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Choosing the Best Solar Panel 2023: Panasonic Solar Panels. Panasonic pv panels

Choosing the Best Solar Panel 2023: Panasonic Solar Panels. Panasonic pv panels

    Panasonic Solar Panels: Revolutionizing Renewable Energy

    Solar energy systems have emerged as a widely embraced alternative for residential and commercial properties, owing to their environmental and economic benefits. Within the extensive array of solar panel manufacturers, Panasonic has positioned itself as a forerunner in the sector. We provide a comprehensive analysis of Panasonic solar panels, delineating their advantages and evaluating their performance relative to competitors. The ultimate objective is to equip readers with a profound understanding of whether Panasonic solar panels constitute an optimal choice for addressing their energy requirements.

    A Brief History of Panasonic

    Founded in 1918, Panasonic has been a household name for over a century, known for producing high-quality consumer electronics. The company’s dedication to innovation has led them to expand into numerous sectors, including the renewable energy market.

    Panasonic’s Entry into the Solar Industry

    Panasonic entered the solar industry in the 1970s, focusing on research and development. Over the years, they have made significant improvements in solar panel efficiency and performance, leading to the creation of the EverVolt™ solar panel series.

    The EverVolt™ Solar Panel Series

    The EverVolt™ series is Panasonic’s latest line of high-efficiency solar panels. These panels are designed to provide outstanding performance in various conditions while maintaining a sleek, low-profile design. The EverVolt™ series includes monocrystalline and polycrystalline options, catering to different customer preferences and budgets.

    Advantages of Panasonic Solar Panels

    Panasonic solar panels offer several benefits that set them apart from competitors, including:

    Panasonic solar panels are known for their high efficiency, meaning they can generate more power per square foot compared to other panels. This is particularly advantageous for homeowners with limited roof space, as fewer panels are needed to meet their energy needs.

    Reliability and Durability

    Panasonic solar panels are built to last, using high-quality materials and manufacturing processes that ensure long-term performance. These panels undergo rigorous testing and have been proven to withstand extreme weather conditions, such as heavy snow and strong winds.

    Temperature Performance

    Panasonic solar panels exhibit excellent temperature performance, maintaining high levels of efficiency even in hot climates. This is an essential factor to consider, as some solar panels experience significant efficiency drops in high temperatures.

    Panasonic solar panels boast a sleek, low-profile design with minimal visible wiring. This allows for a more aesthetically pleasing installation, blending seamlessly with most rooftops.

    Comparing Panasonic Solar Panels to Competitors

    When compared to competitors, Panasonic solar panels often outperform in terms of efficiency, reliability, and temperature performance. However, it’s essential to consider other factors like cost, warranty, and environmental impact when making a decision.

    Installation and Warranty

    Installing Panasonic solar panels typically involves working with a certified installer who is knowledgeable about the products and proper installation techniques. This ensures a smooth and efficient process, maximizing your solar panels’ performance and longevity. NuWatt Energy is one of the very few installers across the US that has an Elite Installer status with Panasonic.

    Unparalleled Warranty Coverage

    Panasonic AllGuard offers a comprehensive warranty that extends beyond its solar panels and covers both the product and performance of the panels, microinverters, and mounting system for up to 25 years. This warranty guarantees that your panels will maintain a certain level of efficiency throughout their lifetime, providing peace of mind and protection for your investment.

    Cost of Panasonic Solar Panels

    The cost of Panasonic solar panels can vary depending on factors such as the panel type, system size, and installation location. While Panasonic panels may be more expensive upfront compared to some competitors, their high efficiency, low degradation, and long-lasting performance often result in long-term savings on energy bills.

    Panasonic is committed to reducing its environmental impact through sustainable practices and the use of recyclable materials. Their solar panels are designed to have a smaller carbon footprint compared to competitors, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.

    Are Panasonic Solar Panels Right for You?

    When deciding if Panasonic solar panels are the best choice for you, it’s essential to consider factors such as budget, available roof space, and personal preferences. The high efficiency, reliability, and aesthetic appeal of Panasonic panels make them an excellent choice for many homeowners and businesses.

