Top 5 Best Cheap Solar Panels (2022 Affordable Solar System Guide)

Top 5 Best Cheap Solar Panels (2022 Affordable Solar System Guide)

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:

  • What are the best affordable solar panels?
  • Are cheap solar panels worth it?
  • How to get cheap solar panels
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Are Cheap Solar Panels the Best Option for Your Home?

Solar technology is improving each year, which has helped to drive down the cost of going solar. However, there is a still a decent range in price between the cheapest solar panels and the most expensive options.

Whether you’re a homeowner who’s trying to work within a fixed budget or you’re a frugal shopper who appreciates a great value, low-cost solar panels may very well be the best option for your home.

Below, we’ve listed the best affordable solar panels that are on the market today. Continue reading for more details about each of these, as well as what you should know before purchasing one.

  1. Renogy 100W 12 Volt Solar Panel
  2. LONGi #LR6-60-HPB-350M
  3. Canadian Solar Model #CS1H-315MS
  4. Silfab Solar – SIL-330 NL
  5. LONGi #LR4-60-HPH-360M
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SunPower

Best National Provider

Nationwide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer
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Blue Raven Solar

Best Solar Financing

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation

Cons

  • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)
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ADT Solar

Best Warranty Coverage

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Industry-leading warranty coverage
  • Expansive service area

Cons

  • Some reported communication issues
  • No leases or PPAs

What Are the Top 5 Cheap Solar Panels?

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

Panels between 100W and 300W may be suitable for DIY solar projects, off-grid systems and charging things like portable generators or small appliances. Note that prices and availability fluctuate with inventory, demand and supply chain issues. Prices change often when vendors have surplus supply, so sales are frequent.

Customers will not be able to purchase some brands’ panels directly, as they must be ordered from a distributor.

Cheap Solar Panel Price Per Panel Power Rating Price Per Watt Efficiency Rating Warranty
Renogy 100W 12 Volt Solar Panel $125 100W $1.25 21% 1-year materials warranty
LONGi #LR6-60-HPB-350M $225 350W $0.60 20.3% Limited 25-year warranty
Canadian Solar Model #CS1H-315MS $225 315W $0.71 18.68% 25-year output warranty
Silfab Solar – 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 warranty

To get an accurate idea of what panels are best for your home, connect with one of our preferred partners below.

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Cheap Vs. Affordable Solar Panels

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

A cheap solar panel isn’t worth anything if it breaks without a warranty to replace it.  The cost of a solar panel is set by the manufacturer and involves a variety of factors, from cost of production to expected lifetime. Let’s break down the factors that go into solar panel costs.

Solar Panel Efficiency

The greater a panel’s efficiency, the more energy each solar cell’s power output will be. Efficiency matters, as a homeowner will have to buy far fewer panels to meet their energy needs with higher-efficiency panels. The most solar efficient panels usually cost more to manufacture, raising their price point and total installed cost.

Solar Panel Power

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 true with high-efficiency panels, a customer needs to purchase fewer panels overall if they have a higher power output. While they’ll typically have a greater upfront cost, high-output panels will provide better value over time.

Solar Panel Warranty

A warranty is simple to understand, yet no less important to consider. Bearing in mind that the average lifetime of a solar panel system is about 25 years, warranties are essential in ensuring reliable energy output. Though solar panels are very durable, a lot can happen over 25 years.

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

Solar Panel Quality

Similar to solar panel efficiency and power, the cost of a solar panel has much to do with its quality. The cheapest solar panels on the market will be of the poorest quality, making them far more prone to breaks, issues and quick aging. The higher the quality of the 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 Best Value Solar Panels

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

Most Affordable Solar Panel Price Per Panel Power Rating Price Per Watt Efficiency Rating Warranty
LONGi #LR6-60-HPB-350M $225 350W $0.60 20.3% Limited 25-year 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 warranty
LONGi #LR4-60-HPH-360M $260 360W $0.72 19.8% 25-year output warranty
JA Solar Technology JAM60S10 -340/MR $240 330 $0.73 20.2% 25-year output warranty

LONGi and Q Cell solar panels are two of the most affordable solar brands that maintain reputations for good quality at a low price. As you can see, they both provide exceptional price per watt and efficiency without sacrificing warranty.  A solar installation with low price per watt and high efficiency provides 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 an accurate idea of what panels are best for your home, connect with one of our preferred partners below.

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Are Cheap Solar Panels Worth It?

The cheapest panels are typically manufactured in China (with the U.S. and Germany close behind), and some are cheap for a reason. They can come with underlying issues, most concerningly in the form of environmental and workers rights violations in their production process.

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

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

FAQ: Cheap Solar Panels

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Karsten Neumeister
Article author
Karsten is a researcher, editor, writer and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. His work has been shared by sources including NPR, the World Economic Forum, Marketwatch and the SEIA, and he is certified in ESG with the CFA Institute. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.