Whether you’re trying to save the earth or your electric bill, solar panels can be an excellent way to power your home. As the cost of electricity continues to rise, solar panels have emerged as an increasingly viable, competitive option to keep the lights on in your home.
However, choosing the best solar panels for your home isn’t as simple as it seems. Between weighing the costs of a high-level solar panel installation and distinguishing the differences between the competition, shopping for them is more than enough to make your head spin.
No need to fret; we’ve done the hard work for you. After countless hours of research on individual products and the science of solar energy, as well as comparing dozens of reputable independent reviews and testimonials, we found Kyocera’s KD315GX-LPB to be the best solar panels overall.
Kyocera’s polycrystalline module combines top-of-the-line energy efficiency, high-wattage power output and a stylishly sleek look to take our top spot. Stay tuned for our full review of the Kyocera KD315GX-LPB below.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- How We Chose the Best Solar Panels
- Other Solar Panels to Consider
- Full Review of the Best Solar Panels
- Our Final Thoughts
How We Chose the Best Solar Panels
With all the factors that play into finding the right solar panels, this one was admittedly a bit tough to break down. To get to the answers, we spent about 40 hours sifting through information on solar panels and solar energy. We put a great deal of time and care into researching a number of reputable companies until we found the best one.
Like just about everything there is to shop for, finding a one-size-fits-all approach is next to impossible, especially with the number of factors that go into shopping for solar panels. The first and most important step is to understand how they work.
In a nutshell, solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity. The solar cells within the panel use a photovoltaic material, typically either monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon, to absorb the energy of the sun. This causes the electrons within the material to escape and be captured to create an electrical current.
Since the obvious necessity for solar panels to work efficiently is the presence of sunlight, your geography is the biggest determining factor in whether it’s viable to go solar. For example, those who live in Barrow, Alaska, which doesn’t see the sun for more than two months every winter, will definitely want to consider another power source until the bright summer days roll around.
Therefore, we analyzed the factors behind going solar and chose the best overall option for the majority of people. The right solar panel should balance a strong power output, an inconspicuous design and a high energy efficiency, all while staying relatively affordable.
For us, the Kyocera KD315GX-LPB hit all of the right notes and clearly stood above the rest as the best solar panel on the market.
Other Solar Panels to Consider
Yingli Solar Panda 60 Cell Series
The good: Yingli Solar’s Panda 60 Cell Series was very close to being our top overall pick. The Chinese company provides more than 60 million solar panels across the globe, for good reason. This monocrystalline solar panel boasts a respectable maximum energy efficiency of 17.2 percent and flexible wattage ranging from 260 to 280 watts. For the customer looking for a flexible off-the-grid power solution, Yingli is a strong contender.
The not-so-good: One of the Panda 60 Cell Series’ strengths happens to also be what kept Yingli out of our top spot. While flexibility is desirable for many homes, the optimal solar panel for the majority of customers needs to have a higher power output.
Canadian Solar CS6X-305M
The good: Canadian Solar’s CS6X-305M was another strong contender for the top pick and definitely deserves some attention. These monocrystalline panels are built to fit easily into modern architecture and average an energy efficiency of 15.9 percent. Additionally, they are built to last and are considered among the most durable on the market, making them a great option for anyone living in a bad-weather-prone area of the country.
The not-so-good: The power output is suitable, but not as impressive as other competitors. It’s also slightly on the expensive side.
Hanwha Solar HSL 60 Mono Module
The good: The HSL 60 Mono module isn’t what you’d consider a rock star in the world of solar panels, but it’s a sturdy and reliable option. Boasting a 12-year product warranty and a 25-year performance warranty, you can expect to get a great bang for your buck with this one. The HSL 60 offers an energy efficiency of about 16 percent and is built to withstand severe outdoor conditions, making it a workhorse for any home that weathers the elements.
The not-so-good: This panel simply doesn’t compete on power output, offering a maximum of 265 watts. In general, it doesn’t excel in many areas and is best reserved for those looking for a solid and relatively affordable option.
Full Review of the Best Solar Panels: Kyocera KD315GX-LPB
Converting to solar power can be a good thing for many reasons. Obviously, any effort to lessen our impact on the environment and to push toward clean energy is commendable, to say the least. But for most of us, the biggest reason to go solar is to combat the eternally escalating price of electrical power and save a little more hard-earned cash every month, and there is no shame in that.
Assuming you live in a geographically solar-friendly area, the right solar panels can save you hundreds of dollars each month, making it worth the initial cost. In our research, we found the Kyocera KD315GX-LPB solar panel to be the best bang for the buck, whether you’re buying just a few or completely converting to solar power.
Kyocera’s polycrystalline module is an impressively well-designed solar panel, bringing a solid 16 percent energy efficiency while generating 315 watts of power, all wrapped in a sleek, low-profile panel. Although there are other companies that offer slightly higher energy efficiency, most are monocrystalline-based and far more expensive.
