This post will compare the best solar panels currently available for the residential market: REC, SunPower, and Panasonic.

A big change in 2023 is that LG Solar no longer produces panels or solar batteries. They exited the renewable energy industry in 2022.

Solar is a significant investment. You want your panels to be made by the best solar panel manufacturers in the world.

Best Home Solar Panels Compared

By choosing solar panel companies with proven track records of producing high-quality and reliable solar panels, you can be certain that the money you spend on solar will provide consistent, efficient, and durable power for your home for the next 25 to 40 years.

The solar power system that works best for your home and family will depend on where you live, how hot it gets, and how much space you have available on your roof. 

Top 3 Solar Panels: SunPower/REC/Panasonic

Top 3 Solar Panels: SunPower, REC, Panasonic

You can’t go wrong with these solar companies and panel options, as they feature the best solar technology.

It’s a given that monocrystalline panels outperform polycrystalline panels. The best residential solar panel manufacturers only produce one type of residential solar panels: monocrystalline. 

The best solar companies take their solar cell tech to the next level, producing thin-film, efficient panels that can withstand extreme temperatures.

We will dive into the solar cell technology of these quality panels and their warranty options. See how much these solar panels cost here.

SunPower Solar Panels

Sunpower has been producing high-quality solar panels since 1985. They recently spun off their solar panel production to Maxeon.

Sunpower solar panels have always been the most efficient panels that turn more sunlight into electricity in the solar industry.

Not only do they have the industry’s best efficiency rate, but they also have the lowest annual degradation rate of all solar panel brands.

Sunpower vs conventional panels

More Solar Power Production 

All solar cells experience a gradual decline in performance over time, known as degradation. Every year they produce less solar energy.

The typical degradation rate is between 0.6% and 0.8% per year, resulting in an output of around 80% after 25 years.

When it comes to degradation, Sunpower panels will only lose 8% of their initial power output, making them a highly reliable and durable panel with an extremely low degradation rate after 25 years of use.

The Best 25-Year Product Warranty

SunPower offers a 25-year warranty on its entire system, which includes an industry-leading 25-year performance guarantee of 92% power output after 25 years!

Their warranty guarantees that SunPower solar panels will continue to produce energy for your home and family for many years and is an important factor to consider when comparing solar panel installation options.

Sunpower Equinox system is a complete solar system with one comprehensive warranty

Higher Average Cost But Faster Payback

SunPower solar panels may have higher initial installation costs than other solar brands. At first glance, they seem to be expensive panels.

However, considering their high efficiency, you will need fewer panels to produce the same electricity as less efficient conventional panels. 

And their low degradation rate means they will produce more power over the next 25 years than conventional panels. Energy production directly affects your solar payback and the true cost of solar.

SunPower Solar Panel Efficiency

Another advantage of SunPower’s high-efficiency panels is that they require fewer panels on your roof to produce solar power, which means fewer penetrations and less potential damage to your roof. 

If you have limited roof space and require a high-efficiency panel, SunPower is an excellent choice. Average panel efficiency is significantly lower.

SunPower currently offers the highest solar panel efficiency available on the market at 22.8%

Sunpower solar panels

Temperature Coefficient 

Hot temperatures can affect solar panel performance negatively, and this is where the temperature coefficient comes in. 

When the ambient air temperature is above 95 F, the efficiency of solar panels decreases. SunPower panels have a temperature coefficient of -0.29% and can work between -40 F to 140 F.

Solar panels convert sunlight into energy, but they do not require heat to function. In fact, high temperatures can actually decrease the efficiency of solar panels.

When temperatures reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, solar panel systems may operate at 10 to 25 percent less efficiency.

Power when you need it most: SunPower

The hotter it gets, the less energy panels produce

If you live somewhere that gets very hot, like Palm Springs, with temperatures consistently reaching well over 100 degrees, then SunPower panels are a good choice for the extreme heat of the desert.

