In the 21st century, fossil fuels have become a thing of the past. The world is moving towards cleaner sources of energy, and solar power has quickly emerged to be one of the top contenders.
Not only are solar panels cost-effective in comparison to conventional electricity sources like gas or coal, they can also save money over their lifetimes. As a result, the number of solar brands in Australia has increased sharply. Likewise, the volume of rooftop PV installations has also risen significantly in the past few years.
To save on your electricity bills, you need to choose solar panels that offer the right efficiency, performance, and longevity. To help you narrow down the options, we have chosen the top 10 Australian made solar panels from brands that are strongly committed to the Australian market.
The Short Answer:
- HJT cells with top-grade N-type silicon base
- Excellent module efficiency
- High strength design and enhanced load rating
When it comes to the best combination of price and performance, the REC Alpha Pure Series is our top pick among the best solar panels in Australia. With more than two decades of experience behind them, REC uses advanced technologies to provide more power per square meter.
The Alpha series is also designed to work efficiently in hot Australian conditions and is one of the best in terms of durability. On the whole, you get premium quality and more savings over the life of the system.
The 10 Best Solar Panels in Australia
Apart from shrinking your electricity bills, powering your home from renewable energy sources also helps you contribute to the well-being of the planet. Setting up solar panels on your rooftop is the first step towards energy independence.
In 2020, the number of rooftop solar PV installations increased by 40% in Australia, and the trend is expected to last. Besides, the per capita consumption of residential solar in Australia is one of the highest in the world.
What makes it special:
- Superior panel quality and high reliability
- Efficient panel design and high power density
- Stylish full-black looks
- Low panel degradation rate
The REC group or Renewable Energy Corporation is based in Norway and has been providing solar solutions for the past 25 years. It is one of the top Tier 1 solar companies with major investments in research and development.
With stringent internal testing procedures, REC offers premium quality panels that will offer superior performance even in extreme conditions. The brand mentions that out of 4 million panels manufactured, only 0.01% will have any sort of failure.
The REC Alpha series is their top product with a high power density and minimum power loss. Thanks to the heterojunction cell technology (HJT) and advanced cell connection used by REC.
In the REC Alpha Pure-R series of panels, the cells are divided into four sections. This reduces internal resistance and increases the overall power yield.
Another great feature of the Alpha series is a super-strong frame. The frame can bear a high load of 7000 Pa. Besides, they are easier to handle and transport.
REC offers a comprehensive warranty of 25 years that covers product, performance, and labor. And REC panels retain 92% of the power capacity even after 25 years.
The brand also uses environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes to reduce its carbon footprint. If you are looking to go green and reduce your power bills, REC is definitely the top choice.
What makes it special:
- Class-leading efficiency
- High-performing interdigitated back-contact (IBC) cells
- Extended warranty of 40 years
- Elegant looks
Without a doubt, Sunpower is one of the top manufacturers of solar panels in the world. Set up in 1985, the brand is one of the oldest solar panel manufacturers you will find. Presently, it manufactures panels through a different brand name called Maxeon Solar Technologies.
The Maxeon 3 series of panels come with a maximum efficiency of 22.6%. And with a superior design that reduces cell failures, these panels can last for decades in the harshest of conditions. Sunpower mentions that the return rate of the Maxeon panels is around 0.005%.
An Integrated Back Contact (IBC) copper grid foundation on the back of the cells prevents cracking or fracturing. With a design that incorporates built-in strain relief features, the panels can tackle temperature fluctuations effectively.
Sunpower also has the lowest panel degradation rates in the market. In addition, the cell power density is class-leading. That also makes it perfect for roofs with limited space.
Most importantly, the Maxeon series also comes with an industry-leading warranty of 40 years. Sunpower mentions a panel efficiency of 88.3% in the 40th year.
On the downside, the Maxeon panels are highly expensive. We suggest that you buy them only if the performance requirements outweigh the steep price.
What makes it special:
- A reliable and affordable choice
- Panels come with TÜV Rheinland certification
- All-weather technology
Q Cells has its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, and is one of the top 10 solar companies in Australia. All their panels are designed in Germany and pass through a strict quality program to ensure quality.
The Peak Duo Series of solar panels have a top efficiency of around 21.4%. Moreover, Q Cells is the first manufacturer to pass the stringent quality certification program of the TÜV Rheinland.
To boost efficiency, Q Cell uses a Q.ANTUM Duo Z Technology and a zero gap cell layout. The panels also have features like Anti LID Technology and Anti PID Technology to enhance durability.
Q cells also offer excellent panel quality with extreme weather ratings. They come with a black anodized aluminium frame that can withstand heavy snow and wind loads.
