Are Chinese Solar Panels Any Good?

We evaluate brands at SolarReviews using a variety of performance and value factors. If you look at our list of the best solar panels for your home, you’ll notice that the top-rated solar panels now on the market in the United States are ranked based on three criteria: expert ratings, solar panel efficiency, and value.

One Chinese brand, Canadian Solar, is ranked third among the top five solar brands based on expert reviews.

In terms of solar panel efficiency, one Chinese business is among the top five. Canadian Solar is once again at the top of the rankings, this time at #4.

The best solar panels by value is the last category. This is where Chinese solar panel manufacturers excel. On this list, four of the five manufacturers are Chinese:

REC Group, ranked #4, is the only non-Chinese brand in the value rankings. REC Solar is a Norwegian company that manufactures in Singapore, however it is now controlled by a Chinese company.

Chinese brands, as you can see, dominate the list of top value solar panel brands. Each of these businesses is significant and has a solid reputation for high-quality manufacturing. While solar import duties implemented at the beginning of 2018 have reduced their pricing advantage, they are still less expensive than other Tier 1 solar panel makers, particularly luxury ones.

Is the quality of Chinese solar panels good?

The fact that a solar panel is manufactured in China does not imply that it is of inferior quality. Because of the low cost, several of the top tier 1 manufacturers have developed substantial production facilities in China, and have been able to demonstrate a track record of providing reliable products for more than a decade.

The majority of Chinese solar panel producers target the mass market with their products. That is, they create cost-effective items that strike a balance between quality and cutting-edge technology in order to achieve a reasonable price point. There are luxury solar panel manufacturers, such as

Why are solar panels from China so cheap?

According to a study of the photovoltaic sectors in the United States and China, China’s supremacy in solar panel manufacture is due to larger-scale manufacturing and supply-chain benefits, not just lower labor and government backing.

Future advancements in crystalline solar cell technology, according to the researchers, have the potential to equalize pricing by improving access to resources and boosting manufacturing scale across all regions.

Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the US Department of Energy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a bottom-up cost model to investigate the underlying causes of the global photovoltaic manufacturing base shifting from the US and Europe to China.

They approached their economic research from the perspective of a multinational corporation looking for a location to build a solar panel manufacturing facility in either the United States or China. They used a measure called Minimum Sustainable Price (MSP) for monocrystalline silicon solar panels manufactured in each region to anticipate how the company would make its decision. The MSP is the lowest price at which a corporation may sell its products and still make a profit.

They calculated an MSP of $1.19 per Watt for US solar panels, compared to $0.91 per Watt for Chinese solar panels, implying a pricing advantage of 23% for a China-based producer, based on industry-validated numbers from the first half of 2012.

However, when they looked at country-specific factors for this price difference, they discovered that China’s historical advantage of low-cost labor was offset by other regional influences, and that the primary reason for its success is the region’s scale of solar panel manufacturing, which is enabled by access to capital and a less restrictive business and regulatory environment.

According to the study, a China-based business may obtain cheaper materials and machinery due to the density of production and the cost-benefit of using local suppliers. These scale and supply-chain advantages result in a $0.28 per Watt MSP advantage for a solar panel factory in China.

Al Goodrich, a Senior Analyst at NREL and the study’s principal author, said: “These benefits, which are not unique to China, might be replicated by manufacturers in other nations if they could achieve equivalent scale.

“However, there is a chicken-and-egg dilemma with solar power: steady demand is required to give manufacturers with the capital necessary to achieve large-scale production, but large-scale production is required for solar power to compete as an energy source without subsidies.

“Future silicon solar panel advancements, which may be realized more rapidly and effectively through global collaboration, have the potential to eliminate critical investment risks for manufacturers. Most locations would be able to manufacture on an equal scale, allowing them to reap the benefits of high volume production.”

Professor Tonio Buonassisi, co-author of the paper and associate professor at MIT, added: “The ‘holy grail’ is a solar module with the highest efficiency, lowest materials prices, simplified and scalable manufacturing, and unquestioned reliability. A couple of these characteristics are present in today’s photovoltaic modules, but not all of them are present at the same time.”

He went on to say: “Between the 1880s and the 1950s, the glass industry underwent breakthroughs that streamlined the process into a single integrated tool, where feedstock goes in one end and one product comes out the other.

“We believe solar panel production will follow a similar path. In the future, practical advances in photovoltaic technologies will hasten the price and scale convergence of solar power and traditional energy sources.

“This common goal is a chance for international cooperation that utilizes our complementary assets for the benefit of nations all over the world.”

What is the lifespan of Chinese solar panels?

