The Best Most Efficient Solar Panels of 2019:

Let’s start with, let’s say, the top of the iceberg. That is to say, the panels of greater efficiency and performance that exist in the world.

If there is something in which there is no discussion is that the manufacturers of solar panels with greater efficiency are the highest quality. They are more expensive, it is also true, but it is no less true that long-term performance compensates for the investment.

Think that, for example, a  SunPower solar panel , at age 25 is producing more than 90% of its nominal power, when a standard solar panel would be around 80%. A very big difference, and that every day of panel operation.

Many will tell you that it is not worth investing in a quality solar panel for its high price but, it is not true.

Since when is quality a bad investment? , because with solar panels it happens the same. Yes, the initial investment is higher because the  price of  high quality solar panels is higher than conventional ones, but also the performance in the 30 years is going to be much higher, it can even reach up to 40-50% more production throughout the life of the installation.

In fact, take a second to see this image. Do you know what place it is ?:


This is a photograph of the  Apple headquarters inaugurated in 2018 , completely covered with the best solar panels that exist. What are they, then effectively, SunPower.

Do you think that a company like Apple would invest in such a product, if it were not profitable and of the highest quality? Of course not.

The high efficiency, today, is considered a photovoltaic panel that is above 19%. That is, 190W for every square meter installed. This, as you can already perceive, is very important for photovoltaic self consumption facilities  , which are usually on rooftops where space is always limited and the more efficient the panel, the more power we can install.

And these would be the best solar panels of 2018 according to their efficiency:

Panel BrandModelMinimum efficiencyUnitary PowerSize (length x width)
SunPowerSPR-X22-37022.7%370W1,559 x 1,046 mm
SunPowerSPR-X22-36022.1%360W1,559 x 1,046 mm
SunPowerSPR-X21-34521.2%345W1,559 x 1,046 mm
LGLG360Q1C-A520.8%360W1,700 x 1,016 mm
LGLG355Q1C-A520.6%355W1,700 x 1,016 mm
AUOSunForte PM096B0020.6%335W1,559 x 1,046 mm
AUOSunForte PM096B0020.3%330W1,559 x 1,046 mm
SunPowerE20-32720.1%327W1,559 x 1,046 mm
SHARPNQ-R256A19.8%256W1.318 x 980 mm
PanasonicVBHN330SJ5319.7%330W1.590 x 1.053 mm
PanasonicVBHN325SJ5319.4%325W1.590 x 1.053 mm
SunPowerSPR-P19-40019.4%400W2.067 x 998 mm

The best solar panel 2018 according to the DNGL:

We take a step more in this compendium of lists and data on the best solar panels that exist in the market and we take a look at the list of the best solar panel 2018, or at least a set of them, according to the independent laboratory DNVGL.

What does the DNVGL do and why was it created?

In 2012, DNVGL developed the Photovoltaic Plate Products Qualification Program  , called by the acronym PQP, to support the solar community with two objectives:

  1. Provide buyers of PV equipment and power plant inverters with independent and consistent reliability and performance data to support the implementation of an effective supplier management process (such as a list of approved products or suppliers).
  2. Provide independent recognition to module manufacturers that outperform their competitors in product quality and durability.

This list of photovoltaic modules with their score, is a distillation of the PQP results of the last 18 months.

In the last five years, DNVGL has tested more than 300 lists of materials for more than 50 solar module manufacturers. Nine of the ten largest manufacturers of solar panels and more than 70% of the latest Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) called “Tier 1” manufacturers.

Main manufacturers that passed some or all of the tests in 2018/2019:

This is the summary table of the 4 tests carried out and the list of the manufacturers that obtained the best results. All of them below 2% of power losses, and some even without any loss after all the tests, as is the case of SunPower.

It is also deduced from the table, in the gray boxes, that not all manufacturers successfully passed the 4 tests of extreme hardness.


Thermal Cycles TestHumidity TestMechanical Load Test + Thermal Cycles + Humid ColdDegradation test by Potential Induced PID
Manufacturers with less than 2% DegradationManufacturers with less than 2% degradationManufacturers with less than 2% degradationManufacturers with less than 2% degradation
JA SolarJA SolarJA Solar
Neo Solar PowerNeo PowerNeo Solar Power
Trina SolarTrina SolarTrina SolarTrina Solar
Yingli SolarYingli SolarYingli SolarYingli Solar
Hanwha Q CellsHanwha Q CellsHanwha Q Cells
Phono Solar

In the table of results we find some surprises as the  LG solar panels  that did not pass all the tests of the test.

Description of the tests performed by DNGL on the best solar panels:

What does each one consist of the tests carried out by the DNVGL? we describe them below:

Thermal Cycles Test:

According to the IEC standard that is usually used to certify a solar panel, a solar panel must withstand 200 cycles of temperature variation from -40ºC to 85ºC without affecting its performance significantly.

However, the DNVGL performs 800 cycles, that is 4 times more than what is required by the IEC, and each cycle takes between 3 and 5 hours to complete.

Humidity Test:

In the IEC 61215 standard, the modules are maintained at a constant temperature of 85 ° C and a relative humidity of 85%. for 1,000 hours (approximately 42 days).

The DNV GL performs hundreds of tests of Humidity with different durations, evaluating the resistance of the modules and discovered that 2,000 hours is much more effective to decide the quality and performance of a good solar panel.

Mechanical Load Test + Thermal Cycles + Freeze Humidity:

For the DML (Mechanical Dynamic Load) test sequence, the module is installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended assembly and is subjected to 1,000 alternate load cycles at 1,000 Pa.

After a while the module is subjected to stresses in a chamber during 50 thermal cycles to cause the propagation of microcracks by previously passing through 10 cycles of freezing of moisture to fully realize the potential loss of energy.

An authentic torture for a solar panel and that only the best manufacturers of solar panels exceed .

The DML test examines several aspects of the photovoltaic module, including design features such as the size of the frame, the selection material, such as the sealing of edges and the manufacturing controls of the interconnection and the engraving of the cells.

Degradation test for induced potential or PID:

During the test, a voltage bias equal to the nominal voltage of the module system (-1 kV or -1.5 kV) is applied. under conditions of 85 ° C and 85% relative humidity during two 96-hour sessions. This accelerated environment provides the temperature, humidity and voltage bias conditions necessary to evaluate the degradation associated with the current leakage increase.

What is the  best solar panel on  the market and the scores obtained according to the old PV + Test?

The best solar panels on the market – Results of the PV + Test

Today, the only 100% independent test that performs tests on the  solar panels that actually reach the installer, or the final customer,  is the PV + Test, carried out by the German certification company TÜV.

You must take into account this test, it is a  fundamental guide  to be sure  that your photovoltaic project will obtain, or even exceed, the  expected performance , and you will have the certainty that the photovoltaic panels that you have installed to your client are a good product that will not give problems in the short or long term.



Some of the 11 brands of solar panel manufacturers that have authorized, for the moment, the publication of the results of the PV + Test are: SolarWorld (acquired by SunPower since 2018), SHARP, Solon, Schott, Conergy, Sovello …

The result of the tests of the  best solar panels , in order of maximum quality are:

AssessmentResultMakerAnalyzed Panel
92.29ExcellentSolar panels SolarWorld ->  Now SunPower since 2018SW260 Poly -> SW290 Mono (New Standard)
91.3Excellent (-)Solar panels SchottSchott Poly 290
90.7Excellent (-)SHARP solarNU-180E1
89.8Good (+)IBCIBC Monosol 240 ET
89.0Good (+)Mitsubishi ElectricPV-TD185MF5
88.5Good (+)JetionJT235PCe
88.1Good (+)ConergyPowerPlus 225P
80.0Good (-)Perfect SolarPS230-6P-TOP

It is no coincidence that there is little presence of manufacturers of modules of Chinese origin, the vast majority of  Chinese manufacturers of solar panels do not achieve the minimum quality  needed, although, of course, there are always exceptions.

