Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 solar panels review

We review the Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 to help you decide if this solar panel is the best option for you and your power needs.

Project Solar is one of the newer entrants to the UK solar panels market, but it’s quickly become one of the country’s leading manufacturers and installers through aggressive marketing tactics and innovative benefits, including a lifetime warranty and generous referral fees. 

Their Evolution Elite 400 solar panels are made with an ultra reflective back sheet that increases performance. In addition, the panels are said to also perform well in low light which increases energy efficiency and savings

With a maximum output of 415W and a fairly compact size (1.1 metre wide by 1.7 metre high), this is a good option for homeowners that need more energy with fewer solar panels. Project Solar uses PERC (passivated emitter and rear contact) technology to boost their output, while keeping the cost of the actual solar panel competitively priced. 

The Elite 400 offers good 20% efficiency, comparable to other large market leaders like SunPower. The half-cell modules in the Evolution Elite 400 offer better performance in low-light areas than traditional cells, which makes it ideal for areas with consistently cloudy light conditions.

The Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 promises to operate at 80% of its original output after 30 years of use, but also back their product with a lifetime guarantee, ensuring that you can enjoy decades of efficient power. 

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Technical information

Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 is a powerful solar panel system that offers a lifetime warranty. It also ensures an 85% performance warranty after 25 years and 80% after 30 years, which ensures that you will have solar power for decades.

  • Power: 400W
  • Efficiency: 20%
  • Product warranty: Lifetime
  • Performance warranty: 85% after 25 years
  • Temperature coefficient: -0.38%/°C

Key features

  • Minimised surface recombination speed: This can help to improve cell voltage and current.
  •  More power: The Evolution Elite 400 offers 1% more power/m² when compared to standard solar panels.
  •  Low light performance: The Evolution Elite 400 ensures optimum power generation year round, thanks to excellent low light performance.

Pros and cons

Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 includes some noteworthy pros that should be taken into account: 

  • High power: The Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 outputs 400W. With a relatively compact 1.1 metre wide by 1.7 metre high design, this means you can enjoy more power with few solar panels. 
  • Product warranty: Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 has a lifetime warranty, and even after 25 years of usage, Project Solar offers an 85% performance warranty. After 30 years, its performance warranty is 80%.
  • Innovative water drainage corners: Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 solar panels are built with innovative water drainage corners that prevent dirt from building up and affecting the performance of your solar panels. 
  • Referral program: Customers can earn £7,500 by referring someone to Project Solar.

There are also some cons that you should consider before making a final decision: 

  • Customer service and sales: Many reviews on Trustpilot have mentioned poor customer service experiences. 
  • Reputation: Project Solar is only 10 years old and not as well-established as their competition. There have been complaints about a lack of price transparency from the company by customers, but that appears to be solved now and their reputation for a solid reliable service is growing.

How the Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 works

Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 solar panels consist of two separated, identical solar cell arrays. This means that the ordinary string of cells are halved. These shorter strings compose arrays which have separated current paths, so that when a module is shaded, the other continues to produce the optimal output. 

In other words, only 50% of the Evolution Elite 400 solar panel’s working areas are affected by low light conditions. This will not only reduce internal power losses, but reduce the so-called hot spot effect when solar panel performance is affected by extremely hot temperatures. 

Maintaining Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 solar panels

Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 solar panels require very little maintenance or servicing. They are built with unique drainage corners that prevent dirt from building up over time, which would otherwise affect the performance of your solar panels. If, however, bird droppings or debris from a storm cover your panels and you become concerned about degradation, you can hose it off from the ground with an ordinary garden hose. 

It’s recommended that you avoid climbing on your roof to clean your panels, and instead remain on the ground and use a long hose. However, regular rain showers should be sufficient to keep your panels clean.  

What does the Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 cost?

Project Solar does not publish the cost of their solar panels online and will instead provide customers with a personalised quotation upon request. Customers are typically paying around £8,000 for complete 12-panel systems with batteries and accessories; however, another was quoted £8,000 for an 18-panel system (without batteries). Based on this information, we estimate that the Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 is priced around £350 per panel, similar to other brands with the same output. 

