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Panasonic’s HIT solar panels are very reliable, and we consider them to be among the best solar panels available on the market today. Panasonic started researching the technology in 1975, but only debuted HIT panels in 1997. They are built to last, with N-type solar cells that reduce degradation and electron loss to 0.26% per annum. Ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers within a high-strength frame incorporate a water-drainage system to eliminate water stains or pooling that attract dirt and dust.
Panasonic HIT panels are energy-efficient and long-lasting, with 19.1% efficiency for the HIT N 245W model. It’s not as high as some of the models we’ve reviewed, but still on the higher side of efficiency for residential solar panels (which tend to fall below 18%).
The panels are available in a black design with less noticeable module delineation (the white lines running through all solar panels). This gives the Panasonic HIT N a modern appearance and won’t draw the eye as much as standard panels if mounted on a dark roof.
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Panasonic’s HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin Layer) solar cells are extremely efficient. The modules are made from a monocrystalline silicon wafer, which is in turn surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers. These hybrid panels are unique to Panasonic: highly reflective materials are installed on the roof, which mirrors sunlight that is absorbed by the back of the panel.
- Range: 245W
- Efficiency: 19.4%
- Warranty: 25 years
- Cost per panel: From £250
Highlights: The Panasonic HIT N 245W can be orientated in either landscape or portrait, and is light and compact, making it perfect for urban homeowners.
Key benefit: The Panasonic HIT N 245W is extremely compact (160cm x 80cm) making it suitable for roof types of all shapes and sizes.
Service: Panasonic’s TripleGuard warranty covers the standalone panels for performance, output, parts, labour and shipping.
Warranty: All standalone panels in the HIT series are guaranteed for 25 years, and Panasonic says its HIT panels will retain at least 90.76% of original output after 25 years.
Cost: From £250.
Pros and cons
Panasonic has been making excellent solar panels for years, with research and development going back to the 1970s. The advantages of the Panasonic HIT N 245W include:
- Flexibility: The lightweight and flexible design of the Panasonic HIT N 245W makes it highly flexible so that even small or complex roofs can be fitted with solar panels.
- Solid warranty: Panasonic offers a TripleGuard 25-year warranty, similar to many premium brands on the market.
- Durability: Annual degradation of the panels is at 0.26% compared to conventional panels which see 0.70% degradation every year.
- Longevity: Panasonic HIT N 245W panels are constructed with 96 N-type solar cells per panel, resulting in low light-induced degradation and no potential induced degradation, guaranteeing a long life.
Some of the disadvantages of the Panasonic HIT N 245W include:
- Lower performance: At 245W, these solar panels are on the lower end of performing power for the price tag.
- Not suitable for larger roofs: The lower output makes the Panasonic HIT N 245W an expensive option if you have a larger house and a larger roof.
Uncertainty: Panasonic will discontinue its in-house production of PV wafers, cells and modules in 2022. While it will sell third-party made modules under its brand, it has led some to question its commitment to the solar energy industry.
How does the Panasonic HIT N 245W work?
Panasonic HIT solar panels are made using state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques. HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin Layer) solar cells are produced by surrounding a thin, monocrystalline silicon wafer with multiple high-quality ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers.
The Panasonic HIT N 245W is a short panel, and as it is smaller, it is perfect for complex or smaller roofs. HIT solar panels are able to maintain up to 18% higher efficiency than conventional crystalline solar cells, which means they require fewer modules to achieve the energy performance required. Drain lines channel water away from the solar panels. Each panel weighs only 15kg and offers 19.4% module efficiency and a 22% cell conversion efficiency rating. The temperature coefficient of the Panasonic HIT N 245W is -0.258%, which is one of the lowest on the market.
Panasonic HIT N 245W add-ons
The Panasonic HIT N 245W can be integrated with its EverVolt 2.0 battery storage systems which will store excess energy produced during the day for use at night, or during periods of poor weather.
How does the Panasonic HIT N 245W compare to other solar panels?
Comparison sites often stack Panasonic solar panels against SunPower’s range. Between the two, SunPower is a lot more energy-efficient, with up to 22.7% efficiency. SunPower was also the first to produce a 400-watt residential solar panel. The temperature coefficient is slightly less optimal than that of Panasonic (-0.29%/degree C), but it is pricier to install.
However, because of its high yields, it’s a better option for large homes and large roofs. SunPower’s Maxeon 3 (its flagship brand) comes with a whopping 40-year warranty, compared to Panasonic’s 25-year guarantee.
Another option to consider is Sharp’s Sunsnap ND-F2Q235. It has a maximum output of 235W and comes with a 25-year warranty. Sharp has a long-standing history in the UK, trading for nearly 110 years. However, the main reason the Sunsnap ND-F2Q235 has sold so well is because of its design. It comes with a rail-free, low-profile mounting system that places the solar panels flush with the roof, allowing them to blend in. It’s slightly more expensive than the Panasonic, at £300 per panel, however, and far less energy efficient.
Homeowners that want to stay in the Panasonic range should consider the Panasonic HIT N 295W option. It’s slightly smaller but packs a more powerful 295W punch. The shape is slightly more square, which makes it less flexible than the 245W.
What does the Panasonic HIT N 245W cost?
The Panasonic HIT N 245W isn’t a cheap option at £250 per panel. A 6kW solar energy system can cost up to £12,500, depending on the size of the roof, equipment components, battery storage banks, and permitting and installation costs. For the purposes of this comparison, we’ve kept to the cost per panel, excluding extras and labour:
Cost per panel
Panasonic HIT N 245W
SunPower Maxeon 3
Sharp Sunsnap ND-F2Q235
Maintaining the Panasonic HIT N 245W
Panasonic HIT N 245W solar panels are extremely low-maintenance thanks to their unique water drainage system that prevents water from pooling on the surface, attracting dirt and dust.
However, the solar panels can be cleaned with an ordinary garden hose or using a soft sponge and water if absolutely necessary.
What the professionals say
“If you live in an urban area, have a small home, outbuilding or just have a house with a complex roof structure, the HIT N 245W modules may be the best solar panels in the UK. The flexibility of their installation options, the energy potential per square metre, their robust build quality, slow degradation and 25-year warranty make these panels hard to beat.”
- Review by Jeff Meyer, EcoWatch: 5 Best Solar Panels in the UK
“HIT solar cells are a unique product on the market and only available from Panasonic. The company’s increased efforts to constantly improve its products have made HIT panels a true success. By choosing monocrystalline silicon to produce the panels, Panasonic does not compromise on quality. Of course, the price tag for this kind of panel is higher, but it will definitely pay off once installed.”
- Review by GreenMatch, 2021, The Ultimate Guide To Solar Panels
“Panasonic HIT panels beat out much of the competition both in terms of efficiency percentage as well as temperature coefficient.”
- Review by Sunbridge Solar, March 2021
“This is a high-quality solar panel, which exceeded its stated output current with ease. It seems to work with less light than my previous solar panels. I am very pleased with it, and really wish these panel types were around in 2009, as I would not have needed so many.”
- Review by stainlessbob, ebay.co.uk
“I wouldn’t think twice about getting Panasonic panels. They’re quality and unlikely to need replacement under warranty.”
- Comment by Paqza, Reddit
“Panasonic is ceasing to manufacture solar panels as early as March 2022. I assume this would make future warranty claims a nightmare. Check out Sunpower. They have been in business for 36 years and the best part about them is they have only focused on manufacturing and installing solar systems. They may be a bit more pricey, but in the long run, their panels will be more efficient and the company will be there to help.”
– Comment by Spirited-Dot6973, Reddit
Panasonic HIT N 245W solar panels provide fair yields, good energy efficiency and flexibility. They are built to last, with minimal degradation and leaving it performing nearly as well as they did even after 25 years. In addition, these solar panels are lightweight and easy to install, and their slender propositions allow them to match the module efficiency of much larger panels. Maintenance is fairly hands-off, and it has the ability to handle rain showers and heavy snow loads with ease. It also remains highly efficient in warmer climates. So, what’s not to like?
The downside of the Panasonic HIT N 245W is that it’s expensive for large homes and larger roofs. Because of its lower output, you’ll require more panels than a high-performance option like the SunPower Maxeon 3 would.
We can recommend Panasonic HIT N 245W for homes with complicated roof structures or small urban homes with limited space.
When compiling this review, we analysed several hundred customer and formal industry reviews in the UK and other territories. We used a scoring system based on the most important determining factors consumers take into account when purchasing solar panels and evaluating Panasonic HIT N 245W solar panels against the score sheet, giving the solar panels a rating out of 100 points.
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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