Our iGen experts have decided to help customers understand why we choose certain panels over others and from the hundreds of MCS products available, sifting through a lot of dross, we have come up with a top 10. Hopefully it will show that its often best to avoid the household brands, who often assemble the cheapest components from China and then add their badge, in favour of vertically integrated solar companies who make everything from the silicon wafer through to the finished product.
Here we countdown the panels that didn’t make the cut for the top 5:
10. Mitsubishi: Only included here because so many installers use their product. Certainly not one of our experts favourite panels due to very poor performance warranties (can be delivered up to 3% below rated power) and weak performance in UK conditions
+ Positive points: Cheap.
– Negative points: Poor performance and product warranties, weak performance in UK, poor construction, only available with aluminium frame, component parts bought in from unknown sources.
9. Samsung: A fairly new addition to the ranks of MCS panels, Samsungs offerings are certainly an improvement over the Mitsubishi panels but are so far unproven in the UK and are supplied with only a 5 yr product warranty, component parts bought in from unknown sources.
+ Positive points: Cheap. Positive power tolerance which means the panels will be delivered at or above their quoted output
– Negative points: Unknown performance levels in UK, only 5yr product warranty, only available with aluminium frame.
8. Upsolar: Better value alternative to Samsung product, again manufactured in China but with improved performance warranties
+ Positive points: Very cheap. Tiered module efficiency warranty guaranteeing less degradation over 25 years.
– Negative points: Only 5yr product warranty, negative power tolerance, only available with aluminium frame.
7. Sharp: Easily the most common panel in the UK and a fairly trusty stalwart. Our main gripes with this panel involve the continuity of replacements, already Sharp have discontinued and relaunched virtually every panel in their range – due to sourcing cheaper and cheaper component parts. Partly assembled in Wales but components sourced from Far East.
+ Positive points: Cheap, readily available and easy for less experienced installers, new positive power tolerance which means the panels will be delivered at or above their quoted output, new 10 year product guarantee.
– Negative points: Relatively weak performance, poor availability of replacements, only available with aluminium frame.
6. Bosch: . European manufactured and easily the best panel mentioned here.
+ Positive points: Good value, Bosch manufacture own cells, 10 year product guarantee, positive power tolerance, excellent construction.
– Negative points: Only available with aluminium frame.