The Best Solar Panels in the UK for 2023: PV Panels Reviewed

We review the best solar PV and electric panels in the UK, covering everything from cost and installation to technical features, design and more
Nick Jones
by Nick Jones
22nd June 2023

The use of solar panels in the UK has exploded in recent years. According to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), which certifies low-carbon renewables and contractors, over 130,000 solar PV panel installations were completed in UK homes in 2022. That’s more than double the previous year.

There are many reasons for this growth, but the most important one is simple: solar electric panels for homes are getting more and more affordable. The cost of PV panels has fallen by around 70% in the last decade, making solar an increasingly attractive option for homeowners and businesses alike.

Solar PV Panel Roof Installation
Government incentives and solar panel grants have also played a role in boosting the growth of solar power in the UK. In 2010, the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) was introduced, offering a guaranteed price per kWh for electricity generated by renewable sources such as solar panels.

Although the FiT has since been replaced by the less generous Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), it helped to kickstart the UK’s solar revolution and made investing in solar panels a much more attractive proposition.

So, if you’re one of the many people now thinking of investing in solar panels for your home, take a look at some of our top solar PV panel recommendations.

Our Top Picks for the Best Solar Panels in the UK

Best solar panels overall: Jinko Tiger Neo 420W N-Type 54 Cell

Best warranty: Project Solar Evolution Titan 445

Best output: JA Solar JAM72S30

Most efficient: SunPower Maxeon 5 AC 415W

Best budget-friendly solar panels: JA Solar JAM60S20

Best European manufactured solar panels: Solarwatt Panel Vision 3.0

Our Methodology for Solar Panel Reviews

The primary objective of our reviews is to provide the most comprehensive, objective, and reliable recommendations for solar panels based on a set of established criteria. These criteria encompass performance, cost, longevity, manufacturer reputation, warranty, and ecological footprint.

  • Initial screening: This process involves identifying all available solar panels in the market and ensuring they adhere to basic safety and quality regulations. Panels that fail to comply with these standards are immediately eliminated from consideration.
  • Panel performance: By evaluating the efficiency of each solar panel, we can identify the high-efficiency panels. These generally require less space and can produce more power; however, it’s important to balance this against the cost.
  • Cost-effectiveness: The cost of the solar panel system includes both initial and ongoing expenses. We consider the cost per watt, return on investment, and potential savings in the long run. A good panel should be affordable without compromising performance.
  • Longevity and durability: A panel’s lifespan and resistance to environmental factors are crucial aspects.
  • Manufacturer’s reputation: We take into account the reputation and history of the manufacturer, looking for ones with a solid history and positive reviews.
  • Warranty: Warranties reflect the confidence of manufacturers in their products and provide assurance for the customers, so we consider the length, coverage and robustness of each warranty.
  • Ecological footprint: By taking into account the manufacturing process, materials used, and disposal or recycling options, we analyse the panel’s ecological credentials.
  • Customer reviews and expert opinions: By studying both customer and expert opinions, we gain insights into the actual performance of the panels. User reviews often highlight aspects not covered in the specifications.
  • Regular re-evaluation: We regularly re-evaluate our endorsements as new panels come onto the market, and existing ones undergo updates. This ensures our recommendations remain current and accurate.

Note: Our reviews are primarily designed to provide general advice. Individual needs and circumstances may vary, so it’s always recommended that customers do additional research or seek professional advice when choosing solar panels.

Best Solar PV Panels Overall: Jinko Tiger Neo 420W N-Type 54 Cell

  • Price per panel: £150 (exect cost dependent on the supplier selcted)
  • Maximum power output: 420W per panel
  • Efficiency rating: 21.51%
  • Product and performance warranty: 25-year product warranty, 30-year warranty for power output
  • Performance degradation: Annual degradation of 0.44%

Jinko Tiger Neo 420W Solar PV Panel Review

The criteria for choosing our best overall solar panel considered the following factors: an efficiency rating of over 21%, 15 years or more for the product warranty, and the panel needed to be priced between £150 and £200. The Jinko Tiger Neo 420W solar panel has all of the above features and will suit most UK homes’ solar needs.

Jinko Solar’s Tiger Neo 420W panel comes with a 21.5% efficiency rating, which is far higher than the average 20% identified through our research of over 50 solar panels. This rating paired with the panels’ maximum output of 420W (also above the industry average) will produce a high power output and should meet the requirements for two, three and four-bedroom homes in the UK.

