Key takeaways

  • Top Solar Brands for 2024: Discover the top-rated solar panel brands according to the RETC PV Module Index Report, highlighting their performance, reliability, and quality.
  • Testing Standards: Understand the rigorous testing criteria including reliability, performance, and quality that these brands excelled in.
  • Industry Trends: Gain insights into emerging trends like ultra-large-format PV panels and future technological advancements in solar energy.

hinking about going solar? Brilliant! It's your ticket to saving big on energy and doing your bit for the planet. But with a galaxy of brands in today's market, how are you supposed to know which solar panels truly stand out? SunValue has got your back as we dive into the who's who of solar panel brands of 2024, based on the RETC PV Module Index Report.

You will uncover the standards used to assess these brands and see which ones shine through as the best picks for cost-effectiveness and performance for your home. By the end, you'll have a clear understanding of which solar panels will give you the best bang for your buck.

What is the RETC PV Module Index Report?

The Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC) PV Module Index Report is an all-encompassing review that rates solar panel brands based on how well they perform in a series of stringent tests. It's a respected resource in the industry, offering essential knowledge for both individual consumers and businesses.

RETC is an independent lab with a focus on testing, inspecting, and certifying solar and energy storage products. Their reports shine a spotlight on what different solar panel brands are doing right, as well as areas where they may need to improve.

Test Categories Explained

Understanding the key categories in which solar panels are tested can help you grasp what sets the top brands apart. The RETC compares modules based on three primary criteria. Let's go over them!


Reliability is crucial because it determines how well a solar panel will perform over its expected lifespan, typically around 25 to 30 years. The RETC's reliability tests include:

  • Thermal Cycling: Measures how well the panel can handle intense temperature swings.
  • Damp Heat: Tests the module's durability in humid and freezing conditions.
  • Dynamic Mechanical Load: Judges the panel's strength against physical pressures and shaking.


Performance metrics show how efficiently a solar panel converts sunlight into electricity. These are important to figure out the panel's real-world effectiveness:

  • Module Efficiency: Measures how much of the sun's rays the panel can convert into usable power.
  • Temperature Coefficient: Shows how performance is affected by temperature changes.
  • Light-Induced Degradation: Tracks the decrease in solar power efficiency over time.
  • Potential-Induced Degradation: Tests the modules' resistance to degradation caused by high voltage.


Quality tests focus on the structure and materials used in the solar panel. Top-notch panels have less chance of problems, providing you with superior performance and a longer lifespan. Here's what we look at:

  • Material Integrity: Evaluates how strong the backsheet and encapsulant are.
  • Glass Durability: Assesses how well the solar glass can resist impacts and weathering.
  • Manufacturing Consistency: Ensures that each panel meets the same high standards.

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Main Findings

The 2024 RETC report highlighted several key findings that are crucial for homeowners to consider.

High Achievers

Eight percent of the models tested met RETC’s rigorous standards to be recognized as “Overall Highest Achievers.” These models excelled in reliability, performance, and quality, making them top contenders for your home solar system.

Red Flags

Interestingly, 14% of the models showed some form of red flag, indicating potential issues in one or more areas. This serves as a caution for buyers to thoroughly research and choose reputable brands.

Industry Trends

The report also shines a light on upcoming trends, such as the increasing use of ultra-large-format PV panels and the associated risks. By getting to grips with these trends, you'll be better placed to make knowledgeable choices.

Highlighting the Best Brands

According to RETC's 2024 solar company reviews, a few manufacturers stand out and are recognized as outstanding performers, meeting the stringent criteria across all three categories. They've persistently showcased exceptional work in module production, raising the standards for everyone else in the business. Let's get to know some of the industry leaders.

JA Solar

JA Solar shines brightly in multiple categories, including thermal cycling, damp heat, and hail resistance tests. Their panels showed less than 2% degradation in critical tests, which highlights their strong and trustworthy performance.

LONGi Solar

A notable standout was LONGi Solar, especially with their stellar results in thermal cycling and light-induced degradation exams. The brand's commitment to quality and performance is clearly reflected in their consistently superior results across different stress tests.

Trina Solar

Trina Solar's modules prove to be top-notch in degradation tests, especially ones prompted by ultraviolet exposure and high voltage. Their commitment to superior materials and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques has paid off, making them a reliable choice for PV projects.


Qcells is famed for its most efficient home solar panels. These modules shine when it comes to managing light- and temperature-induced wear, as well as PAN file characterization. If you need high energy outputs, their panels are your best bet.


Astronergy outperforms in several reliability challenges, including both static and dynamic mechanical strain and hail endurance tests. This robustness, particularly in severe conditions, ranks their modules amongst the best for long-term setups.

Silfab Solar

Silfab Solar's panels did exceedingly well in tests that look at how they perform under various temperatures.  Their strong focus on ensuring maximum energy output in different weather conditions truly distinguishes them from others in the solar market.


Gstar has proven to be outstanding in terms of reliability and quality, using high-grade materials and scoring high on thermal cycling trials. The results of their tests speak volumes about their devotion to keeping quality high.

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What's in Store for the Future of Solar?

Future of Solar

Solar energy's future is looking bright, with advancements in technology and a growing interest in renewable energy. Let's take a look at what trends are on the horizon.

Tech Game-Changers

Expect industry-changing innovations like bifacial panels and perovskite solar cells. These exciting new technologies are set to offer greater effectiveness at lower prices, making solar energy a practical choice for more homeowners.

Boosting Performance

There's a lot of research and development happening in the background to make solar panels most efficient. An increase in PV panel efficiency means more energy from the same amount of sunlight, bringing down the cost of solar panels over time.

More People Going Solar

As the price tag keeps falling, we're likely to see more homeowners turning to cheap solar energy solutions. This surge in adoption will stimulate even more innovation and enhancements in solar technology.


Picking the best solar panel brand is a must to get the most out of your investment and do your part for the environment. The RETC PV Module Index Report is your handy guide – it provides the need-to-know details about the best-performing solar panel companies. For all you homeowners and soon-to-be solar buyers, grasping the dependability and efficiency of different manufacturers could seriously tip the scales in your favor.

Key takeaways

Jul 5, 2024
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