Updated December 5th 2023
Welcome to the solar panel buyers guide for December 2023! We have an amazing line up of solar panels for rooftops and ground mounts. Find the best solar panels for on grid, off grid or hybrid solar electric systems.
Lowest Cost Solar Panel: NE Solar – 370W Black Frame 120 Half Cells Mono
The absolute best deal in solar right now is the NE Solar 370’s. These mod’s are coming in at a mind-blowing $.27/w – less than $100 a panel. It costs us more to buy the pallets than these modules. We keep selling out but we’ll keep bringing in these guys as long as we can. Act fast because who knows how long this amazing deal will last.
These NE Solar 370 panels are an excellent deal- the best we’ve ever seen, however it’s come to our attention that the manufacturer’s website is down and there is no contact information available. Until we hear more news, we are considering this company to be out of business and a warranty claims will not be able to be processed for this module. Please purchase with this info in mind – we have many other solar panels from established companies if you are concerned about the warranty.
Best Value Solar Panel: msolar All-Black 410’s
The mSolar 410’s became available for pre-order the first week of December. This module is an amazing value at $.39/w for 410 watts of power – module efficiency of 21% priced in the $.30’s? Yes please! While made overseas, these panels are backed by Texas based mSolar, so you’re getting a warranty from a US company, so no dealing with someone in another country if there is ever a problem.
We think the mSolar 410 is going to be the hit of winter 2024! The right blend of price, looks, warranty and efficiency hits all the right notes.
Save an extra 20% on NE Solar and Hyperion Solar panels with code SAVE2023 during Cyberweek, November 27th – December 4th.
Biggest Price Drop: Philadelphia Solar 400W Bifacial Half-Cell Mono Black
The Italian stallion of photovoltaics, which are actually made in Jordan, have had a huge price drop. Previously at $.56/w, these panels are now at the knock out price of $135.71 – just $.34/w!
Best Solar Panel for Ground Mounts:: Philadelphia Solar 550W Bifacial Half-Cell Mono
The heavyweight solar champions are back on our list, winning the title of best panel for ground mounts. We like the high wattage and the large size of these beasts – with a price that’s not busting our wallets. The 550’s also saw a price drop – what were priced at $307 are now down to $217.80.
With an excellent load rating of 5400Pa these module will hold up great in higher snow and wind zones. And with the bifacial design, you can gain up to 20% more power by capturing sunlight on the back of the module. Consider putting down some white crushed stone below the array and see some major back sheet gains.
Best Solar Panel for Ground Mounts: JA Solar 545w (Runner up)
JA Solar, is coming in with a 545w ground mount commercial module. A new brand at altE, JA Solar has been around for some time now. We added this panel to our line up as we’ve found larger format modules have been harder to find lately and we want to make sure we always have options for our customers. These panels are bifacial, half cell PERC cells with glass on glass construction. These are very heavy panels at nearly 70 lbs each – we don’t recommend these for residential rooftop, but for ground mount or ballasted commercial roof, double glass modules could be a winner. You’ll pick up some extra production on the back of the module, plus the double glass construction could last a lifetime. This is why you see a record 30 year warranty on these modules, with less than half a percent degradation per year. You might pay a bit more for these panels but if you’re looking for a serious long term value this might just be your best bet.
Best Made in USA Solar Panel: Mission Solar Energy 395W Mono PERC
Looking for solar panels made right here in the USA? Look no further than the Mission Solar 395’s. Don’t mess with these texas made modules, now available from altE in less then pallet quantities.
Best Off Grid Solar Panel for Small Systems: Rich Solar 100w & 200w panels
The Rich Solar 100w and 200w panels remain our pick for smaller systems. With 12v and 24v options, you can use a lower cost PWM style charge controller So while the panel itself is a bit more per watt, your system cost could be a lot lower since you’re using a lower voltage panel that doesn’t need fancy MPPT algorithms. After 600w or so, we’re seeing the larger format modules with MPPT controllers win out, but for those small and portable systems Rich solar is the way to go. Grab a Charge Up kit and get everything you need to connect the panels to your 12v batteries.
Now is a great time to add onto an existing system if you already have Trina or Heliene panels. We don’t know how long these will last and our inventory is very low, so great time to get a few extra to match your existing array:
The Qcells 2024 lineup is now available at altE. One of our customer favorites, Qcells is coming to the table with an impressive lineup. The 485w double glass Q.PEAK DOU XL will be the best priced module at $.68/w. With glass glass design and zero gap cell layering you’ll be getting solar power from every bit of this panel, front and back. In a residential footprint, the Q.PEAK DOU black is available in a 405w package.
The real stand out product from Qcells is the Q.antum Neo Q.TRON Black 425w panel. We are talking 22.2% module efficiency! We’re seeing REC Alpha Series 420 and Panasonic Evervolt 400 coming in at 21.6%, making the Qcells 425, what we believe to be, the highest efficiency solar panel on the market today. This means more energy per square foot, but of course this comes at a price. The Qcells 425 is coming in around $.86/w, putting it squarely in the ultra premium bracket.
The Best is Back at altE:
At an eye watering $507 per panel, the Panasonic EverVolts are going to be only for those that want the best of the best. These panels have are one of the strongest you can buy, with a super high snow load rating of 7000Pa and wind load rating of 4000 Pa – compared to standard modules with rating of around 2400 Pa, these panels can take a beating. These panels also have lower current and higher voltage, which allows for more flexible string configurations on popular inverters like SolArk. With over 40 years of experience in solar, and a brand you know and trust, Panasonic has the best warranty in the solar industry – offering 25 years performance, product, parts and even labor! But there is a catch – to get the full “Triple Guard” warranty, the panels must be installed by a certified installer- for other pro’s and DIY’ers you’ll only get 25 year product warranty, which drops down to 15 years if the system is not registered within 60 days of installation.
We expect the NE Solar 370’s to continue to fly off the shelves due to the super low price, but also expect people will come around to the Hyperion 400’s for just a few bucks more and an incredible deal. Commercial modules will remain in a bit tighter supply, and so we expect to be selling what we can get our hands on, with Philadelphia 550 and JA Solar 545’s expected to take us through the winter in this form factor.
On the ultra premium side, it’s going to come down to Qcells and Panasonic. In full disclosure the author has worked for both companies in the past. The Qcells 425 is going to have higher efficiency but the Panasonic wins when it comes to temperature coefficient – this means in higher temperature locations you might see higher yields from the Panasonic then the Qcells, even with the efficiency gap. Qcells offers an amazing warranty, guaranteeing at least 90% of rated power at year 25. This is compared to Panasonic with only 80% guarantee at year 25. Panasonic has the additional labor warranty but only for its authorized installers – Qcells has no restrictions of this kind.
We’ve heard rumors that the Q.ANTUM NEO Q.TRON Modules are being made in the Dalton Georgia Qcells factory- we’re looking forward to confirming if this is true. The name brand of Panasonic is a huge draw, but the restrictions around warranty and high price point are a turn off. At a savings of $.41/w and 25w additional power per module, I think Qcells is going to take a large chunk of the ultra premium marketplace, especially if they can add “made in USA” to that list of features.