The Best Solar Panels In Australia For 2023
Choosing the best solar panels has never been so important.
Putting a smart solar system on your roof is extremely important when it comes to safety otherwise you end up in hot mess.
To avoid this, we list some of the panels that we recommend based on our 14 years of industry experience. Some of these brands are industry leading and have been the pioneers of new technology, safety and performance in the solar landscape.
It is important to know who to trust and which information is correct. We’ve put together a list of the best ”Premium” and “Value” panel brands in the current Australian market.
The 4 Top Premium and 5 Best Value Solar Panels in 2023
Here is our shortlist for the top 4 premium solar panels available in Australia in 2023. This list is based on Solaray’s experience in the solar industry, our position as the largest installer of premium solar systems in Australia, and general feedback from the solar industry.
The Top 4 Premium Solar Panels In Australia Are:
- 1KOMMA5 420W All-Black Panels
- REC Alpha Pure Series
- Sunpower Maxeon 6 Series
- QCells QPeak DUO Series
The Top 5 Best Value Solar Panels In Australia Are From:
- Trina Solar
- REC Solar
- Canadian Solar
The Best High-Efficiency Solar Panels In Australia For 2023
The best premium solar panels in Australia feature:
- Over 400W rating, and an efficiency rating of around 21-22%
- A 25-year product warranty
- Great local service from an Australian-based office
- Fully automated production with comprehensive quality control at the factory
- A panel that has proven reliability, and performance in all weather conditions (importantly both on hot days, and on cloudy days with low light)
1. 1KOMMA5 Solar Panels
The 1KOMMA5° Solar Panel features Premium Performance, a Lower Carbon Footprint and ethical Production.
Solar panels just got greener! Featuring German made Polysilicon, the new 1KOMMA5 Solar Panel is a premium solar panel designed for Australia’s tough environment. It has exceptional performance in the heat, as well as in low light. We are bringing the lowest prices and cleanest energy possible to our customers in Sydney and Melbourne.
The new 1KOMMA5 panel features:
- German design and quality
- Backed by Porsche
- German-made polysilicon
- All-black design
- 25-year product & 30-year performance warranty
- 420W power rating
Why Choose The 1KOMMA5 Panel For Your Home?
For over 14 years, Solaray has seen solar panel brands come and go in the Australian market. Far too many to count. Even panels from many so-called reputable brands have not stood the test of time. Issues include low-quality manufacturing, to forced labor, and supply chain issues. We’ve seen it all.
At the 1KOMMA5° group, we need to make sure our customers get what they pay for. In response, we developed our own panel. This allows us to take control of the manufacturing process to strike the right balance between quality, affordability, ethics, and sustainability.
The 1KOMMA5 solar panel has taken Europe by storm, and it’s a thrill for Solaray to bring this product to Australia. With the might and security of 1KOMMA5 warranting our own panel (one of the world’s largest renewable energy companies), and with installation by our own crews – you can be confident that your investment will be safe and well-supported in the years and decades to come.
2. REC Alpha Pure Series
Scandinavian quality with a 25-year warranty. Founded in Norway in 1996, REC Group is recognised for producing high-quality solar panels with long warranties and excellent reliability.
REC Alpha Pure panels feature REC’s innovative design, with high panel efficiency & power output thanks to top-quality monocrystalline cells. This enables you to get more out of the space available on your roof – helping to lower your energy bills and shorten the payback time through increased yield and lower costs.
Choosing a top-of-the-range panel such as the REC Alpha Pure panel is an investment in superior standards of design, manufacture, support and customer service. This high quality results from REC Solar’s strong commitment to developing a module that delivers reliable, high output for decades.
REC solar products are rigorously tested beyond industry standards, and those standards apply equally when selecting materials for their solar modules. When you choose REC Solar, you’ll have peace of mind that you are buying the best.
The best news of all is the price. REC Alpha Pure panels are extremely well-priced for such a quality panel. REC Solar is striving for industry-leading efficiency. However, critically they incorporate this new technology into their production line to ensure all customers have access to the best technology available. It’s not much use if a company releases a new high-efficiency panel (with a lot of publicity) but only makes 1000 of them and/or charges an absolute fortune for them.
