EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Mentioned by:
Nasa Smithsonian BBC The Washington Post NPR

When deciding on the best solar panels, UK homeowners have more choices than ever before. Sometimes, the options can be overwhelming. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top panels from major industry brands and help you choose the right fit for your home. 

Choosing the best solar panels for home use is an important decision. It’s a large investment and also has an impact on the infrastructure of your house. What's more, your solar panels will likely sit on your roof for up to 30 years. Investing in solar panels in the UK can be a large upfront outlay, but over their lifespan, you’ll be able to make that money back and then some, all while living more sustainably.

Best Solar Panel Brands

  1. Best Overall: LG NeON R 
  2. Best for Small Roofs: Panasonic HIT N 245W
  3. Most Efficient: SunPower Maxeon 3
  4. Best Low-Profile Panels: Sharp Sunsnap ND-F2Q235
  5. Best Warranty: Project Solar Evolution Ultramax

1. Best Overall: LG NeON R

Price: From £265 (excl. VAT)

Output: Up to 440W

Warranty: 25 years

The NeON R LG440QAC-A6 is LG’s flagship, high-performance, high-efficiency solar panel. Its 66-cell design generates nearly 4% more electricity than competitors’ modules. This is due to the panel’s design: The wiring is integrated onto the back of the panel, so there’s no incidental shading of the cells at certain times of day. As a result, you’ll need to install fewer panels to meet your energy needs. LG also improved the cells in the R model to generate more energy at higher temperatures. 

At 25 years, LG’s warranty is among the longest you’ll find. Plus, improvements to the build quality and silicon used in the panels are meant to slow the degradation process. In fact, LG claims that after the 25-year warranty expires, NeON R solar panels should still generate 92% of their power capacity. ​​It's worth pointing out that this lower rate of degradation, combined with the increased power output, adds up to a significant amount of extra energy that you'll be getting over the long life of the NeON R. 

If the R isn’t for you — it’s pricey — there are other panels in LG's NeON series that offer similarly high power output and efficiency. The NeON H, for instance, offers many of the same features as the R for a bit less money. 

With more than five decades in the electronics and semiconductor industries, LG is one of the best solar companies you can invest in. You can enquire on LG’s website to find your local dealer and get a free quote on a system for your home. 

LG NeON R Pros and Cons

LG NeON R Pros LG NeON R Cons
Superb build quality from a trusted brand Expensive
Industry-leading warranty
Lightweight design
One of the most efficient solar panels you can buy

LG NeON R Technical Specs

LG's NeON R LG440QAC-A6 has a durable design that includes 2.8-mm tempered glass with an anti-reflection (AR) coating, plus a frame made from anodised aluminium. Its 66-cell photovoltaic configuration is designed for better efficiency, and it provides one of the most robust power outputs on the market at 440W. LG also offers one of the longest warranties at 25 years, and once this period is up, LG promises that your solar panels will still produce at 92.5% output.

LG NeON R Add-Ons

LG doesn’t currently offer any add-ons to its solar panels. However, most local dealers and solar energy suppliers will offer a range of add-ons when building your system. These typically include options for indoor zone heating, electric car chargers and other smart devices that draw energy from your LG solar panels.

Our Opinion of LG

LG is one of the most trusted brands in consumer electronics, and its energy solutions maintain the brand’s standard of quality and reliability. We like that its solar panels are manufactured in an environmentally sustainable way. LG has been eliminating harmful substances from its manufacturing process and has a commitment to reducing greenhouse gases generated during production.

LG's solar panels are efficient in most weather conditions. The company has refined its cell technology to improve power outputs per square metre while lowering system costs and offering some of the longest warranties on the market. Plus, they’re some of the best solar panels in the UK if you have limited roof space.

Even though they are on the more expensive end, LG solar panels represent the best value for money when you take all of these things into consideration. Some of the newer brands in the industry might be offering similar specs at lower prices and much shorter warranties. Remember, this is a long-term investment in your home. It's worth stretching your budget for the best solar panels you can afford.

Get in touch with LG’s sales team to find your local installer, who will survey your home and provide you with a free quote. 

2. Best for Small Roofs: Panasonic HIT N 245W

Price: From £250-295 

Output: 245W

Warranty: 25 years

Most people know Panasonic as a longstanding brand in the electronics industry, but it has been developing solar panel technology for over 40 years. Thanks to this, Panasonic has many types of solar panels to suit all sorts of needs, and the HIT N 245W model is a solar panel that can take green energy to the masses.

