The Top 5 Cheap Solar Panels of 2022: Cost Guide

By Sarah Horvath

From helping you save money on your electricity bill to improving your property’s resale value with the help of the many government incentives available for home solar systems, installing solar panels on your home provides you with tons of benefits. Homeowners who install a solar panel system onto their residential property may even be eligible for a tax credit, reducing what they owe when April rolls around while also enjoying the many benefits of solar power.

If you’ve been thinking about booking your solar installation but you’re concerned about the price, know that you don’t need to rely on high-priced, cutting-edge retailers like Panasonic or Tesla to design your systems. Budget solar companies provide you with similar benefits as the best solar panels on the market without the sky-high price tags. Read on to learn everything you need to know about cheap and DIY solar solutions as well as a few of the best companies providing low-priced solar panels with big-ticket benefits.

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Top Cheap Solar Panel Comparison

#1: Renogy – 100W 12 Volt Solar Panel

Efficiency

21.5%

Wattage

100 watts (100W)

Cell Type

Monocrystalline

Warranty

25 years power output

Cost

$99.99 per panel

Renogy – 100W 12 Volt Solar Panel Product Details

If you’re looking for an affordable solar panel that’s still high quality and shows a higher than average efficiency, the Renogy 100W 12 Volt Solar Panel is an excellent option. It has a highly efficient monocrystalline cell that makes it ideal for RVs, boats, and other off-grid applications.

The panel also comes with a 1-year material warranty and a 25-year power output warranty. Additionally, the panel has a strong aluminum frame that can withstand and even thrive in harsh weather conditions.

If you’re looking for a powerful and versatile solar panel, the Renogy 100W 12 Volt Solar Panel is a great choice. It’s one of the most popular on the market, and for good reason — it’s highly efficient, durable, and comes with an excellent warranty. With its positive reviews and affordable price tag, it’s no wonder the Renogy 100W 12 Volt Solar Panel is a top pick for many solar shoppers.

Renogy – 100W 12 Volt Solar Panel Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • High Efficiency
  • Great customer service
  • 25-year warranty
  • Low wattage means lower power, meaning that this low price comes with less energy creation
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#2: Canadian Solar Model #CS1H-315MS

Efficiency

18.7%

Wattage

315W

Monocrystalline

Warranty

15 years

Cost

$225.00 per panel

Canadian Solar Model #CS1H-315MS Product Details

The next solar panel on the list of th3e best, affordable solar models is the Canadian Solar Model CS1H-315MS. This product is one of the more popular and affordable solar panels on the market. It has a high solar power output of 315 watts and an efficiency rating of 18.7%.

The Canadian Solar Model CS1H-315MS comes with a 25-year warranty, making it a great choice for those who want a long-term investment. Additionally, this product is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, making it a great choice for those who live in areas with severe climates. If you’re looking for an affordable solar energy panel that can provide you with a significant amount of power, the Canadian Solar Model CS1H-315MS is a solid investment.

Canadian Solar Model #CS1H-315MS Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • High power output of 315 watts
  • Efficiency rating of 18.7%
  • Long 25-year warranty
  • Withstands extreme weather conditions
  • More expensive than some of the other panels on our list

#3: Silfab Solar – SIL-330 NL

Efficiency

17%

Wattage

330W

Cell Type

Monocrystalline

Warranty

12-year module

Cost

$250 per panel

Silfab Solar – SIL-330 NL Product Details

Silfab was founded in 2010 with the mission of becoming North America’s premier solar panel manufacturer. The company has a vertically integrated business model that starts with the ingot casting of polysilicon all the way through to cell and module assembly. This allows Silfab to have complete control over quality and to offer industry-leading power output and performance guarantees. The Silfab SIL-330 NL is a great example of the company’s commitment to quality. It’s a PERC monocrystalline solar panel with an impressive power output of 330 watts.

The panel also has a very low LID (light-induced degradation) rating of 0.3%, which is one of the best in the industry. The SIL-330 NL also comes with Silfab’s industry-leading 25-year warranty, which covers performance and labor. This makes it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality, long-lasting solar panel.

Silfab Solar – SIL-330 NL Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • One of the most efficient panels on the market
  • Excellent warranty
  • Designed specifically for the residential market
  • A bit pricey

 

#4: Trina 400W Vertex S Solar Panel

Efficiency

21%

Wattage

400W

Cell Type

Monocrystalline

Warranty

15-year module

Cost

$359 per panel

Trina 400W Vertex S Solar Panel Product Details

The Trina 400W Vertex S Solar Panel is an affordable and efficient solar panel. With a price tag of just over $350, it’s higher than others listed here, but this panel is still a great value for the money. The Trina Vertex S Solar Panel has a power output of 400 watts and an efficiency rating of 21%. It also comes with a 25-year warranty, which is one of the best in the industry. If you’re looking for a high-powered solar panel that won’t break the bank, the Trina 400W Vertex S Solar Panel is worthy of your consideration.

As one of the most popular solar panels on the market, the Trina 400W Vertex S is a great choice for those looking for an affordable option. Though its price tag may be slightly higher than some of the other panels on this list, its features and performance more than make up for it. The panel’s 72 individual solar cells are arranged to allow more light to be captured and converted into electricity. This helps make the Trina 400W Vertex S one of the most efficient solar panels on the market.

