What are the Best Commercial Solar Panels?
For businesses in nearly any industry, solar energy offers a practical solution to continuously rising electricity rates. Not only are they a relatively easy way to reduce a fixed cost, but they deliver powerful tax savings and can boost your brand reputation with customers and clients.
But getting the best results from your solar energy system requires installing the right equipment, and solar panels are a huge component of that.
In this blog, we’ll outline the essential information you need to choose the best commercial solar panels for your business’s system.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Commercial Solar Panels
Not all solar panels are created equal. Whether it’s efficiency, quality, durability, price, or something else, there’s a balance of several factors each brand prioritizes. Determining which factors are the most important to your business is key to choosing the best panels.
Type of Panel
These are the two main types of solar panels. Monofacial panels produce energy from the top side of the panel only. These are great for roof mounts or on a surface with low albedo. Bifacial solar panels have energy-producing solar cells on both sides of the panel. These are great for ground mounts or tilted roof mounts with a reflective surface underneath.
When making a purchasing decision, cost shouldn’t be everything, but it’s got to count for something. The key to getting the best value is to consider each panel’s total lifecycle cost. This includes their initial cost, but it also needs to consider the efficiency ratings, warranties, and replacement costs.
The cheapest panels to install today may last several years less than more expensive panels. And in the long run, that could end up costing more money. Thankfully, there are solar panel manufacturers and models that offer panels at every price point.
Solar panels with higher efficiencies produce more electricity than those with lower metrics. This means more free electricity overall or a potentially smaller system with fewer panels. That said, efficiency isn’t everything, and unless space is in small supply for your commercial system, you may be better off with a panel that’s slightly less efficient but more affordable.
There are a few different things to consider when evaluating efficiency. First, there’s the efficiency rating on the solar panel itself, which measures how much of the sun’s energy is converted to electricity. Most panels on the market today range from 19% to 22% efficiency. The most efficient panels available for commercial use are around 23%.
Another important factor is the temperature coefficient of Pmax or Pmpp. This measures how well the solar panels will perform in high temperatures. We typically recommend panels of -0.35% per degree C or lower.
Durability and Warranty
Long-lasting solar panels are critical to the success of your solar investment. The longer they last, the more cost-free electricity they’ll create. A key factor in achieving this is choosing durable panels protected by comprehensive warranties.
Look for solar panel manufacturers that offer warranties ranging from 15 to 25 years. These warranties should include a product warranty, which covers defects from manufacturing and assures the panels meet specific quality and durability standards.
They should also include a performance or power output warranty, which guarantees the production potential of your panel over time — a safeguard against rapid degradation.
Manufacturer's Reputation & Financial Stability
Even the best warranty is meaningless if the manufacturer is no longer around to honor it. That’s why the manufacturer’s reputation and financial stability are so important. Be sure you’re choosing to install panels from a company that has a great reputation for customer service and quality products.
Responsible management of finances and products is a good sign that they’ll be around for the next 25 years to honor those warranties in case something goes wrong.
Panels come in different sizes and specs, which impact how much energy your system will produce. Typically, wattages range from 450 to 600 W. The width of the panels will be around 40 - 45 inches, and the length can range from 75 to 98 inches. The thickness will be 1 - 1.5 inches.
The Top Commercial Solar Panel Brands
There’s no shortage of solar panel brands to choose from for your commercial solar system. Here are the ones we’ve found to deliver the best value.
With manufacturing spread across Asia and Europe, Axitec offers world-renowned German-engineered panels at an accessible cost. Their panels promise module efficiencies between 19.8% - 21.25% and are backed with a 25-year linear performance warranty at 85% and a 15-year product warranty.
Similar to SEG Solar, Axitec panels deliver great value to commercial customers. They offer a good, dependable product at a price that’s approachable for these larger-scale systems.
QCells is another market leader in the commercial solar space. Based in South Korea, QCells has manufacturing locations in Asia and the United States. Their panels may be slightly more expensive than SEG Solar and Axitec, but they still deliver on value.
Their efficiencies range from 17.4% to 21.5%, and they offer a 12- or 25-year product warranty, depending on the model. They also offer performance warranties promising 86% of nameplate production in year 25 or 84.95% in year 30, depending on the model.
SEG Solar is a US-based solar panel manufacturer. Currently, their production facilities are in Asia, but they are working to bring manufacturing stateside to join their headquarters. Their efficiencies range from 19.7% - 22.17%, and the panels are backed by a 15-year or 30-year workmanship warranty, depending on the model.
Most of their panels feature a 25-year linear performance warranty that promises they’ll be able to produce 84.4% of their nameplate power production in year 25. A few models ramp this up for a 30-year performance warranty promising up to 87.4%.
Overall, SEG offers dependable solar panels at a good price. They offer a great balance between cost, long-term durability, and electricity generation.
What Solar Panels Should You Install?
Even with this information, choosing the best equipment for your commercial solar system can still be challenging. At Paradise Energy, our solar experts are here to advise and guide you through the process. Reach out to us today to start talking about your business’s solar system.