Top 10 Cheapest (Best Value) Solar Panels

“What are the most efficient solar panels?” is a question we get asked all the time here at Energy Informative. Homeowners constantly get hung up in conversion rates (efficiency) of solar panels, but what they really should be looking at is price.

Most homeowners will get along fine without the best performing solar panels on the market (unless their roof space is very limited). What are the best value solar panels?

Price per Watt

Solar panel prices are often listed as cost per watt ($/Watt). This is a useful measure when quickly comparing different solar panels, but is not the be-all end-all when determining the value of a complete solar system (more about this later).

The following table contains the ten cheapest solar panels from wholesalers and retailers on the Internet:

# Manufacturer Model Power (STC) Price Price per Watt
1. Talesun TP660P-235 235W $183.30 $0.75
2. Canadian Solar CS6P-235PX 235W $190.35 $0.81
3. Eoplly E156P/60-230W 230W $204.70 $0.89
4. Eoplly E156P/60-240BB 240W $213.60 $0.89
5. Eoplly E156P/72-280W 280W $249.20 $0.89
6. Talesun TP660PB-240 240W $220.80 $0.92
7. Talesun TP660PB-245 245W $225.40 $0.92
8. Suniva MPV285 285W $262.20 $0.92
9. Jinko JKM-235P 235W $230.30 $0.98
10. EcoSolargy ECO230S156P-60 230W $227.70 $0.99

These prices are based on bulk purchases of a minimum of 25 solar modules – about the size of a large residential solar system (5 – 6 kW). Add 10-20% to the price if purchasing on panel-by-panel basis.

Output is King

Instead of evaluating a solar system by its capacity in kilowatts (kW), get your solar advisor to quote how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) the solar system is expected to generate in its lifetime.  Divide this number with the cost of the system.

You are now left with how much you are paying for every kWh of electricity the solar panels produce ($/kWh). Divide again by hundred to get cents/kWh.

Electricity prices in the United States typically range from 8 to 17 cents/kWh. [1]

 

If you`re just comparing two solar panels, and the length of their warranties is the same, doing the same analysis for the first year (as opposed to their lifetime) is usually good enough.

Solar panels are typically warrantied for 20 to 25 years. The performance of solar panels slowly degrades over time. Solar manufacturers typically guarantee the power output of their solar panels to stay above 80% before the warranty expires.

 

Case Study

Details Solar System 1 Solar System 2
Manufacturer SunPower Canadian Solar
Model SPR-210-WHT-U CS6P-250P
Efficiency 16.9% 16.1%
# of Solar Panels 28 28
Output (Year One) 8,930 kWh 9,066 kWh
Total Cost $42,000 $38,000
Area 375 ft² (34.8 m²) 485 ft² (45.1 m²)
Value $4.70/kWh $4.19/kWh

System 2 is superior from a financial standpoint and most homeowners would choose it for this reason. System 1 is a good option for homeowners that lack roof space for a less efficient (but cheaper) solar system.

We generally see that the less efficient and cheaper solar panels tend to produce more electricity in a year for the same price as more expensive high-efficiency solar panels.

If you want to look up the details for the specific solar modules, take a look at Solar Panel Comparison – the largest database on the entire Internet where you can compare over 10,000 solar modules!

The Bottom Line

Any salesman will tell you that his solar panels are the best. Ask specifically for how many kilowatt-hours they will produce, divide by total costs (not panels or labor exclusively), and then compare to offers from other solar installers in your area.

Comments - 27

Akshat

Well I can provide modules for a cheaper price than the above quotes at $0.75/watt for german quality modules.
From all ranges of 235,240, 245, 250.

March 28, 2013 7:06 am Reply

jonathan ayres

Hi Akshat
I need to buy some solar panels—-please contact me if you have any to sell.
ja

July 27, 2013 4:42 pm Reply

Sam Addy

Akshat,Contact me ossron@yahoo.com. I need 4-5 KW of combined solar and wind power for my home in Ghana.
Thanks
Sam

January 17, 2014 5:18 pm Reply

joele

you got german design ok i am shopping aloha joele

June 16, 2014 6:13 am Reply

Tyler

Where would i go to find these better pricing?