Jinko Solar is a global solar manufacturer that’s headquartered in Shanghai, China. Jinko’s products can be found in 160 countries worldwide at affordable prices.

The Tiger Neo 420W has a 25-year product warranty and a 30-year warranty for power output. This means you’ll be protected for your panel’s entire lifespan, which is better than the market average warranty of just 15 years. As well as this, over a 30-year period, the panel has only a 0.44% performance degradation, whereas most solar panels degrade up to 2% within the first year.

Our thoughts on the Jinko Tiger Neo 420W solar panel

Jinko Solar’s Tiger Neo 420W is an excellent choice for most UK homeowners since it offers some of the best features overall.

The panel is affordable yet comes with a higher energy efficiency rating, product warranty and power output combined than other manufacturers.

Best Warranty: Project Solar Evolution Titan 445

  • Price per panel: £POA
  • Maximum power output: 445W per panel
  • Efficiency rating: 21.4%
  • Product and performance warranty: Lifetime warranty
  • Performance degradation: <10% over 25 years

Project Solar Evolution Titan Solar PV Panel Review

Project Solar is the largest, most accredited installer in the UK and has installed more than 45,000 panels across the nation. The award-winning company is best known for its outstanding lifetime product warranties.

The average warranty for solar panels is 15 years, and some of the best manufacturers will offer 25 years, which covers the average lifespan of a solar panel. Project Solar’s Evolution Titan 445 comes with a lifetime warranty – the longest on the market. This means your panels will be covered for as long as they’re on your roof.

The Evolution Titan 445’s innovative structure, low-temperature bonding and high-density layout help the panel achieve an above-average efficiency rating of 21.4%. The panel is also designed to retain optimal performance, even in low-light conditions, which is something many UK homeowners are concerned about when installing solar panels.

Our thoughts on the Project Solar Evolution Titan 445

Project Solar’s Evolution Titan 445 offers the best warranty on the market, but that’s not all it has to offer. This panel has an above-average efficiency rating and high power output. With Project Solar, panels are not priced individually – instead, the manufacturer will offer a bespoke price for your entire solar panel system when you contact it for a quote.

Best Output: JA Solar JAM72S30 PV Panels

  • Price per panel: £232.80
  • Maximum power output: 540W per panel
  • Efficiency: 20.9%
  • Product and performance warranty: 12-year product warranty, 25-year linear power output warranty
  • Performance degradation: Annual degradation of 0.55%

JA Solar JAM72S30 PV Panel Review

Founded in 2005, JA Solar is based in Shanghai, China, where it designs and manufactures solar panels. JA Solar has 12 manufacturing bases, which distribute its panels to 135 countries and regions worldwide.

Our research compared more than 50 solar panel systems, and the JAM7S30 panel achieved the best output. It offers an outstanding maximum 540W power output per panel, higher than any other product in our system database.

It was also important for our best power output choice to achieve an efficiency rating above 20%, which JA Solar’s JAM72S30 does. Although its 20.9% is lower than some other panels on the market, its low-performance degradation contributes to why it’s the best for output.

The JAM7S30 has an annual performance degradation of just 0.55%, which when compared to other solar panels that degrade by 2% in the first year alone, makes this panel an excellent choice for power output.

Our thoughts on the JA Solar JAM72S30

The JAM7S230’s high power output and low degradation rate will suit many households and has the potential to meet the requirements of households with four or more bedrooms without taking up too much roof space. The panel does come with a high price tag, but this is to be expected with a high output. One potential downside is that JA Solar’s panel only comes with a 12-year product warranty, which is lower than the market average of 15 years.

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Most Efficient Solar Panels: SunPower Maxeon 5 AC 415W

  • Price per panel: £514
  • Maximum power output: 415W per panel
  • Efficiency: 22.60%
  • Product and performance warranty: 25-year product warranty
  • Performance degradation: Annual degradation of 0.25%

SunPower Maxeom 5 Solar PV Panel Review

UK solar panel company SunPower’s products are manufactured by US-based Maxeon Solar Technologies. Both the Maxeon and SunPower products are installed in more than 100 countries. The average efficiency for solar panels is 20%, which is why the SunPower Maxeon 5 AC’s 22.6% efficiency really stood out to us throughout our research.

