7 Best Inexpensive Solar Panels

By Jessica Wimmer Updated February 6, 2024

Typically service costs $2.74 per watt.

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Going solar is a big investment, and choosing inexpensive solar panels is one way to alleviate costs. Though skimping on price can sometimes mean sacrificing quality, a few options provide both affordability and value.

We’ve thoroughly researched the best solar panels in the United States, analyzing product specifications and pricing. These are our top picks for inexpensive solar panels that still offer good quality.

Important Note: Sunpower only installs panels from Maxeon, its former subsidiary. Get a quote from one of the certified installers below if you’re interested in a different solar panel brand.



The Best Inexpensive Solar Panels for Homes

Below are the best inexpensive solar panels available.



Hanwha Q Cells

Fast Facts:

  • Efficiency rate: Up to 21.4%
  • Warranty options: 12-year product warranty and 25-year performance warranty
  • Cost per watt: $2.74

Panel options: Monocrystalline (black) and thin-film (colors vary)

What we like: Hanwha Q Cells is a go-to manufacturer for many of the best solar installers, such as Tesla. The company stands out for its solar shingles, which function as solar panels but look like roof shingles and blend into your home’s aesthetic. Hanwha also offers two popular solar panel series: Q-Cell and Q-Peak.

Hanwha Panel Warranties

Q Cells provides a 12-year product warranty covering manufacturing malfunctions and a 25-year performance warranty covering performance issues.

Hanwha’s Top Solar Panels

Q Cells produces PERC monocrystalline solar panels. PERC stands for “passivated emitter and rear contact,” which means the panels’ solar cells have an extra layer of conductive material on the backside. This material captures the small amount of energy that would otherwise get reflected into the sky, making the panels more efficient.

Here is Hanwha Q Cells’ current line of residential solar panels

  • Q-Peak Duo BLK-G10+: These panels feature efficiency rates up to 20.9%. They also have a sleek black-on-black design.
  • Q-Peak Duo BLK-G10+/AC: These panels are the same as the previous model but with built-in Enphase IQ 7+ microinverters, the part of the system that converts direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AC) for use in your home. This makes them faster to install and less confusing to operate.
  • Q-Peak Duo BLK ML-G10+: These panels have Q Cells’ highest efficiency rate of 21.4%.



Fast Facts:

  • Efficiency rate: Up to 21.4%
  • Warranty options: 25-year product and 30-year power warranty 
  • Cost per watt: $2.77

Panel options: Monocrystalline (black)

What we like: Silfab is a popular solar panel manufacturer used by the U.S. military and Federal Aviation Administration. Some of its panels are produced exclusively for North America and tailored to various regional climates and weather. Silfab often wins longevity and overall customer satisfaction awards, such as the Company of the Year award for the 17th Annual American Business Awards. 

Silfab Panel Warranties

Silfab offers a 30-year power warranty.

Silfab’s Top Solar Panels

Here are some of Silfab’s most popular solar panel lines: 

  • SIL-360 NW: This is a large, all-black, 360-watt panel. However, it has some distracting lines.
  • Silfab Elite: This is Silfab’s most efficient solar panel. It comes in varying sizes of 370, 375, and 380 watts. It also uses a back contact feature which allows more energy absorption.
  • Silfab Prime: This panel has Silfab’s highest power rating at 370 watts. It has a black-on-black design to complement dark-colored rooftops.



Fast Facts:

  • Efficiency rate: Up to 21.7%
  • Warranty options: 25-year labor, product, and performance warranty
  • Cost per watt: $2.77

Panel options: Monocrystalline (black) and thin-film (colors vary)

What we like: Panasonic is one of the few providers on this list that offers thin-film solar panels. Thin-film panels use one or more thin layers of photovoltaic material on glass, plastic, or metal. These are the most inexpensive type of panels available, but they have a lower efficiency rate than monocrystalline panels. As a result, they’re ideal for small projects such as a solar-powered shed or poolhouse. 

Panasonic Panel Warranties

Panasonic includes a 25-year warranty covering practically any issue, including improper installation, dips in performance, and technical problems. 

Panasonic’s Top Solar Panels

We recommend Panasonic’s EverVolt Black Series Module, a high-efficiency monocrystalline line. This is the only Panasonic series with a clean black design. It comes in 350, 360, or 370 watts.


Trina Solar

Fast Facts:

  • Efficiency rate: Up to 20.4%
  • Warranty options: 25-year product and power warranty
  • Cost per watt: $2.88

Panel options: Monocrystalline (black) and polycrystalline (blue)


What we like: Trina Solar is an excellent choice for an economical solar power system. Its Residential series features outputs ranging from 335 to 365 watts and a crisp all-black design. Its panels also use innovative half-cut cells rather than standard full-size square cells, doubling the standard 60-cell panel to 120 cells. In these panels, two “half-cut” cells are joined parallel at the center of a panel, but they operate independently. This means that if half of your panel is in the shade, the other half’s power output won’t decrease.

