The HiHero range is the latest (and best) offering from Canadian Solar.

The HiHero range is the latest (and best) offering from Canadian Solar. (Image credit: CSI Solar)

Canadian Solar was founded in 2001 by Dr Shawn Qu and has grown dramatically since then, becoming one of the five largest solar panels module manufacturers in the world. Based in Ontario with manufacturing facilities across the world, the company has an annual production capacity of 25 GW. The company produces solar panels as well as raw silicon ingots, wafers and solar cells, which keeps manufacturing costs low.

The HiHero is an N-type HJT (heterojunction) PV solar panel. Compared to conventional solar cells, HJT cells generate more energy while exhibiting a lower temperature coefficient. This means less energy is lost as the temperature rises.

The HiHero 6 solar panel can produce up to 440 W and operates at an efficiency of 22.5%. It has a bifaciality factor of 90%, making it highly adaptable and easy to install. A back sheet prevents sunlight from entering the panel from behind and also enables any light that misses the cells to be captured and absorbed. This improves output and efficiency. A thin layer diffuses light and increases temperature performance without losing power in extremely high temperatures.

This solar panel’s high efficiency means that you can generate more power with fewer panels, making it ideal for homeowners with a limited budget or a small roof space.

The panels come with a 25-year materials and workmanship warranty and a 30-year linear power performance warranty, which gives you peace of mind for the years to come.

Technical information

Canadian Solar’s HiHero solar panels feature heterojunction technology (HJT) which can raise efficiency and power outputs to the highest levels. HJT combines crystalline silicon with amorphous silicon thin-film, producing a powerful hybrid cell with a performance that surpasses that of standard PERC solar panels.

With an output range of 415 W to 440 W, these panels are extremely powerful. They offer 22.5% efficiency. The panel technology includes no-LID properties, so energy can be harvested from very early in the morning and even in gloomy conditions.

  • Range: 415 W to 440 W
  • Efficiency: Up to 22.5%
  • Warranty: 25 years for materials and workmanship; 30 years for power output
  • Cost per panel: From £220 to £350 (estimate based on similar products)

Key features

Highlights: A solid 30-year power output warranty and high efficiency.

Key benefit: These panels offer above-average efficiency (22.5%) through powerful heterojunction technology, ensuring excellent performance.

Warranty: The Canadian Solar HiHero comes with a 25-year enhanced product warranty on materials and workmanship and a 30-year linear power output warranty.

Cost: The HiHero is relatively new to the market, so costs are not readily available. However, as a guide, Canadian Solar charges around £220 to £350 per panel in the UK for some of its other solar panels.

Pros and cons

Solar panels can reduce your energy bills considerably if you choose the right supplier and product. Carefully weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision.

Canadian Solar’s HiHero solar panels offer the following advantages:

  • Good efficiency: Canadian Solar HiHero panels reach up to 22.5% conversion, which allows you to implement a powerful solar power system that uses fewer modules and less space.
  • Improved hot spots and microcrack protection: Microcracks and hot spots can reduce your panels’ lifespan. The new design by Canadian Solar is less vulnerable to these problems, making the panels more efficient and durable.
  • Great performance in low-light areas: Many solar panels create less output in gloomy and overcast weather, but the performance of HiHero solar panels remains stable even under thick cloud cover.

You should also consider these potential disadvantages:

  • Reputation: Canadian Solar received some bad publicity in 2021 when The Globe and Mail reported that the company was operating near the Uyghur internment camp in China and cooperating with firms accused of using forced labour. The company has denied the allegations, but there is no telling how this will impact future imports to the UK.
  • Degradation: After 25 years of use, the power output of the Canadian Solar HiHero solar panels will drop to 84.8%. This is lower than products by SunPower, Panasonic and other brands.

How Canadian Solar HiHero solar panels work

Canadian Solar HiHero solar panels use the HJT production method (heterojunction technology). HJT solar panels are made from amorphous silicon (a-Si) cells laminated with crystalline silicon wafers and a transparent conducting oxide (TCO) layer. The crystalline silicon wafers increase efficiency stability, and the amorphous silicon side boosts light absorption.

This technology was previously only used by Panasonic, but it has increased in popularity. According to the 2019 International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic report, HJT cells will gain a market share of 12% by 2026.

Producing these panels also involves fewer steps than conventional PERC solar panels, which reduces the manufacturing cost. HJT also produces more energy over the system’s lifetime than a module with the same wattage that doesn’t use the same technology.

How does the Canadian Solar HiHero compare to other solar panels?

With their conversion efficiency of 22.5%, Canadian Solar HiHero panels are comparable to market-leading systems, including the SunPower Maxeon 3 and LG NeON R.

The SunPower Maxeon 3 is well-regarded for its high durability and a patented metal foundation, which is designed to withstand thermal stresses. The panel offers a generous 355–430 W output, which is comparable to the HiHero’s 415–440 W output. However, while the Maxeon 3 will only degrade to 88.3% efficiency after 40 years, the HiHero fares differently, degrading to 84.8% after 25 years. SunPower backs its product with a full 40-year warranty, much more generous than Canadian Solar’s 30-year performance warranty for the HiHero.

