Solar panel prices - May 2022 - before deducting Gov subsidy of approx $3,100 for 6.6kW system.


Manufacturer

Size

Cell type

Price per Watt

Panel price

6.6kW cost

Made in

Defect warranty

Sunpower Maxeon 3

400W

N

$1.17

$466

16 x 400W (6.40kW) = $7,456

Malaysia

40 years

REC Alpha

390W

N

$0.87

$339

17 x 390W (6.63kW) = $5,763

Singapore

25 years

Sunpower P

370W

P

$0.85

$313

18 x 370W (6.66kW) = $5,634

China

25 years

Q.Cells DUO

415W

P

$0.79

$329

16 x 415W (6.64kW) = $5,264

South Korea

25 years

Solarwatt

315W

P

$0.79

$250

21 x 315W (6.62kW) = $5,250

Germany

30 years

REC TwinPeak 4

370W

P

$0.74

$273

18 x 370W (6.66kW) = $4,914

Singapore

25 years

Hyundai M6 (black)

390W

P

$0.70

$275

17 x 390W (6.63kW) = $4,675

China

25 years

Hyundai HiE-S390UF

390W

P

$0.68

$266

17 x 390W (6.63kW) = $4,522

China

25 years

Q.Cells Boost

390W

P

$0.67

$262

17 x 390W (6.63kW) = $4,454

Vietnam

18 years

Canadian HiKu

370W

P

$0.67

$248

18 x 370W (6.66kW) = $4,464

China

25 years

Q.Cells MaXX

390W

P

$0.67

$262

17 x 390W (6.63kW) = $4,454

China

15 years

Trina Vertex S+

415W

N

$0.65

$269

16 x 415W (6.64kW) = $4,304

China

25 years

Q.Cells MaXX

350W

P

$0.64

$226

19 x 350W (6.65kW) = $4,294

China

15 years

JinKo

415W

N

$0.64

$265

16 x 415W (6.64kW) = $4,240

China

25 years

LonGi LR5

415W

P

$0.63

$260

16 x 415W (6.64kW) = $4,160

China

25 years

Trina Vertex

415W

P

$0.63

$260

16 x 415W (6.64kW) = $4,160

China

15 years

Leapton

415W

P

$0.63

$260

16 x 415W (6.64kW) = $4,160

China

25 years

Seraphim

400W

P

$0.64

$255

16 x 400W (6.40kW) = $4,080

China

15 years

JinKo

470W

N

$0.62

$290

14 x 470W (6.58kW) = $4,060

China

20 years

Akcome

415W

P

$0.61

$251

16 x 415W (6.64kW) = $4,016

China

25 years

JA

390W

P

$0.61

$236

17 x 390W (6.63kW) = $4,012

China

15 years

Trina Vertex

390W

P

$0.61

$236

17 x 390W (6.63kW) = $4,012

China

15 years

Risen

390W

P

$0.57

$223

17 x 390W (6.63kW) = $3,791

China

25 years

Seraphim

370W

P

$0.56

$208

18 x 370W (6.66kW) = $3,744

China

15 years

JA

370W

P

$0.56

$208

18 x 370W (6.66kW) = $3,744

China

15 years

JinKo

440W

P

$0.56

$247

15 x 440W (6.60kW) = $3,705

China

15 years

LonGi LR4

370W

P

$0.55

$204

18 x 370W (6.66kW) = $3,672

China

15 years

Astronergy

370W

P

$0.54

$199

18 x 370W (6.66kW) = $3,582

China

15 years


In addition to the above, there are panels from brands Eging, ET, HT-SAAE, Suman, Suntech, Talesun, Winaico... and dozens more.

Suzanne, who does all our quotes and runs the show here, implores me to add that the above prices are just a guide.
Prices and availability change ALL the time.
One shipment of the exact same panel can come in 2 or 3 cents a Watt more expensive, or cheaper, than the shipment just a week before.
The cheapest panels are usually those on 'run-out'.
370W panels, for instance, are on the way out, as 390W, 415W, and the physically larger 440W models take over.

The Government subsidy (STCs)
The subsidy for a new system is determined by the total installed kW of panels.
The Government has a useful calculator here which will tell you how many STCs you earn.
The price per STC is market driven but usually hovers between $37 and $38.
So, if your sized install earns 82 STCs and the STC price is $38, then you get $3,116 deducted from your panel prices in the quotation.

Which are the "best solar panels"?
Every single one of the panels listed in the table are good solar panels from large brands.
Many have 25 year defect warranties which indicates just how reliable panels really are.
(I have been service manager at Solar4Ever for over 11 years now and can vouch that panel failure is VERY VERY rare).

There are some panels at the top of the table that are considerably more expensive.
They are, without question, built to the highest standards, and are going to be almost eternal on a rooftop.

Those panels that have an 'N' in the Cell type column will give very slightly more power each year than those marked with a 'P'.
About 0.2 to 0.3% more power, so whilst that adds up over the years, it's still not a huge difference.

PVEL 2021 Top Performers
Every year PV Evolution Labs (PVEL.com) run six tests on solar panels to determine their quality.
You can download (free) their score cards here as a PDF.

