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With energy prices rising, now is the time to make your home more sustainable and generate your own electricity with the best solar panels available in the UK.
Although electricity prices continue to rise across the UK, a decade-long trend shows a consistent decline in solar panel prices – with the pandemic creating the only falter in that downward trajectory. Installing the best solar panels to your home is often a cost-effective investment. However, choosing the right kit for your home, or even identifying the best solar panel companies, can be a daunting task – but don’t let that put you off.
To help you on this journey, we’ve surveyed the market to find the best solar panels according to common criteria and varying household needs. We’ve conducted hundreds of hours of in-depth research into the best solar companies, analysed hundreds of third-party customer reviews and gathered nearly 1,000 data points to identify the best solar panels in the industry.
If this is your first time looking through solar panel options, skip to the bottom of the article first to learn about key technical factors before reviewing our list of the top seven solar panel brands.
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What are the best solar panels in the UK?
Here are our top seven solar panels for UK homes:
- Best overall: Project Solar Evolution Elite 400
- Most efficient: SunPower Maxeon 3
- Best output: LG NeON H BiFacial
- Best budget solar panels: JA Solar JAM60S20
- Best for small roofs: Panasonic HIT N 245W
- Best looking: REC Alpha Pure Series 410W All Black
- Best performance value: Longi HiMo4
Project Solar Evolution Elite 400: Best overall
- Range: 395 – 415 Watts
- Efficiency: 21.22%
- Warranty: Lifetime product warranty; performance warranty of 12 years at 92%, 25 years at 85%, 30 years at 80%
Project Solar is one of the leading manufacturers and installers of solar panels in the UK and has a ‘Great’ rating on Trustpilot. Its Evolution Elite 400 is one of the best solar panels currently on the market. It achieves a maximum power output of up to 415 W with a relatively compact 1.1 metre wide by 1.7 metre high coverage – thanks to its monocrystalline solar modules and PERC (passivated emitter and rear contact) technology. This allows most properties to achieve a substantial output with this system.
The Elite 400 offers greater than 20% efficiency (which is considered a good efficiency rate). The half-cell modules in the Evolution Half-Cell Black Series also offer better performance in shady areas than traditional cell options.
The solar panel is guaranteed to operate at 80% of its original output for 30 years, and it is also backed by a lifetime product warranty. In addition to high performance, it looks good with an all-black, contemporary design.
Cost per panel: £POA
Project Solar doesn’t provide single panel prices. Instead, it offers bespoke quotations based on your specific requirements, roof style and location. The company says the average system costs around £8,000.
The Elite 400 is one of the best solar panels available today, offering an excellent mix of performance, reliability and warranty. The lifetime product warranty and guaranteed 80% power output for 30 years make it a fantastic fit-and-forget option. What’s more, superb customer service is a consistent theme from the company’s many online reviews.
SunPower Maxeon 3: Most efficient
- Range: 370 – 400 Watts
- Efficiency: 20.9 – 22.6%
- Warranty: 25-year product warranty; maximum annual degradation of 0.25% (25 years)
The SunPower Maxeon 3 has been available since 2019, and it is one of the most efficient solar panels on the market, with a maximum efficiency of 22.6%. In addition to high efficiency, the Maxeon 3 doesn’t lose performance at the same rate as its rivals – according to SunPower, the Maxeon panels showed the lowest degradation rates in the industry. SunPower guarantees a minimum output of 98% after the first year, followed by a drop of just 0.25% in performance every year after that. Whereas most solar panels drop into the 80% range after 25 years, the manufacturer claims the Maxeon 3 will still operate at 92% of its original output at this point. SunPower says the Maxeon 3 has an expected useful life of 40 years.
Cost per panel: From £300
With the Maxeon 3, you’re paying for a well-known product from an established brand that has been in the market for nearly 40 years. The assurances of its continued performance over time could make this the most cost-effective investment – but only time will tell.
One of the most common concerns for homeowners is whether they have enough roof space to generate the electricity they need. The Maxeon 3 is great at maximising performance from limited roof space and is a brilliant option for those who want a consistent supply year after year. However, the price means it’s not affordable for all. Those who have larger roof space may get similar results from a less expensive system. But in SunPower’s customer reviews, users consistently state that they are thankful they invested a little bit more in panels that are powerful and built to stand the test of time.
LG NeON H BiFacial: Best output
- Range: 440 Watts
- Efficiency: 19.8%
- Warranty: 25-year product warranty; maximum annual degradation of 0.35% (25 years)
The LG NeON H BiFacial is among the most powerful solar panels available for residential use in the UK. Peak power is rated at 440 W, which is achieved by packing 144 cells (six rows of 24 cells) into each panel. LG also uses Bifacial Energy Yield technology to achieve up to 30% more energy than standard photovoltaic modules.
Unlike conventional panels, the NeON H can produce energy from both sides, using direct sunlight on the front and reflected light on the back simultaneously. Rather than using a black or white backsheet, the NeON H features clear glass, which allows light to pass through.
