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.
Gathering data on the most popular solar manufacturers and models
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.
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK DUO BLK-G5 315||17972|
|REC Solar||REC290TP2 BLK||14966|
|Yingli Energy (China)||YL250P-29b||14763|
|REC Solar||REC260PE Z-LINK||13241|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG330N1C-A5||10207|
|SolarWorld||SW 280 Mono Black||9958|
|Yingli Energy (China)||YL255P-29b||9482|
|SolarWorld||SW 285 Mono||9116|
|SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUP||VBHN330SA16||9111|
|Yingli Energy (China)||YL245P-29b||8649|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG335N1C-A5||8291|
|HYUNDAI ENERGY SOLUTIONS CO., LTD.||HiS-S265RG||8080|
|Canadian Solar Inc.||CS6P-255PX||8067|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK BLK-G4.1 295||7440|
|Canadian Solar Inc.||CS6P-265P||7177|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG315N1C-G4||7012|
|Canadian Solar Inc.||CS6P-255P||7006|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK-G4.1 305||6890|
|Canadian Solar Inc.||CS6P-250P||6805|
|SolarWorld||SW 285 Mono Black||6763|
|SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUP||VBHN330SA17||6692|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG360Q1C-A5||6383|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG320E1K-A5||6262|
|Jinko Solar Co., Ltd||JKM280M-60B||6045|
|Yingli Energy (China)||YL260P-29b||5836|
|LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.||LR6-60-285M||5731|
|Jinko Solar Co., Ltd||JKM290M-60B||5686|
|Yingli Energy (China)||YL240P-29b||5563|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG320N1C-G4||5458|
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.
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK DUO BLK-G5 315||17047|
|REC Solar||REC290TP2 BLK||8817|
|SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUP||VBHN330SA17||5732|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG335N1C-A5||4514|
|Jinko Solar Co., Ltd||JKM315M-60BL||4152|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PLUS BFR-G4.1/TAA 285||3806|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK-G4.1 305||3766|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG330N1C-A5||3359|
|Boviet Solar Technology Co., Ltd.||BVM6610M-305||3204|
|LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.||LR6-60PB-300M||3050|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK DUO-G5 325||2918|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG360Q1C-A5||2885|
|Jinko Solar Co., Ltd||JKM300M-60B||2627|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK BLK-G4.1 295||2519|
|SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUP||VBHN330SA16||2494|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK DUO BLK-G5/SC 315||2484|
|Jinko Solar Co., Ltd||JKM320M-60HBL||2363|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG320E1K-A5||2357|
|Mission Solar Energy LLC.||MSE310SQ8T||2228|
|Canadian Solar Inc.||CS6K-305MS||2221|
|LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.||LR6-60PB-305M||2089|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG320N1K-A5||2088|
|LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.||LR6-60PE-305M||1861|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK G4.1/SC 305||1679|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK DUO-G5 315||1670|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG365Q1C-A5||1669|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||Q.PEAK DUO BLK-G5 310||1434|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG335N1C-V5||1422|
|Mission Solar Energy||MSE300SQ5T||1350|
|Jinko Solar Co., Ltd||JKM310M-60BL||1292|
|Solaria Corporation||Solaria PowerXT-360R-PD||1205|
|SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUP||VBHN335SA17||1189|
|Jinko Solar Co., Ltd||JKM295M-60B||1169|
|Jinko Solar Co., Ltd||JKM315M-60HBL||1130|
|LG Electronics Inc.||LG340N1C-V5||1119|
|HYUNDAI ENERGY SOLUTIONS CO., LTD.||HiS-S300RG||1028|
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:
|LG Electronics Inc.||116193|
|Hanwha Q CELLS||99756|
|Canadian Solar Inc.||78918|
|Yingli Energy (China)||52584|
|Jinko Solar Co., Ltd||48273|
|HYUNDAI ENERGY SOLUTIONS CO., LTD.||36920|
|SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD OF PANASONIC GROUP||23523|
|LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.||17776|
|Mission Solar Energy||9878|
What are the solar panel trends in 2021?
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.
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.