Almost every manufacturer submits panels for these tests, because being a 'top performer' usually boosts their reputation and sales.

I've ignored the PAN test which only relates to bifacial modules as these aren't used in rooftop solar.
Sunlight can't get to the back of the panel on a roof which is the whole point of bifacial.

So, in the relevant 5 tests for 2021:
Sunpower/Maxeon and Q.Cells were top performers in 5 out of the 5 tests.
JinKo, LonGi and REC were top performers in 4 out of the 5 tests.
Hyundai and Seraphim were top performers in 3 out of 5 tests.
Astronergy, HT-SAAE, JA Solar and Risen were top performers in 2 out of 5 tests.
Trina were top performers in 1 out of the 5 tests.

To be a top performer in ANY of the tests is still very good.
There were many many panels that didn't get on any Top Performer lists.
I ignored panel brands in my summary above that aren't commonly available in Australia.

Astronergy, Seraphim, and HT-SAAE panels doing better than Trina surprised me.

Which panels do I recommend?
I think the two JinKo 'N' type panels (415W and 470W) are remarkable value for money.
A premium cell type in a standard priced panel and a long warranty from a huge brand name in solar.

Trina now have a double glass (no backsheet) 415W N type as well (Model Vertex S+).
Just arrived. Will prove as popular as the JinKos I suspect.
I fully expect every big solar brand to have an 'N' type panel in their range by year's end.
That may soon lead to the end of 'P' type manufacturing as the only advantage of 'P's is price and there really isn't much difference there now.

I've always been impressed by LonGi panels.
We were very early adopters of LonGi and now they are mainstream.

I think RECs build quality is excellent, and stylish appearance too.
For my best panel 'award' it is definitely between REC Alpha or Maxeon 3.
I can't decide.

You can't go wrong with Q.Cells either.
Great brand, top quality, which makes their relatively modest warranty on the Boost and MaXX models all the more surprising to me.
The DUO G10 model from Q.Cells is the best seller of this brand, and with good reason.
Q.Cells also have an 'N' type celled panel coming soon.

Hyundai panels are also better than average quality.

Which leaves us with those remaining 'average' panels.
All those identical Chinese 'P' type celled panels from Trina, JA, Canadian, LonGi, Risen, JinKo, Leapton, Akcome, Seraphim..etc

Absolutely nothing wrong with any of them.
As you can see, price-wise, they are almost identical too.

I'm often asked whether one of these standard Chinese panels is better than any other.
In my experience to date, not really.
Every now and again a manufacturer will come up with something new.
Like JinKo have just done with their low cost 'N type' celled panels.
Or when half cell panels first appeared.
Or PERC

For a brief moment, that particular innovating manufacturer had a product advantage.
Then they all follow suit, and then it's back to an identically level playing field again.
and no, I have no idea why patents don't seem to work in solar panel manufacturing.

Statistically, you would be unlucky to have even one panel fail over 25 years operation (projected about 1 in 2,000 chance).
Compare that to projected failure rates for REC and SunPower at 1 in 6,000 you could say that standard panels are 3 times as likely to fail.
True. But it's still very unlikely that a standard panel will fail either, and if you are worried, just pick a panel with a 25 year warranty.

Not made in China
The list shows where the panels are made.
I'm not convinced that a robot outside of China makes a better panel than the same robot inside of China, but people want non-Chinese made panels for reasons other than quality.

SolarWatt cater for those who want 'made in Germany' stamped on the panel label, but I have to say, at 315W, this isn't a very recent model.

Q.Cells used to be German, many years ago now, and still do R&D there. Depending on which model you buy, it's made in South Korea, Vietnam or China.

REC are now owned by an Indian company having passed through the hands of Norwegian and Chinese owners over the years.
All REC panels are made in Singapore.

SunPower panels are now made by a 'spin-off' company called Maxeon which is about 25% Chinese owned.
Most of their panels destined for northern hemisphere markets are made in Mexico, whereas in the southern hemisphere manufacturing is spread around factories in Asia, including Chna.

Canadian solar panels come from Qidong City not Quebec.

Why does everyone have a totally different opinion?
Get three quotes, get three totally different recommendations...and a lot of negativity about competitor products.

The reason is actually very simple.
Sales reps are told what to sell by their bosses.
Their bosses have chosen what brands they will sell because of their supply contracts, proximity of wholesalers to their install team depot, and a host of other entirely practical reasons that have absolutely NOTHING whatesoever to do with whether what they are selling is actually any better or worse than what they are not.

The reps have to meet their quota. They have to sell what they are told to sell.
If dropping bombs on their competition is what is needed for them to earn their commission, then so be it.

I think I've made it pretty clear above that everything is fit for purpose.
Just look at the level of price competition and all their very long warranties !!

Pay more and you get a better build quality, an even greater assurance of reliability, and a slightly more productive cell output.
But they all get the same job done, give or take 0.5% production variation at most.



If you would like a solar quotation, in Perth, then call us on...

(08) 6102 2527


or email
This review was written by Andrew MacKeith, Solar4Ever service manager since 2011.
Solar4Ever is located in Morley (Perth), WA 6062