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Navigating Solar Panel Choices in 2024: A Quick Guide

As we embrace the potential of solar energy in 2024, finding the best panels for your home is crucial. Keep reading as we'll explore key factors like efficiency, power rating, warranty, and manufacturer bankability. Let's dive into the essentials that define optimal solar panel performance for residential use.

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Solar Panel Warranties

The duration of a solar panel warranty serves as an indication from the manufacturer regarding their confidence in producing top-quality solar panels. The length of the warranty correlates with the perceived quality of the panel.

Warranties for solar panels typically range from 10, up to 25 years for premium panels.

While this warranty period is specified, solar panels often exhibit a longer lifespan due to their inherent durability. The absence of moving parts allows them to continue generating power until the solar cells exhaust their conducting material.

If a defect is identified in your solar panel during the warranty period, the manufacturer pledges to either replace or repair the panel. It is crucial to highlight that if the panel malfunctions due to an installer’s workmanship error, the responsibility transitions to the installation company’s workmanship warranty. Ensuring that your installer provides a workmanship warranty of comparable duration that encompasses your panels is equally essential, yet frequently overlooked by consumers.

Apart from workmanship faults, manufacturers commonly outline specific exceptions to these warranties. Damages resulting from environmental pollution, saltwater exposure, impacts from flying objects, severe storms, and other unforeseen events (“acts of God”) are typically excluded. Essentially, these warranties cover only the normal wear and tear of panels.

Solar Energy Performance Guarantee

Solar Energy Performance Guarantee ensures the reliability of solar panels beyond addressing defects covered by the Solar Panel Warranty. Manufacturers provide a Performance Guarantee, assuring a specific production level over an extended period. Many manufacturers commit to maintaining a certain production percentage over 25 years, and some go even further, extending this guarantee to 30 years with over 80% production.

Assessing the manufacturer’s promised production level is crucial for those seeking high-quality residential solar panels, serving as a key indicator of the product’s quality and lifelong resilience. Typical Performance Guarantees range from 80-85% after 25 years, while the highest-quality solar panels guarantee a performance level of at least 90% of the rated power output.

In the end, a more robust performance guarantee and reduced annual degradation will lead to the solar module experiencing a slower decline in production each year. This, in turn, will result in higher power output, greater savings, and a quicker return on investment. 

Solar Panel Efficiency

Confusing efficiency with wattage is a common mistake. Efficiency, in this context, refers to the panel’s ability to convert sunlight into electricity. Wattage is a unit of measurement indicating a panel’s potential electrical output under optimal conditions.

A panel’s higher wattage implies a greater potential electricity generation for your home. Such higher-wattage panels are suitable for smaller spaces requiring increased production. However, they often come with a higher price tag. Therefore, investing in higher-wattage panels may not always be the best choice if it is not necessary for your home.

Furthermore, some higher-wattage panels may have a lower efficiency and be physically larger. This could result in fewer panels fitting into a given space, offsetting the advantage of having a higher wattage. Solar panel brands and products vary in size, wattage, and efficiency, so it’s crucial for your solar installer to consider these factors when working on your array.

When comparing solar panels, it’s essential to simultaneously consider both the panel’s efficiency and wattage. While a high-efficiency, high-wattage panel may appear ideal due to its increased output in a smaller footprint, it may prove unnecessary and more expensive if you have sufficient roof space.

Solar Panel Aesthetics Refined

With the increasing adoption of solar energy, the demand for well-crafted and visually appealing solar panels is on the rise among consumers.

This is particularly significant in neighborhoods with homeowners’ association (HOA) guidelines regarding solar arrays or for residences where panels are visible from the road. Homeowners mindful of such considerations often lean towards black panels in their solar panel comparisons, though it’s worth noting the diverse types of black panels available.

Typically, silicone cells, the square components composing the surface of solar panels, are either dark blue or black. The area between these cells reveals the back sheet, and opting for a black back sheet contributes to a more streamlined, all-black aesthetic.

Furthermore, the choice of frame color plays a crucial role. The majority of solar panel frames are made of anodized aluminum and are available in silver or black. Opting for a black frame can significantly enhance the overall appearance of your solar system. For those seeking a unified visual appeal, “all black” panels, where the frame, back sheet, and cells share the same black color, might be a compelling choice.

What are the best Solar Panel Brands for 2024?

When selecting solar equipment, a crucial consideration is the confidence that the manufacturer will honor warranties over the next 25-30 years, a concept known as bankability. Although only a small percentage of solar panels experience failures (0.05%), the loss in energy production translates to lost money. Therefore, opting for solar panel manufacturer renowned for their reliability is a wise choice.

To determine the best solar panel brands for bankability, we turned to our homeowners’ preferences over the past year. Analyzing every one of our clients’ solar panel choices in Arizona in the last 12 months, we identified the leading brands for solar panels in 2024.

The verdict from homeowners was clear: REC and Q Cells emerged as the preferred brands in 2023, accounting for nearly 90% of Simple Solar’s sales in the Arizona solar market. Panasonic secured a distant third place with a 6.3%, followed by a few other brands selected less than 5% of the time.

Considerations about panel availability and supply chain disruptions in 2022 and 2023 are noteworthy. Installers faced challenges stocking certain brands, limiting choices for consumers. However, REC, Q Cells, and Panasonic demonstrated their ability to supply products under such conditions.

Let’s delve into the standout features that make REC and Q Cells the two best solar panel brands of 2024, capturing the trust of both homeowners and Simple Solar.

REC logo in yellow and black


Established in Norway in 1996, REC celebrated its 25th anniversary as a solar company, a remarkable feat considering the inception of solar panels on roofs in 1973. REC offers four series of premium residential solar panels, all equipped with 25-year performance and product warranties if installed by an REC Certified Solar Professional installer like Simple Solar. Despite being a premium and highly bankable product, REC’s competitive pricing makes it the clear top choice for consumers, securing its position as the best solar panel brand of 2022 and 2023.

QCELLS logo with a teal to colbot blue gradient and the words "Completely Clean Energy" below

Q Cells:

Founded in Germany in 1999, Q Cells stands as one of the world’s largest solar panel manufacturers and a favored choice among homeowners. With two series of residential solar panels, each boasting 25-year product and performance warranties, Q Cells has consistently maintained its reputation. The recent announcement of a $2.5 billion investment in a manufacturing complex in Georgia underscores Q Cells’ commitment, and it will be intriguing to observe how this presence in the United States influences its brand equity in the future. Even without a US factory, Q Cells stands as one of the best solar panel brands of 2022 and 2023, particularly popular among Arizona homeowners.

In Conclusion

The ideal solar panel for a home varies based on individual homeowner preferences. What truly matters is having a certified installer assess your specific requirements and devise a system tailored to meet them.

Simple Solar was established to enhance transparency in the solar market, connecting homeowners with options that align with their objectives. If you have any more questions about panels, manufacturers, or would like to discuss them in more detail, give us a call! Ready to get a quote for REC or Q Cell for your home? Get a solar quote from Simple Solar by answering a few quick questions; it takes less than 30 seconds!

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