This series of panels come with a 25-year product and performance warranty. The guaranteed nominal power after 25 years is 86%.
Note, Q Cells does not offer a uniform warranty on all its panels. Some of the other products in the Peak Duo “plus” series come with a 12-year warranty.
Overall, Q Cells Peak Duo ML-G10+ is a reliable choice at an affordable price. If you are not looking for premium quality at all levels, you can depend on the panels from Q Cells.
What makes it special:
- Good combination of reliability and affordability
- Great low light performance
- N-Type TOPCon technology
Jinko Solar was established in China in 2006 and has its presence in 100 countries. In the past few years, Jinko has earned a reputation in the Australian market with its cost-effective panels and dependable performance.
Jinko Tiger Neo uses n-type cell panels that offer better efficiency and higher performance at extreme temperatures. The brand ensures a strict quality policy with a “Zero” defects objective. In fact, most Jinko solar panel reviews have pointed out that the overall quality will be nothing short of first-class.
The panels come with a maximum efficiency of 22.3% and have multiple features for improved performance. These include higher bifacial gain and an optimized temperature coefficient -0.30%/℃.
By using half-cell technology, the panels also have improved low light performance. In terms of durability, the panels offer high impact resistance along with sand and dust resistance.
That said, Jimko offers a 12-year product warranty with the Tiger Neo series. This is one area where it falls short of the competition.
Even so, the Tiger Neo is an elite class panel in terms of design and performance. And with a more affordable price tag, it is one of the best options for residential projects.
What makes it special:
- Advanced cell technology at an affordable price
- Great performance at higher temperatures
- Lasts long with a slow degeneration rate
Established in 1997 in Changzhou, China, Trina Solar has emerged as the top five solar panel exporters in the world. The company has emerged as a major solar power supplier in Australia with a market share of 14 percent.
The Vertex range of panels comes in various modules and are used for homes as well as commercial buildings. It uses multi-busbar technology and the maximum panel efficiency is around 21.5%. Other features include an excellent temperature coefficient and low irradiance performance.
As expected, Trina ensures the highest quality standards and strict in-house tests to ensure the best quality. It uses non-destructive cutting technology to enhance cell strength and reduce micro-cracks on the panels. Other than that, there is double glass ‘bifacial’ technology for better power generation.
Beyond that, the Vertex range includes bifacial type solar panels. This means, they can generate power from both sides. As a result, you get higher panel efficiency than standard mono facial panels.
The product warranty of the Vertex type of solar panels varies between 15 to 25 years. As per some reports, Trina’s customer service still needs some improvement. However, it is a dependable brand in terms of supporting warranty claims.
What makes it special:
- High power output and low degradation
- A cost-effective choice
- Bifacial design for better performance
The Longi Green Energy Technology Co. Ltd. was founded in 2000, and it has its headquarters in Xi’an, China. It entered the Australian market in 2017 and has partnered with some of the leading distributors.
The Hi Mo 4 module is best suited for residential use. Being highly durable, these panels have been used in a wide range of climatic conditions including deserts, grasslands, and mountains.
With the use of monocrystalline PERC half-cut cell technology, the panel efficiency can be as high as 20.9%.Plus, with the use of gallium-doped silicon, Longi has improved performance and reduced the rate of degradation of solar cells.
The power rating drops to 84.8% after 25 years of operation which is on par with the industry average. On the downside, the 12-year warranty offered by Longi is not the best. Also, the temperature coefficient of the panels is on the higher side. So they will get hot faster and generate less power.
While it is not the market leader in terms of efficiency and performance, for homeowners on a budget, Longi is a reliable option.
What makes it special:
- High-quality panels with superior quality control
- Anodized aluminium frame for better durability
- Shingled cells reduce hot spots
Hyundai Energy Solutions is a part of the Hyundai Heavy Industries Group. Having exited the Australian market in 2009, Huyndai reentered the market in 2018. Presently, it has started collaborating with multiple distributors.
One prime feature of Hyundai solar panels is they use a shingled design for better efficiency. Also, the placement of solar cells is done with no gaps and a slight overlapping. This ensures more cell area and higher efficiency even under partial shading. The maximum efficiency of the UF series is 21.3%.
These panels are made from tempered glass and have a reinforced frame design that provides higher mechanical strength. Hyundai also mentions that they are tested for harsh weather conditions specific to Australia.
Then again Hyundai offers a 25-year warranty on all its panels. The efficiency drops to 84.8% after 25 years, which isn’t the best in terms of degradation rate. But it is not too bad either. Moreover, the panels also come with an affordable price tag.
In short, even though Hyundai has a smaller portfolio in Australia, they are a dependable brand. You can also check out their SG and VG series panels that come with slightly lower efficiency.