Aside from the obvious benefits of an affordable high-efficiency panel, the Kyocera is also durable. The panels can withstand an industry standard of 113 pounds of pressure per square foot from snow or ice, making them safe just about anywhere you can use them. It can also safely take abuse from 1-inch-diameter hail hurtling at up to 51 miles per hour.
These panels can survive some pretty extreme temperature changes as well, from 40 degrees below zero to 194 degrees Fahrenheit. (Frankly, if your home experiences either of these temperature extremes, we would kindly suggest that you move and be sure to check our site for ideas on your new home.)
The company offers a five-year product warranty to guarantee that the workmanship of the product holds up. Additionally, Kyocera will also cover the performance of the panel at 80 percent of its minimum-rated power for 20 years, giving you peace of mind for your power source.
If you’ve never owned a solar panel, you may be wondering about the upkeep necessary. While some can be a chore to keep functioning, our top pick prides itself in being easy to maintain. With these panels, occasional cleaning with water and detergent will do the trick, along with an annual check-up to make sure the connections are intact.
Although this solar panel was the best we could find, it’s not perfect for everyone. For one thing, it weighs an uncomfortable 60 pounds, making it a possible chore to work with. Also, Kyocera doesn’t offer a live-chat function on its website, which can be a real headache if you need a question answered quickly by the manufacturer.
All in all, the Kyocera KD315GX-LPB solar panel is the best overall option on the market. Whether you’re buying a single panel or fully converting your home, this is the brand we recommend. With its energy efficiency and high power output at an affordable cost, this is the ideal panel to help you make the switch to solar power.
Who Is It Best For, and Who Should Skip It?
The Kyocera KD315GX-LPB solar panel is good for anyone looking to achieve energy efficiency and power output without shelling out for more expensive monocrystalline modules. Kyocera owners will also have peace of mind with it being a well-built, durable solar panel.
Although it blends the best of many worlds, Kyocera’s panel isn’t as energy efficient as its monocrystalline counterparts. If you have the expendable income to shell out for a monocrystalline panel that reaches 19 or 20 percent efficiency, you may want to explore that option.
What Made the Kyocera KD315GX-LPB Solar Panels Stand Out?
- Unrivaled customer satisfaction
- Across-the-board affordable rates
- Consistently fair payouts
- Great discounts and bundling opportunities
- Top-of-the-line applications and tools
Types of Solar Panels
Choosing the right solar panels for you will depend on a number of individual factors, including geography, current electricity costs and preference of solar-cell materials. Without getting too bogged down in jargon, let’s take a quick look at the two main photovoltaic materials and how they can affect the cost and performance of your solar panel.
Monocrystalline silicon: This is the highest-grade silicon you can get in a solar panel. Because of this, monocrystalline panels are by far the most efficient on the market, typically featuring 15 to 20 percent energy efficiency.
In addition, these solar panels are more space efficient, since they put out more power than other photovoltaic materials. They also tend to be the longest lasting panels money can buy.
All of that sounds pretty good, right? Well, it comes at a cost. Monocrystalline solar panels are almost always the most expensive ones on the market. That being said, the name of the game is to trim energy costs over many years. Monocrystalline panels are typically a worthwhile investment and will be around for years to come.
Polycrystalline silicon: This is much cheaper to produce than monocrystalline, which makes it a more affordable option to power your home. However, the money saved upfront will be much greater than the money trimmed from your energy bill.
Polycrystalline panels typically offer only 13 to 14 percent energy efficiency. In addition to usually being low on energy efficiency, these panels also tend to be less space efficient and less aesthetically pleasing.
However, the Kyocera KD315GX-LPB is something of an exception to the downsides of many polycrystalline silicon solar panels. It combines monocrystalline-level energy efficiency and durability with polycrystalline affordability.
What Makes a Great Home Solar Panel?
- High energy efficiency
- Solid power output
- Discreet design
- Relative affordability
- Resilience against the elements
- Adequate solar cell count
- Extensive product and performance warranty
- Durability for many years
Our Final Thoughts
Converting to solar energy can be a mutually beneficial action. Not only can you trim your electricity bill and reduce your environmental footprint, but also you can contribute to the ever-increasing movement toward sustainable clean energy. After all, just about all of us under the sun need electricity — so why not use the sun itself?
Although there are hundreds of viable options for solar panels, we couldn’t find one better than the Kyocera KD315GX-LPB. By combining respectable energy efficiency and a high-wattage output, Kyocera’s panel sets itself apart as the best way for the most people to harness the power of the sun.
As a safety tip, remember that it’s not typically a good idea to install solar panels yourself; it’s best to hire a professional to assist with the installation. If you’re connecting to your local power grid, be sure to have that inspected by a professional as well.
If we’ve piqued your interest, take a look at our list of guides below. We conducted a thorough investigation of the solar industry in 25 different locations — including a province of Canada!