Here’s how this compares to other panels:

Name Output Cost per panel (excluding extras and labour)
SunPower Maxeon 3 400 W From £350
LG NeON R 440 W From £350
Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 415 W From £350

How does the Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 compare to other solar panels?

This table is an overview of how Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 compares to other solar panels.

Solar panel brand Efficiency Solar panel output Warranty
Project Solar Elite 400 20% 400W Lifetime
Sunpower Maxeon 3 22.80% 400W 40 years
LG NeON 22.80% 350W – 400W 40 years

We have yet to find another solar panel company in the UK that offers a lifetime warranty on their products, and very few have such lucrative referral programs. (Project Solar also offers up to £7,500 to customers who refer others to their company and make a purchase.) 

The Sunpower Maxeon 3 provides a similar power output and slightly higher efficiency (22.8%) for the same price. They also offer the highest guaranteed power output protection on the market at 88.3% performance after 40 years of use. The company doesn’t offer a lifetime guarantee, but they will repair or replace defective panels for up to 40 years after your purchase. Because Project Solar lacks transparency around their pricing (and pricing seems to vary), it’s worth asking for comparative quotes of both brands before making a final decision. If you can pick up Sunpower Maxeon 3 panels at a lower cost, it may still be worth your while in the long run. 

One solar brand that leaves both Sunpower and Project Solar in the dust when it comes to output is the LG NeON solar panel. It comes with an output of up to 440W and offers 92% performance after 25 years of use. The downside is that LG will exit the solar panel market in 2022, but as these panels are still readily available through vendors and third-party resellers, they are well worth the purchase price.

What the professionals say

“Project Solar provides customers with a lifetime warranty for its Elite 400, which displays the confidence you want from your solar supplier. This panel is also guaranteed to work at 85% after 25 years and 80% after 30, which ensures that you’ll be receiving plenty of solar energy for decades to come.” 

  • The Ecoexperts

Customer reviews

“We would recommend Solar project UK to anyone looking to save money on their energy bills!

We purchased solar panels and a battery, we started saving money the moment the installation was complete! The sales team where really informative, looking at where our energy is used and how we can lower costs. We never felt any pressure to purchase.

The installers where all very professional, tidy and friendly!
We couldn’t fault this company and its employees!”

Lou, Trustpilot

“We have chosen Project Solar UK company and from surveying to installation – every step went very smoothly. We have chosen Project Solar UK company to install solar panels on our roof.

From surveying to installation – every step went very smoothly, processes well explained, great team of professional working in Project Solar! 100% recommended!

We have had one postponed and re-scheduled visit, due to a vey rainy weather, but this has nothing to do with Project Solar, as safe works couldn’t go ahead as planned on a day. All re-scheduled shortly and installed safely.”

Rita B., Trustpilot

“I had 15 solar panels and a battery installed in November 2022 by Project Solar. I must say the whole process has been informative and with no pressure sales. I would recommend this company to anybody who is looking to go Green with a solar installation. The initial sales appointment was relaxed, everything was clearly explained and the sales person was more than happy to spend time talking me through things I didn’t understand. The installation team were great, very respectful of my home taking shoes off and doing everything they could to do things in the least disruptive way. Great service and company.”

Ant W., Trustpilot

Final recommendation

There’s a lot to like about Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 solar panels. They offer good efficiency and high power outputs that will last for decades. Sure, there are a few panels in this price class that can beat their output and performance over time, but none offer a lifetime guarantee. Their lucrative cash referral bonuses means you could put cash back into your pocket through energy savings and recommendations.

If you’ve already moved into your “forever home”, you can enjoy complete peace of mind knowing your solar panels will perform well, even after 30 years of continuous use. And if anything goes wrong, your solar panels are covered by a lifetime warranty. 

