Greatest total: Maxeon 7

Essentially the most environment friendly residential photo voltaic panel is the Maxeon 7, which unseated older Maxeon and Canadian Photo voltaic panels. Maxeon has led the trade in photo voltaic panel effectivity for a while and its latest providing had its record-setting effectivity mark confirmed by the Nationwide Renewable Power Laboratory. Its 24.9% effectivity within the lab interprets to about 24.1% in rooftop settings. There’s one catch for American photo voltaic consumers: It will not be obtainable outdoors of Europe till later this yr.

Whereas practically 25% is an attention grabbing quantity, specialists have informed us that fixating on effectivity is not all the time the way in which to go. You will need to take into account the entire output of a photo voltaic panel system and its complete price, not simply the specs of a person panel. And you might not need to watch for higher or cheaper choices, though photo voltaic tech retains enhancing and set up prices are trending down. Nonetheless, in case you have restricted house — equivalent to a small roof or a number of shading — extremely environment friendly panels might make sense. Listed below are people who carry out one of the best.

What’s photo voltaic panel effectivity?

Photo voltaic panels could all appear principally the identical, however they’re totally different in a minimum of a couple of methods. A kind of methods, effectivity ranking, measures how a lot of the solar’s vitality a panel’s photo voltaic cells flip into usable electrical energy. Extra environment friendly photo voltaic panels will generate extra electrical energy than much less environment friendly ones given the identical quantity of daylight.

“If one thing is 20% environment friendly, that signifies that 20% of the vitality in that daylight reaching the photo voltaic panel will get became transferring electrons,” Daniel Ciolkosz, professor of agricultural and organic engineering at Pennsylvania State College, informed CNET.

Selecting the finest photo voltaic panels to your house is a sport of balancing photo voltaic panel price, perform (like effectivity) and maybe even aesthetics. Your selection can also be restricted by what your chosen photo voltaic installer truly affords.

I have been writing about photo voltaic for CNET for the final two years, throughout which era I’ve learn dozens of spec sheets and talked to quite a few trade specialists about what issues for residence installations. Whereas rating panels by their effectivity ranking is a comparatively easy activity, I’ve additionally created the scoring methodologies for and ranked one of the best photo voltaic corporations and finest photo voltaic panels for CNET.

This checklist ranks essentially the most environment friendly photo voltaic panels as recognized by our mid-April 2024 survey of the specs photo voltaic corporations have publicly obtainable. We’ll inform you which panels get high marks for turning daylight into essentially the most vitality, and we’ll clarify how a lot photo voltaic panel effectivity truly issues.

Best photo voltaic panels of 2024


Maxeon’s latest residential panel can also be its most effective. It beats its nearest rivals by one full proportion level. It additionally has a temperature coefficient of -0.27%, which suggests it will not decelerate as a lot as others as temperatures rise. Maxeon additionally extends one of many strongest manufacturing ensures, saying that its panels will nonetheless produce at 92% capability after 25 years.

Avalon_Studio / iStock / Getty Pictures

Canadian Photo voltaic’s 470-watt mannequin of its HiKu6 panel is the biggest panel by watts on this checklist. (As fashions of the identical panel sequence get bigger, they get extra environment friendly.) The HiKu6’s temperature coefficient of -0.29% and its 25-year assure of 89.4% of its manufacturing each come up simply in need of Maxeon’s finest marks.


Maxeon has bought its panels in america by SunPower and its subsidiary Blue Raven, although it might begin promoting by extra installers after an unique relationship resulted in March. The Maxeon 6’s effectivity mark matches what was once the highest mark. Its temperature coefficient and manufacturing guarantee match these of the Maxeon 7.


Maxeon’s third entry on the checklist has an vitality coefficient of -0.27% and a most 25-year degradation of 8%. 

imaginima/Getty Pictures

At -0.24%, REC’s Alpha Pure panel has one of the best temperature coefficient. It should lose much less manufacturing at larger temperatures than different panels. Bigger variations of particular photo voltaic panels are extra environment friendly than smaller ones, and this is without doubt one of the largest panels on our checklist. It is assured to provide at 92% of its unique capability after 25 years.

imaginima / Getty Pictures

Qcells has been essentially the most broadly put in residential photo voltaic panel model in america. That is their most effective residential panel up to now. It has a temperature coefficient of -0.3% and a 25-year manufacturing assure of 90.58%.

Bloomberg / Contributor

The Tiger Neo panel has a 22.52% most effectivity ranking and a temperature coefficient of -0.29%. After 30 years Jinko ensures the panel will produce 86.54%

Figuring out the very best photo voltaic panel effectivity is a fairly easy matter of monitoring down manufacturer-provided information sheets and finding the effectivity numbers. These numbers right this moment are larger than within the not-too-distant previous and hold creeping upward.