LG’s NeON R solar panel matches Canadian Solar’s HiHero with its 440 W output. The brand has a solid reputation for producing high-quality, high-performing solar panels and won the Inter Solar award for best solar panels three times.

Starting at £350, LG compares favourably to SunPower and Canadian Solar. On the downside, LG Solar is exiting the solar panel market. While LG’s solar panels are still available to buy through third-party sellers (and the company is honouring all warranties), this does cause uncertainty for the future.

What do Canadian Solar HiHero solar panels cost?

The Canadian Solar HiHero is a new product, so we couldn’t find pricing information. However, as a guide, the company’s cheapest solar panels (not the HiHero specifically) start at £220 per panel, and the more expensive models cost around £350 per panel.

Here’s how the HiHero’s price may compare to other models with similar outputs:

NameMax outputCost per panel (excluding extras and labour)
SunPower Maxeon 3430 WFrom £350
LG NeON R440 WFrom £350
Canadian Solar HiHero440 WFrom £220 to £350

Maintaining the Canadian Solar HiHero

Modern solar panels require very little maintenance after installation. Rainfall is usually enough to keep solar panels clean and functional. If debris or soiling (like bird droppings) block your solar panels, rinse them with a regular garden hose from the ground.

What the professionals say

“When the market demanded a more robust solar panel, Canadian Solar developed the HiHero 6 to answer the market’s feedback! Canadian Solar ran field tests, installing HiHero 6 solar panels in Australia, South America, and Europe and running comparisons. The results showed that even when module numbers are reduced, it can still produce the same kilowatt per hour. This is greatly beneficial for customers with small roof spaces, but who still want to generate big power.”

“With a conversion efficiency of 22%, this budget-friendly solar panel has thrown the gauntlet to the top-shelf elites like SunPower Equinox and LG NeON® R. When you realise that each HiHero panel yields about 430 W of energy, it becomes clear that this option is perfect for smaller homes or roofs with limited space. The panel technology includes no-LID properties, so your panels can start harvesting sunlight with no losses from the very [sic] morning. Unfortunately, where this outstanding solar panel lags behind is the performance degradation rate. The manufacturer guarantees that after 25 years of use, the power output will drop to no less than 84.8%, which is much lower than Panasonic, REC and SunPower.”

“The efficiency of Canadian Solar panels can be considered above average and generally ranges from 18.5% to 21%, with models like HiHero reaching 22% conversion rate. Going for the most efficient panels essentially means that you need less space for your system to meet your energy needs.”

Customer reviews

“[Canadian] Solar panels have 19–20% efficiency, 25-year warranties, and a 25-year power guarantee of 85%. They are the fourth-largest solar manufacturer by GW in the world and have been ranked as a Tier 1 manufacturer since Bloomberg started the rankings. Their black-on-black panels are sleek and beautiful. I would describe them as the Acura or Lexus of the panel world. Solid, dependable performance with very few problems.”

“Canadian Solar is a very reputable module manufacturer, around for 20 years or more. Despite the name, it is a Chinese company. They supply a lot of large, utility-scale solar projects, less so small residential systems. Very low risk to go with them, high quality and likely to be around in a few years when other smaller module makers are not (many have gone bankrupt in the last 10–15 years as the industry consolidates).”

“Solid product, adaptable to shading and low light, so far good output above expectations despite poor weather.”

Final recommendation

Canadian Solar HiHero offers industry-leading 22.5% efficiency through its innovative use of HJT technology. Like the brand’s shingled mono PERC HiDM models, HiHero solar panels are ideal if your house has limited roof space. Unlike the HiDM range, however, these panels are far more durable and efficient. With outputs that range between 415 and 440 W, you can enjoy remarkable power that rivals other market-leading models.

The only real downside is a higher drop in power output than some other products (84.8% after 25 years). However, bearing in mind that these panels can offer more power output in the short term, they’re still good value for money – especially if you plan to move house in the future.

The HiHero’s high-performance technology means you can afford to install fewer panels to generate the same amount of power. This is ideal if you have a limited budget or a small roof space. Ultimately, we always recommend weighing up the pros and cons before making a decision.

Our methodology 

To compile this Canadian Solar HiHero solar panel review, we read customer testimonials, professional opinions, technical documentation, media articles and other sources of online information. We then created a 100-point scoring system which evaluated the following:

  • The power rating of the solar panel, for a total score of 10 points;
  • The efficiency of the solar panel, for a total score of 15 points; 
  • The pricing of the solar panel (per panel), for a total score of 10 points;
  • The length of the warranty, for a total score of 10 points;
  • The level of service and support, for a total score of five points;
  • The durability of the solar panel, for a total score of 15 points;
  • The design of the panel, for a total score of five points;
  • The overall performance of the solar panel, for a total score of 15 points; and
  • Online ratings and reviews, for a total score of 15 points.