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The Best Panels and Inverters for Rooftop Solar

A successful solar installation is expected to produce at a certain level for at least 25 years and last for much longer. With that in mind, choosing the right equipment is crucial to maximizing your energy cost savings and emissions reduction. Here’s what to keep in mind when considering solar panels and inverters.

Aside from a house, there are few things people buy with the expectation of it lasting 25 years or more.  But rooftop solar panels and inverters fall firmly into this category, so it’s important to choose your home solar equipment intentionally to maximize your energy cost savings.

It’s also important to recognize that every solar system is different and every homeowner has unique goals and priorities. In this article, we’ll explore the key characteristics of solar panels and inverters, and identify the top brands and models in each category.

But first, let’s take at the most popular solar equipment of 2022 to get a sense of which brands are standing out in a competitive market.

Most Selected Rooftop Solar Panels of 2022

In 2022, thousands of homeowners used the marketplace to compare multiple quotes and purchase a solar system. An analysis of this data shows that two solar panel brands stand out above the rest: REC and Q Cells. Why does it matter which solar panels were most popular in 2022? There are a few reasons.

Image courtesy Electrum


One of the most important aspects of a solar panel manufacturer is its bankability. This refers to the likelihood of a solar panel manufacturer to be around in 25 years to honor their warranties. 

REC, Q Cells, and Panasonic have all been making solar panels for over 20 years (nearly 50 for Panasonic!) with no end in sight, making them extremely bankable and a safe bet.

Educated customers

Second, by using, these solar owners worked with unbiased Energy Advisors to make informed decisions and compare multiple quotes from vetted installers.

Further, most homeowners share the primary goal of energy cost savings. So, it’s noteworthy that educated customers with the primary goal of cost savings overwhelmingly chose REC and Q Cells over other brands. 

Supply chain challenges

Finally, with supply chains mangled from the pandemic, 2022 was a notoriously difficult year to produce and deliver solar panels. So, part of REC and Q Cell’s popularity is likely due to availability – which speaks to their bankability and reliability. 

With that in mind, ask yourself which manufacturer would you want to work with in the rare instance you needed to replace a panel?

Most Selected Inverters of 2022

Inverters are a crucial part of a rooftop solar system because they convert the DC electricity generated by solar panels into AC electricity to power a home. Just like solar panels, inverters are expected to last 25 or more years, and their performance directly impacts your energy cost savings.

In 2022, two inverter brands dominated the market. Enphase was selected by over 75% of customers, while SolarEdge was chosen by nearly 23%.

Image courtesy Electrum

Similar to solar panels, bankability plays a huge factor in selecting an inverter. Enphase and SolarEdge were both founded in 2006 and have a proven track record of quality and reliability.

The difference between the two brands is that Enphase specializes in microinverters while SolarEdge is the go-to for string inverters. There are many differences between microinverters and string inverters, but here’s the gist:

  • Microinverters are small units mounted to each solar panel that invert electricity as it leaves the module
  • A string inverter is a larger single unit, typically mounted to the house or garage, that inverts electricity for all multiple solar panels

Again, this data is from customers that worked with unbiased Energy Advisors to compare multiple options from reputable installers.

So, it’s worth noting that educated customers overwhelmingly chose Enphase and SolarEdge inverters for their solar systems.

What to Look for in a Rooftop Solar Panel

When it comes to choosing rooftop solar panels, there is safety in numbers. Homeowners gravitate toward REC and Q Cells panels because they are widely available and bankable, which makes them a safe bet. But that doesn’t make them the only solar panels worth buying. And, as we mentioned earlier, every homeowner has unique priorities and goals for their solar system.

So here are some other things to look for in a solar panel.

Robust warranties

Solar panels are an investment in energy cost savings, which means lost output equals lost money. The best way to protect your investment is with robust warranties from your manufacturer and installer. There are two types of manufacturer warranties.

A product warranty covers defects in a solar module due to material quality or manufacturing errors. For example, if a panel is cracking, delaminating, or showing hotspots, you may be able to replace it through your product warranty. Product warranties typically last 10-15 years, although more manufacturers are offering 20-25 year warranties.

A performance warranty guarantees the panel will maintain a certain level of its original power output over a period of time. This is also known as a power output warranty. Performance warranties typically guarantee 86% output after 25 years. However, manufacturers are strengthening these warranties as their technology improves.

Image courtesy Electrum

Solar panel efficiency

Another characteristic to consider is efficiency. This measures how much of the sunlight that hits a solar panel is converted into electricity. It’s typical for residential solar panels to have an efficiency rating between 15-20%.

However, some of the best panels are pushing 23% efficiency. More efficient panels can be useful for homeowners that need to make the most out of limited viable roof space.

Image courtesy Electrum

Solar panels manufactured in the US

Some people prefer to support local manufacturing and American-made products. While that’s a noble cause, it does limit your options when it comes to solar panels. However, incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act have attracted investments in solar panel manufacturing in the US, most notably by Q Cells.

Image courtesy Electrum

The Bottom Line

As an investment in energy cost savings, it’s important to choose the equipment that makes up your solar system carefully and intentionally. REC and Q Cells were the most popular brands in 2022 due to their mix of bankability, affordability, and availability.

However, every homeowner has unique priorities and goals for their system, and may be better suited with another brand of solar panel. The important thing is to make an educated decision based on quotes from vetted local installers, which you can do through’s free guided solar experience.


This article is supported by Electrum and

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