Best Solar Panels In Australia? Top Brands Chosen By Installers In 2021

Best solar panels in 2021 chosen by Australian installers

Which solar panels would the top installers in Australia put on their homes?

Since I started writing about solar energy in 2009, one of the most common questions put to me is:

“Finn, what are the best solar panels?”

It’s an obvious and fair question for someone looking to install a long-lasting, high performing solar power system.

But it’s hard to answer. Everyone has their opinion, and some people are more qualified to answer than others. Further, the best brand to buy depends on whether you want the absolute best PV technology or the best value.

To get some useful answers for Australians considering buying solar panels in 2021, I thought I’d ask the people I consider the most qualified to comment: the 350+ installers who are in the SolarQuotes network.

These folks handle the panels every day and thanks to Australian Consumer Law have to stand behind their faultless operation for decades, even if the manufacturer hightails it. So the installers that plan to be around for decades have a real incentive to only recommend brands they believe will be reliable and around to provide support and warranties for the long run.

Introducing The SolarQuotes Installers’ Choice Awards 2021

We asked the installers in our network 2 questions:

  1. What solar panel brand would you put on your own roof if money was no object?
  2. What solar panel brand would you put on your own roof if money was tight – and every dollar counts?

The results are a good way for consumers to understand which brands the installers trust both for high-end solar systems and – just as importantly – systems where the consumer doesn’t want to spend top dollar but still wants a reliable, well supported solar panel.

Note: Choosing good brands is only half the equation when buying solar for your home or business. The other half is making sure the system is well installed. The difference between a good and bad solar installation is night and day. Please – never skimp on the install. 

Australian solar installers are busy people. 90 installers responded and the following are the results.

Best High-End Solar Panels in Australia (Money No Object):

We asked SolarQuotes installers:

What solar panel brand would you put on your own roof if money was no object?

Here’s what they told us their favourite ‘top end’ panels are:

Top 3 high-end panel brands - LG, SunPower and REC

The top 3 top-end panel brands in Australia for 2021.

First Place: LG (25.27% of votes)

LG Solar is part of LG Electronics, which is part of the South Korean corporation LG. LG Solar has 3 solar panel models:

  • the NeON 2
  • the higher efficiency NeON R
  • the more entry-level Mono X Plus

Joint Second: REC, SunPower (23.08% of votes)

REC was founded in Norway but has all its production in Singapore. The company is owned by the Chinese chemical corporation Bluestar, also known as ChemChina.  REC was a leader in half-cut (aka split-cell) solar panels and have 3 panel models available in Australia:

  • a half-cut panel with n-type silicon: N-Peak
  • a half-cut panel with n-type silicon: TwinPeak 3
  • and their flagship panel: the Alpha

SunPower is an American firm that manufactures through its spinoff company Maxeon Solar Technologies. It has been going for 35 years, so is one of the world’s longest-established panel manufacturers.

  • their ‘budget’ panel made from overlapping ‘shingle cells’: P3
  • their flagship DC panel: Maxeon 3
  • their flagship AC panel with integrated Enphase inverter: Maxeon 5, which is now available in Australia.

And here’s where every vote went in the ‘money no object’ category:

Best solar panel brands - Installers' Choice 2021 votes

Best Budget Solar Panels in Australia (Every Dollar Counts):

We asked installers:

What solar panel brand would you put on your own roof if money was tight – and every dollar counts?

Here’s what they told us their favourite budget panels are:

Top 3 budget panel brands 2021 - Trina, Jinko and Longi

The top 3 budget panel brands in Australia for 2021.

First Place: Trina (21.98% of votes)

Trina Solar is a large Chinese solar panel manufacturer with a long history in Australia and has a good track record of honouring warranty claims.

Second Place: Jinko (16.48% of votes)

Jinko Solar are another large Chinese panel manufacturer with a good history of supporting Australian consumers and installers.