REC Alpha Pure-R
——— BEST PERFORMING PANEL
Top performing premium panel
25yr product & performance warranty
Sleek all-black design
——— MOST POPULAR PANEL
Perfect blend of reliability & affordability
25yr product & 30yr performance warranty
25% lower carbon footprint
Trina Vertex S+
——— BEST VALUE PANEL
'Value for money' panel
25yr product & 30yr performance warranty
3. SunPower Maxeon 6 Series
SunPower has recognition as a global leader in top-quality solar panels since 2007. They’ve had many successful releases over the decades, predominantly in the United States. In Australia SunPower has a reputation for absolute quality, perhaps the best on the market. However, their panels have always come at a high price point.
The top-of-the-range Maxeon panel is no exception. It is a top-quality panel that comes with an astonishing 40-year warranty. That’s enough to outlast the competition (and perhaps a few of us as well) – by decades.
4. Q Cells QPeak DUO Series
Solaray previously installed Q Cells panels when they were based in Germany. We are excited to once again have Q Cells panels in stock, with the premium QPeak Duo panel as our premium offering.
Innovative All-Weather Technology helps to provide increased yields, whatever the weather with excellent low-light and temperature behaviour.
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The Top 5 Best-Value Solar Panels In Australia
We have typically seen all of the big Chinese manufacturers offer a top-quality panel designed specifically for the Australian market. These panels are normally quite similar in terms of price, output, and even most of the technical specs will be the same.
1. Trina Solar Vertex S+ Panel
Trina Solar has once again been voted number #1 by Australian Solar Installers as making the best-value solar panel in Australia. In 2023 this is the Trina Vertex S+ module.
Trina is the largest vertically integrated solar manufacturer. That means they manufacture all the key components from ingots to completed modules. Trina not only performs large-scale solar Research and Development around the world, but they also have teams of scientists working on energy-efficient product research in many of the world’s leading universities. For example, the Australian National University and the University of Queensland.
Trina Solar Panels were selected for Australia’s largest rooftop installation – an enormous 1.22MW array (5,004 panels) – for the University of Queensland. This facility not only provides a significant proportion of the campus’ power but is also used as a testing ground for ongoing research.
Trina Solar Panels are positioned to be at the premium end of available Chinese panels. The Trina Vertex S+ panel is considered by many industry experts to be the best value solar panel made by a Chinese Manufacturer.
Trina solar panels are designed and manufactured to the highest quality standards and the products have proven themselves on the field and in third-party testing against other leading manufacturers. This, combined with its high performance under low light conditions allows for consistently high output and the ability to maximise system performance.
Trina Vertex Technical Details
Overall, Trina has an exceptional track record and has led advancements in solar technology for a long time. This new 430W module is setting a new standard in Australia for high performance at a great price point.
The technical highlights of this high-performance panel include:
- Doulbe-glass + innovative non-destructive cutting for improved mechanical resistance and strength. They are less prone to micro-cracks and scratches on the back during installation.
- Trina Vertex panels have a guaranteed power tolerance of +5W, meaning that the flash test output may be as high as 435W rating. It is important to note that this additional output is only of benefit if you install a system with panel-level output such as an Enphase Micro Inverter Solution.
- Trina Vertex S+ panels will maintain a minimum of 87.5% power output after 30 years. They also come with a 22% module efficiency with high density interconnect technology.
Find out more about one of the best value solar panels available in Australia: Trina Vertex S+
QCells was voted by Australian installers to be in the top 5 companies providing a good-value solar panel. This is a great achievement as the ‘budget’ QCells Q.Boost panel is a step up in price compared to the likes of Trina and Jinko.
3. REC Solar TwinPeak 5
On a standard-sized residential system, an REC Solar System with premium TwinPeak 5 panels is only around $1000 more than a standard solar system (with generic Chinese solar panels). This makes the REC panel one of the best value options on the Australian market considering the high level of performance, reliability and output in shaded conditions.
As a Certified REC Installer, REC Systems installed by Solaray Energy feature an extended 25-year product warranty as well as a 25-year power output guarantee.
REC TwinPeak 5 features REC’s innovative design with the high panel efficiency and power output of monocrystalline cells, helping to lower your energy bills and shorten the payback time through increased yield and lower costs.
REC TwinPeak 5 panels are packed with the same advanced REC TwinPeak technologies that have won REC multiple awards. This p-type mono variant offers higher power output per square meter of panels installed.
JinkoSolar is one of the world’s largest solar panel manufacturers and has a long history of supplying good quality solar panels to the Australian market at a great price.
The new generation of solar panel technology has been featured in the N-type cells in the Tiger series. Following on from previous years, Jinko is once again firmly in the mix for offering a good value panel for Australian households.
5. Canadian Solar
Canadian Solar is in the same boat as Trina and Jinko. They are a global leader that makes a good quality panel at a great price for the Australian market.
Importantly, all Canadian panels that hit the Australian market are made in Asia. However, the company still has strong ties to Canada.
What About Australian-Made Solar Panels?
Tindo Solar is currently the only large Australian solar panel manufacturer, and one of the only large manufacturers that haven’t yet made the move to Asia.
Tindo Solar is well regarded by the Australian Solar Industry. It will likely play an important role for solar in Australia depending on the stability of supply chains as the world emerges from the Covid crisis.
Tindo’s home is in South Australia and is fairly limited by its production volume. Because of this, Tindo Solar panels can be a little difficult to source here on the East Coast.
What’s The Best German Made Solar Panel?
German companies have renown for their high standards of manufacturing, and this was particularly true in the solar industry a few years ago.
Buying a panel from a company such as QCells or Solar World was a reliable way of ensuring you were buying a quality system, without delving into the mysterious world of Chinese solar manufacturing to try and differentiate one panel from the next.
Unfortunately, however, all of the main German manufacturers are now either making their panels in Asia or do not have a local office here in Australia.
The 1KOMMA5 Group has taken matters into our own hands by manufacturing our own panel using German Polysilicon and then assembling our panels in China to industry-leading quality standards. This allows us to manufacture a solar panel without forced child labour, plus we have significantly reduced the CO2 footprint of the panel, with the panel paying back its energy footprint in well under one year.
Unlike the bad old days of the Australian solar industry, we aren’t here claiming we have a panel with ‘German design’ and then just making it in China. This is a serious step forward where we balance ethical supply chain management and industry-leading quality at an affordable price point.
Solar Panel Performance Isn’t Always As It Seems
An independent study by CSIRO for Choice Magazine tested one panel from 15 of the most common solar panels available in Australia. During the test, they found that 12 out of the 15 panels performed under their claimed nominal power, some by as much as 10W.
Because only one panel was used in the test, it is impossible to draw strong conclusions about certain brands. However, it certainly drew attention to the fact that there are some large inconsistencies between a manufacturer’s claimed nominal power and real-world output.
For example, a 260W panel from one of the largest manufacturers in China scored a test result of 251W. This inconsistency highlights just how critical it is to have access to panel-level output and monitoring, which is a feature of Smart Solar Systems.
The star performer in this test was LG Solar. Their 300W panel produced a test result of 307W. As the largest installer of LG Solar panels in Australia, this test result is in line with what we have seen from our LG Solar installations and emphasises the importance of buying good quality panels.
Solar panels are manufactured with a power tolerance
Each manufacturer is different. However, the better brands tend to have a +3% range. For example, a 390W panel from LG Solar will be anything from 390W up to 401W. The only way to take advantage of this is to use a system such as Enphase that features panel-level output, otherwise, you will output power at the rate of the worst performing panel in your array. At best this will be at the panels’ rating, at worst it may be much less.
Output in low light conditions is also critical in Sydney due to our weather. We only get around 100 ‘perfect’ days a year, the rest have some rain our cloud cover. The better panels (such as the panels listed below) not only perform well in the testing laboratory, they also output more power across the year in all weather conditions. Increased output in low light conditions can make a significant difference to your power bill over the years.
Manufacturer’s Financial Strength & Local Representation
Cheap solar panels are pumped out of China at a dime a dozen. They are often re-branded with a slick logo, or simply ship to countries like Australia and sold without a brand at all! Have you ever seen a quote for “20 x 300W solar panels”? We see it all the time. It is literally a no-name system!
Cheap solar panels can often have no claimable warranty despite the marketing claim of a full 25 year Power Output Warranty.
Often there will be a phone number that no one answers or contact details for an office in China where no one speaks English. Furthermore, if it wasn’t brought into Australia through an official distributor the warranty is lost if the manufacturer goes bust (or simply changes their name).
For the warranty to be of any value, the product must come through official distributors and the manufacturer must have an office in Australia. The company must also be in a strong financial position and have a commitment to the Australian market.
In fact, it is such a problem that it’s estimated a huge 1 in 3 solar systems in Australia have no support!
This is why Solaray only supplies panels from the top handful of manufacturers, and why we have a strict vetting process before we bring a new brand in for our technical team to begin testing.