Which are the most popular solar panels?

Thinking of going solar? Here's are the most popular solar brands that are installed in the US.

There are a LOT of solar panel manufacturers out there, and knowing which one is the best for your project can be a little daunting.

This is especially true if you’re doing a DIY project. If you’re a homeowner who is getting multiple quotes for a solar installation, you’ll be faced with a few choices, but those will usually be limited in scope. Your installer might be a certified installer for one of the premium brands such as SunPower, LG, or Panasonic, in which case that brand will usually be their first proposal to you.

If the installer doesn’t have a special dealer relationship, most likely they’ll still stick with one of the top established brands out there. Wholesale availability, pricing, and support are some of the reasons why a couple dozen brands dominate the solar market in the US.

One resource that The Solar Nerd website makes use of is data from the Tracking the Sun report compiled annually by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Every year, Berkeley Lab gathers detailed data about solar installations from utility companies and state organizations around the country. This highly detailed data includes such things as the price paid for the system, its approximate location, and the equipment used, including the model of solar panels and inverters used.

The data is anonymized so it doesn’t include personal information such as street addresses and names. In total, there are 1,844,489 records of residential solar installs in the US. That’s a really big database, and it gives a complete and accurate picture of the national solar market.

By examining this data, we can find out which solar panels and brands that are actually chosen by installers and their customers.

The top 50 solar panels in the United States

The Tracking the Sun database goes back several years, so if you look at the popularity rankings in total, it includes some brands that were popular in the past but aren’t popular any more. For example, SolarWorld was a popular German solar panel brand, but in 2018 SunPower acquired SolarWorld Americas. This means that the SolarWorld brand is no longer available in North America. (It still continues to be popular overseas.)

The table below lists the top 50 solar panel models of all time. Note that each manufacturer might have several models in the ranking. The last column in the table is the number of residential installations in the country that use that particular panel. For example, 27,953 home installations used the SunPower SPR-327NE-WHT-D panel, one of the SunPower E-Series panels.

ManufacturerModelCount
SunPowerSPR-327NE-WHT-D27953
REC SolarREC260PE26419
Kyocera SolarKU265-6ZPA21445
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK DUO BLK-G5 31517972
SolarCitySC32516051
REC SolarREC290TP2 BLK14966
Yingli Energy (China)YL250P-29b14763
SunPowerSPR-X21-335-BLK-D-AC14677
SunPowerSPR-E20-32714173
REC SolarREC260PE Z-LINK13241
SunPowerSPR-X22-360-D-AC12425
Trina SolarTSM-250PA05.1811712
SunPowerSPR-X21-34510214
LG Electronics Inc.LG330N1C-A510207
SolarWorldSW 280 Mono Black9958
Yingli Energy (China)YL255P-29b9482
SolarWorldSW 285 Mono9116
SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUPVBHN330SA169111
SolarCitySC2659068
REC SolarREC275TP9036
Yingli Energy (China)YL245P-29b8649
SunPowerSPR-E20-327-C-AC8316
LG Electronics Inc.LG335N1C-A58291
Kyocera SolarKU260-6XPA8254
HYUNDAI ENERGY SOLUTIONS CO., LTD.HiS-S265RG8080
Canadian Solar Inc.CS6P-255PX8067
SunPowerSPR-230NE-BLK-D7814
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK BLK-G4.1 2957440
Canadian Solar Inc.CS6P-265P7177
LG Electronics Inc.LG315N1C-G47012
Canadian Solar Inc.CS6P-255P7006
Trina SolarTSM-255PA05.186940
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK-G4.1 3056890
Canadian Solar Inc.CS6P-250P6805
SolarWorldSW 285 Mono Black6763
SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUPVBHN330SA176692
SunPowerSPR-X21-345-C-AC6679
Trina SolarTSM-300DD05A.18(II)6666
LG Electronics Inc.LG360Q1C-A56383
REC SolarREC260PE(BLK)6331
LG Electronics Inc.LG320E1K-A56262
Jinko Solar Co., LtdJKM280M-60B6045
SilfabSLA300M5872
Yingli Energy (China)YL260P-29b5836
LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.LR6-60-285M5731
Trina SolarTSM-245PA05.185710
Jinko Solar Co., LtdJKM290M-60B5686
Yingli Energy (China)YL240P-29b5563
SolarCity CorpSC315B25529
LG Electronics Inc.LG320N1C-G45458

Top 50 panel brands and models in 2019 (most recent year)

It takes Berkeley Lab time to compile the data for this report, and it involves many agencies and takes a lot of work to “clean” the data. For this reason, the report only shows complete data for the year prior. This means, for the latest report that was issued in 2020, the most recent records are from 2019.