    Panasonic solar panels offer numerous advantages, including high efficiency, durability, temperature performance, and aesthetic appeal. While they may be more expensive upfront, their long-term performance and comprehensive warranty make them a worthwhile investment for those seeking a reliable and sustainable energy solution.

    Different Types of Solar Panels (Best) and Which to Avoid in 2023

    Solar panels use renewable energy (the sun) to generate electricity, and the different types of solar panels available today all aid in the search for cleaner energy.

    In fact, with carbon footprint, solar panels (even with the footprint from manufacturing and waste disposal) offer an energy creation source that is cleaner than coal.

    However, understanding the different types of solar panels that are available for home use can be a little tricky. There are a number of manufacturers and cells, and knowing which ones will work best for your specific needs requires a little research.

    This complete guide explains the types of solar panels that can be used to reduce your household carbon footprint.

    Different Types of Solar Panels

    Different types of solar panels have different carbon footprints that begin with materials and manufacturing, that must also be considered when determining the overall carbon footprint of each type of panel.

    The different types of solar panels and solar cells include:

    • Polycrystalline silicon solar panel
    • Cadmium telluride solar panel
    • Monocrystalline silicon solar panel
    • Amorphous silicon solar panel
    • Thin-film solar panel
    • Perovskite solar cell
    • Biohybrid solar cell
    • Organic solar cell
    • Multi-junction solar cell
    • Plasmonic solar cell
    • Hybrid solar cell
    • Quantum dot solar cell

    SunPower Solar Panels (Best for Efficiency)

    SunPower solar panels are also known as Maxeon panels and are well known for having one of the best efficiency ratings of all solar panel options.

    REC Solar Panels (Best for Affordability)

    REC solar panels are inexpensive and go well with existing aesthetics.

    Panasonic Solar Panels (Best for Quality and Warranty)

    Panasonic solar panels come with a 25-year warranty.

    Silfab Solar Panels (Best for Quality and Affordability)

    Silfab solar panels are of the highest quality, but still highly affordable.

    LG Solar Panels (Best for Unique Roof Designs)

    LG solar panels come with innovative options for rooftop installations.

    Q Cells Solar Panels (Best for Long-Term Value)

    Q Cells solar panels come with long-term warranties and are well-known for excellent performance.

    Trina Solar Panels (Best for Affordable Value)

    Trina solar panels are priced right for home installations.

    Canadian Solar Panels (Best Economical Choice)

    Canadian Solar prides itself on providing economical alternatives.

    The best reasons to install solar panels at home or at the office are:

    • Going off-grid and cutting down personal carbon footprints.
    • Solar power grids can be installed on underutilized land. 19
    • Solar power ensures fewer (if any) power interruptions.
    • Different types of solar panels come with the added bonus of solar power grants which helps stabilize the conventional electricity grid.
    • Solar power job opportunities help grow the economy.
    • The solar power energy source will always be free. 1

    Installation: The installation process length depends on location and whether necessary permits are readily available. In either case, an installation does take at least a couple of weeks.

    SunPower solar panels don’t come cheap, but they are well worth the investment. 25 Their efficiency rating is between 20.1% – 22.8% and they come with a 25-year warranty.

    SunPower provides an all-encompassing service by manufacturing panels and solar cells, selling them and installing them. 6

    Installation: Installing rooftop solar panels, can take up to 3 days depending on location and whether permits are required.

    REC N-Peak Series: Support bars, 20-year product warranty, 25-year power output warranty with a guarantee that panels will continue to produce a minimum of 86% power after 25 years.

    REC TwinPeak 2 Series: 300W power, 20-year warranty and 25-year warranty for power output. Using REC-certified installers will add another 5 years to the product warranty.

    REC solar panels incorporate half-cut cell technology which cut power losses by 75%. The half-cut designs also ensure higher efficiency and a longer lifespan.

