Thursday, March 31st, 2022 - Newsmaker

Experts vote for best solar panels, inverters and batteries in Australia

The 2022 SolarQuotes Installers’ Choice Awards results are in, with price surprisingly not the driving force in decisions.

SolarQuotes asked more than 400 top Australian  installers in its network two questions across three product categories:

  • Which solar panel, inverter and battery brand would you use in your own house in 2022 – if money was no object?
  • Which solar panel, inverter and battery brands would you use in your own house in 2022 – if money was tight, and every dollar counts?

The results reveal the brands installers trust for top-of-the-range solar systems and, just as importantly, for quality budget systems.

SolarQuotes.com.au is an independent online reviews network dedicated to linking solar buyers with the best solar providers in their area, using the power of consumer feedback.

Founder Finn Peacock has become known nationally for his fearless commentary on the renewable energy sector.

“Several times a day I’m approached by Australians wanting to know the best solar products to buy,” Mr Peacock said. “Rather than using my own opinion, even if it is pretty well-informed, I thought, why not ask the installers? They know the market better than anyone, because they have to.”

Australian Consumer Law says the company selling you a product has ultimate responsibility for honouring the manufacturer’s warranty.

“Professional Australian solar installers work with the different solar brands every day and they have to support these products for the duration of their warranties, which can be as long as 40 years,” Mr Peacock said.

“Any installer planning on being in business for the long term needs to be very confident in the products they sell. But I should note that while choosing good brands is important, you also need to ensure the system is well installed. The difference between a good and bad solar installation makes all the difference.”

The winners list follows, with comments from Finn Peacock.

SolarQuotes Installers’ Choice Awards for Solar Panels 2022

Best High-end Solar Panels, money no object:

  • First Place  –   Sunpower

Finn Peacock’s comment: “I love SunPower panels but their top-end Maxeon panels are very pricey. If you want the SunPower brand for less, the P Series ‘shingled’ panels are worth considering.”

  • Second Place  –  REC Solar

“Keeping their well-deserved second place from 2021 is REC Solar, whose line of Alpha panels peaks at 410W, and are revered amongst those who install them.”

  • Third Place  –  Q-CELLS

Korean (previously German) brand Q-Cells has several panel models available in Australia, from cheapest to most expensive: Q.Maxx, Q.Boost, Q.Peak and Q.Peak Duo.

Best Budget Solar Panels In Australia, when every dollar counts:

  • First Place    –  Trina Solar

“Trina must be doing something very right. Last year they climbed from fourth to joint second-largest solar panel manufacturer globally.”

  • Second Place: Jinko Solar

“Jinko is the fourth biggest solar panel manufacturer globally and holds on to their second place for ‘Best Value Solar Panels’ from 2021.”

  • Joint Third Place: Canadian Solar & Q-Cells (10% of votes each)

“Q-Cells have the unique honour of a podium in Best Top-End and Best Value solar panel. Canadian Solar also scored a well deserved third place with their (not-made-in-Canada) panels having a good reputation in Australia.”

Footnote on LG solar panels:

SolarQuotes surveyed its installers in January 2022. LG Solar received enough votes for second place in the ‘money-no-object’ awards. But in February 2022, LG Electronics announced it will stop manufacturing solar panels.

SolarQuotes Installers’ Choice Awards For Inverters 2022

Best High-End Solar Inverters in Australia, money no object:

  • First Place: Fronius

“Fronius Primo solar inverters and Gen 24 hybrid models have long had a great reputation in Australia for build quality, reliability and ease of installation.”

  • Second Place: Enphase

“With 400+ watt panels becoming common, you’ll need fewer panels in your system with Enphase

  • Third Place: SolarEdge (17% of votes)

“The clear favourite SolarEdge inverter model with installers was the new Energy Hub hybrid inverter with a built-in consumption meter.”

Best Budget Solar Inverters in Australia, when every dollar counts:

  • First Place: Sungrow

“Sungrow romped to victory, winning more than double the votes of any other brand in this category.”

  • Second Place: GoodWe

“GoodWe’s most recent ‘MS’ solar inverter has 3 MPPTs, which allow for more complex roofs, stepping on the toes of the much more expensive Enphase.”

  • Third Place: Fronius

“Considering Fronius don’t make a budget inverter, this result only goes to show that many good Australian installers love Fronius so much they can’t countenance the thought of installing anything else – even when on a tight budget.”

SolarQuotes Installers’ Choice Awards For Home Batteries 2022

Best High-End Solar Batteries in Australia, money no object:

  • First Place: Tesla (54% of votes)

“Tesla’s Powerwall home battery attracted more votes than all other brands combined.  Powerwall just works, and keeps working thanks to over-the-air updates, and comprehensive monitoring.”

  • Second Place: BYD

“BYD is a Warren Buffet backed, $100 billion Chinese battery maker. In Australia, their most popular home battery is the modular BYD B-Box Premium, which ranges from 5.1 to 22 kWh and works nicely with the Fronius Gen 24 Hybrid inverter.”

  • Third Place: SolarEdge

“This is an interesting result – because, at the time of voting, SolarEdge’s 5 kW/10 kWh Energy Bank (SolarEdge Home Battery) was not yet available in Australia. That means many installers trust SolarEdge hardware enough to recommend their home battery before they’ve even installed one for a customer.”

Best Budget Home Solar Batteries, when every dollar counts:

  • First Place: Tesla

“It seems that many Australian solar battery installers can’t bear the thought of installing anything other than a relatively expensive Tesla Powerwall. I certainly know a few installers who would rather lose the sale than install anything else.”

  • Second Place: Sungrow

“Their new, stackable battery is in my opinion the only truly budget solar battery on the podium. It’s about 40% cheaper per kWh than the Powerwall and about 30% cheaper than the BYD.”

  • Third Place: BYD

“Like Tesla, BYD gets a gong for the best high-end and best budget home battery, reflecting the confidence that many installers have in BYD.”

>>>

“When Australians look to buy solar or batteries for their home, they have to choose from a host of brands they have mostly never heard of," Mr Peacock says. "Whether a consumer is looking for the best of the best, or a budget option - if they choose one of these winners they can be confident the brands are high performance, reliable, and well supported in Australia.”

Full Results

The full results of the 2022 SolarQuotes Installers’ Choice Awards along with additional commentary can be viewed here:

Best Solar Panels

Best Solar Inverters

Best Home Batteries

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