Before going solar, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is which equipment to install. But there are hundreds and thousands of solar panel products – so where’s the best place to start? In this article, we’ll explore the most popular solar panels on the EnergySage Marketplace.
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Most popular solar panels: key takeaways
On the EnergySage Marketplace, most popular solar panel brands include Panasonic, LG Solar, REC, Silfab Solar, Q CELLS, and SunPower.
In 2021, the most commonly quoted and selected solar panel on the Marketplace nationwide was Panasonic’s EVPV370 WBS (EverVolt series).
Many factors impact a specific solar panel’s popularity, including availability, distribution channels, preference, and cost.
Compare quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace to find the right solar panels for you
What you’ll learn in this article
Most popular solar panels on EnergySage
Each year, more and more solar panels become available. So given all of these options, which panels do residential solar shoppers compare–and choose–most often on the EnergySage Marketplace? Overall, the most popular solar panel brands on the EnergySage Marketplace include Panasonic, LG Solar, REC, Silfab Solar, Q CELLS, and SunPower. However, there are a few different ways to assess the popularity of solar panels; below, we do so in two separate ways:
The solar panels installers most frequently quote
The solar panels solar shoppers most frequently select and ultimately install
Unsurprisingly, the most frequently quoted and most frequently selected panels are not the same. So, if there’s a solar panel brand you’re particularly interested in but don’t see in your quotes, always make sure to ask your installer!
Most quoted panels
First, we’ll take a look at the top 10 quoted panels on the EnergySage Marketplace: Panasonic’s EverVolt EVPV370 WBS (370 Watts, W) wins the top spot for most frequently quoted on the Marketplace, with a substantial percentage of quotes in 2021 including this product. The runner up–also a Panasonic product–comes from the same panel series and a slightly lower power rating (360 W). Impressively, all the panels included in this list have power ratings of 340 W or higher – especially impressive considering it was near impossible to find residential solar panels above 340 W just five years ago.
Top 10 solar panels (quoted) on the EnergySage Marketplace, nationwide RankProductManufacturerPower output (W)Rating 1EVPV370 WBSPanasonic370 WExcellent 2EVPV360 WBSPanasonic360 WExcellent 3VBHN340SA17Panasonic340 WExcellent 4SIL-360NXSilfab Solar360 WExcellent 5DUO BLK-G6+Q CELLS340 WExcellent 5SIL-370Silfab Solar370 WExcellent 7REC360AA Black REC360 WExcellent 8REC365AA BlackREC365 WExcellent 9LG370N1K-A6LG Solar370 WExcellent 10REC365AAREC365 WExcellent
Most selected panels
Panasonic’s EverVolt EVPV370 WBS was not only the most commonly quoted, but also the most commonly selected solar panel on the Marketplace in 2021. But the cloning between the top quoted and selected lists stops there: Q CELLS’ 340 W DUO BLK-G6+ (340 W) panel was the second most popular by selection nationwide, which may be indicative of consumer preference for installing the panel, or the preference of a few particularly successful installers on the Marketplace.
Top 10 solar panels (selected) on the EnergySage Marketplace, nationwide RankProductManufacturerPower output (W)Rating 1EVPV370 WBSPanasonic370 WExcellent 2DUO BLK-G6+Q CELLS340 WExcellent 3REC365AA Black REC365 WExcellent 4EVPV360 WBSPanasonic360 WExcellent 5VBHN340SA17Panasonic340 WExcellent 6REC370AAREC370 WExcellent 7REC375AAREC375 WExcellent 8SIL-370Silfab Solar370 WExcellent 9LG370N1K-A6LG Solar370 WExcellent 10VBHN330SA17EPanasonic330 WExcellent
Most popular solar panels by state
As with almost every data point in the solar industry, the results vary depending on state. When you compare the lists above with the most commonly selected solar panel in a few top solar states, it gets more interesting: Panasonic’s EverVolt EVPV370 WBS (the most quoted and selected panel nationwide) was the most commonly selected solar panel in California in 2021. Larger, solar-friendly places like California have higher populations interested in and moving forward with solar, so naturally, the popularity of Panasonic’s EverVolt series in the Golden State drove high volumes for the product in solar quotes and installations on a nationwide scale.
Most popular solar panels (selected) by state on the EnergySage Marketplace StateProductManufacturerPower output (W)Rating ArizonaREC370AAREC370 WExcellent CaliforniaEVPV370 WBSPanasonic370 WExcellent FloridaDUO BLK-G6+Q CELLS340 WExcellent IllinoisSIL-330 BLSilfab Solar330 WExcellent MassachusettsDUO BLK ML-G9+Q CELLS380 WExcellent New JerseyLG370N1K-A6LG Solar370 WExcellent New YorkSPR-E20-327SunPower327 WExcellent TexasVBHN340SA17Panasonic340 WExcellent
Notably, there isn’t one solar panel on the Marketplace that was the most popular in more than one top solar state. This is primarily a result of local distribution networks and installer brand loyalty, but we shouldn’t rule out the role of climate when looking at the most popular solar panels in specific regions. You can count on any reputable solar panel to generate electricity for 25+ years, but certain panels will perform better in certain weather conditions or temperatures.