    When wondering, how much do solar panels cost, the key is to find an accurate solar panel calculator.

    The company offers a wide range of applications for commercial and residential use, including the Alpha series which uses HJT cells. 7

    Panasonic solar panels are some of the highest quality solar panels in 2022 and come with a 25–year warranty. 26 Panasonic uses HIT technology to make their solar panels highly efficient (combination of amorphous silicon and monocrystalline layers), and to reduce power loss.

    Advantages of Panasonic Solar Panels Disadvantages of Panasonic Solar Panels
    Highly impressive specifications Similar panels can be purchased at a cheaper cost.
    Great warranty The company uses a third party for manufacturing purposes. 8
    affordable than premium panels

    Silfab solar panels offer different types of solar panels, and ranges which are made with PERC solar cells. These solar panels have a high efficiency rating and are very temperature coefficient.

    Specifications Silfab Elite SIL-380 BK Solar Panels Silfab Elite SIL-370 BK Solar Panels Silfab Prime SIL-370 HC Solar Panels
    Solar Panel Power output (Pmax) 380 Watts 370 Watts 370 Watts
    Solar Panel Efficiency rating 21.4% 20.8% 20.2%
    Solar Panel Cell type Back contact mono-PERC cell type Back contact mono-PERC cell type Half cells mono-PERC cell type
    Solar Panel Power tolerance 0 to 10 Watts 0 to 10 Watts 0 to 10 Watts
    Solar Panel Temperature coefficient (Pmax) -0.38%/°C -0.38%/°C -0.36%/°C
    Solar Panel Workmanship warranty 25 year warranty 25 year warranty 25 year warranty
    Solar Panel Power warranty 30 year warranty 30 year warranty 30 year warranty 9

    Installation: Installation usually takes around 3 days, depending on the type of system being installed.

    LG solar panels are specifically designed for residential roofs that have a complicated design or where there is insufficient roof space. 27 Because of their unique design, these solar panels provide more power per panel, which means fewer panels are necessary.

    Advantages of LG Solar Panels Disadvantages of LG Solar Panels
    Excellent efficiency Panels are expensive.
    Great performance LG no longer manufacturers solar panels, but will continue to honor warranties. 10
    Fantastic warranty

    Installation: Residential solar systems are installed within a few days, while larger projects may take a few weeks.

    Q Cells solar panels are becoming increasingly popular because of their long-term value and affordability. Their efficiency is at 18%, which is the middle to high range of efficiency rankings. Q Cells solar panels make use of half-cut solar cell technology to cut down on power loss.

    Advantages of Half-Cut Solar Cell Technology
    Reduced power loss
    Additional area for PERC layer of the cell to receive photons
    Highly durable 11

    Trina Solar offers a 600W panel and their efficiency is up to 20.4%.

    Module (cells) Power Efficiency Positive power tolerance
    Half-cut DE06X.05(II) 355-380 Watts 20.6% 0/5 Watts
    Half-cut DD06M.05 310-335 Watts 19.9% 0~5 Watts 12

    The company incorporates half-cut cell technology as well as a option between white or black backsheets.

    Canadian Solar manufactures solar panels, as well as solar cells, ingots and wafers that relate to solar panel manufacturing. 28 The company offers an excellent 25-year performance warranty to go along with their high-quality products.

    HiKu solar panels Standard solar panel offering that is made with polycrystalline cells
    HiKu Mono modules Can generate up to 385 watts of power
    HiKu All-Black Less efficient, but more aesthetically pleasing
    HiKu6 Can generate up to 405 watts of power 13

    Types of Solar Panel Systems

    Along with different types of solar panels and cells come different types of solar panel systems.

    Types of Solar Panel Systems
    Off-grid solar panel system An off-grid solar panel system operates completely separately from the grid, and requires a huge arrangement of batteries, modules and inverters. Off-grid solar panel systems are best for rural areas.
    Grid-tied solar panel system A grid-tied solar panel system comes with fixed rates, and a PV system that needs sizing to generate only sufficient power. These types of solar panel systems are good for those who work from home.
    Grid backup solar panel system Grid backup systems can operate for long periods of time without the grid. This type of system is essential for regions with frequent power outages.