In line with the Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory’s Monitoring the Solar report, 2021 was the primary yr greater than half the residential photo voltaic panels put in within the US had effectivity scores above 20%. Ten years in the past solely 0.6% of these put in reached that mark.

Different photo voltaic panels we evaluated

Should you’re searching for essentially the most environment friendly photo voltaic panel to your roof, here is how essentially the most broadly used manufacturers in the marketplace stack up.

Best residential panels

Firm Panel and capability Max. effectivity ranking Wattage Temperature coefficient
Maxeon Maxeon 7 23.5-24.1% 435-445 -0.27
Canadian Photo voltaic TopHiKu6 CS6.1-54TD 21.8-23% 445-470 -0.29
REC REC Alpha Pure RX 21.6-22.6% 450-470 -0.24
Jinko Photo voltaic Tiger Neo N-type 54HL4R-(V) 21.52-22.52% 430-450 -0.29
Qcells Q.Tron BLK M-G2+ 21.3-22.5% 415-440 -0.3
Panasonic Evervolt HK2 Black 21.7-22.2% 420-430 -0.24
Silfab SIL-420/430 QD 21.5-22.2% 420-430 -0.29
JA Photo voltaic JAM54S30/GR 20.5-21.8% 400-425 -0.35
ZNShine Photo voltaic ZXM7-SH120 Sequence 20.35-21.55% 440-465 -0.35
Longi Hello-MO 5m 21.30% 410-420 -0.34
Trina Photo voltaic Vertex S TSM-DE09C.07 19.8-21.1% 380-405 -0.34

Information collected in April 2024.

How environment friendly are photo voltaic panels?

It depends upon the photo voltaic panel. Essentially the most environment friendly photo voltaic panel on our checklist tops 24%, that means they convert greater than 24% of the obtainable vitality from daylight into usable electrical energy. Not all photo voltaic panels hit that determine, and those you purchase would possibly fall beneath it. Be sure you look at not simply effectivity, however the entire anticipated output of your photo voltaic panel system for the value.

These are simply essentially the most environment friendly residential photo voltaic panels. Experimental expertise and panels designed for business and utility-scale purposes could be much more environment friendly.

What impacts photo voltaic panel effectivity?

The numbers listed above are obtained underneath managed situations in laboratory assessments. In the actual world, loads of elements would possibly trigger you to obtain much less vitality than a panel’s effectivity ranking would recommend. 

Daylight: If the skies are hazy or cloudy, much less daylight will attain your panels they usually’ll produce much less electrical energy than anticipated. 

Photo voltaic panel angle: Photo voltaic panels will work dealing with in most instructions, however there’s an optimum angle and placement to your panels that relies upon largely on the place you reside.

Different electrical elements: Energy does not stream straight from the panels into your toaster. Some shall be misplaced alongside the way in which by the inverter and different electrical units. 

Temperature: One other issue affecting photo voltaic panels’ effectivity is their temperature. As photo voltaic panels get scorching, they begin to produce much less vitality, although not on the identical price. A photo voltaic panel’s temperature coefficient measures how a lot worse its manufacturing will get for each diploma Celsius (1.8 levels Fahrenheit) it will get above 25C (77F).

Solar panels in front of palm trees. Solar panels in front of palm trees.

Photo voltaic panels are put in at an angle to seize extra of the solar’s vitality.

Raimund Koch/Getty Pictures

For instance, at 26C (79F) a REC Alpha Pure would produce 0.24% much less vitality than at 25 levels. At 29C (84F), it could lose simply shy of 1% of its manufacturing.

Photo voltaic panel effectivity by kind

There are three most important sorts of photo voltaic panels, and every converts daylight into energy at a unique price. This is a take a look at the three sorts:

  • Monocrystalline photo voltaic panels: Monocrystalline panels, that are constructed from a single silicon ingot sliced into skinny wafers, are essentially the most environment friendly, at 17% to 22%. They’re additionally pretty expensive, typically round $1 to $1.50 per watt. Virtually all residential photo voltaic panels put in right this moment are monocrystalline.
  • Polycrystalline photo voltaic panels: Polycrystalline panels typically vary from 15% to 17%. They’re extra reasonably priced, normally between 90 cents and $1 per watt.
  • Skinny-film photo voltaic panels: These panels are cheaper but additionally comparatively inefficient. They’re usually utilized in business installations. They are usually 10% to 13% environment friendly and price between $1 and $1.50 per watt.

