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JA Solar’s JAM60S20 solar panels

JA Solar’s JAM60S20 solar panels offer great efficiency at a lower price (Image credit: JA Solar)

JA Solar is known for its budget and mid-range solar panels, and manufactures some of the best solar panels in that market segment. The JA Solar JAM60S20 is a monocrystalline, high-efficiency solar module that performs well compared to the industry standard in terms of efficiency.

JA Solar started out as a premium solar panel manufacturer but has become a lot more affordable in recent years. It has made continuous advances to its products and the company has well-established global sales and service networks. Customers seem to have recognised their efforts, and it has been well-received in the UK as well as other European markets. The majority of JA Solar online reviews are extremely positive and the company has been listed on the Fortune China 500 and Global Top 500 New Energy Enterprises for several consecutive years.

The JA Solar JAM60S20 is one of its most popular solar panels. It provides high efficiency at a low price, and while the warranty isn’t as generous as some brands, glowing customer reviews indicate that this isn’t an insurmountable problem for most consumers. 

The JAM60S20 performs comparably to other brands with much higher price tags, with a temperature coefficient of -0.27°C and a solid resistance to LID+LETID degradation.

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Technical information

Chinese manufacturer JA Solar produces 60 and 72-cell monocrystalline silicon solar panels for both residential and commercial settings. The 60-cell residential modules are half-cut cell panels. JA Solar claims a 98% output after the first year, with 0.55% degradation per year up to 25 years and a fair temperature coefficient of -0.27°C. JA Solar utilises PERC (Passive Emitter and Rear Contact) solar panels with extra layers to capture more photons and generate more electricity than traditional solar panels.

  • Range: 390W 
  • Efficiency: 19.8%-21%
  • Warranty: 12 year product and 25-year linear 
  • Cost per panel: From £150 – £206 

Key features 

Highlights: Costing around £206 per panel, this JA Solar panel is about two-thirds of the price of Panasonic solar panels and other mid-range models. 

Key benefit: High efficiency for the price tag; an average of 1% greater efficiency than JA Solar’s mid-range competitors.

Service: JA Solar panels are available in more than 100 countries and hold 4.5 star reviews on numerous review platforms.

Warranty: Materials are guaranteed for 12 years, with a 25-year linear guarantee for performance. 

Cost per panel: £150 – £206.

Pros and cons

The JA Solar JAM60S20 has received positive reviews, but examining the datasheets has revealed a few downsides. On the positive side: 

  • Affordability: Manufactured in China, the JA Solar JAM60S20 is extremely affordable, especially for people with a larger home or roof. 

There are some disadvantages to JAM60S20 solar panels, however:

  • Durability: The JA Solar JAM60S20 guarantees a minimum 81.4% at the 25-year mark, which is lower than the industry average. Panasonic solar panels guarantee 90.76% at 25 years, and SunPower guarantees 88.4% after 40 years of use. 
  • Design: Many solar panel companies have made a real effort to improve the look of their solar panels; but JA Solar isn’t one of them. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the way the JAM60S20 looks, but it’s not particularly sleek or attractive. It comes with thick aluminium frames that will be hard to conceal. 
  • Standard warranties: 12 years is a decent product warranty for the JAM60S20, but other brands offer much longer guarantees.

How the JA Solar JAM60S20 works

JA Solar produces the JAM60S20 for the residential market

JA Solar produces the JAM60S20 for the residential market (Image credit: JA Solar)

JA Solar JAM60S20 solar panels are monocrystalline, which means that these solar panels conduct and convert the sun’s energy to electricity when sunlight hits the silicon semiconductor. A typical home would purchase a JA Solar kit along with their solar panels, which would include microinverters, monitoring equipment, accessories, and racking (depending on the configuration and size of the roof). 

The 390W half-cell module uses the advanced PERC cells (Passive Emitter and Rear Contact) that utilises an additional layer on the back, which enables panels to capture more sunlight than conventional solar panels. 

JA Solar JAM60S20 add-ons

JA Solar says that the JAM60S20 can be combined with nearly any solar inverter on the market, as well as with the latest lithium or lead-acid batteries, charge controllers and other accessories. These solar panels can be used for both off-grid and grid-connected photovoltaic solar energy installations.

How does the JA Solar JAM60S20 compare to other solar panels? 

JA Solar JAM60S20 solar panels compare well with other leading brands in terms of its efficiency and temperature coefficient. However, they drop below the average in terms of their degradation. The power drops below 82% after 25 years. The 12-year product warranty also raises eyebrows as many other top-tier brands (like LG, Panasonic and SunPower) tend to offer 25-year warranties. It’s also not nearly as attractive as some of the sleeker models on the market right now, like the SunPower or Panasonic ranges. 

However, it’s a quarter of the price of the likes of the SunPower Maxeon 3 that offers a 40-year warranty and 88.3% efficiency in year 40. If you aren’t planning on living in your home for the full 25 years, JA Solar’s JAM60S20 can efficiently and affordably power your home in the short-term but there are better long-term solutions available. 