Surpassing its competitors, the Maxeon 5’s impressive efficiency rating is well-suited for homes of all sizes – but particularly those on the larger side. Its high efficiency rating means more solar energy is converted into electricity, maximising power generation and bill savings.

Another contributing factor as to why we’ve chosen the Maxeon 5 as our most efficient solar panel is its low performance degradation. The panel boasts a low degradation of just 0.25% per year – far lower than others we’ve found on the market during our panel research.

Our thoughts on the SunPower Maxeon 5 AC 415W

There’s a lot to like about SunPower’s Maxeon 5, with the most important being its high efficiency. It will also retain almost all of this efficiency for as long as possible with a low degradation rate.  Its efficiency rating alone is enough to entice homeowners, but the Maxeon 5 also comes with a 25-year product warranty – this mirrors solar panels’ average 25-year lifespan.

Best Budget-Friendly Solar Panels: JA Solar JAM60S20

  • Price per panel: £150
  • Maximum power output: 390W per panel
  • Efficiency rating: 19%
  • Product and performance warranty: 12 years product warranty, 25-year warranty for power output
  • Performance degradation: 83.1% after 25 years

JA Solar JAM60S20 PV Panel Review

The second JA Solar panel to make our list, the JAM60S20 is made up of a monocrystalline module that delivers excellent power output and long-term reliability at an affordable price. The panel has an efficiency of 19%, which is slightly below the market average – but its low price tag also reflects this.

The module’s unique design enables it to withstand harsh weather conditions and provides superior corrosion resistance. Additionally, the JAM60S20 features a tempered glass front sheet and a junction box with integrated bypass diodes to minimise power loss from shading.

With a maximum output of 390W, we wouldn’t recommend the JAM60S20 for larger households – it’s best suited for one or two-bedroom properties or those with lower electricity consumption.

The product only comes with a 12-year warranty, which is less than the 15-year average. However, its entry-level price point makes this solar panel system an accessible, budget-friendly option for homeowners.

Our thoughts on JA Solar JAM60S20 solar panels

When it comes to choosing solar panels, the JA Solar JAM60S20 is a strong budget-friendly choice for high efficiency, long-term reliability and superior corrosion resistance.

Although the JAM60S20 doesn’t come with the longest product warranty, its 25-year power output warranty shows that these panels are built to last. All things considered, this is a good budget-friendly option with features to suit small households.

Best European-Manufactured Solar Panels: Solarwatt Panel Vision 3.0

  • Price per panel: Around £250 depending on the supplier
  • Maximum power output: 380W
  • Efficiency rating: 19.6%
  • Product and performance warranty: 30-year product warranty, 30-year performance warranty
  • Performance degradation: Not specified

Solarwatt Panel Vision 3.0 Solar PV Panel Review

German manufacturer Solarwatt’s panels are recognised for their aesthetic appeal, high quality, and innovative glass-glass technology. Designed with solar cells sandwiched between two glass panels, the modules benefit from enhanced durability against the elements and increased longevity.

Solarwatt offers one of the most comprehensive solar panel warranties in the industry. The Vision 3.0 panels come with a 30-year product and performance warranty, reflecting the company’s confidence in the longevity and performance of its product. This warranty provides peace of mind to customers, who can trust that their solar investment has been protected for decades.

The Vision 3.0 also provides a reduced yield reimbursement. If the annual yield falls below the calculated forecast during cloudy weather or through a faulty module or inverter, you’ll receive a refund for any loss of income. This sits alongside their 100% protection against PID (potential-induced degradation).

Solarwatt’s Full Coverage insurance plan protects you against material damage and construction faults. The panels come with five years’ free coverage, which can be extended for a further 10 years if desired.

Solarwatt’s PV panels not only generate green energy but are also manufactured in a manner that minimises environmental impact. The company has taken significant steps to ensure the production process is as eco-friendly as possible. In addition, the panels are recyclable, reducing waste when they eventually reach the end of their operational life.

Beyond their performance, Solarwatt has also paid close attention to the aesthetic design of the Vision 3.0 panels. Their sleek, all-black design blends seamlessly with various types of house, making them an attractive choice for homeowners who value the appearance of their properties.