Third Place: Longi (13.19% of votes)

Longi are another giant Chinese solar company. As well as panels, they also manufacture their own monosilicon.  They started selling in earnest in Australia in 2017, so they don’t quite have the Australian track record of Jinko and Trina, but they have been impressive so far; hence the bronze gong.

Here’s where every vote went:

Best value solar panel brands - Installers' Choice 2021 votes

How To Find Highly-Vetted Installers That Sell These Solar Panel Brands

  1. Find your nearest city from this list of installer locations on SolarQuotes.
  2. Click the ‘More Filters’ button and select the brand or brands of interest to you.
Installer search for panel brands

You can search vetted, solar installers by panel brand.

3. Now you can see all the installers I have done my due diligence on, who sell the brands you are interested in.

Installer search results

This is a filtered list of local installers, in the SolarQuotes network who sell either LG, Sunpower or REC solar panels. This example is for Newcastle, NSW.

Coming up next week in the SolarQuotes Installers’ Choice Awards 2021, I’ll be revealing the top solar inverters Australian installers voted for (Update: see the results for best solar inverters in 2021 here).

Update May 10 – I’ve also just published what installers voted the best solar batteries for 2021.

Related: Solar panel reviews submitted by Australian customers who have had systems installed.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

Comments

  1. Greg (Darwin, Australia) says

    I didn’t see any mention of Tindo anywhere. Was it included in the assessment, but didn’t make the cut?

    • Hi Greg,

      The questions asked were open questions, not multiple choice. No one voted for Tindo.

      I like Tindo panels – but because Tindo installs themselves, they are not that popular with third-party installers. I sense that they don’t make it easy or financially viable enough for independent installers to get their panels wholesale.

      I’m happy to be corrected on that.

      Finn

    • Harry drougas says

      I have 19 jinko 275kw panels plus 2 batteries for the past 3 years and have been paying a small electricity bill around $20 to $5 I’m thinking the system isn’t working properly the rep told me I would get money back straight away on my bills. Is there an independent solar service that can look at the system and give me an idea if it’s good system or bad install or the system is a scam my system is 5.5kw

  2. Colin Martin says

    In Bentleigh East 2 years ago we installed 10.6kW of 31 x LG 345w Neon 2 Black with Enphase Microinverters East panels because of shade on the west. The best peak has been 9.3kW, the limit of the inverters. We were in negative bill territory for most of that time and next month we will have our first positive bill.

    We have complimented that with 2 x Powerwall 2’s staggered over late last year because of Covid.

    In November this year we will start seeing a full 12 months of our system data.

    We used G-Store, paid more brcause of our hardware selection and the only issue was overvoltage which United Energy rectified by single phase swapping. In the dealings with G-Store we missed out on the Vic Gov rebate but we received a manufacturers discount from LG and Enphase equal to the Vic rebate.

    Couldn’t wish for a better outcome at the time and great service from G-Store, always kept informed and a timely install.

  3. It would be good to see the responses if the same questions were asked about inverters.

    • Next week I will share exactly that Phil! Teaser: one brand won both categories…

      Correction: One brand won one category and came runner up in the other…

      • Ranga Fernando says

        One brand won both categories……my guess Fronius!

      • Thanks Finn. It’s great that people like yourself are helping educate the community on all things renewable. As someone who has installed solar and very recently bought an EV (which we charge on solar), I say thank you.

  4. We got solar panels through one of your nominated installers at the end of 2018. They used Talesun TP660P-280 panels. Don’t see any mention of these here. Hope we didn’t get dudded.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Di

      Talesun are lower cost panels, but they are tier one which means you can expect them to be reliable.

  5. You have covered top-end, and budget categories, but not the “value for money” or “bang for buck” mid-tier.
    Would be interesting to see what comes up in that category.