    Types of Solar Cells and Their Efficiency

    The below table indicates the different types of solar cells and their efficiency: 3

    PERC Monocrystalline Polycrystalline Thin-film
    Efficiency PERC has the highest efficiency at 5% more than monocrystalline cells. 20% efficiency and up 15-17% efficiency 13-15% efficiency (Thin-film is the least efficient)

    What Are the Types of Solar Panel and Their Efficiency?

    The below list indicates the types of solar panel and their efficiency:

    • Poly PERC – 17% efficiency
    • Mono PERC – 19% efficiency
    • Half-Cut Mono PERC – 20% efficiency
    • Shingled Mono Cells – 21.5%
    • Half-Cut Mono PERC MBB – 22%
    • Half-Cut N-Type TOPcon – 22.5%
    • Half-Cut N-Type HJT – 22.5%
    • N-Type IBC – 23%

    Solar Panel Installation Material List PDF

    This solar panel installation material list PDF is a helpful guide that highlights the requirements of solar panel installation, inducing costs and labor. 20

    Solar Panel Diagram With Explanation PDF

    This solar panel diagram with explanation PDF explains the inner workings of a solar cell with a simple diagram and detailed explanation. 21

    Solar Panel Design PDF

    This free-to-download solar panel design PDF goes into detail about solar system design, and includes various cost calculations. 22

    Solar Panel Construction PDF

    This free-to-download solar panel construction PDF details the process of designing and constructing a 2kW solar panel inverter. 23

    The 4 main types of solar panels are as follows:

    • Monocrystalline
    • Polycrystalline
    • Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell
    • Thin-film

    Best Types of Solar Panels

    The below table provides a summary of the best types of solar panels available in 2023, including panel efficiency and temperature co-efficiencies.

    Solar Panel Manufacturer Efficiency (%) Temperature Coefficient Warranty
    SunPower 22.8% -0.29 25 year warranty
    REC 21.9% -0.26 25 year warranty
    Panasonic 21.7% -0.26 25 year warranty
    Q CELLS 21.4% -0.34 25 year warranty
    AXITEC 20.45% -0.26 25 year warranty
    Silfab 21.4% -0.36 25 year warranty
    Solaria 20.5% -0.39 25 year warranty
    Mission Solar 19.35% -0.35 25 year warranty
    LA Solar Group 20.6% -0.37 25 year warranty
    Canadian Solar 20.6% -0.35 15 year warranty
    Jinko Solar 21.33% -0.35 25 year warranty
    Trina Solar 20.4% -0.36 25 year warranty

    Types of Solar Panels

    When comparing different types of solar panels, it is important to keep in mind that monocrystalline solar panels and polycrystalline solar panels are considered to be the better options because of their high efficiency ratings. 29

    Monocrystalline Solar Panel

    A monocrystalline solar panel is also referred to as a single-crystal solar panel. These panels are made from a single silicon crystal that has been cut into wafers. Up to 50% of the silicon is wasted during the production of one monocrystalline cell, which makes the resulting panel more expensive.

    Types of Monocrystalline Solar Panels

    Types of monocrystalline solar panels include:

    Monocrystalline Solar Panel Efficiency

    The monocrystalline solar panel efficiency rating is over 20%, with PERC panels adding 5% extra efficiency.

    Monocrystalline Solar Panels for Home

    Monocrystalline solar panels for home installations are the best option because of their high power capacity and high efficiency percentages.

    Monocrystalline Solar Panel Diagram

    This monocrystalline solar panel diagram fully explains and illustrates the structure of a monocrystalline solar panel. 30

    PERC Solar Panels

    PERC solar panels are defined as modified conventional solar cells with the ability to produce up to 12% more power than traditional solar cells.

    This is because these cells have an extra layer at the back that allows sunlight to be reflected back into the cell, providing another opportunity for energy production.