Trina Solar offers less-popular polycrystalline solar panels in addition to its monocrystalline options. Polycrystalline panels are more affordable but have a lower average efficiency rate of 20%. Nevertheless, they could be a good option if you require less power to run your home or have a smaller solar project.

Trina Solar Panel Warranties

Trina Solar’s 25-year product and power warranty covers malfunctions and performance and power output issues. 

Trina Solar’s Top Solar Panels

Read about Trina Solar’s panel options below. 

  • Vertex: These are Trina’s most powerful solar panels, generating 500 to 600 watts of power. However, they have a less aesthetically pleasing design with bright silver frames running up and down the panels. 
  • Vertex S: This is a smaller version of the Vertex series. The panels generate 390 to 405 watts and are ideal for smaller roofs. 
  • Residential: These panels are less powerful than the Vertex line, generating 365 watts, but they have an attractive black-on-black design.
  • TALLMAX: This series features the best of both worlds, with a slick black design and power ranges between 415 and 490 watts.


Canadian Solar

Fast Facts:

  • Efficiency rate: Up to 20.6%
  • Warranty options: 12-year product and 25-year performance
  • Cost per watt: $2.95

Panel options: Monocrystalline (black)

What we like: Canadian Solar offers cost-effective, high-quality solar panels. It’s an excellent choice for snowy climates, as the company claims its panels handle approximately 10% more snow than other manufacturers. 

Canadian Solar Warranties

Canadian Solar includes a 12-year product warranty covering technical malfunctions and a 25-year performance warranty covering any dips in performance.

Canadian Solar’s Top Solar Panels

Below are Canadian Solar’s two main solar panel lines:

  • HiKu: These panels are made from either polycrystalline or monocrystalline cells, offering a range of efficiency rates and power outputs. For example, the HiKu6 range offers outputs between 400 and 420 watts, while the HiKu7 range produces 640 to 670 watts.
  • HiDM: This line is designed with PERC cells in a shingled pattern. This packs more cells into a smaller space, resulting in high performance.



Fast Facts:

  • Efficiency rate: Up to 21.9%
  • Warranty options: 10-year labor warranty and 25-year product and performance warranty 
  • Cost per watt: $3

Panel options: Monocrystalline (black)

What we like: REC is one of Europe’s largest solar panel producers, but the company provides a variety of panels to North America, too. Its panels use half-cut cells and have a high temperature-coefficient rate of -0.37 to -0.26, meaning they lose minimal power during high temperatures.

REC Panel Warranties

REC provides a 10-year labor warranty covering improper installation and a 25-year product and performance warranty covering technical malfunctions.

REC’s Top Solar Panels

Rec’s Alpha series is cost-effective but high-performing:

  • REC Alpha: These panels are black with barely visible wires, though there are some lines from the frame. They come in 360 to 380 watts.
  • REC Alpha Pure: These sleek black panels reach upwards of 410 watts. They use lead-free materials to lessen your environmental impact.



Fast Facts:

  • Efficiency rate: Up to 30%
  • Warranty options: 40-year product and performance warranty
  • Cost per watt: $3.30

Panel options: Monocrystalline (black)

What we like: Maxeon was previously the in-house solar panel manufacturer for SunPower, one of our top recommended solar providers. The company now operates independently and offers its high-efficiency panels through various installers. Maxeon manufactures monocrystalline solar panels with efficiency rates of up to 30%. The panels are black with no grid lines and solid metal backing.

Maxeon also offers unique peel-and-stick solar panels. These panels are lightweight and minimalistic, as they don’t require a mounting system so long as your roof has an effective angle. 

Maxeon Panel Warranties

Maxeon offers a comprehensive 40-year warranty covering performance and all panel components.

Maxeon’s Top Solar Panels

Here are some of Maxeon’s best solar panel options:

  • M Series: These panels have built-in microinverters, eliminating complicated, messy wiring. Their power output ranges between 410 and 425 watts. 
  • X Series: These panels have high efficiency rates between 20.4% and 22.7% and clean white or black backing. They’re great for small roofs due to their compact design.
  • A Series: These powerful monocrystalline panels offer up to 420 watts with crisp white or black backing.


Our Recommendation

Finding affordable solar panels that don’t sacrifice quality can be difficult for homeowners. Though they’re not the cheapest, Maxeon offers high-efficiency panels with an impressive 40-year warranty at a fair price. Silfab is another excellent option for those who want panels with proven longevity and award-winning customer satisfaction.

We recommend getting quotes from at least three solar installers to compare prices and services closely. Use our free tool below to start your solar journey.

Homeowners Save $20,000 to $97,000 with Solar Panels on Average Over Typical System Life Span
Get a Quote on Your Solar Installation in 30 Seconds


Types of Solar Panels

A crucial step in your solar journey is deciding which type of solar panels you want. Read about the different kinds below to understand which may best suit your needs. 

Monocrystalline Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are the most popular. They have the highest efficiency rate at an average of 24% and a lifespan of 25 to 40 years. These panels are black, making it easier to blend them with your home.