In the past, solar panels for homes in the UK were only realistic options for larger suburban and rural homes. But the Panasonic HIT N 245W’s compact design — just under 160 cm in length and less than 80 cm wide — can adapt to roofs of many shapes and sizes. Its flexibility for landscape or portrait orientation makes it one of the best options for homeowners in urban environments. It’s also lightweight at just 15 kg and provides a 19.4% maximum efficiency.

It’s also worth considering the Panasonic HIT N 295W. It’s ever-so-slightly smaller than the 245 at 150 cm long and offers more power at 295 watts. The downside is it’s more square in shape, so there’s less flexibility in terms of installation design.

If you’re considering Panasonic solar panels for your home, you can get a free quote from most solar energy suppliers. 

Panasonic HIT N 245W Pros and Cons

Panasonic HIT N 245W Pros Panasonic HIT N 245W Cons
Flexible design options for any roof shape At the lower end in terms of power
Industry-leading warranty Not cost-effective if you have a larger roof

HIT N 245W Technical Specs

Panasonic's HIT solar cell technology realizes 18% more power than other types of monocrystalline panels (namely, mono-PERC panels). This means you need fewer modules to achieve the energy performance you need — another reason it's great for small houses or homes with complicated roofs. 

Another great feature is the drainage lines built into the frame. These help channel water and keep it from accumulating. 

Each panel weighs just 15kg and offers a 19.4% module efficiency, with a cell conversion efficiency rating of 22%, making it one of the most efficient solar panels on the market.

Panasonic Add-Ons

Panasonic recently unveiled its EverVolt 2.0 battery storage system, which is designed to fully integrate with its solar panels. Solar batteries store excess energy your panels produce during the day for use at night or during bad weather. For those seeking broader sustainability goals or simply want to avoid peak energy rates, Panasonic’s integrated solar power system can be a great investment.

Our Opinion of Panasonic

If you live in an urban area, have a small home, outbuilding or just have a house with a complex roof structure, the HIT N 245W modules may be the best solar panels in the UK. The flexibility of their installation options, the energy potential per square metre, their robust build quality, slow degradation and 25-year warranty make these panels hard to beat.

But they are expensive. If you have a larger home, this might not be the best solar panel for you. We recommend considering investing in some of the larger solar panels listed in this guide instead.

If you fit the criteria listed above, the HIT N 245W or HIT Compact 295W is exactly what you need. You can get a free quote on a system from your nearest solar energy supplier.

3. Most Efficient: SunPower Maxeon 3

Price: From £350

Output: Max 400W

Warranty: 25 years

SunPower launched in 1985 and quickly became one of the more respected solar panel manufacturers, with more than 1,000 solar technology patents under its belt. Offering panels for both commercial and residential customers, SunPower solar panels had generated more than 18,000,000 MWh of solar energy as of 2019. 

SunPower has carved out a niche for developing the highest-efficiency solar panels on the market, launching the current reigning champ, the Maxeon 3, in 2019. SunPower's Maxeon range has also regularly shown some of the lowest degradation rates in the industry. With 25-year warranties on its modules and a robust build, SunPower’s high-quality panels are sold with an expectation of lasting 40 years. 

SunPower’s solar panel systems need to be installed by a firm that’s been accredited by the company. Visit SunPower's website to find your nearest installer and get a free quote on your system.

SunPower Maxeon 3 Pros and Cons

SunPower Maxeon 3 Pros  SunPower Maxeon 3 Cons
Market-leading efficiency Panels must be installed by a SunPower-certified company
40 years of useful product life Some of the most expensive systems on the market
Industry-leading warranty

SunPower Maxeon 3 Technical Specs

SunPower's innovative design for the Maxeon 3 range of solar panels includes no grid lines. The all-black modules have back-contact conductivity, which allows them to absorb more sunlight. SunPower's Maxeon 3 panels also degrade at a rate of just 0.25% per year for 24 years, meaning after that period of time, they can still reach efficiency levels of 92%. 

SunPower Add-Ons

SunPower has released an alternating current (AC) solar panel version called the Maxeon 5. This panel includes integrated microinverters that convert the​ generated electricity from direct current (DC) to AC. You then have the option to either use this AC energy in your home or export​ it to the national grid.

Our Opinion of SunPower

SunPower's Maxeon 3 panels are a great choice for homeowners with limited roof space. But while there is no doubting SunPower's impressive specifications and metrics, there are other brands on this list that offer better value if you're on a tight budget. Yes, that 25-year warranty is impressive, but more and more solar panel brands are matching this warranty length. If you have a large home with an equally large roof, you might want to consider a less-expensive system.