For example, some panels will hold up better against salt mist corrosion or blowing sand. If you’re a homeowner in Vermont, this is likely a nonfactor; however, if you live close to the beach in Florida or in the deserts of Arizona, these respective panel certifications are more important. Similarly, higher efficiency panels can be worth the additional upfront cost in any area of the country, but especially in cloudier states where you want to maximize your return on fewer sunny days.
Why are some panels more popular than others?
Well, why is any book, TV show, or gadget more popular than others? As anyone who’s experienced the Twilight series knows, there isn’t always a perfect correlation between quality and popularity. Multiple factors impact the demand for particular solar panels:
Distributors serve as liaisons between manufacturers and installers. There are a few major solar distributors in the United States, each with their own relationships to specific manufacturers and installation companies. If certain solar panel brands are more popular in your area than elsewhere in the country, it’s possible that a distributor with closer ties to particular manufacturers has a stronger presence in your market.
Like other products on the market, the solar industry gets hit by supply constraints. Material shortages and shipping restrictions often impact the availability of one module over another. Even in a world without supply issues, you’d find that some panels are more readily available than others simply because larger solar panel companies have more factories and build more products.
Every type of contractor–solar installer or otherwise–has likes and dislikes towards the type of equipment they work with. In solar, you’ll come across installation companies that prefer and recommend installing certain panels because of the ease of installation, quality, and/or cost (which we’ll dive more into later).
Brand loyalty is also prevalent in the solar industry: many reputable installers have direct relationships with manufacturers through their endorsement programs, meaning they can access special opportunities or better deals by selling products from a particular company. This isn’t a bad thing; oftentimes, it means passing on cost savings, stronger warranty offerings, and their product expertise to you and other solar shoppers!
Consumer demand plays a huge role in the popularity of a particular solar panel or manufacturer. Think about it: if you really want to install a particular product and make those preferences known to your potential contractor, they will do what they can to provide you with that equipment – or at least, present an attractive alternative. The more solar shoppers ask for particular brands and products, the more likely installers buy, store, install, and recommend that equipment in the future.
Another factor that influences how popular solar panels are is cost. That doesn’t mean cheaper panels are more popular – in fact, the majority of shoppers on EnergySage reject the lowest-cost option, and most installers on the Marketplace propose higher quality, more expensive equipment. Popular solar panels often offer good value, balancing cost and quality.
Among most quoted and most selected panels, the top five spots include panels from four different manufacturers: Panasonic, REC, Q CELLS, and Silfab. These four companies all fell within a $0.06 per watt ($/W) range on the EnergySage Marketplace in 2021, whereas LG Solar and SunPower–which were less frequently quoted and selected–both had a higher $/W.
Cost of the most popular solar panel brands on the EnergySage Marketplace ManufacturerMedian $/W Panasonic$2.77 REC$2.71 Q CELLS$2.74 Silfab$2.77 LG Solar$2.92 SunPower$3.43
Are the most popular solar panels the best solar panels?
Yes and no – the panels listed above wouldn’t be popular if they weren’t high-quality products with a proven track record. That said, there isn’t a single solar panel that’s the best at everything. When deciding what you want to install, you need to balance various factors based on your preferences and site-specific conditions. And naturally, some manufacturers outshine more in one category than others:
Highest rated power: Jinko
Best warranty offering: SunPower
Best efficiency rating: SunPower
Best temperature coefficient: Panasonic, REC, AXITEC, Solartech Universal
Best reputation: LG Solar
Learn more in our overview of the best solar panels.
Key factors to consider when choosing solar panels
Like we mentioned above, consumer preference is a driving force behind solar panel popularity. As you’re choosing a solar panel, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Power output: how much electricity will the solar panels generate? Is it enough to offset your electric bill?
Warranty: does the manufacturer offer a comprehensive warranty for their product?
Quality rating: how does the quality and durability of the panel compare to other options on the market?
Manufacturer reputation: does the company standing behind the warranty offer good customer service? Are they bankable?
Aesthetics: are the solar panels pretty? (For the record, we think all solar panels are pretty – admittedly, some more than others.)
Country of manufacture: are you willing to pay more for American-made panels?
Cost: will you get your bang for your buck? Is a more expensive, higher quality solar panel worth the extra cost?
Active rebates: is the manufacturer offering any extra incentives to help you maximize your savings?
How to find the right solar panel for you
The most popular solar panels aren’t always the right ones for your home. The best way to make sure you’re installing the right equipment for the right price is to compare multiple options. Register for free on the EnergySage Marketplace today to get up to seven custom quotes from pre-screened, local installers. Already have a specific solar panel in mind? Simply note it in your account so installers can include the panel in their quotes.