Cheap Solar Panels (2022 Guide to Affordable Solar Panels)

Are cheap solar panels any good?

The cheapest panels are usually made in China (with the US and Germany right behind), and some are cheap for a reason. They can be accompanied by underlying problems, mainly in the form of violations of environmental and labor rights in their production process.

Cheap solar panels also tend to be less durable and will likely have a shorter lifespan. In fact, the cheapest initial options sometimes end up being the most expensive in the long run. A good comparison is buying a car. Although the cheap upfront cost of a beater may be the most tempting, frequent repairs, poor gas mileage and health checks can outweigh the initial savings within a few years.

However, for those whose most important consideration is price, there are still good, inexpensive solar panel options on the market today to turn your home into a renewable energy source.

Top 5 cheap solar panels

Below are the five cheapest solar PV panels (at least 100W rated) on the market. Keep in mind that the current industry minimum for solar panels capable of powering a home is around 300W.

Panels between 100W and 300W can be suitable for DIY solar projects, off-grid systems, and charging items such as portable generators or small appliances. Note that prices and availability fluctuate based on inventory, demand and supply chain issues. Prices change often when sellers have an oversupply, so sales are frequent.

Customers will not be able to purchase certain brand panels directly, as they must be ordered from a distributor.

Cheap Solar Panel Price per panel Nominal power Price per watt efficiency rate guarantee
Renogy 100W 12 Volt Solar Panel $125 100W $1.25 21% 1 year material warranty
LONGi #LR6-60-HPB-350M $225 350W $0.60 20.3% 25 year limited warranty
Canadian Solar Model #CS1H-315MS $225 315W $0.71 18.68% 25 year output guarantee
Solar Silfab – SIL-330 NL $250 330W $0.76 17.3% 12-year module warranty
LONGi #LR4-60-HPH-360M $260 360W $0.72 19.8% 25 year output guarantee

To get a clear idea of ​​which panels are best suited for your home, contact one of our preferred partners below.

Vs cheap. Affordable solar panels

There is a key distinction between cheap solar panels and the most affordable solar panels. Cheap only considers the price. Affordability involves factors beyond initial price, such as price per watt (ie, bang for your buck), panel efficiency, and warranty.

A cheap solar panel is worthless if it breaks down without a warranty to replace it. The cost of a solar panel is set by the manufacturer and involves a variety of factors, from production cost to expected lifespan. Let’s break down the factors that go into solar panel costs.

Efficiency of solar panels

The higher the efficiency of a panel, the higher the output power of each solar cell will be. Efficiency is important because a homeowner will need to buy far fewer panels to meet their energy needs with higher-efficiency panels. The most efficient solar panels generally cost more to manufacture, which increases their price and their total cost of installation.

Powered by solar panel

The power, or wattage, of a solar panel reflects how many watts (W) of energy the panel is capable of generating when producing at maximum capacity. Most modern residential solar panels have power factors between 300 and 350W.

As is the case with high efficiency panels, a customer should purchase fewer panels overall if they have a higher power output. Although they generally have a higher initial cost, high-efficiency panels will provide better value over time.

Solar panel warranty

A warranty is simple to understand, but no less important to consider. With the average lifespan of a solar panel system being around 25 years, warranties are essential to ensure reliable power generation. Although solar panels are very durable, a lot can happen over 25 years.

Falling tree branches can crack a panel, critters on the roof can chew through wiring, and untreated water damage can corrode a system. Some of the cheapest panels come with the worst warranties, and costs can add up quickly if a solar power system runs into trouble.

Quality of solar panels

Similar to the efficiency and power of solar panels, the cost of a solar panel has a lot to do with its quality. The cheapest solar panels on the market will be of the lowest quality, making them much more prone to breakdowns, problems and rapid aging. The higher the quality of parts in a solar panel, the more expensive it becomes. However, this is just another time when “cheap” panels are far from the most affordable solar panels in the long run.

5 solar panels with the best value for money

With all that in mind, here are our recommendations for the most affordable home solar panels on the market in 2022.

Most affordable solar panel Price per panel Nominal power Price per watt efficiency rate guarantee
LONGi #LR6-60-HPB-350M $225 350W $0.60 20.3% 25 year limited warranty
Hanwha Q Cell 340W Q.PEAK DUO $240 340W $0.70 19% 25 year warranty
Canadian Solar Model #CS1H-315MS $225 315W $0.71 18.68% 25 year output guarantee
LONGi #LR4-60-HPH-360M $260 360W $0.72 19.8% 25 year output guarantee
JA Solar Technology JAM60S10 -340/MR $240 330 $0.73 20.2% 25 year output guarantee

LONGi and Q Cell are two of the most affordable solar brands that maintain their reputation for good quality at low prices. As you can see, they both offer great price per watt and efficiency without sacrificing warranty. A low price per watt, high efficiency solar installation offers a number of benefits for a solar customer.

With more power and efficiency per panel, a homeowner won’t need to purchase as many panels to meet their household energy needs.

To get a clear idea of ​​which panels are best suited for your home, contact one of our preferred partners below.

Karsten Neumeister

Solar expert

Karsten Neumeister is a solar energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Prior to joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in New Orleans’ renewable energy sector, focusing on solar energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten can rock climb, canoe or write songs when he’s not at work.