    PERC Solar Panel Efficiency

    PERC solar panel efficiency is 23%, compared to an average of 21% efficiency of monocrystalline cells.

    PERC vs Monocrystalline

    There are several facts to be considered when debating the pros and cons of PERC vs monocrystalline solar panels. These are detailed below:

    PERC vs Monocrystalline (Mono-PERC) Solar Panels
    PERC efficiency vs Monocrystalline efficiency Mono-PERC solar panels absorb more light, therefore they are more efficient.
    PERC cost vs Monocrystalline cost 31 Standard monocrystalline solar panels are cheaper than PERC panels but not by much. The extra layers required by Mono-PERC modules increases the cost, but the cost per unit of energy is about the same range.
    PERC space vs Monocrystalline space Mono-PERC panels require less space.
    PERC temperature vs Monocrystalline temperature Both sets of solar panels can produce an equal amount of power. 14

    Mono PERC Solar Panel Advantages and Disadvantages

    The Mono PERC solar panel advantages and disadvantages are as follows:

    • Cost-effective (over the long term)
    • Flexible
    • Minimum modifications required
    • Lower cost of manufacturing
    • Power degradation rates are lower
    • Initial purchasing costs are high
    • High temperatures can cause a decline in performance. 15

    Polycrystalline vs Monocrystalline Solar Panel

    When comparing the polycrystalline vs monocrystalline solar panel, the following factors should be considered:

    Polycrystalline vs Monocrystalline Solar Panel
    Polycrystalline vs Monocrystalline efficiency Monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient than polycrystalline solar panels because they are cut from a single silicon source.
    Polycrystalline vs Monocrystalline performance Monocrystalline solar panels perform better under harsh conditions such as high heat.
    Polycrystalline vs Monocrystalline cost Polycrystalline solar panels are cheaper than monocrystalline solar panels.
    Polycrystalline vs Monocrystalline manufacturing The production process for monocrystalline solar panels produces more waste than the manufacturing of polycrystalline solar panels. 16

    Which Type of Solar Panel Is Best for Home Use?

    The most common question about solar panels is, which type of solar panel is best for home use.

    The below table summarizes the main solar panel options as well as their pros and cons:

    Type of Solar Panel Pros Cons
    Monocrystalline solar panel Highly efficient Expensive
    Polycrystalline solar panel Average price range Shortened lifespan
    Thin-film solar panel 32 Affordable prices Least efficient 17

    Solar Panel Price per Watt

    The solar panel price per watt for major metro cities is indicated in the below table (compared to the conventional electricity grid):

    Furthermore, to calculate price per Watt, the gross system cost (before the deduction of tax credit and rebates) should be divided by the size of the system (DC Watts).

    6 kW system consisting of 15 panels with 400W each, and a gross cost of 20,000 equals 3.33 per Watt.

    Solar Panel Cost Calculator

    A solar panel cost calculator can also calculate the solar cost per kWh. 33

    choosing, best, solar, panel

    This is done with the following calculation:

    choosing, best, solar, panel

    Net cost of solar system / lifespan output = cost per kWh hour.

    An example of this calculation is as follows:

    • 6.4 kW system with net cost of 20,484 (after the deduction of 30% tax credit)
    • 22-year life span
    • 90% efficiency over 22 years

    Lifespan solar output = 6.4W x 5.5kWh of sunlight per day x 365 days x 22 years x 90% efficiency = 254,390kWh

    Cost per kWh = 20,484 / 254,390kWh = 0.08 per kWh 18

    What Are the Solar Panel Types and Prices?

    For those wondering how much do solar panels cost, here’s a list of solar panel types and their average prices:

    • PERC – 0.32 – 0.65 cost per watt
    • Monocrystalline – 1 – 1.50 cost per watt
    • Polycrystalline – 0.70 – 1 cost per watt
    • Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) – 0.60 – 0.70 cost per watt
    • Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) – 0.50 – 0.60 cost per watt
    • Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) – 0.43 – 0.50 cost per watt

    All the different types of solar panels can be used for these types of calculations, provided the correct information is entered into a solar panel cost calculator.

    choosing, best, solar, panel

    Solar panels may be used not only at home or at the office but it can also be used in a solar farm business. Knowing the efficient types of solar panels out in the market will help business owners to maximize their solar farm income per acre.

    New Panasonic PV modules HIT N335 – KURO – N250 – N300

    This new range vaunts a conversion efficiency of over 20%, with an excellent performance on small surfaces and in difficult climatic conditions. Researchers confirm the keeping of the temperature coefficients of only.0.258% / °C for the high-efficiency modules.

    N335 module, the most powerful within the HIT series

    The N335 module, with 96 cells and 335 watts, is reconfirmed as the most powerful panel within the HIT series. over, it has a conversion efficiency of 20%, with 25 year linear performance guarantee.

    All Black KURO 330 Watt module

    The new version has 330 watts power and 20% conversion efficiency. These results by Panasonic have been obtained thanks to the heterojunction technology, in which the monocrystalline wafer is coated with an ultra-thin amorphous silicon layer. This, by reducing the loss of electrons on the surface, ensures a high efficiency.

    Both the N335 and KURO modules have a 40mm thick frame. The new generation frame is able to withstand wind and a snow load up to 5400Pa; it can be installed both horizontally and vertically, adapting to any type of roof.

    N250, the most flexible

    Thanks to its even thinner structure with 72 cells (a size of 798 x 1.580 mm and 250 watts of power), the N250 is the ideal photovoltaic panel for small and complicated roofs. It is suitable for many “difficult” situations, where there is no space for larger panels. The 2:1 format allows a mixed vertical and horizontal installation, offering a nominal efficiency of 20% and a better yield, also due to the extremely low temperature coefficient.

    Panasonic HIT N300: compact and powerful

    The 88-cell N300 module combines a compact format with high power. The output is 300 watts and dimensions are 1.053×1.463 mm, allowing the N300 to be installed on different types of roofs and maximizing energy production. The solar panel is based on the same heterojunction technology as the other Panasonic HIT panels, with high performance even at high temperatures.

    Water drainage systems located in the corners on panels

    For all the new HIT modules, the water drainage system is maintained at the corners of the panel’s frames. This secures drainage from the glass, minimizing dirt deposits and thus reducing the risk of micro-shading, which would compromise the correct functioning of the module.

    Panasonic: better quality and guarantee

    Panasonic is committed to ensure the best possible quality for its products, in compliance with the tests required by international standards, to which Panasonic adds its own even more restrictive and precise tests.

    “We are working to improve and further develop our high-performance HIT modules – said Shigeki Komatsu, General Manager of Panasonic Solar Europe – in order to make the production of solar energy even more attractive for private and commercial investors”. To achieve this, Panasonic also uses a modular system: all modules can be placed side by side to optimize the use of each roof, giving each user the opportunity to create his own high-efficiency combination.

    Panasonic guarantees its HIT modules for a period of 25 years for both the product and its performance. This confirms how high-efficiency solar panels are still a long-term solution worth investing in. With the performance guarantee, the giant manufacturer ensures that the HIT modules will continue to offer 86.4% of the output power at the end of the 25-year period.

    For about 4 million modules sold in Europe, the customer satisfaction report of January 2018 demonstrated how customer’s level of satisfaction was outstanding. The complaints rate was 0.004%, which confirms their trust towards Panasonic, that celebrated its 100th anniversary of the foundation last year.

    Panasonic is still making solar panels and a whole suite of energy products — just not in-house

    To clear up any confusion — Panasonic is not exiting the solar market. The almost-100-year-old company has made a strategic decision in the solar space to design an ecosystem of residential energy products instead of focusing exclusively on manufacturing. Consumers and its network of installation dealers can still depend on Panasonic for solar panels, batteries and other energy management products — the only difference is that the company is using an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to make its products now.