If SunPower sounds like a good fit for your home, visit the company's website to find your nearest installer.

4. Best Low-Profile Panels: Sharp Sunsnap ND-F2Q235

Price: From £300

Output: Max 235W

Warranty: 25 years

Sharp has been trading for nearly 110 years and is known for making very efficient solar PV panels that stand the test of time. While other companies on our list of the best solar panels in the UK may have overtaken Sharp for efficiency, the brand’s offerings remain high-end favourites for many homeowners and perennial best-sellers.

The Sunsnap ND-F2Q235 is one of the top-selling solar panels in the world, thanks to its ultra-sleek appearance. Its rail-free mounting system sits flush with your roof, almost blending in completely. For those seeking residential solar panels with a low profile, the Sharp Sunsnap ND-F2Q235 is a great option. 

Contact Sharp’s solar sales team to learn more about its solar panel systems or to find a local installer.

Sharp Sunsnap ND-F2Q235 Pros and Cons

Sharp Sunsnap ND-F2Q235 Pros  Sharp Sunsnap ND-F2Q235 Cons
Discreet, rail-free mounting Expensive
Heritage brand with great customer support Not the most powerful option on the market, with 14.4% efficiency
Industry-leading warranty

Sharp Sunsnap ND-F2Q235 Technical Specs

As well as its sleek, rail-free mounting system, the Sharp Sunsnap ND-F2Q235 provides 14.4% efficiency with 235-watt production in its 60-cell panel design. 

Sharp Add-Ons

Sharp doesn’t directly offer any add-ons for its solar panels. However, when quoting you for your system, your local installer can likely suggest a range of enhancements, from smart immersion tank heaters to electric car chargers.

Our Opinion of Sharp 

Sharp is another long-standing brand in the solar and consumer electronics markets, and this reputation coupled with its 25-year warranty makes it a safe bet. You know what you’re getting with Sharp, and its discreet, rail-free mounting system is perfect for anyone in an urban area – and those living in a listed home or in a neighbourhood with strict home aesthetic requirements. 

However, at 235W of maximum power output and 14.4% efficiency, it’s one of the least powerful and efficient options on our list. You will get value out of it, but if a discreet solar panel installation isn’t vital for you, it is worth considering other options. 

Visit Sharp’s website for more information on which solar panels are right for your home system.

5. Best Warranty: Project Solar Evolution Ultramax 

Price: Enquire for bespoke quotes

Output: 345W

Warranty: Lifetime product and performance warranty; up to 30-year peak power warranty

Project Solar UK came onto the solar energy scene about 10 years ago and has quickly become one of the largest firms in the UK. The company both designs and installs its solar panel systems, and each sale gets a dedicated project manager who ensures the installation happens within seven to 10 days — and that it's done to high standards.

Project Solar UK has been aggressive at wooing customers from long-standing brands, offering perks including lifetime warranties on its solar panels and £7,500 in cash to customers who successfully refer a friend that converts to installation. Its Evolution Ultramax 345MB-66 solar panels are some of the best on the market.

Prices vary based on the size of your roof and location. You can arrange a free quote from one of Project Solar’s technicians, who will get in touch and price up a bespoke system for your home. 

Project Solar Evolution Ultramax Pros and Cons

Project Solar Evolution Ultramax Pros Project Solar Evolution Ultramax Cons
Industry-leading warranty Relatively new brand
85% power output guarantee after 30 years Maximum output isn’t as high as other brands

Project Solar Evolution Ultramax Technical Specs

Project Solar's monocrystalline solar modules employ a high-efficiency cell technology called passivated emitter and rear contact, or PERC. It promises to improve cell voltage and current and generate up to 10% more power per square metre compared to standard solar panel modules. Interestingly, it also promises better low-light performance to help you generate more energy in darker months of the year. 

In addition to Project Solar's PERC cell technology, the Evolution Ultramax features an ultra-reflective backing sheet that helps increase the absorption of sunlight. Meanwhile, an array of five wiring configurations along the back helps decrease natural energy loss.

The Evolution Ultramax promises 19.34% maximum efficiency, which is about the standard for solar panels in this class. But, impressively, Project Solar’s peak power warranty guarantees these panels will output no less than 80% of their original output capability after 30 years. 

Project Solar UK Add-Ons

Project Solar UK offers a number of options to enhance your solar panel system. Its range of Blackline mounting brackets provides both durability and a discreet appearance. You can also upgrade to a Tigo Optimizer, which helps you harvest energy more efficiently from panels in shady areas of your roof and get more out of your system. This is ideal if you have a more complex roof or if it's partially shaded by trees. 