Read our complete review of Sunpower solar panels here.

REC Solar Panels

REC solar panels’ high-performance and cutting-edge technology make them one of the best options for residential photovoltaic installations.

REC Alpha Pure-r brochure

Low Light-Induced Degradation

The REC panel is comparable to SunPower because it has a low degradation rate and guarantees a high power output after 25 years. 

The panel’s performance guarantee includes a maximum 2% decrease in the first year and a 0.25% decrease annually. 

This means that REC guarantees that its panels will still produce 92% of their initial energy production in year 25.

25-Year Product Warranty

Like SunPower, REC also offers a 25-year warranty, which is well above the industry standard. 

However, it is important to note that to receive the REC 25-year performance guarantee, a REC ProTrust Installer must install your solar system.

REC 25 year pro trust warranty

Best Performance In Extreme Temperatures 

REC uses a special technology called heterojunction cell technology.

Heterojunction cells increase efficiency and provide exceptional high-temperature performance.

The temperature coefficient for these cells is 0.26%, much lower than the industry standard of 0.38%. It even outperforms Sunpower.

This means the REC panels can operate at a wider range of temperatures than other residential panels.

Solar panels produce less power in extreme heat.Solar panels on a sunny day with a thermometer showing hot weather

The operating temperature range for the REC panel is between -40°F to 185°F. This makes them suitable for extreme weather conditions and performs well in hot and cold temperatures.

REC Alpha Black panels outperform conventional panels in extreme heat environments.

If your home is in a sweltering place, like Indio, Las Vegas, or Palm Springs, with temperatures soaring over 100 degrees regularly, then REC is an excellent panel option. 

Even when the temperature rises, you can rely on your REC panels to maintain their powerful performance, thanks to their special low-temperature coefficient.

REC Solar Panel Efficiency Rating

REC’s Alpha Pure series has an excellent efficiency rating of 22.2%.

Sleek all black look of the REC Alpha Pure solar panels

The solar panel with the highest efficiency on the market is the SunPower M-Series, rated at 22.8%. The difference is minimal compared to the average panel efficiency.

Read our complete review of REC Alpha Pure solar panels here.

Panasonic solar panels

Panasonic halted its solar panel production at its Malaysian and Japanese factories in 2022 and outsourced all of its manufacturing to a subcontracting partner.

In a surprising turn of events, it has been revealed that the subcontractor that Panasonic chose to partner with is REC.

Currently, Panasonic EverVolt panels are made by REC. REC Alpha panels are identical to Panasonic EverVolt panels. 

Panasonic ended solar panel production in 2022

When you invest in a Panasonic solar panel system, you get an excellent panel backed by one of the strongest and most reliable solar companies.

Panasonic also offers a top-notch 25-year product warranty. 

Table: SunPower vs REC vs Panasonic

BrandProduct WarrantyWarrantied Year 25 outputPanel efficiencyTemp. coefficientAvg. cost per watt
SunPower25 years92.00%22.8%-0.29% / Celsius$3.50
REC25 years92.00%22.2%-0.26% / Celsius$3.40
Panasonic25 years92.00%22.2%-0.26% / Celsius$3.40
Panasonic is now manufactured by REC and is essentially the same panel

How To Get The Best Solar Energy System

After carefully comparing the three best solar panels, it is clear that all three brands offer exceptional performance, efficiency, and warranties. 

However, it is important to note that while all three options are great, they may differ in cost, installation, and maintenance. Choose a solar installation company that offers the best solar systems, great customer service, and competitive prices. 

To get competitive prices on residential systems, we recommend getting quotes from EnergySage. Save time and money using their state-of-the-art solar platform, filled with solar information, resources, and customer reviews.

We also recommend getting a quote from Sunpower and trying the Sunpower Design Studio. Sunpower is an excellent option for homeowners wanting the best solar panel, warranty, and production.

Compare solar quotes and get unbiased advice on Energysage. Get started now!