January 15, 2015 6:13 am Reply

Muhammad Rahim

nice information,uppps i dont know why i have not used solar module to resolve energy crises at domestic level.

April 3, 2013 8:42 pm Reply

chill val

Hi Akshat; pls contact me at v.chill@yahoo.com. I am looking for 5-7KW system in san francisco bay area.

April 27, 2013 10:50 pm Reply

Solar Buck

Canadian Solar is a good company to work with. Like you mentioned in your table they have great value panels, but not only that the customer service is awesome too.

August 19, 2013 8:29 pm Reply

Ajith

I need solar panel to buy about 500watts

December 17, 2013 1:51 am Reply

Greg

good info! I am trying to repair a home solar system and need some help figuring out what is still needed. Please email me and Ill give you more details

May 16, 2014 10:16 pm Reply

mark

I’m looking for 1000 watt system, Mark in the U.S.

July 5, 2014 1:35 am Reply

john

Hi Akshat please contact me on eagerjohn@yahoo.co.uk for some help in setting me up for a PV system for my house today if possible please as there are some solar panels that are on sale for half price or so they say and I need your guidance before I make a loss.

Thanks

John

July 10, 2014 10:32 am Reply

Thompson Adongo

Akshat, do well to send me an email (thompson.adongo@gmail.com) for us to talk about my solar project at hand. Looking forward to it.

July 13, 2014 10:47 pm Reply

walt

can you email me rozanskiwalt@gmail.com.

July 29, 2014 9:32 am Reply

mahomed

Thin flim panels is the way to go. Need to wait for effiiciency to peak and prices to drop. Worth waiting.

October 8, 2014 2:19 pm Reply

carlos

I’ve been living 2 years with no electricity. Now finally I’m ready to set up a solar system I’m in Brazil.
Akshat please let me know if you still can help with this. Thanx

October 17, 2014 12:56 am Reply

g0nz0

All of you looking for panels should keep in mind that a mess of panels will be heavy… and therefore expensive to handle and ship. Good Luck!!

January 8, 2015 8:44 pm Reply

Clive Moss

Hi
I am considering having solar to subsidize my electric bill. I live in California. What do you recommend as a system that I should purchase, and have it installed.

Clive

February 27, 2015 1:06 am Reply

Wes Johnson

Looking for a 6+ kW system for less than 0.75 per watt but not too big and racking? Please send me a quote at wes [at] jfani.com

March 19, 2015 12:38 am Reply

Jay

Hi Aksaht,

Can you quote for my home? Janoviaco@yahoo.com.

Thanks

May 12, 2015 3:43 am Reply

mike quick

send any info on panels and anything needed to install for home 500-1000 watts micro invertors thanks

May 21, 2015 12:57 pm Reply

FreeSolar

its great to see that solar energy awareness is increasing in masses as time goes on as it is the future of the energy.

May 29, 2015 1:21 pm Reply

Ruslan

Oh well i dunno about this research but i am sure that the Yingli Solar panels are the good choice for home and the price is much more chipper then 0,75$. Visit the http://www.yinglisolar.com and try to contact your area office.

June 25, 2015 9:06 am Reply

A Harrison

Call ONTILITY, we have modules priced to move in the high $0.50s. 281-854-1407

June 29, 2015 6:40 pm Reply

Martin Kulik

Hi akshat,
I got a few systems I will install and I need if you can contact me with what you got and all your best pricing. Martinkulik@alfaomegaconstruction.com

July 10, 2015 4:04 pm Reply

Solaris

Regarding efficiency and value, we carry all the best name brand solar panels and parts for solar energy systems at . Browse our site to find a wide variety of products to suit your needs for installation. Give us a call, and we’d be happy to help with a certain brand or model.

October 23, 2015 6:52 am Reply

Hamendra

Hi Aksat ,

I also need to buy large volume for solar form project , Pls contact me .

Thanks
Hamendra
hamendra.patel@gmail.com

November 2, 2015 1:19 am Reply

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