What makes it special:
- High performance at an affordable price
- Good shading tolerance
- Great service and support
Canadian Solar has its headquarters in Guelph, Canada, and is one of the top solar panel manufacturers in the world by volume. At present, it has 4 offices, and 5 warehouses across Australia.
That said, do not let the name mislead you. These panels are not manufactured in Canada, nor are they Australian-made solar panels. Like many other brands, most of the panels sold across Australia are manufactured in China.
Perhaps the best feature of this type of solar panel is the low temperature coefficient of -0.26 % / °C. The module efficiency can be as high as 22.5%. The other big advantage is the affordable price which leads to a quick payback time.
Beyond that, Canadian Solar offers a 25 years enhanced product warranty on these panels which is among the best in the industry. The panels are designed to tackle high mechanical loads and reduce micro-crack impacts.
In terms of price, Canadian Solar can easily compete with brands like Trina Solar and Jinko Solar. The brand is also committed to reducing environmental impact in Australia and reducing CO2 emissions.
What makes it special:
- Advanced PERC cell architecture for better efficiency
- Low-temperature coefficient.
- A cost-effective option
Established in 2005, JA Solar is a Chinese manufacturer that focuses on manufacturing reliable solar panels with an affordable price tag. In terms of the most panels shipped in a year, it stood in the second spot, behind Jinko Solar.
JA Solar uses the ‘Half-Cell Module’ in their panels. That means if the bottom half is shaded the top half will keep delivering. Moreover, the bifacial design also enhances the overall performance.
Some JA solar panel reviews mention that these panels are not premium in terms of performance. For example, the 72-cell MBB Bifacial PERC has a maximum efficiency of 20.9%. The average efficiency is around 19.5%.
Even so, these are affordable, mid-range panels that are great for budget buyers. In reality, not every home will need panels with top-end performance.
The mechanical strength of the panels and the frame are good enough for Australian conditions. Still, the panels come with a 12-year product warranty, which is on the lower side.
That said, JA Solar has been among the top scorers in the PV Module Reliability Scorecard report consistently. So the durability and the long-term performance of the panels are on the higher side.
Even though JA Solar is not as well-known as some of its other Chinese competitors, it is a reliable option for homeowners.
What makes it special:
- Unique cell design with a high fill factor
- Designed for all weather conditions
- A budget-friendly option
Suntech Power was founded in 2001 and since then the company has manufactured more than 25GW of solar modules. The company is headquartered in Jiangsu, China, and its founder, Dr. Zhengrong Shi has a strong Australian connection.
Suntech uses top-grade crystalline silicon for its panels along with stringent quality control. The module efficiency of the Mini-Series panels can go as high as 21.1%. The panels also have a lower temperature coefficient.
Another great feature of Suntech Solar panels is a strong frame made from a hollow aluminium member. Suntech also mentions that the panels can withstand harsh conditions in the desert, farm and along coastlines.
The panels come with a product warranty of 15 years. However, the warranty is not uniform across their entire product range. Also, the annual panel degradation rate of 0.55% is on the higher side.
One fact worth mentioning in all Suntech solar panel reviews is the financial history of the brand. Suntech went through a period of financial difficulty and was declared bankrupt in 2013. Even though the brand has resurfaced in the market with some quality products, history is hard to forget.
While these panels are a reliable budget option, there are other brands offering higher bankability and better security.
What are the Advantages of Solar Energy for Australian Homes?
Along with other sustainable home upgrades such as solar hot water, high efficiency HVAC or water tanks, the benefits of solar panels are numerous. One is that you can sell your excess electricity to the grid for profit with no downside. This provides you with an additional income stream. Another important benefit is that it reduces your carbon footprint so you are not contributing to climate change or global warming which is an issue that needs global attention.
These benefits alone should be enough for you to seriously consider investing in solar panels for your home or business today! But here are some other significant advantages of solar energy for Australian homes:
1. Solar energy is renewable so it won’t run out like natural resources.
Solar energy is the most abundant of all the energy sources on Earth. It takes only 10 minutes for the sun to provide enough energy for an entire year of electricity needs. The only byproduct of solar power is heat, and it has no emissions like carbon dioxide or sulphur dioxides.
2. Solar energy is sustainable because it’s not harmful to the environment.
When we think of renewable energy, solar is usually our first choice. It’s clean and green and doesn’t produce any harmful byproducts. So it’s a no-brainer that solar is the best type of energy for the environment.
3. Solar panels emit no pollutants so they produce clean energy rather than dirty coal or nuclear power.
Solar panels have been a popular choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and produce clean energy. These panels work by converting sunlight into electricity that can then be used to power homes and other buildings. There are a variety of different types of solar panels available, with some being more efficient than others.