The JAM60S20 is often compared to units from Trina Solar, like the TSM-DE06X. This solar panel boasts 365W output and 20.6% conversion efficiency. Like the JAM60S20 panels, the TSM-DE06X uses half-cut cell technology. The TSM-DE06X has a clear advantage over the JAM60S20 in terms of looks: the panels use thinner inter-cell connections that disappear at a distance, giving them the sleek all-black look that most people want from their solar panel system. 

Trina Solar’s solar panels are also highly durable, with hardened glass covers that are resistant to salt, acid, ammonia and bird droppings, making them perfect for coastal homes. They also come with a 25-year product warranty and 25-year power warranty, with power dropping to just 84.9% in year 25. You can get slightly longer durability, longer warranties and a sleeker look at the same price if you opt for the TSM-DE06X, but the output is lower. 

What does the JA Solar JAM60S20 cost?

JA Solar JAM60S20 modules start at £150 per panel which is similar to Trina Solar. However, an approved installer will need to provide a comprehensive quote. 

Panel

Cost per panel

JA Solar JAM60S20

From £150

Trina Solar TSM-DE06X

From £150

Panasonic HIT N 245W

From £250

Maintaining JA Solar JAM60S20 solar panels

JA Solar JAM60S20 panels don’t require any maintenance from homeowners. The product is fully guaranteed for 12 years and if performance drops below 81.4% before year 25, owners can claim from the warranty. However, if the panels become very soiled for some reason, it’s possible to clean them with a soft sponge and water. Chemical cleaners shouldn’t be used. Owners should preferably hose the solar panels down from the ground with a hose, instead of climbing on the roof for manual cleaning. It’s worth noting that cleaning should always be done when the panels are at their coolest (in the early morning or evening). 

What the professionals say

“The JAM60S20 panels reach an efficiency of 21% and a temperature coefficient of just -0.27 — both properties put JA Solar panels on terms with the competition. Unfortunately, these panels have a significantly worse degradation rate than the competitors — the power drops to 83.1% after 25 years. Don’t get me wrong — this is fine for the industry-standard but not good enough for the best of the best. Besides, a 12-year product warranty is much less than what we expect from top-tier manufacturers, and cannot but raise an eyebrow. Also, if you’re concerned with the aesthetic appeal of your home once you upgrade it to solar, you might have to check other options.” 

“Solar energy systems utilising JA Solar modules can expect an ROI period under ten years, depending on the size of the system. When considering the 25-year warranty period of the panels, this makes JA Solar an attractive option for both residential and commercial solar projects. The high-watt modules offered by the manufacturer ensure that you will need fewer panels to complete your solar energy system, this leads to savings both in terms of the modules themselves and the total bill of materials needed to meet your energy requirements. We recommend checking out JA Solar modules for your next solar energy project.”

Customer reviews

“(I) installed the mono perc cells and have seen great returns. Delivering above and beyond what I expected.” 

JA Solar seems like a good option that is cheaper compared to other brand names.” 

Final recommendation 

JA Solar JAM60S20 solar panels are a very good entry-level solar product. They offer better-than-average efficiencies at a better-than-average price. The company is highly reputable, customer reviews are generally positive and the fact that the brand started off as a premium product but managed to lower its prices as it grew bodes well for the future. 

The real sticking point is the durability though. The JA Solar JAM60S20 simply doesn’t hold up as well as some of its competitors over time, and its low warranty acknowledges that fact. Competitors like Trina Solar offer a comparable product with much longer warranties and better performance overall. The aluminium frames and bulky installation is also a little off-putting if you are currently living in your “forever home” and plan on living with these solar panels for the next 20 years or so. 

That being said, if you want to power your home in the short-term and plan on moving house as your family grows or shrinks, the JAM60S20 is a viable option. It provides sufficient output to comfortably power your home, with a great price point. 

We would recommend the JA Solar JAM60S20 to homeowners on a budget that want to power their home for 10 to 12 years or less. The panels are a little rigid for homes with complicated roofs, but can easily power both smaller urban homes and larger suburban roofs. 

Homeowners that are looking for something longer-term with better guarantees should look into options from SunPower or Panasonic. The investment will be more, but you’ll be guaranteed longer-term usage and more design options than JA Solar can currently offer.

Our methodology

We conducted our research by analysing hundreds of customer reviews, media articles, and opinion pieces written by professional solar panel installers and industry experts. 

 We then used a scoring system (out of 100 points) to evaluate the performance of the JA Solar JAM60S20 solar panels against the most important factors consumers would consider when purchasing solar panels for their homes. 

During our research, the total score was compiled as follows: 

  • The power rating of the solar panel for a total score of 10;
  • The efficiency of the solar panel for a total score of 15;
  • The pricing of the solar panel per panel for a total score of 10;
  • The length of the warranty for a total score of 10;
  • Service and support for a total score of 5;
  • Durability for a total score of 15;
  • Design for a total score of 5;
  • Performance for a total score of 15; and
  • Online ratings and reviews a total score of 15

Each solar panel or company received a total score out of 100.

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