The  PV + Test score grades  range from the highest grade, which is Excellent, to the Very Poor. In each grade, depending on the results, you can take (+) or (-) as a classification of intermediate grades.

That is, the Excellent grade (+) would be the highest possible score that can be obtained in the test, and the Very Poor (-) grade would be the lowest possible and cataloged colloquially as “junk solar panels”.

As we said before, the  PV + Test, should be a point to take into account when defining the photovoltaic panel to be used,  or at least to know that manufacturers of solar panels are better considered at the quality level.

In response to the question of what is the  best solar panel in  the world ?, it is very evident, the  best solar panel in the world  is SolarWorld (SunPower now), followed closely by Schott and SHARP Solar. At least as far as  “standard” technology  is concerned.

As we say, we must bear in mind that we are talking about the best photovoltaic panels on the market with standard polycrystalline and monocrystalline technology .

If we expand the vision to any type of technology, we would find that the best solar panel on the market would be the  Panasonic Sanyo solar panels, with  high efficiency  HIT technology and, also with other exclusive technology, we would have the SunPower panels, the panel solar energy of the world.

In other words:

If you are looking for the best photovoltaic panel on the market with the use of standard technology, the most prominent is SolarWorld. If you are looking for the best panel of any technology, then Panasonic Sanyo and SunPower would be the most prominent.

They are  the three best brands of panels that you can find  today in the photovoltaic solar sector.

For this reason we work with these three manufacturers of solar panels, although it  has taken us 10 years to  achieve the distribution of these three brands, it is worth knowing that the projects we provide will always give a  performance and quality bonus  than any other brand, out of those three, can give.

You can check these and other information on the TÜV website 

What is this PV + Test made by TÜV?

We can summarize it in the following points:

  • It is an independent test   with crystalline solar panels carried out by TÜV Rheinland in collaboration with SolarPraxis and bought directly in the market. That is, it is not the manufacturers who send a sample, but TÜV Rheinland who anonymously buys the samples in the real market (this is undoubtedly the most important point).
  • A committee of experts decides which aspects to analyze are the most important to take into account in the PV + Test and what relevance is given to each one of them. They are, let’s say, the rules of the game that mark the general protocol of the test.
  • Any manufacturer can request to be evaluated in the PV + Test.
  • Once the test is finished, each manufacturer is informed of the final result, with the degree of quality obtained and the manufacturer decides whether the results are made public or not.
  • The results are made public every so often in the magazine PV-Magazine, the website of TÜV Rheinland, etc.

HIGHEST EFFICIENCY SOLAR PANELSAs a summary, and in the words of one of the heads of TÜV Rheinland, what this test aims to do is “Separate the dust from the straw” and therefore, TÜV Rheinland buys the samples in the real market to later analyze them. 

One could say that what is intended is that the test results are from the panels that reach the final customer, and not those that the manufacturer sends to analyze.

How many brands have been analyzed and what are the results? So far we have analyzed 21 brands of recognized prestige, but only 11 of them, the best rated, have authorized the publication of the data, the rest of them preferred not to show the results.

The PV + Test is the test and the basis to know which is  the best  photovoltaic solar panel in the solar market .

Final conclusion:

Therefore, if you take as reference the first list with the photovoltaic panel manufacturers classified by the TÜV, and you take the list with the best solar panels of 2018 in terms of efficiency, and finally the DNVGL list, you already have a good number of manufacturers of solar panels where you can perfectly deposit your trust and who assure you that you will receive a good product.

If you ask us, we would have no doubt,  the best solar panel that exists is SunPower . It has always been that way and continues being the manufacturer that  marks the differences with all the others due to its exclusive technologies and totally different from  the rest of the solar panel manufacturers.

So, if you want to know more about  solar panels and prices  for professionals, get in touch with us and we will help you as much as possible with your project.


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