4. If you use enough solar panels on your roof, you could power your entire home with free electricity!
Solar panels have surged in popularity in recent years, and represent a low-cost way to generate clean energy. The cost of solar panels has gone down significantly over the past decade, and now homeowners can make the switch with no upfront costs.
Most Important Factors To Look for In Your Solar Panel
With more solar panel brands competing for your money, you need to evaluate solar panels carefully before choosing the best option.
Here are the most important points you need to keep in mind:
Solar Panel Efficiency
Conversion efficiency is one aspect that plays a critical role in panel performance. In short, it is the percentage of the solar energy incident on the panel that is converted to usable electricity.
When you compare two panels of the same size, one with higher efficiency will generate more power. That means you can generate more electricity from a small space. Panels with higher efficiency also generate more output in low light conditions.
Note, the efficiency also depends on various factors including panel design, material, positioning, angle, and climate.
The top-end solar panels are offering efficiencies as high as 22.8%. But such panels are more expensive. So unless you have limited roof space, you may not need the most efficient panel for your home. The power rating, price, and degradation rate are the most important factors to check.
Power Capacity (in kWh)
Generally, most residential panels produce between 250 and 400 watts each per hour. The total output of the panel system should match the power requirements of your home. It will also depend on the weather and the sunlight hours on the available roof space.
If you want to save on your electricity bills, you will need panels that will cover the maximum or all of your energy requirements. The good news is, there are plenty of free apps that can help you to calculate the output of a panel per day.
Panel Degradation Rate
All solar panels degrade with time. In other words, they suffer a drop in output as they age. But the rate of degradation is not the same for all panels. The lower the rate, the better the panel’s energy production during its lifetime.
The median degradation rate for solar panels is 0.5% per year. However, some high-end panels can have degradation rates as low as 0.35% per year. Remember, the degradation rate of panels for the first year is higher than this average.
It is best to choose a trusted brand that offers a high warranty on the panel. The higher the warranty, the more confidence the manufacturer has in the product quality.
Solar panels have two types of warranties. They have a product warranty that covers defects, and a power warranty covers the minimum power rating. These two warranties can be the same or different depending on the product. Some panels come with a 12-year warranty while others have a 25-year warranty.
Make sure to check the details about the warranty and how the company handles warranty claims while purchasing. Confirm if issues related to weather or animal damage are covered by the warranty.
What is the best solar panel on the market?
While there are plenty of top products in the market, we have chosen the REC Alpha Pure Series as the best solar panel in Australia. This is due to the superior quality and excellent reliability of the panels.
How long do solar panels last in Australia?
As long as you pick a reliable brand that delivers good quality panels, you can expect your solar panels to last for 25 years or more. Make sure that the periodic maintenance of the panels is done by a trained professional.
Is solar worth it in Australia?
Solar panels are a good investment since Australia has one of the highest average solar radiation per square meter in the world. Apart from reducing the energy bills and giving you more control over your energy usage, they will also increase the value of your house.
How long do solar panels take to pay for themselves?
The payback period for solar panels is between 5 to 6 years in most places in Australia. The period will vary depending on the price of electricity and the solar feed-in tariff in your area.
How does solar energy work to power my home?
Solar panels absorb sunlight and produce DC power directly from the sun’s light. DC stands for “Direct Current”, meaning a constant flow of electricity. Electricity flows in a single direction which is why solar panels are not much use unless you can readily use or store the electricity they make (which is where inverters or batteries come in).
How do inverters work with solar panels?
An inverter is a piece of equipment that converts direct current (DC) into alternative current (AC) to allow the flow of alternating current as required by your home appliances. Inverters come in all shapes and sizes depending on how much power they need to convert or change from one form to another; however most household inverters will be around 5 kilowatts at least. Many households also have backup generators that are used during cloudy days or at night to provide electricity.
Solar energy is a clean, constant, and renewable source of energy. Solar power systems are growing in popularity because they produce no emissions, are easy to maintain, and reduce the need for electricity from fossil fuels.
And remember, solar panels are an innovation that not only saves the environment but also provides a healthier living space for humans. The world needs to be reminded of the importance of conserving what we have and to proactively work towards a greener tomorrow.
The companies above are the best solar panels in Australia that you can pick. We have chosen the top 10 solar companies in Australia that offer the best reliability and quality.
It goes without saying that solar panels are a long-time investment. Since a large number of solar panels in Australia are sold without a brand offering support, choosing the right panel quality is a must. It will save you time and money in the long run.
We have picked the REC Alpha Pure Series as the top choice. If you are seeking the best performance for energy autonomy, you cannot go wrong with the Alpha Pure panels.
To learn more, here are some references: