Are you considering making the switch to solar energy and wondering what the best solar panel options are? While there are many great solar panel choices available, the best solar panels are likely to be the ones that are most suitable for your property and will meet your electricity demand.
Solar panel arrays are available with different sizes and capacities, and the one that is best will be the one that is able to generate the renewable energy you need effectively and will bring you savings in the long-term that make your investment in solar more than worthwhile. A look at some of the features of solar panels will help you decide which is the best solar panel for you.
Solar panel reviews can only be so helpful before you install solar panels and start to rely on solar power for your home. Ultimately, you’ll need to make the final decision, but our round up of the best solar panels for your new solar panel system below ought to act as a guiding hand for your decision.
Your existing set up
If you are considering solar panels as an option for your home, the likelihood is you are adding it to a property for the first time, as opposed to replacing or upgrading an existing system. This means that you need to consider a lot of the conditions that need to be satisfied for an effective solar set up. This includes the following:
Availability of suitable roof space
Solar panels are only ever as good as their location. Place excellent quality solar panels in a location that is not suitable, and where they will receive minimal daylight, and their performance will be compromised so much that they are unable to generate electricity in sufficient quantities to be a viable proposition.
Typical solar systems (based on a 3-bedroom house) would require around 10 solar panels which would require approximately 20 square metres of roof space to accommodate the solar array. Where this is not possible due to limited roof space, it may be possible to operate with a smaller number of panels, but you’d need to check with our team on whether this would be a viable option for you.
If there is not sufficient space to provide enough electricity to meet your needs, then ground solar arrays might be an option. Ground-mounted solar panels offer an alternative solution, but again are dependent on their being sufficient ground space to house an array of suitable size. They can also be more costly to install depending on the mounting equipment required for the installation.
Issues with shadows and overhanging objects
While solar panels don’t necessarily need direct sunlight in order to generate solar electricity there are some issues that are best avoided or need to be remedied for a solar PV setup to work optimally. Issues, such as shadows being cast by nearby buildings, structures or even overhanging trees can all impact on the suitability for solar of your location.
Some solar panels are better suited to functioning in areas where these sort of issues are a problem and are not as easy to overcome. You should therefore consult with our team to find out which solar panels we recommend for situations where the location of your solar panels is likely to be less than ideal.
Budget is often the overriding factor when it comes to choosing solar panels and therefore the best solar panel often comes down to being the best solar panel for your budget. If you happen to be located in a spot that is south facing, isn’t in a shaded area and doesn’t experience harsh weather conditions, it is possible that a basic solar panel with lower output and efficiency levels might be suitable for the job.
However, if your location is a little more challenging from a solar generation perspective, you may need to consider the more technologically advanced solar option which is able to function even when the conditions are far from perfect.
Solar or solar plus battery?
Are you needing solar panels alone, or are you considering the addition of a solar battery? Choosing to add a solar battery to your solar set up will allow you to maximise the potential of your system so that you can store electricity during daylight hours and then call upon it when you need to and you’ll want the best solar battery to go with your panels.
The majority of solar batteries will be compatible with modern solar panels, but we will be able to recommend solar panel plus battery packages that best work in harmony together and are ideal for your situation when you contact us.
Solar panel output
Solar panel output – the amount of energy you can expect to generate with your panels – is all-important. Without your solar set up providing sufficient electricity output, you may be forced to continue to draw more electricity from the national grid than you ideally want to.
If your intention is to try and go off-grid or as near to as possible, this wouldn’t be an acceptable outcome. You would therefore need to choose solar panels that produce a higher output and give you the opportunity to potentially store electricity in a battery in sufficient quantities that your need for grid electricity is removed.
Solar panel efficiency levels can vary across different models and brands, usually around 18-22%, but the best solar panels will typically have an efficiency rating of over 20%. All things being equal, a higher efficiency rating will mean higher electricity production levels.
The efficiency of your chosen solar panels will have an impact on cost, so you will need to work within your budget to find a solar panel solution that provides you with the right level of efficiency to meet your energy needs and provide you with the annual savings you are seeking.
Solar panel cost
Cost of solar panels in the UK are a significant factor when it comes to deciding whether to opt for a solar installation. Without your solar investment making economic sense, there would be no financial motivation for opting for solar. Knowing your solar panels worth is important.
Solar panel prices vary due to many different factors, but for an average domestic solar system of around 3.5kW to 4kW you should expect to pay in the region of £5,000-£7,000.
This would include the costs of the panels themselves, installation, and the inverter which converts the direct current to usable alternating current. Adding extra features such as batteries or requiring a larger more powerful solar PV system will inevitably increase these costs.
How much solar panels cost is an important consideration when thinking about domestic solar panels for your home. The right price for your solar cells is vital in making sure your solar panel system is ideal for you.
Some solar systems can generate far more electricity than a household needs, and this overproduction could potentially be sold under the Smart Export Guarantee. This is an agreement whereby households can sell any excess electricity produced to the national grid, in return for payments.
If you are intending to maximise the return from your solar panels by exporting energy back, then a solar panel with high output and efficiency would be the best solar panel option for you. SEG can make a difference to your annual energy bill savings and these are outlined in the next section.
One of the main motivations for switching to solar is the potential savings you could make by generating your own electricity. In some instances a household could become virtually independent from the grid if it is able to generate electricity in sufficient quantities that it rarely, if ever, needs to draw electricity from the grid.
The amount of savings a household could expect to make on their annual energy bills as a result of using solar will vary depending on how much of the energy produced they are able to consume. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that typical households only use about 15-25% of the solar energy they produce, but this amount and the potential savings can increase the more time the members of the household are at home during the day, and also if the household receives payments under the Smart Export Guarantee.
Annual savings amounts estimated by the Energy Saving Trust (based on fuel prices as of July 2023) are as follows:
|Annual savings with SEG||Annual savings without SEG|
|Home all day||£620||£570|
|Home in the mornings||£550||£485|
|Home in afternoons||£530||£465|
|Out all day until 4pm||£450||£370|
|Out all day until 4pm||£420||£335|
One of the most positive impacts of solar panels and solar electricity production is that it is a renewable energy source which can help households reduce their carbon footprint. If you are someone for whom environmental impact is important, then solar panels that are highly effective at reducing your carbon emissions will be welcomed by you.
Technically advanced features
Some of the better solar panels will have more advanced features which are able to provide you with better performance. Technology such as that which can increase efficiency and help performance even when conditions are less than perfect, such as shady or adverse weather conditions. Monocrystalline cells are usually the favoured option as they are generally more efficient than polycrystalline solar panels.
The best solar panels will be capable of being connected to smart meters and monitoring apps so you can get the best performance from your solar PV system and maximise your savings.
Longevity and degradation
Solar panels typically last between 25-30 years, but some are capable of lasting far in excess of this, sometimes lasting up to 50 years. Over the years of operation their efficiency levels will decrease though the level of degradation will vary between solar panel makes and models.
Having solar panels that degrade to a lesser extent will ensure that your efficiencies are largely consistent. Following your solar panel installation, you will still need to have your system regularly serviced and maintained to ensure that it functions optimally and you get your energy and the annual savings that come with this for many years to come.
Trusted brands and solar panel manufacturers
Some solar panel manufacturers are well established having been in the solar panel industry for years. Having operated in the market for a good length of time means they have had sufficient time to iron out any issues with their solar products and make performance improvements to them.
In recent years there have been a number of new manufacturers who have entered the solar market, and they sometimes produce solar panels of comparable levels of quality but offer these at a lower price point as they look to get a foothold in the market. These options can be a good option if you are somewhat limited in budget.
Some excellent names in the solar space include:
- Long Hi-Mo
- Project Solar
- JA Solar
Solar panel options
With a range of top brands, the choice of solar can be somewhat overwhelming. Here we select a few of the best solar panel options, each of which we have installed for customers before, that may be suitable, depending on your requirements. The right solar panels for you could be lurking in our list below.
Longi Hi-Mo Range
Longi’s Hi-MO range is a great option for those looking for excellent performance without breaking the bank. While placed at the lower end of the market in terms of price, the performance levels are comparable, if not better, than some of the more expensive solar panel options out there.
With efficiency levels in excess of 20%, Longi is one of the most efficient options for those with a limited budget. As a well established Chinese company, customers can have the reassurance that they are a trusted company who are likely to be around for many years to come.
Longi Hi-MO Solar Panel Features
- High efficiency for a lower price point
- Degradation in performance less than some more expensive alternatives
- 12 year product guarantee & 25 or 30 year power output guarantee
- Uses higher performance monocrystalline products
Available current models include: Hi-Mo 4, Hi-MO 5, and Hi-MO 6
|Hi-Mo 4||Hi-MO 5||Hi-MO 6|
|Max Efficiency||20.2% – 21.2%||20.7 – 21.5%||21.3 – 22.3%|
|Power output (Pmax/W)||440 – 460||535 – 555||440 -450|
|First year power degradation||<2%||<2%||<1.5%|
|Year 2-25 power degradation||0.45%||0.45%||0.40%|
|Warranty:||12-year product guarantee and 30-year performance guarantee||12-year product guarantee and 30-year performance guarantee||12-year product guarantee and 25-year performance guarantee|
View our more extensive Longi solar panel review
Perlight 430 NTA
Perlight’s 430 NTA solar panels use N-type cells which generate more power compared to other cell types. They are able to capture and collect light even when conditions are challenging, such as during cloudy or foggy weather, making them a great option for those who know their daylight conditions are going to be somewhat challenging.
With a high efficiency level, in excess of 22%, you will experience a quicker return on your solar panel investment. With all-black panels that are ultra sleek, they offer aesthetic appeal that is unmatched.
Perlight 430 NTA Features
- Great low light performance so produce greater power output even when exposed to low-light conditions
- Reduced level of degradation in performance
- Able to work in harsh environments including withstanding wind and snow loads
- Better temperature coefficient so are able to generate high power under working conditions
- Do not suffer from Light Induced Degradation (LID)
- Manufactured with low levels of lead and zero fluorine, so more environmentally friendly
|Power output (Pmax/W)||415- 435|
|First year power degradation||<2%|
|Year 2-25 power degradation||0.45%|
|Warranty||30-year product warranty and 30-year performance guarantee|
Sharp 410 NUJC410
Sharp brings over 60 years of solar experience, one of the longest in the solar industry, marking them out as a brand you can trust. The 410W NUJC410 combines high reliability and is a great option for smaller roof spaces.
With half-cut cells, this improves shading performance, minimises internal losses and reduced hotspot risk for high efficiency. Using MBB busbar technology leads to increased reliability, higher efficiency and reduces series resistance, leading to quicker payback on your investment in solar.
Sharp 410 NUJC410 Features
- High module efficiency
- 108 Half-cells, M10 wafer
- 10 busbar technology increasing the power gain
- Robust product design, passing salt mist, Ammonia, and sand and dust tests
- Reliable Guarantee: 25 years linear power output guarantee and 15 years product guarantee
- Guaranteed positive power tolerance
|Power output (Pmax/W)||40|
|First year power degradation||<2.5%|
|Year 2-25 power degradation||<0.7%|
|Warranty||15-year product warranty and 25 year power output guarantee|
SunPower Maxeon 6 AC
SunPower is an American solar company that was first established in 1985, so they’re a well-trusted brand in the industry whose products have been attracting attention for several years now. One of their latest offerings, the SunPower Maxeon 6 AC, is known for its high output and high efficiency, meaning you get a lot out of this product.
Better yet, the panels are incredibly robust, making them a great option for places with harsher weather or where some shading throughout the day is possible. They’re crack resistant, have a higher degree of shade tolerance than most, and can withstand corrosion. All of this leads to a warranty of 25 years as standard (and 40 years if registered with SunPower).
Another key aspect of these panels is its independent design. When all solar panels are connected, one bad apple spoils the crop. Here, each panel works independently, so if one panel isn’t generating as much power as the others, the whole system isn’t affected. This increases energy output and means you get more energy out of your system with fewer panels.
SunPower Maxeon 6 AC Features
- 420W – 440W Energy output
- Power point tracking to maximise output no matter the weather
- 22.8% efficiency
- Low degradation (0.25% per year after the first year)
- Improved shade tolerance
- Lightweight panels: 21.8kg
|Maxeon 6 AC|
|Power output||420W – 440W|
|First year power degradation||2%|
|Year 2-25 power degradation||0.25%|
|Warranty||25 year warranty (unregistered), or 40 years (when registered with SunPower directly)|
Suntech Ultra V Mini 405Wp
Suntech is a relatively new company based in China. Founded in 2001, they’ve become something of a household name in the solar space, and with their Suntech Ultra V Mini 405Wp offering, they’ve managed to impress the industry due to their low light operation performance.
These panels are made up of 182 mm silicon wafers designed to optimise power generation. And so optimised is this generation process, that the panels are one of the best on the market when operating in low light conditions. Because of that, you get more out of your solar system, because you don’t need to wait for peak operating times (usually 11am to 4pm) for your panels to start generating power effectively. They also perform better in adverse weather conditions than most other panels too, including excessive wind, rain, and snow.
Suntech Ultra V Mini 405Wp Features
- 405W power output
- 20.7% efficiency
- Affordable prices
- Lightweight, 21kg panels
- 182 mm silicon wafers designed for power generation optimisation
- Excellent in all weather
- Low-light performance = one of the best on the market
|Ultra V Mini 405Wp|
|Power output||405 W|
|First year power degradation||2%|
|Year 2-25 power degradation||0.55%|
|Warranty||12-year product warranty and 25 year linear warranty|
It’s perhaps not the easiest of panels to remember given it’s rather ‘sciency’ name, but the Seraphim SRP-670-BMC-BG is one of the most impressive on the market. And its standout selling point? It’s power generation. This 670W mammoth of a solar panel weighs in at 38.5kg and is 3.1 square meters, making it the largest panel for domestic properties in the UK.
Of course, you’ll need the roof space to accommodate it, but with a power generation of that size, you’ll need far less panels in your solar system to meet your energy needs. Besides that, it has excellent performance after 30 years (still operating at 84.95% of its maximum capacity) and has 21.75% efficiency, which is incredibly impressive for panels of this size.
Seraphim SRP-670-BMC-BG Features
- 670W power output
- 21.75% efficiency
- Heat resistant
- Commitment from the company to reach zero carbon in manufacturing and delivering of goods
- One of the most powerful solar panels on the market for domestic properties
- Less solar panels required in an array
|Degradation||Guaranteed to be 84.95% after 30 years|
|Warranty||15-year product warranty|
What Are The Best Solar Panels?
As we said at the start of this post, the best solar panels are those that suit your home, your budget, and your energy needs the best. There is no one single best solar panel out there – they have to meet your needs or else they simply aren’t relevant to you.
You could pick any of the solar panels we’ve featured today and be impressed by some aspect of them. But in order for them to blow you away, you’ll have to pick the one that’s best suited to you. To help with that decision, we’ve put together a roundup of the solar panels we’ve covered today to show off their best bits and help you decide which is best for you:
|Best For Power Output||Seraphim SRP-670-BMC-BG|
|Best Price||Longi Hi-MO|
|Best For Optimised Generation||Suntech Ultra V Mini 405Wp|
|Best For Aesthetics||Perlight 430 NTA|
|Best Efficiency||SunPower Maxeon 6 AC|
|Best For Smaller Roofs||Sharp 410 NUJC410|
Now, all of the solar panels we’ve covered today are also great at other things. The Perlight 430 NTA is way more than just aesthetically pleasing, and Longi HI-MO panels are better than just being budget-friendly. But showing where they excel can help you decide where your priorities lie in terms of deciding which panel is best for you and your home…
Other Top Performing Panels In The UK
Just because we haven’t listed something here as one of the best solar panels doesn’t mean there aren’t other solar panels out there worth considering. For example:
- Project Solar Evolution Titan 445: Although not covered today, the Project Solar Evolution Titan 445 has an impressive maximum power output of up to 445W and is one of the best residential solar panels in the UK for its efficiency rating and performance warranty. In fact it has one of the best solar panel warranty offers out there with 99.9 years warranty – one of the most impressive solar panel warranties on offer from any company so Project Solar is impressive here.
- Jinko Tiger Neo 420W n type 54 cell: Again, the Jinko Tiger Neo 420W n type 54 cell could have easily placed in our list of the best solar panels UK today. As one of the most efficient solar panel options out there (21.51%), it makes for an impressive solar panel system once you have the solar panels installed.
- JA Solar: Choose anything from JA Solar and you’ll be in safe hands considering their reputation as one of the most reliable solar panel brands creating some of the strongest solar PV panels in the uk right now.
The truth is, most solar panels are impressive, and any solar panels installer who is trying to push one model alone without listening to your thoughts is probably a solar installer you should be wary of. Installing solar panels is made much easier for installers like us because there are so many great options out there.
Deciding which solar panel is the best overall solar panel for you and your home is much harder than people realise. It requires a lot of thought – and rightfully so. You’re going to be with these solar panels for the next 25 years at least. So they have to be right for you.
From Project Solar to JA Solar, Suntech to Seraphim, all solar panels will impact your energy bills, improve your home’s energy efficiency rating, and help you rely on more solar energy, thus reducing your carbon emissions. Installing solar panels will have a huge impact on your life. All you have to do is find the best solar panels for you.
If you’re still unsure, don’t worry. That’s where our expert customer service team comes in. At ESE Group, all of our service team members are trained to ask exactly the right questions to help you sort through your priorities. And what they don’t know about our panels isn’t worth knowing, so they’ll be able to share some of the different panels’ key features so you can decide what’s right for you. No hard selling. No pushy tactics. Just a team of experts wanting to share their knowledge with our customers so you can make the best choice for you.
Getting started couldn’t be simpler. Simply contact us today and we’ll talk you through the best solar panels for your needs and help you make a decision about how many solar panels and which solar panels you require to meet your needs. And then our installation experts will take it from there.