This light is then reflected off the surface and the cells on the back of the panel use it to generate even more power. The panels are larger than others on the market at 1.04 metres wide by 2.1 metres high. At this size, they might not be suitable for all roofs.
Cost per panel: From £350
Although these are expensive per panel, the high output means fewer panels are needed overall. The cost may not be that much higher than other choices once you take into account fewer panels and the associated mounting and wiring costs.
The high output of the LG NeON H BiFacial makes it a worthwhile consideration for larger households with higher annual electricity consumption. The physically larger panels are not as versatile or as well suited to smaller properties, but just 10 panels have the potential to produce more than the 3,731 kWh per year that the average UK household consumes. Many customer reviews cite their electricity bills reducing to minimal levels after installation, while others rave about the energy collection achieved on even cloudy days.
JA Solar JAM60S20: Best budget solar panels
- Range: 365 – 390 Watts
- Efficiency: 21%
- Warranty: 12-year product warranty; maximum annual degradation of 0.55% (25 years)
Despite being one of the cheapest solar panels on the market today, the JAM60S20 is also among the most efficient. Anything over 20% is considered very good, so the 21% offered here is a strong score. The most powerful 390 W version yields similar output to competitors’ solar panels.
Produced in China to keep the costs low, JA Solar panels don’t enjoy the same lengthy warranties as others; JA Solar offers a 12-year product warranty. The JAM60S20 does, however, come with a 25-year linear power output guarantee, but the annual degradation is 0.55%, which is among the highest in this article.
Cost per panel: From £100
The JAM60S20 is an affordable alternative for the budget-conscious homeowner, and its solar panels are some of the most inexpensive on the market. You’ll need to speak to a local installer for a complete cost based on your roof and location, but some customers on popular renewable energy forums have reported installing a complete JA Solar 4 kW system for around £6,000 (fully installed).
The JAM60S20 made our list because it’s perfect for those looking to install solar panels on a budget. However, the shorter warranty and higher performance degradation mean these panels don’t offer the same long-term investment potential as other top solar panel options.
Panasonic HIT N 245W: Best for small roofs
- Range: 245 Watts
- Efficiency: 19.4%
- Warranty: 25-year product warranty; performance warranty of 10 years at 90%, 25 years at 80%
For small houses or those with awkwardly shaped roofs, the Panasonic HIT N 245W units may be the perfect fit. The compact design is just 0.8 metres wide by 1.6 metres high, which means these solar panels can be utilised to maximise the available roof space of even small outbuildings as well as complex roof designs. Additionally, these panels are light, weighing in at just 15 kg.
Despite its small dimensions, the 19.4% efficiency rivals larger 330 W panels. The HIT (heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer) technology features monocrystalline cells surrounded by thin amorphous silicon solar cells to maintain high efficiency both at higher temperatures and in low light conditions.
Cost per panel: From £250
This mid-priced system is an option worth considering for those with awkwardly shaped roofs.
If you have a smaller home or one with a complex roof design, the HIT N 245W could be the best solar panel for you. It offers a wide range of installation options and high output per square metre, and it is backed by Panasonic’s 25-year product warranty. If you own a larger home or need a more powerful system, the Longi Hi-Mo 4m further down this list may be one of the better options.
REC Alpha Pure Series 410W All Black: Best looking
- Range: 410 Watts
- Efficiency: 22.2%
- Warranty: 25-year product warranty; maximum annual degradation of 0.25% (25 years); 25-year ProTrust labour warranty
Fear of ruining the aesthetics can be a major concern for UK homeowners when installing solar panels. The REC Alpha Pure Series 410W All Black allays some of those concerns: its sleek, innovative gapless cell layout and all-black design is elegant and sophisticated. Its environmentally friendly, lead-free construction also drastically reduces its carbon footprint.
And it doesn’t just look good. Offering 410 W of power, a very impressive 22.2% efficiency and only 0.25% degradation per year, it’s a top performer. Additionally, the panels are backed by a 25-year warranty for the product as well as labour in the unlikely event a panel needs attention.
Cost per panel: From £300
The price is at the higher end of the market and reflects the quality of this product, with its environmentally friendly build materials.
For anyone concerned about ruining the appearance of their home, the REC Alpha Pure is one of the best solar panels you can get – especially when solar panels need to be installed at the front of a property. Its lead-free construction is also an attractive option for those conscious of the environmental impact.
Longi Hi-Mo 4m 445-465M: Best performance value
- Range: 445 – 465 Watts
- Efficiency: 21.4%
- Warranty: 12-year product warranty; maximum annual degradation of 0.55% (25 years)
If you want to get the most powerful system for the least outlay, your best choice could be the Longi Hi-Mo 4m. Producing as much as 465 W from each panel and with panels costing as little as £150 each, it’s possible to install a significantly sized system on a modest budget. As with other less-expensive options, the Hi-Mo 4m only has a 12-year warranty compared to the 25 years offered by other top brands. Longi states that the output also decreases with a maximum annual degradation of 0.55%, meaning it could drop to 84.8% by the end of its 25-year performance guarantee. But Longi is the world’s largest supplier of solar PV solutions as of 2021, so it knows what it’s doing when it comes to producing market-leading solar panels.
