Branded PV panels

Does anyone have an opinion on which one to buy?
Assuming you have no preference and no need to match other installed panels.
This subject doesn’t appear to be the most contentious…

There is not that many companies the make the wafers or panels

Canadian Solar
JA Solar

Whichever one you can get at a good price, they are all good. That is to say, I don’t have strong opinions about this.


Often with difficult decisions the choice can come down to the warranty period.
Any differences in this department?

I have some anecdotal evidence for you:

  • I installed 29 x 400W Canadian Solar panels on our roof in June 2020. All still working with no issues whatsoever.
  • In mid 2021 I installed 8 x 420W Canadian Solar panels on my parents’ roof. Worked fine then and is still working fine.
  • Earlier this year we installed 10 x 400W JA Solar panels on the roof at our offices. No issues there either.

2019 installed 12 x 350w (4.2kw) Canadians.

In 2023 I still get peaks up to 5.45kw out of them.

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Thing is, I don’t think we’ll know which panels were the better ones until at least a decade or more later.

I have ten year old Tenesol panels on the roof, still showing now appreciable degradation and no physical signs of water ingress or other failure. In many ways they look better than the newer (by half) Canadian Solar panels, at least one of which does show a slight defect, though not one that appears to impact production.

My father has 15 year old Siemens panels driving a borehole pump, and while they are slightly discoloured, they too still make at least 90% of their original capacity.

He had old Setek panels (Japanese, no longer manufactured) that lasted from around 1988 to around 2003-ish, when they were taken down, and again they still made most of their 33W each, despite showing quite a big of discoloration.

In Switzerland there is a 41-year old plant, that shows quite a bit of degradation, discolouring, delamination, etc, but overall the panels still make 80% of capacity.

So, this really is a bit of a gamble over a very long period. None of us, who installed solar power only in the last few years, really know how this is going to pan out.



And adding to that, the same goes for 3000/6000 cycle batteries. All makes, even DIY.

15/20 years from now, we’ll know about panels and batteries.

Victron started in 1975, so that track record is solidly in place. SMA/MLT and a few other brands have also been “tried and tested”.

All the new inverter makes, time will tell.

So yeah, " a gamble over a very long period" on new brands/makes, panels, and batts.

Enjoy the journey.

I presume then that the same panel could be found with different branding? (given that the brand name is that of the assembler, not the manufacturer)

Yes lots of brands are just a rebrand of the manufacturer.
Some buy the B grade panels, rebrand with lower output. That is all fine if you know what you get. The top brands is the safer bet.

My the way compuuter chips are made in a similar way. The designs on those wafers are so tiny that you can’t always get the circuit they way it was intended, so some sections of the chip does not work. Those get sold as the cheaper model with less cores (the dead cores disabled) or with slower clocks.
Were talking CPU and GPU, etc, not normal ICs where the size is not so critical.

A practice called “binning”. Any chips that don’t perform at to speed, gets tossed in another lower-level bin. If there is more demand for the lower-spec chip, you castrate (in software, config bits) a larger chip and sell it as a smaller one. Costs less money overall to do it that way.

Reminds me a bit of the BMW seat heater debacle. Marketing figured out that less than 10% of their customers request a car without seat heaters. They saved more money by just building seat heaters into all cars and turning them off where people didn’t want them, than running two two production chains, two wiring harnesses, etc etc. Then someone had the bright idea to offer a cheaper “lease” option on the seat heaters… and the internet went crazy.


Breaking the mould is not always a good thing. BMW got some bad rep for that seat warmer option. :rofl:

Just to get back to branding. This is my understanding: Brands are the only way that produce a supplier/customer relationship that works both ways. It used to be the company that made the thing but no longer.

Indeed. And it is one of those cases, where I can kinda sorta see how ridiculous it is to lease something like that, but also, I fully understand how they ended up there, and actually, when you really look into the details: Nobody was charged any more money than they would have been in the old days. Seat warmers was always an optional extra. It always cost extra money to get it. You can still buy it outright, at roughly the same price as always.

Louis Rossmann (on YouTube) opined the reason the customer was upset, was because the saving BMW got for themselves (by fitting it to all cars) was not passed on to the consumer. Which, I am sorry to say, I reject. That’s the typical modern day entitlement thing, where you think you deserve to share in that saving.

Sorry Richard about derailing things a bit. But yeah, it speaks to marketing and how that works. Or not.

I believe that LG are going out of the solar panel business. Another brand which I consider reputable and innovative are REC.


These branded panels aren’t a good deal, right? Redirecting...

Works out to R3,00 per watt.

With the over supply of new panels these days you get R3,50 per watt for new 555W panels. Some places you don’t even have to buy in bulk.

It’s actually ridiculous how cheap they are…


Cause Canadians at R3 per watt is not bad at all. BUT, no warranty (for what its worth).

There’s the other issue with the number of panels required (more installation costs)
One needs another panel for every 2.5 panels installed to produce the same kW…