China has made significant technological and industry reforms to ensure that Chinese solar panels have lengthy warranties, low prices, and a large market share. According to a recent survey, China produces approximately 70% of the world’s panel manufacturing. Solar panels from China account for 90% of the market in Australia. A solar system from China comes with a product and performance warranty of 10-12 years. Quality and performance are not guaranteed with low-cost solar panels.

Are European solar panels superior to Chinese ones?

When comparing the manufacturing processes of European and Chinese goods, it’s crucial to do your homework and figure out what you’re really getting for your money.

Some solar panel businesses, for example, are well-known American names that produce goods abroad in areas like the Philippines or Mexico to save money on labor costs. Typically, the materials are sourced in China and then sold at a premium overseas. Several German brands do the same thing, producing their products in the United States (Mexico) to save money on labor.

Would you still be willing to pay a premium for products made in the same offshore country?

When looking for the best solar panel brand for your customer’s needs, there are many factors to consider. While some well-known brands may have greater efficiency ratings than others, investing in top-quality premium-grade solar brands does not always imply a better product. The technological gap between Chinese and Western brands is narrowing, as indicated throughout the essay. This is owing to the fact that many well-known brands are outsourcing their panel production to reduce money.

Overall, with China presently manufacturing 70% of the world’s solar panels, many international brands will begin to follow suit. In the end, there will be no distinction between European and Chinese brands because they will all be manufactured in the same place.

Review of the Sun (2019). COMPARE | German Solar Panels vs. Chinese Solar Panels – Solar Review Visit for more information.

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Why are the majority of solar panels manufactured in China?

8 This decline occurs not in spite of, but as a result of, the declining price of solar modules: the 70% drop in prices over the last decade has been largely due to Chinese government support as well as lower labor and production costs for Chinese manufacturers, whose prices undercut those of U.S. manufacturers.

Is it true that LG solar panels are built in China?

The solar supply chain is complicated. Because of tariffs on solar panels imported into the US, many manufacturers rely on contract manufacturing networks to provide cost-effective scale to meet market demand.

We do not believe in outsourcing the manufacturing of our solar products at LG. All of our solar panels are manufactured in-house at our Gumi, South Korea, and Huntsville, Alabama facilities. Why? We believe it is the best way to oversee and maintain the high quality of our products, which we back with a 25-year limited material, low degradation performance guarantee, and labor reimbursement to serve valid warranty claims (with the warranty covering up to $450 of labor in the rare case that a solar panel needs to be repaired or replaced).

LG is committed to the quality of every solar panel that bears our name and enters the market. We can ensure that every product is made with the materials we pick under strict quality control procedures at our own manufacturing facilities. Our solar panels are also put through their paces in our own testing lab, which is accredited by TV Rheinland and Underwriters Laboratories. Our goal is to deliver the greatest level of service possible in order to maintain our image as a reputable global brand.

Near 2019, LG began construction on a 550 MW solar project in Huntsville, Alabama. Every year, that’s enough solar panels to power almost 91,000 households (assuming a 6kW system average). Our factory in Gumi, South Korea, produces more NeON 2 solar panels as well as our NeON R range.

LG’s best-selling solar panel is the NeON 2, and generating 550MW of NeON 2 panels in the United States has a variety of advantages:

Why is it that all solar panels are manufactured in China?

Millions of solar panels in a remote desert near the Tibetan Plateau in Northwest China create enough electricity to run a midsize American city. The raw materials, solar panels, and battery technologies used in this project, which is one of the largest solar farms ever created, are all manufactured in China. China produced 80 percent of the world’s solar panels in 2019.

However, buying Chinese solar panels to cut emissions is like to putting out a fire with gas. In Xinjiang, Chinese companies rely on coal-fired electricity to produce vital raw materials like polysilicon. A solar panel created in China has roughly double the carbon footprint of a similar panel made in Europe, even before accounting for the energy impact of shipping the final products.

It’s also about core American ideals. Due to allegations of forced labor, the Biden administration barred a Xinjiang-based polysilicon company on June 24. According to new research, human rights violations are not limited to a particular corporation; rather, they represent a systemic problem. Every polysilicon manufacturer in Xinjiang has ties to the Chinese Communist Party’s coercive “labor transfer” operations.

What are the prices of Chinese solar panels?

The average solar panel cost in China, ME is $2.74/W as of May 2022. With a 5 kW solar panel system, an average solar installation in China, ME costs between $11,645 and $15,755, with the average gross price for solar in China, ME coming in at $13,700. After factoring in the federal investment tax credit (ITC) of 26 percent and additional state and municipal solar incentives, the net cost of solar can be thousands of dollars lower.

These prices are average for solar shoppers comparing quotations on the EnergySage Marketplace. When comparing solar panel estimates on EnergySage’s competitive solar marketplace, you can expect to save up to 20% over working with a single solar vendor.