Cost per panel: From £150
This panel comes with excellent power output for minimal costs, but it lacks the long-term performance and warranty of more expensive solar panels.
The shorter warranty is not ideal for all, but the low initial outlay and high output will be an attractive proposition to those who couldn’t otherwise run their home on solar power.
How do you find the best solar panels for your home?
Finding the best solar panels to suit your needs can be daunting. There’s an overwhelming amount of technical information to sort through, plus a variety of solar panel options available. Below are the key factors to understand and consider when choosing solar panels for your home.
All solar panels quote a maximum power output figure, measured in watts (W). This figure is recorded under ‘Standard Test Conditions’ (STC). As an example, a 400 W panel in three hours of testing should produce 1200 Watt hours, or 1.2 kWh, of electricity.
The power output of the solar panels used will determine how many panels you need to support the energy used in your home. If you choose panels with lower output, you’ll need to install more panels. If cost is an important factor, make sure you consider how this will affect installation costs since more panels may mean more mountings and wiring.
The peak output figure, as quoted under STC, gives a guide for how much power that solar panel can produce when new; however, output will decrease over time. The ‘Performance Warranty’ (also referred to as the ‘Linear Output Warranty’) guarantees a solar panel’s power output after a certain number of years.
The performance is expressed as a percentage – either for annual degradation (for example, 0.55% per year), or as a percentage of the STC power output at a certain time (for example, 85% after 25 years). Solar panels with a better performance warranty will continue to deliver nearer to the maximum amounts for longer and, as a result, offer a greater return on investment long term.
Since installing solar panels is a big investment, you want to choose ones that will last. A lengthy product warranty ensures that the solar panels will continue to work for many years (typically several decades) or that the cost of repair or replacement will be covered.
The best solar panels come with a product warranty that matches the performance warranty, typically 25 years. Some solar panel companies offer a longer product warranty – Project Solar offers a lifetime warranty on its solar panels – while some less-expensive options have shorter warranty periods. The shortest warranty on our list of best solar panels is 12 years.
A higher efficiency rating means the solar panel can convert more of the sunlight it captures into electricity. Some of the best solar panels have efficiency ratings of over 22%, but anything above or around 20% is considered very good.
The more efficient a solar panel is, the fewer panels you’ll need to generate your required power output. If you have limited roof space, you’ll need to consider panels with higher efficiency ratings to ensure enough power can be generated by your solar panel system.
There are two main types of solar panels. Cheaper options are often made from polycrystalline (poly) silicone cells, whereas the best solar panels are typically made using the more efficient and sleeker-looking monocrystalline (mono) silicone cells.
The main difference between the two is that poly solar panels are made by melting multiple silicone crystals together and mono panels are made from a single silicon crystal. An easy way to identify them is that poly panels tend to appear blue, whereas mono panels have a more modern black finish.
Installing solar panels is always going to require a substantial cost. While there are plenty of relatively cheap solar panels available, you should balance initial costs against the initial performance, expected annual degradation and guarantees to decide which solar panels offer you the best value.
However, don’t assume more expensive means better. Some of the solar panels in our guide are inexpensive but offer fantastic outputs and excellent efficiency. Consider the factors as they apply to your home to make your decision.
Why should you install solar panels?
Installing solar panels can offer you and your home several benefits.
Reduce your electricity bill
The best solar panels will be able to generate enough electricity to power most typical homes. Even if you’re a heavy energy user or don’t have the roof space for many solar panels, they can still make a significant dent in your bill.
Solar panels offer a clean alternative to fossil fuels. By using solar energy, you can lower the carbon footprint of your home.
Solar panels are incredibly low maintenance and, once installed, you can benefit from years of trouble-free operation.
There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that works when it comes to choosing the best solar panels. It all depends on the key factors listed above and how you prioritise them. Heavy energy consumers will benefit from the high output of LG’s NeON H, while those working on a tighter budget will appreciate the JA Solar JAM60S20. The Panasonic HIT N 245W might mean you can install solar panels where you thought not possible on complex roofs – and the sleek and powerful REC Alpha Pure Series 410W All Black will ensure the installation doesn’t ruin the aesthetics of your home.
Depending on your budget, the Longi HiMo4 and SunPower Maxeon 3 are great all-rounders – the more expensive Maxeon 3 offers a slightly better return on investment thanks to its performance warranty. But we think the best solar panel overall, for the typical home, is the Project Solar Evolution Elite 400. It offers the best combination of all the factors we looked at, plus a stellar customer service rating for a good service experience.
Before you choose, we recommend getting several quotes from different suppliers to compare customised quotes.
To choose the best solar panels in the UK, we researched numerous products available, including the big-name manufacturers and the up-and-coming brands. We looked for the best balance of performance, longevity, return on investment, aesthetics and price. How much power is produced and for how long it could produce that power were among our top priorities, but overall appearance and budget also featured heavily.
Below are our key considerations and how we weighted them:
- Output (20%)
- Efficiency (20%)
- Performance degradation (20%)
- Product warranty (15%)
- Price (15%)
- Style (10%)