Trina 400W Vertex S Solar Panel Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • High power output
  • Great warranty
  • Composed of 72 individual solar cells
  • Relatively expensive when compared to other items on this list

#5: Q CELLS Q.PEAK DUO BLK ML-10

Efficiency

20.4%

Wattage

400W

Cell Type

Photovoltaic

Warranty

25-year module

Cost

$344 per panel

Q CELLS Q.PEAK DUO BLK ML-10 Product Details

Last on our list is the Q CELLS Q.PEAK DUO BLK ML-10 solar panel. Although it is one of the more expensive panels on our list, its price tag is still well below the average cost of a solar panel. This panel is made with monocrystalline silicon cells and has an efficiency of 15.6%. It also comes with a 10-year product warranty and a 25-year performance warranty.

Q CELLS is a German solar panel manufacturer that has been in business since 1999. The company has a strong reputation in the solar industry and is known for producing high-quality products. The Q CELLS Q.PEAK DUO BLK ML-10 is a fine option for those who are looking for a high-quality, efficient solar panel that is also relatively affordable.

This renewable energy allows you to reduce your carbon footprint for a greener world. It also maintains optimal energy production during changing periods of cloud cover, which can help you recoup the upfront cost of the solar power system faster if you live in an area known for adverse weather conditions.

Q CELLS Q.PEAK DUO BLK ML-10 Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Higher efficiency of 20.4%
  • Excellent power output in low-light conditions
  • Robust weather-resistant design
  • More expensive than some other panels on the market

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What Affects the Cost of a Solar Panel System?

The cost of solar panels can vary widely from one brand to the next. What exactly affects the cost of solar panels? As you shop, you’ll notice the following characteristics play a role in the price you see attached to each panel.

  • Type of silicon cell: The two most common types of silicon cells you’ll see when shopping for solar panels include monocrystalline silicon and polycrystalline silicon. Polycrystalline solar panels have lower overall efficiency rates when compared to mono panels, which is why they come with a lower price tag.
  • Your installation: The method of installation that your solar panel kit requires also influences the total amount that you’ll spend on the system. Most solar systems are roof mounts, which are relatively easy to install without much extra effort or components. However, some systems require ground mounts, which may come with an additional labor charge not included in the price of the system itself.
  • Where your home is located: While it’s no secret that many states have instituted tax incentives to help encourage homeowners to take advantage of the benefits that solar power has to offer, you may not know that your location also influences price in terms of system setup. For example, if you live in an area that doesn’t receive as much direct sunlight, you might need to install more panels or invest in a system with a higher efficiency rating to cover a significant percentage of your energy needs. As is the case with most industries, market conditions also vary from one zip code to another, which will change the price that you’ll pay for your solar system.
  • Your battery: If you live in an area that doesn’t receive consistent sunlight, you might want to install a solar battery to conserve power when bright light is available. Adding a solar battery to your system will add another $10,000 to the total price of the system. The good news is that most states also extend solar rebates and tax incentives to solar battery investments and chargers as well — so this cost isn’t as hefty as it may seem at first.

Our Top Pick: The Cheapest Solar Panel of 2022

If you’re looking for cost-effective solar panels, be sure to first think about your energy needs. When you search for solar panel systems by affordability, you’ll notice that the panels that cost the least also have the lowest overall panel efficiency. This lower efficiency indicates that your residential solar panels are not able to turn as much sunlight into energy as other systems on the market. While this might not seem like a big deal, it also means that you can rely on your solar panel system to cover a lower percentage of your home’s energy usage, paying itself back in more time.

Cheap Solar Panel FAQs

What is the difference between cheap solar panels and expensive solar panels?

The main difference between cheap solar panels and expensive solar panels is the functionality of each option. More expensive solar panels (like those offered by SunPower) have efficiency ratings over 20%, while more affordable solar service providers offer panels with lower efficiency ratings. This means that, while low-cost solar panels still convert sunlight to usable energy for your home, they create less energy over time than more efficient models. More expensive models also tend to have a longer lifespan when compared to low-cost models.

What are the advantages of cheap solar panels?

There are plenty of benefits that come with choosing cheap solar panels. Obviously, the low price of these panels makes them more accessible for more homeowners. Previously, solar panel installation and financing routinely cost upwards of $5,000. Today’s solar panel prices are much more affordable — depending on where you live and the brand you choose, you could pay less than $150 per panel. When you consider the lower cost manufacturing and installation companies are now charging combined with the many tax incentives you can claim just for choosing solar power, cheap solar panels are now more affordable than ever before.

How much electricity can cheap solar panels produce?

The answer to this question will vary depending on the strength of your solar panels as well as the array you lay out on your roof to collect sunlight. An average low-cost solar panel display is around five kilowatts (kW), taking up about 400 feet of space and producing 350 to 850-kilowatt hours per month. To put this number in perspective, the average household uses about 900-kilowatt hours per month. This means that even when operating a lower-cost solar panel system, it’s very possible to cover a major percentage of your home’s energy usage through the power of solar energy.

How much does it cost to install solar panels?

The price you’ll pay to install your residential solar system will vary largely depending on the number of kilowatts you decide to install. The kilowatt size of your system determines how much power the solar panels can generate and convert to usable electricity for your home. As a general rule, you’ll pay less per kilowatt as the kilowatt size of your unit increases. The price you’ll pay per watt will range from $2.60 for larger kilowatt systems to $3.25 for smaller or more efficient units.

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House Method’s Solar Companies Rating Methodology

At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each solar energy company/service according to our methodology.

Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each solar energy company’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the solar energy companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.

We developed a formula to objectively determine the best solar energy companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:

Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each solar energy company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.

Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at whether the company manufactures its own solar panels, whether it contracts out installation, and what additional products each company offers.

Trust (10): What do customers say after their solar panels are installed? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.

Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same solar energy services.

Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as financial incentives, rebates, or a useful mobile app? We looked for extras each company offers that set them apart from the competition.

Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.

Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.

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