    Panasonic announced earlier this year that it would end production at its Malaysian and Japanese factories by March 2022, instead shifting its solar panel manufacturing to a subcontracted partner. Solar Power World spoke exclusively with Mukesh Sethi, director of solar and energy solutions at Panasonic, about this business pivot. He explained the decision as just following manufacturing trends in the industry.

    Comparison of Panasonic’s two solar module lines

    A pioneer in the heterojunction technology (HJT) panel manufacturing space, Panasonic’s long-running line of HIT panels used in-house manufactured cells from smaller 125-mm/5-in. wafers for 96-cell panels in the same footprint as other brands’ 60-cell modules. The past few years have seen an acceleration of new technologies and larger wafer adoption across the industry, leading to Panasonic making the decision to outsource its manufacturing and retire its HIT line of panels using smaller cells.

    Panasonic’s newest line of modules under the EverVolt brand still use HJT but with larger half-cut cells to be more uniform with the rest of the industry. As likely the last company still using the smallest wafer size, it was a Smart business decision to get on board with larger, more mass-produced solar wafers.

    Panasonic’s biggest U.S. dealership model competitor SunPower followed a similar path in 2020. SunPower also manufactured a 96-cell panel before shuffling its manufacturing efforts to new company Maxeon. SunPower is now focusing on installation and designing a suite of energy products, while selling SunPower-branded modules made by Maxeon with larger cells.

    Sethi wanted to reiterate to the industry that everything about Panasonic is staying the same in the solar space — same 25-year warranty, same dedication to product quality, same service model. Here he answered a few more questions for Solar Power World.

    SPW: What’s the background on Panasonic’s manufacturing announcements?

    Sethi: That announcement was made in early 2021, where Panasonic said it would no longer be making solar panels and we’ll move to an OEM model, which created confusion among customers and stakeholders that we are exiting the solar business altogether, which is obviously not true. This is just a change in strategy. We’re not exiting anything.

    There are so many companies, big household brands, that are already doing this kind of stuff. They design the products and sell the products without manufacturing them themselves. Most consumers don’t see that. All they see is a brand name and not necessarily what steps go into making the product.

    SPW: Why did Panasonic decide to outsource its panel manufacturing?

    Sethi: We have been the pioneer in heterojunction technology, making panels for the past 25 years. We have made considerable progress in efficiency and output over time. We have increased our manufacturing capacity so many times by opening new production lines and facilities, but over the past two to three years, the solar industry has changed considerably. The cost of solar panels and cells have dropped, and new technologies have emerged, requiring big upfront investments in bigger cells. So instead of focusing on manufacturing the solar panels, which has become a low-margin business category now with the ever-falling and changing technologies, making it difficult for manufacturers to keep up with the continuous investment in new machinery, we have decided to outsource the manufacturing so we can just FOCUS on designing and selling the product. This will allow us to bring the latest technology in solar panels made by a third party at competitive prices, along with other energy products that are part of residential energy solutions. It’s not just the panels we want to FOCUS on. We want to go beyond the panels and FOCUS on the entire ecosystem of energy products, which work together very well and are designed, developed and sold — but not manufactured — by Panasonic.

    SPW: What is Panasonic’s FOCUS going forward?

    Sethi: Nothing has changed for our dealers. The only thing that has changed is the panels are not made in our own factories. Our FOCUS has always been in residential energy business. We’re moving from solar product manufacturer toward becoming a complete energy solution provider that designs energy products and solutions, including solar panels, inverters and energy storage. We envision an ecosystem of best-in-class solutions, controlled and managed by AI software that can manage the needs of the homeowner and integrate with the utilities and energy aggregators. You want all products coming from one brand working together very well. If a homeowner is buying product, they don’t want to buy five different brands in the energy solution system. They want one brand like they do for their phones and consumer electronics in their house. Energy products will be similar.

    About The Author

    Kelly Pickerel

    Kelly Pickerel has over a decade of experience reporting on the U.S. solar industry and is currently editor in chief of Solar Power World.

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