By limiting our search results to the most recent year, we can find out which brands and panels are currently popular.

The table below lists the top 50 solar panel brands and models that were installed in 2019.

ManufacturerModelCount
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK DUO BLK-G5 31517047
REC SolarREC290TP2 BLK8817
SunPowerSPR-X21-335-BLK-D-AC6726
SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUPVBHN330SA175732
LG Electronics Inc.LG335N1C-A54514
Jinko Solar Co., LtdJKM315M-60BL4152
SilfabSLA300M4019
SunPowerSPR-X22-360-D-AC3948
SunPowerSPR-X22-360-E-AC3858
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PLUS BFR-G4.1/TAA 2853806
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK-G4.1 3053766
LG Electronics Inc.LG330N1C-A53359
Boviet Solar Technology Co., Ltd.BVM6610M-3053204
LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.LR6-60PB-300M3050
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK DUO-G5 3252918
SolarCity CorpSC315B22887
LG Electronics Inc.LG360Q1C-A52885
SunPowerSPR-E20-327-E-AC2641
Jinko Solar Co., LtdJKM300M-60B2627
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK BLK-G4.1 2952519
SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUPVBHN330SA162494
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK DUO BLK-G5/SC 3152484
Jinko Solar Co., LtdJKM320M-60HBL2363
LG Electronics Inc.LG320E1K-A52357
Mission Solar Energy LLC.MSE310SQ8T2228
Canadian Solar Inc.CS6K-305MS2221
SilfabSLA320M [blk]2143
LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.LR6-60PB-305M2089
LG Electronics Inc.LG320N1K-A52088
LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.LR6-60PE-305M1861
SolarCitySC3251859
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK G4.1/SC 3051679
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK DUO-G5 3151670
LG Electronics Inc.LG365Q1C-A51669
SunPowerSPR-A400-G-AC1561
SunPowerSPR-X21-350-BLK-E-AC1560
Hanwha Q CELLSQ.PEAK DUO BLK-G5 3101434
LG Electronics Inc.LG335N1C-V51422
Mission Solar EnergyMSE300SQ5T1350
Jinko Solar Co., LtdJKM310M-60BL1292
SilfabSLA310M1276
Solaria CorporationSolaria PowerXT-360R-PD1205
SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUPVBHN335SA171189
REC SolarREC320NP1179
Jinko Solar Co., LtdJKM295M-60B1169
Jinko Solar Co., LtdJKM315M-60HBL1130
LG Electronics Inc.LG340N1C-V51119
SunPowerSPR-X22-370-E-AC1068
HYUNDAI ENERGY SOLUTIONS CO., LTD.HiS-S300RG1028
SolarCitySC330987

The difference between past and current rankings is that high efficiency panels have gained in popularity. This trend is seen by the increasing deployment of premium brands such as LG, Panasonic, SunPower, Hanwha, and Silfab.

Top 20 solar panel brands of all time

The table above list the most popular panels, but how about the most popular manufacturers? Here’s a ranking of the top 20 most popular manufacturers in the Berkeley database:

ManufacturerCount
SunPower183336
LG Electronics Inc.116193
REC Solar100489
Hanwha Q CELLS99756
Trina Solar95397
Canadian Solar Inc.78918
SolarWorld68972
Kyocera Solar57055
Yingli Energy (China)52584
Jinko Solar Co., Ltd48273
HYUNDAI ENERGY SOLUTIONS CO., LTD.36920
SolarCity26904
Sharp26498
SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUP23523
Silfab18220
LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.17776
Suntech Power11822
Suniva9934
Mission Solar Energy9878
Renesola America8092

There are important trends in the Tracking the Sun report:

  • Efficiency improvements. The efficiency of solar panels has increased dramatically over time. In 2002, the first year of the report, the average efficiency of home solar panels in the Berkeley database was 12.7%. In 2019, the most recent year, it rose to 19.4%, a better than 50% increase in power output.
  • Monocrystalline rules. In 2002, nearly all home solar installations used low cost, lower efficiency polycrystalline solar cells. In 2019, monocrystalline panels were 87% of all residential installs, reflecting the dramatic drop in cost and ever-improving technology.
  • AC panels are becoming popular. A recent product development is to pair microinverters with solar panels and sell them as AC solar panels. They’re called this because the unit outputs AC electrical power instead of the standard DC power. This saves an installation step and potentially makes the system cheaper. Microinverters have really taken off in recent years and are now a large part of the home solar market. Read more about AC solar panels to learn more.

Further reading

Check out the report yourself if you want to get more details. Also, if you use our map of solar installations, we’ll show you solar installations near with you details that come from the Berkeley data.

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#Solar Panels

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