Our thoughts on Solarwatt Panel Vision GM 3.0 solar panels

Solarwatt’s Vision 3.0 solar panels are a great choice for anyone considering making the switch to solar energy. They offer high efficiency, extreme durability, an appealing design, robust warranties and guarantees, and an environmentally friendly production process. Plus, as they’re EU-manufactured, you can reduce the carbon footprint of installing your panels in the first place.

By continuing to innovate and focus on quality, Solarwatt is driving the solar industry forward, making renewable energy more accessible and appealing to consumers.

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Solar Panel FAQs

1. How do solar PV panels work?

Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity. They do this using an array of photovoltaic (PV) cells made from semiconductor materials such as silicon.

When light hits a PV cell, it causes electrons to be knocked loose from their atoms. These electrons flow through the cell and into an electrical circuit, generating an electric current. An inverter converts this DC current into AC current for household use

The PV cells are connected together in a series to form a solar panel, and multiple panels can be connected to create a solar array.

2. How can you benefit from installing solar panels?

There are many benefits to installing solar panels, including:

  • Reducing your electricity bills: Solar panels can significantly reduce your electricity bills by generating free energy from the sun. Research by the Energy Saving Trust estimates that the average household in England, Scotland or Wales could save between £310 and £610 per year on their energy bills (depending on system specification and household electricity usage, and including the Smart Export Guarantee).
  • Reducing your carbon footprint: Solar panels are a clean and renewable source of energy, so generating your own electricity with solar power will help to reduce your household carbon emissions.
  • Increasing the value of your home: Making your home more energy efficient with solar panels can make it more attractive to potential buyers. In the UK, this could increase the value of your property by around £2,000, according to research by trade association Solar Energy UK.

3. What does solar panel installation involve?

Solar panel installation in the UK typically involves the following:

  1. A site survey: Your installer will assess the suitability of your property for solar panels and determine the best location for them, based on the orientation of your roof and any nearby obstructions, such as trees.
  2. Planning permission checks: In most cases, you won’t need planning permission or other consents to install solar panels on your property. However, there are some exceptions, such as listed buildings. It’s therefore always best to check with your local authority before you start any work.
  3. Solar panel installation: This usually takes one to two days. For roof-mounted panels, a series of rails is anchored to your roof, onto which the panels are  mounted. The electrical components are then connected to the panels. However, you can also have integrated panels where the panels replace the tiles, which gives a sleeker finish. If you’re self building a new home you’ll also save on roofing materials vs on-roof systems.
  4. System commissioning: Once the solar panels are fitted, your installer will ensure that the system is working correctly and safely. If you want to access the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), you’ll need to use a MCS-certified system and installer. Once you’ve received your certificate, you can register the install with an SEG-licensed energy supplier.
  5. Solar panel maintenance: Solar panels should work efficiently without annual servicing, as most are self-cleaning. Solar panel installation in the UK usually comes with a warranty of 10-25 years, so you can be confident that your investment is protected. The inverter is typically the first part of a system to need maintenance; expect to replace this after around 10 years.

4. How can you get the best deal on solar panels?

There are a few things you can do to make sure you get the best deal on your solar panels:

  • Shop around: Get at least three quotes from different suppliers to compare prices.
  • Check for discounts and offers: Some suppliers offer discounts for customers who buy online or in bulk.
  • Haggle: Don’t be afraid to negotiate a better price with your chosen supplier.
  • Compare like-for-like: When deciding between installers’ quotes, double-check what products, installation options, aftercare etc is included to ensure you’re getting the service you expect at a price you’re happy with.
  • Check the small print: Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of any contract before you sign it.

5. How much can you save with solar panels?

Solar PV systems generate electricity that can be used to power your home or business. Any surplus energy can be sold back to the National Grid, via the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). This means that you could potentially save money on your energy bills and even make a profit from your investment.

The amount of money you’ll save will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your system, the amount of sunlight you get and the current price of electricity. Generally speaking, however, you can expect to see a return on your investment within 10 years.

You can also consider adding solar PV battery storage to your solar panel installation. Battery systems can help to maximise the amount of site-generated energy you use, further reducing electricity bills.

6. Are solar panels worth it?

A solar PV system is one of the most efficient and effective ways of generating renewable energy, and the savings you make on your energy bills can quickly add up.

With prices falling and government incentives available (VAT for solar panel installs has been reduced to 0% until 2027), there has never been a better time to invest in solar panels.

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