Project Solar also offers devices for monitoring your solar panel system's energy performance, zone heating controls for your radiators, an EV charger that draws power from your solar panels and a wide range of smart home energy-saving devices.

Our Opinion of Project Solar UK

A lifetime warranty is a very attractive feature when investing in something as costly and permanent as solar panels for your home. And with a promise of 80% performance after 30 years, Project Solar UK’s solar panels seem a safe investment you can count on. If you’re living in your forever home and don’t plan to move, the Evolution Ultramax 345MB-66 could be the best solar panel in the UK for you.

If, however, you can anticipate having to move within the next decade — if you’re in your first home, or you anticipate your family growing — a less expensive option with a shorter warranty could be preferable. 

If Project Solar UK feels like a good fit for your needs, contact the sales team to organise a free quote for your ideal system. 

Best Add-Ons for Your Solar Panels

There is a growing number of smaller firms out there developing accessories you can use to get enhanced performance from your solar panels in other areas of your home life. For instance, if you drive an electric car, the Zappi V2 Car Charger can divert energy from your solar panels into your car's battery. Or the Solar iBoost can divert excess solar energy to your immersion tank to heat your hot water.

There are voltage optimisers that help reduce the power consumption of your electrical appliances and systems to divert energy to a battery system in the event of a power cut. 

Depending on which renewable energy company you go with, you'll also have different mounting options for your panels. Some people mount panels on a rack system, while most choose a flat-roof mount for a lower profile.

Best UK Solar Panels: Verdict and Recommendation 

When choosing the best solar panels in the UK, we were focused on finding the highest value for your money. There are plenty of cheap solar panels out there. You could spend less than you would on some of the options on this list, but solar panels are such a large and long-term investment, you want to get it right. 

As well as price, we also took into consideration power output and panel efficiency, as well as build quality and the degradation of cell performance over time. We looked for solar panels that offer a long warranty but will still have a high performance at the end of the warranty period.

LG's NeON R panels ticked many boxes. With a long warranty, huge 440-W power output, above-20% module efficiency and strong performance rate after 25 years, these panels are hands-down the best solar panels in the UK. And LG is a company that is still going to be around at the end of your system's warranty. 

Of course, everyone has different home energy needs and different priorities for their solar panel system. This is why we ranked runners-up according to the best warranty, best efficiency, best for small roofs and lowest-profile design.

All of the solar panels on this list will serve you well. Whichever you choose, make sure you get several quotes from different suppliers before making a choice. Prices can vary, and it’s best to be fully informed of your options.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

The total price of a solar panel system will vary based on the size of your roof, your location, the number of panels you need to meet your energy needs, and many other factors. Is your roof south-facing? Is your house multi-level or partially covered by shade? There are many variables that can make your system straightforward to assemble, or very complex. 

Other external factors like supply chains, local availability, government incentives and local electricity rates will also affect the cost of solar panels. How much you get back from your system also depends on these factors, plus whether you finance your solar system or pay cash. By paying cash, you are spending less per watt of energy generated because you’ll have no broker fees to cover. When investing in one of the more expensive solar panel systems, this can make a real difference.

Your local installer can give you a free quote on your bespoke system, but for a ballpark figure, a solar panel system to support the average family of three people would cost around £6,000.

Frequently Asked Questions: Best Solar Panels UK

Here are some common questions about solar panels in the UK:

How many solar panels are needed to power a typical house?

There are many factors that make it hard to define a “typical” house,  such as geographic location, but as a rule of thumb, it takes about four solar panels to support the annual electricity needs of one person. So, if there are three people in your household, expect to need about 12 panels. Of course, if your roof is shaded or any number of other factors are at play, this could be slightly more or less.

What are the disadvantages of solar energy?

While it has myriad advantages, there are some downsides to solar energy. First and foremost is the weather. We cannot control the weather, and solar panels are wholly dependent on the sun. If you live somewhere like California or Spain, this isn’t much of an issue for you. But in the UK, dark winter months and long periods of rain reduce how much energy you create. 

What’s more, storing the solar energy you generate is difficult. While there are indeed battery storage systems that you can buy to store your solar energy, these are quite costly and won’t be an option for everyone.

Do solar panels void my roof warranty?

When you install solar panels on your roof, your roof warranty will indeed be voided for the section of your roof that is housing the panels. However, your solar energy installer should provide you with a new warranty covering this section of your roof. It's important to ask about this when you seek a free quote for your local supplier. Likewise, you should also check the details of your existing roof warranty before making any decision.

Read More
Spinning icon while loading more posts.