While Project Solar keeps their pricing close to their chests, we could ascertain that their solar panels are in line with many of the premium brands on the market with similar outputs (LG, SunPower). This pricing strategy does seem out of line for a brand like Project Solar that isn’t as well-established as their competition, but their performance is on par with the brands they are competing with. It doesn’t hurt to ask for a few quotes so that you can compare like for like! 

Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 solar panels are great for customers who live in cloudier parts of the UK, or customers looking for high outputs with few solar panels, such as  those with smaller or more complex roofs. 

Read our guide to the best solar panels in the UK in 2022 or learn about solar panel installation or find out how much you can save with solar panels. You can also find out if the economics add up for you in our guide which asks: are solar panels worth it?

Frequently Asked Questions about solar panels

A typical solar system is a 4 kW model, using 300 W-rated panels, which will need 16 solar panels that occupy about 30m² of your roof area. More powerful systems will require more space, more powerful panels, or both, depending on the required electrical output. A 6 kW system, for example, might take up 43m² roof space with 24 panels. 

If your system is powerful enough and functions at maximum efficiency, it’s possible to run your whole house on energy generated from the solar panels. However, there are many variables to consider, such as weather conditions and how your household uses electricity, and as a result, you probably shouldn’t expect to live solely on the energy generated from your system. 

Read our article How solar panels work to find out more.

To save as much money as possible, most of your household’s energy requirements should come from freely generated power. However,  even for high-energy users, there will be times when you’re drawing a background load only to keep your house ‘ticking over’. The addition of a battery to your system allows the storage of surplus energy for later, significantly increasing your self-consumption and augmenting your savings. 

Batteries can be expensive though, and an average battery costs between £1,200 and £6,000 depending on its composition and capacity. Their life span is about 15 years, with the storage capacity decreasing slightly near the end of their life. Solar battery prices are dropping, coinciding with the energy price rises, making adding a battery to your solar system well worth considering. 

For more information of solar storage batteries, see our article Are solar batteries worth it?

Even when it’s cloudy, solar panels will produce energy. Their output will be slightly less than on sunny days with minimal cloud cover, but the rule is generally if you can see outside, the solar panels have enough light to do their job.

There are two main types of solar panels available in the UK. The cheapest option are panels made from polycrystalline (poly) and the pricier monocrystalline (mono) panels.

Poly solar panels are constructed by melting multiple silicone crystals together. This produces a slightly less efficient, blueish panel that generally works out cheaper than the superior mono option. These are made from a single silicone crystal, making them more efficient at generating electricity, but also more expensive. Mono panels have a sleek black look.

two workmen fitting a solar panel

Professional installers fitting a mono solar panel system. (Image credit: Adobe)

How much you can save with solar panels depends on your solar panel system size, house location and whether you’re signed up to the Smart Export Guarantee. It’s estimated that you could save up to £1,200 on your energy bills, to find out more read our article about how much you can save with solar panels.

Our methodology

We have compared and analysed dozens of solar panels and considered factors that a customer would consider when choosing their new solar panels. For instance, we take into account the power rating, efficiency, pricing, warranty, service and other online ratings and reviews, for a total score of 100 points. 

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

As a writer for FMB, Katharine researches and interrogates products and companies to find the best consumer purchases on the home improvement market – including heat pumps, home security systems and windows. Her high standards for up-to-date information and expert advice ensures that our readers can be assured that the products we recommend are top-rated and high-quality.

Katharine has worked with a wide variety of content publishers over her 12-year career as a writer, including Gordon Ramsay, Transport for Wales, Northern Rail, Cuvva Car Insurance, and a number of large construction firms and environmental organisations. Her work has been published in some of the UK’s leading publications, including The Independent and Architectural Digest. Katharine has also completed three degrees – fine art, philosophy and psychology – and is undertaking a fourth, in STEM, at the Open University. She co-founded the mental health charity Inner Allies and can often be found giving advice on their helplines at weekends.

On top of her impressive career and educational background, Katharine runs a racing team of sled dogs. She enjoys early morning dog walks along her local beach, watching the wildlife while looking forward to the first of many coffees.