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Cheap solar panels: why quality equipment is so important

In order to really cash in on solar power, you may be looking for the cheapest solar panels available. And sure, when you install solar on your home or business, you can save thousands on your electricity bills. But going solar isn’t automatically cheap: buying solar panels to install on your roof typically costs thousands of dollars. It’s no wonder that the cost of solar is among the most important considerations for today’s homeowners. If you’re thinking about going solar and worried about keeping the overall cost down, you’re probably wondering: how can I get the best value for solar panels, and will home solar get even cheaper?

Key takeaways

  1. Cheap solar panels vary in quality: usually, a higher price reflects a higher efficiency rating and therefore higher quality. 

  2. Polycrystalline solar panels are typically cheaper than monocrystalline panels. 

  3. Your payback period may be longer if you shop for solar panels with the lowest price tag. 

  4. Solar shoppers should use the EnergySage Marketplace to browse for solar panels base on price, efficiency, brand, quality, and more. 

What’s in this article?

Top cheap solar panel manufacturers

Within reason, lower priced panels don’t always signify poor quality: AXITEC, CertainTeed Solar, Jinko Solar, LA Solar Group, and Tesla all offer affordability in addition to high-quality equipment. Here’s a breakdown of each company’s price-per-watt, warranty, and efficiency ratings.

Best cheap solar panel manufacturers AXITECCertainTeed SolarJinko SolarLA Solar GroupTesla Price per watt ($/W)$2.98-$3.70$2.54-$3.28$2.44-$3.48$2.27-$2.73$3.03-$3.35 Warranty length25 years25 years25 years25 years25 years Efficiency range (%)15.37-20.93%17.2-20.5%19.14-22%20.56-21.28%19.3-20.6%

The prices reflected are based on EnergySage Marketplace data – check out our Buyer’s Guide to compare more solar panels.


AXITEC is a German-based solar panel and energy storage manufacturer that was established in 2001. The company’s products, manufactured in Asia and Europe, are available across the world.

CertainTeed Solar

CertainTeed is a large North American manufacturer of building materials, including solar panels. Established in 1904 as the General Roofing Manufacturing Company, CertainTeed is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain SA, a 300-year old materials company based in Paris. They typically manufacture their solar products in either Vietnam or the United States.

Jinko Solar

JinkoSolar is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar panels and develops solar projects across the world. The company was founded in 2006 and primarily manufactures its solar panels in China and Malaysia. However, they recently began producing one of their lines of solar panels, the “Eagle”, in Florida.

LA Solar Group

LA Solar Group has been installing solar panels since 2011, with current installations spanning three states: California, Nevada, and Texas. They entered the manufacturing industry in order to vertically integrate their business and offer more competitive pricing. Their panels are manufactured in Armenia.


Tesla works with Panasonic as a manufacturing partner to produce Tesla-branded solar panels. As with other products produced by Tesla, they have been plagued with manufacturing delays in their solar panel production. Tesla and Panasonic panels are primarily produced in the United States.

What are the best solar panels?

The best solar panels for your neighbor might not be the best solar panels for you – ultimately, there are a number of factors you’ll need to weigh when choosing solar equipment. Maybe you want a lower upfront cost, in which case the five brands we outlined above might be the right choice. Or, you could want panels with the strongest warranty or innovative technology such as PERC or half-cut cells. However, generally speaking, some of the best solar panels offered on the EnergySage Marketplace include: SunPower, REC, Panasonic, Q CELLS, and Silfab Solar.

Are cheap solar panels worth it?

Cheaper solar panels may vary in quality when compared to more expensive options. This is especially true when considering long term costs vs. upfront costs. Buyers can often save money by opting to spend more money initially for a product that will last longer, instead of purchasing a less expensive product that may have a shorter lifespan and need repairs or replacing. However, there are many products that are affordable and still provide good value for those who value economy over other selling points.

Long-term value typically outweighs high upfront costs

While cheap solar panels and DIY solar panel kits can seem worth it, they don’t always save you the most money in the long run. Therefore, it’s a good idea to think about long-term value rather than just searching for the most discounted solar price and installation. At the end of the day, solar is about long-term sustainable savings and not about finding a “steal.”

Solar is a big investment: if you want to maximize your long-term solar savings, it’s important to take this into consideration. Not all solar panels are created equal – a more expensive panel might have a better warranty or be able to generate more electricity than a low-cost option, in addition to having better overall energy efficiency ratings. You may hear suggestions to order the cheapest solar cells available on sites like eBay but in taking that approach, you will lose out on quality. The real benefit of solar energy lies in its ability to convert sunlight into available power effectively, which is best achieved by high efficiency panels.