Is photo voltaic panel effectivity vital?

All issues being equal, it could make sense to decide on a higher-efficiency photo voltaic panel over one with a decrease ranking. Excessive-efficiency photo voltaic panels usually price greater than lower-rated ones, so making your best option turns into a matter of balancing your monetary objectives with what your most popular installer affords and different concerns like model and aesthetics.

“It is only one a part of the equation,” mentioned Ciolkosz. “The larger query for the top person is the economics and the way it’s paying off.”

Is there a case the place effectivity may be a worthwhile consideration?

“You probably have a kind of tiny properties on HGTV,” mentioned Tom Beresnyak, a Pennsylvania State College extension educator. 

Should you’re restricted by obtainable house for photo voltaic panels, you would possibly need to squeeze out as a lot photo voltaic vitality as doable from that house, though in case your state permits it, a group photo voltaic subscription nonetheless may be a better option financially, Beresnyak mentioned.

Can photo voltaic panels be 100% environment friendly?

No, however the panels listed right here aren’t essentially the most environment friendly photo voltaic panels ever made — simply commercially obtainable ones marketed for properties. 

Analysis into photo voltaic cells (the energy-producing elements that make up photo voltaic panels) has produced a lot larger efficiencies within the lab. The Nationwide Renewable Power Laboratory tracks the very best efficiencies achieved in standardized lab situations. The very best-ever photo voltaic cell effectivity was 47.6%, recorded in June 2022.

What ought to I take into account when selecting a photo voltaic panel firm?

As a result of there is no one-size-fits-all photo voltaic answer, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for selecting a photo voltaic firm. The most effective method is to get quotes from a number of installers earlier than deciding. Select the corporate that has supplied you one of the best match to your wants, you belief to do the work and has answered all of your questions.

You must perceive your vitality utilization earlier than going photo voltaic and determine whether or not your objectives are to fully change that vitality, save as a lot cash as doable or obtain one thing else. From there, it is a matter of measuring competing quotes towards your objectives.

The Division of Power recommends that you just select an installer with credentials from a revered third get together, just like the North American Board of Licensed Power Practitioners, which operates an on-line listing of licensed installers you can filter by state and certification.

Installers ought to positively assess your roof situation as a result of eradicating panels at a later date to switch a roof shall be an extra price. They need to additionally have the ability to transparently reply questions in regards to the system’s design and why they’re making their particular proposal.

“The installer could make an enormous distinction as a result of the angle and the mount [are important for] maximizing what you’ve at that location — a talented installer continues to be going to be the actual key in your long run manufacturing,” Beresnyak mentioned.

Learn extra: See our picks for one of the best transportable photo voltaic panels and photo voltaic turbines.

How we selected and ranked essentially the most environment friendly photo voltaic panels

The panels on this checklist have been chosen as a result of they’re a number of the mostly put in panels and are more likely to seem on quotes for photo voltaic installations. Should you’re quoted for panels that do not seem on this checklist, you possibly can examine their effectivity ranking and different specs in the identical method I did. This is how.

Photo voltaic panel producers publish information sheets for photo voltaic panels, which element their dimensions, efficiency metrics and inner chemistry. In case your photo voltaic firm does not give you them, you possibly can entry them by clicking on the corporate identify within the desk above. (Most of the hyperlinks result in PDFs.) From there, it is a easy matter of evaluating statistics.


What kind of photo voltaic panels are most effective?

Who produces essentially the most environment friendly panels?

In the intervening time, essentially the most environment friendly photo voltaic panels obtainable on the residential market are made by Maxeon. Different corporations are catching up, and expertise continues to enhance.

Are extra environment friendly photo voltaic panels costlier?

On the whole, sure. Whereas particular pricing info for photo voltaic panels is not available, higher-performance panels are usually costlier. SunPower, which installs essentially the most environment friendly panels, additionally began putting in Qcells panels (essentially the most continuously put in panels) to supply a extra reasonably priced choice.

What does it imply if a photo voltaic panel has an effectivity of 20%?

Meaning the panel is changing 20% of the vitality from the daylight that hits it into electrical energy. Of residential photo voltaic panels at present obtainable, 20% would rank favorably. Essentially the most environment friendly photo voltaic panels in the marketplace are greater than 22% environment friendly.

What’s the most photo voltaic panel effectivity?

Within the residential market, essentially the most environment friendly photo voltaic panels come from Maxeon and are 24.1% environment friendly. Bigger, utility-scale photo voltaic panels could be extra environment friendly than residential panels and expertise nonetheless in analysis phases has virtually doubled that effectivity.

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