  6. bosco Seeto says

    I have a 4 KW solar installation now, one of the cheapies. It seemed that not economical to add another 2 KW system onto it, the roof space is not and sufficient to install a 10 KW system ( change to power to three phrase). But he system is only four years old, not economical to demolish it and start again. Is there a solution ?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      If your electricity use is high you could come out ahead financially by replacing your current system with a large one, but if that’s not the case keeping it in its current state is likely to be the best option. You can use our Solar & Battery Calculator to estimate if the extra savings above what your current system provides you with would make you better off with a larger system:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/solar-calculator/

      There’s a good chance you’ll find you are better off with your current system. You can reconsider when something changes, such as your system’s inverter failing when it’s out of warranty or when buying an electric car.

  7. george johnson says

    WINAICO 2 votes & 0 for value? I’m told the Gemini 375watt panel is quality with it’s 25 year warranty, so any reason for low vote count? thx from this newbie

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Winaico does produce high quality panels. If you have Winaico Gemini’s on your roof I’d expect you to have no problems with them for 3 decades or more. But they’re just not as well known as some other high end panels and haven’t had a 25 year product warranty for as long.

    • Roselind Prins says

      I private resident- with a 15 kw ground mounted solar system.The whole home is electric.New built
      60x 215 watt panels suntech
      60 enphase micro inverters.
      Installed 8/2015.
      Received only 3-4 months of reports on internet then stopped reporting back in Oct /2016
      In last 2 months I received bills ???Husband was very sick and I know nothing about Solar and I’m scared of having being ripped off! due to No knowledge.
      Looked behind panels and only 12 of the enphase lights are green the rest are red!!
      Live country Victoria East Gippsland and having trouble getting someone to come and have inspection.
      I would appreciate any recommendation who could come to do inspection and advise me.

      • Ronald Brakels says

        Hello Roselind

        I’ve sent you an email with with a referral to an installer who should be available to inspect your system. If you don’t see the email it may have gone to your spam folder.

  8. Could you please advise anything further about Tindo, I am surprised by the lack of information. Perhaps they are more for commercial situations rather than residential? Anyone with experience or cost I would be interested. I am in SA and understand they may be doing a Villis’ where they cut out the middleman and keep the profit themselves type thing?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Tindo Solar panels are high quality and we can recommend them. Finn has them on his roof. But they are not produced in large numbers compared to the output of giant overseas manufacturers and so few installers use them.

  9. I apologise if this question is off topic but hopefully can be answered simply. When building a new home, I believe it is best to have a solar power meter installed at the start as opposed to a basic meter to save having to upgrade later at additional cost. Can you please let me know how much extra we should be expecting to pay to the builder (or his electrician) to do this for us. It will not be 3 phase as just a 6.6kw system. Thank you, Dean

    • Ronald Brakels says

      All new builds these days will normally have a smart meter that is capable of accepting solar. So I recommend checking this will be the case for your new home. Generally there should be no extra charge for a solar compatible meter. (Unfortunately, you may still be charged a fee to remotely activate the meter’s ability to accept solar. This is called reconfiguring the meter.)

  10. Hi, I am looking at getting solar panels installed and have been given the option of,

    Eging (EG-400M54-HL) 6kw system

    Znshine (ZXM6-NH120-370M) 6.6kw system

    Both come to roughly the same price, are these two panels a reliable and a good choice or should I be looking for something else?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      All the panels we can recommend are in a graphic in our Solar 101 Guide:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/solar101.html

      Those two panels aren’t on it. But, while they are lower cost panels, they are not no name panels and — hopefully — they will be reliable. A large part of the reliability of a system comes down to the quality of the installation. I recommend checking online reviews of the installer to see if they do good work and how they respond if something does go wrong.

      If you haven’t done this already, you can get additional quotes for comparison through our website:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/quote/start/

  11. For everyone’s info, LG also has the Neon H, which is in Finn’s ‘compare solar panels’ table, and which I’ve just been offered in a quote. Their general specs & cost seem to be almost identical to the Neon 2, except for slightly higher wattage.

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