Solar is already pretty affordable

Luckily, you don’t need to pay serious cash out of pocket to get the best solar panel deal. With most solar loans today, you don’t have to pay any money down. In many cases, your new monthly solar loan payments will be lower than your old electricity bill costs, so you’ll start seeing the financial benefits of solar as soon as you install. In addition to solar loans, you can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit and other state and local solar incentives to bring the cost of high efficiency panels that are better performing and longer lasting than whatever the cheapest option might be. A properly installed solar power system that uses high quality panels can meet your home’s energy needs for over 25 years.

In 2023, the average cost of solar panels is around $2.95/W – at this price point, there’s no doubt that, regardless of how you finance your solar panel system, going solar will be an economical process with strong returns. However, if you know where to look and compare all of your options ahead of time, you can bring the costs of your solar power installation down even lower. Here are the key takeaways from our pricing data:

  1. You can find inexpensive solar power no matter where you live. Solar shoppers in California, Massachusetts, and everywhere in between have successfully found low- cost solar options for their homes.

  2. There are many affordable solar panel and inverter types. You don’t have to choose from only one or two brands to get the best value solar panel or price per watt, which is great news!

  3. A bigger solar panel system means a better solar bargain. While solar panel system wattages vary based on a number of factors, choosing one of larger size will typically lower your cost per watt.

Will solar panels get cheaper? What to expect for solar energy prices

Despite some recent price hikes due to supply chain constraints, solar energy prices have generally followed a downward slope similar to those of most other renewable energy sources – as technology improves and solar energy becomes more accessible, the prices will drop further. The Department of Energy is aiming to cut solar energy costs by 60 percent in the next 10 years by providing $128 million in funding to research and development efforts aimed at making solar more efficient, deployable, and affordable for people across demographics.

With all of this in mind, finding the lowest possible price tag for your solar panel installation might sound like the best way to save money when you go solar. However, cutting your purchase price is only one way to maximize the cash back in your pocket. You could make your purchase entirely focused on cutting costs in the short term but the payback period of your solar panel system might take twice as long and your panels may never earn the return you expected.

Where to find cheap solar panels

If you’re wondering where to get cheap or discounted solar panels, there are a number of ways to evaluate the expense of solar based on location. Chinese solar panels are known for being some of the least expensive in the world, but products from Germany and the U.S. aren’t far behind. All have solar brands that offer world record performance. You’ll find that the more expensive panels tend to be monocrystalline solar panels, while thin film and polycrystalline are better for the very budget-conscious consumer.

In the United States, Astronergy offers one of the cheapest solar panels in 2022 at $250 per panel or about $0.70/W. American company Heliene also has a $250 panel, which works out to about $0.80/W. Price per watt can vary by location as well: certain markets like California and Texas tend to have the cheapest solar panels compared to many other areas. Regardless of your zip code, if you do the research and spend some time working with your installer, it’s possible to find a relatively cheap solar offer anywhere in the United States.

Frequently asked questions about cheap solar panels

What is the cheapest price for solar panels?

In the United States, one of the cheapest solar panels in 2021 was Astronergy’s $250 panel, which works out to about $0.70/W.

Which solar panel provider is the cheapest?

Astronergy manufactures some of the cheapest widely available solar panels. Some value brands that provide competitive offerings include Canadian Solar and Trina Solar panels.

Can solar panels be cheap?

Solar energy is among the cheapest forms of renewable energy available due to the variety of rebates and incentives available. There is a range of options available at different prices that offer competitive output warranties and performance warranties.

How much is an average solar installation?

The average cost of a solar installation in the United States in 2022 ranged from $17,430 to $23,870 after the federal solar tax credit, with an average solar installation costing about $20,650– adding other home electrical upgrades like a solar battery or an EV charger will increase your overall cost as well. However, if you’re looking to install an off-grid solar energy system, such as for charging an RV, boat, or car battery, it will likely be significantly less than a full home solar installation.

Find your perfect solar panel system on EnergySage

As with any big purchase, homeowners should always take price into consideration when they’re deciding which solar system they should install. But along with price, solar shoppers should compare all of their options in terms of quality, power output, warranty, and brand to decide if cheap solar panels are right for them. The best place to get started? Register for free on the EnergySage Marketplace today to start comparing your solar options from our network of pre-vetted solar companies.

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