Polycrystalline Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels use less pure silicon than mono panels, making them less efficient. They have an average efficiency rate of 20% and a lifespan of 25 to 35 years. They also tend to have lower heat tolerance and come in a more noticeable blue color instead of black. You may need a larger roof for these panels, as the lower efficiency rate means you’ll require a larger number of panels to meet your energy needs.

Thin-Film Panels

Thin-film panels are a newer solar panel type typically used for small solar projects, such as a shed or boat. They get their name from the thin layers of semiconductor materials used, including silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide. 

Thin-film solar panels are the least efficient type, with an average rate of 19%. They last 10 to 20 years. Thin-film panels are black, flat, and flexible in shape and size, giving them the sleekest appearance of the three.


Benefits of Installing Solar Panels

Solar panels benefit your home, community, and the earth. Learn about some of the most significant perks below. 

  • Earning tax credits: Solar panels grant you access to various tax credits and rebates. These vary by state, so check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to see which are available in your ZIP code. You can also take advantage of the federal government’s 30% solar investment tax credit (ITC)
  • Helping the environment: Coal and natural gas plants produce air and water pollution harmful to human health, while solar energy is clean. By converting to solar power, you help your community move away from a finite energy source and improve public health.
  • Increasing your home’s value: According to Tyler Adams, director of marketing at Astrawatt Solar, installing solar panels increases your home’s resale value by $15,000 on average.
  • Saving money: Solar panels lower your energy costs, even eliminating electricity bills in some cases. On-grid systems that produce excess energy can also earn profits through solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs). Your utility company either reduces your bill based on the excess energy produced or pays you the difference.


How Much Does Solar Installation Cost?

The cost of solar panels depends on various factors, including your location, energy needs, and selected products. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) estimates that the average cost for a standard 6-kilowatt (kW) residential solar system is $18,000, not including federal tax credits or local incentives. Read about the factors that influence solar installation costs below.

  • Additional equipment: Residential solar systems often require a solar battery to store excess energy. They also require an inverter, which converts your system’s direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) to use in your home. Most solar companies include an inverter in a solar system’s design, but requesting additional components or a specific brand, such as Tesla’s Powerwall battery, comes at a premium.
  • Labor: Labor costs 100% to 200% times the cost of your solar equipment. For example, a solar installation company will likely charge $24,000 to $36,000 for a $12,000 6 kW monocrystalline solar panel system. The smaller the installation project, the lower the cost. 
  • Payment option: Various options are available to pay for your solar system. Paying with a lump sum up-front is the most cost-effective, as you get ownership of your system and access to tax incentives. You can also opt for a solar loan to reduce initial costs, though you’ll pay more in the long run due to interest rates. Both solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) allow you to pay a monthly rate with little to no up-front costs. However, you’re only renting the equipment, so you won’t be eligible for tax incentives.
  • Solar panel type: Choosing more efficient, premium solar panels will increase your overall cost. Monocrystalline solar panels cost an average of $1 to $1.50 per watt, making a standard 6 kW system $6,000 to $9,000. Polycrystalline solar panels cost an average of $0.90 to $1 per watt, making a standard system $5,400 to $6,000.


Get a Quote on Your Solar Installation



House with installed solar panels on roof. Alternative energy

Inexpensive Solar Panels FAQ

Which solar panel costs the least?

Based on our research, Trina Solar and Silfab offer the least expensive solar panels while maintaining quality.

How do I get the best deal on solar panels?

You can take a few steps to get the best deal on solar panels.First, determine the average solar panel costs for your ZIP code.Then, check which reliable and well-regarded solar installers service your area.Finally, obtain free quotes from three providers and negotiate pricing with the one you like the most.

Can I install solar panels myself?

You can install solar panels yourself, but the project might be more work than you want. You need to know how to drive lag bolts, install prefabricated parts, and hook the system up to your electrical system and power grid. You’ll also need a free day or two to do the installation. You may save yourself time and money by simply hiring a professional.

How many solar panels am I allowed to put on my roof?

There is no limit to how many solar panels you can put on your roof. However, there may be a limit on how much power your solar panels are allowed to generate. Check with your utility company to learn if it limits the electricity a solar panel system can generate.

How We Chose the Top Solar Companies

We researched and analyzed dozens of solar panels and solar installation companies. We then formulated a rating system based on each solar installer or manufacturer’s services and products. We weighed several significant factors, including the quality and type of solar panels offered, the customer support network, warranty lengths and limitations, and additional benefits such as mobile apps for monitoring and customer service. 

Speaking directly to representatives, we determined how each solar company personalizes its solar panel installation for each home. We also analyzed each company’s warranty options to ensure their product and performance guarantees match or exceed industry standards. 

We evaluated each provider based on their rating and history with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to determine reputation. In addition, we analyzed the 100 most recent Google Reviews for each provider across various locations and branches.

Read more: Our Methodology

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