/watt/ft2 than the others, save Silfab. So let’s recap the trifecta: compact, super efficient, and an extremely low price.

Often customers will ask us, “which solar panels have the best value?” This year, it’s pretty clear, it’s the 370 watt REC Alpha. Another common statement goes something like this:

“I don’t care about name brands, I just want the best possible panel at the best possible price.”

If you identified with either of those two comments, then call us up and we’ll throw some REC Alphas on your roof!

Honorable mentions: QCELL Q.PEAK DUO BLK G6+ 340 (score 73), Trina DD06M.05(II) (score 72.5), Axitec AXIpremium X HC BLK 330w (score 71), Hyundai HiS-S300RG(BK) (score 66.5), S-Energy SN355M-10 (score 61.5).

What’s Next?

Thank you for reading our Top 10 Panels of 2021. We put a lot of hard work into it, so we hope it helps you on your solar journey. Next, we will publish a series of three companion pieces to this blog:

  1. How to compare Solar Panels? A 10 Metric Analysis
  2. The Best Solar Panel for your Unique Home
  3. Comparing Solar Panels by Price

Want the full Solar Panel Comparison Chart?

* Click Here to View our Detailed Top 10 Comparison Chart (includes information on each company, panel technology, warranty details and so much more!)

If you would like to learn more about solar for your home, business, non-profit or house of faith, please give us a call at

617-564-3159

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