They dominate the lists of largest global solar panel brands.
They've attracted Donald Trump's attention, which had Chinese producers in mind when he slapped tariffs on solar panels in early 2018.
Despite the purchase price increase resulting from the tariffs, they remain a popular option for residential solar panels.
If you're a homeowner thinking of buying a home solar system, you will most likely be presented with Chinese-made alternatives.
But what's the bargain with Chinese solar panels? Are they any good? Or do people only buy them since they're cheap?
If you're wondering if you should anticipate Chinese solar panels, this report can allow you to decide.
Understanding The Chinese Solar Sector
Currently, nearly two-thirds of solar panel gear is produced in China.
How did Chinese solar panels attain such a powerful position? It was a mixture of several unique factors.
First, China made a big bet on renewable energy. Years of investment in clean energy in general, and solar specifically, propelled China into getting the world's largest solar energy producer.
China alone now accounts for more than half of global solar module demand; a lot of it is used for mega-sized solar energy plants and large floating solar farms.
Second, China benefited (and continues to profit) from its colossal manufacturing base and reduced manufacturing costs. As with most industrial and electronics equipment, China is a price leader in this industry.
Third, Chinese solar panel manufacturers profited from their domestic solar power boom and massive government assistance to radically increase their scale. This expansion partially coincided with the 2007-8 monetary crisis, which left American firms in a poor state to compete. It allowed Chinese organizations to capture market share.
Now, Chinese Solar panel makers supply companies all over the world. It's not uncommon for solar firms in the US to provide parts from China.
These organizations will evaluate the products based on their high-quality criteria and sometimes sell them via their own (American) brand names.
It's also common in the solar industry for businesses to be headquartered in one country but have their production facilities located in a different country.
They are finding Out Where Solar Panels Come From Can Be Problematic.
The development of the worldwide solar module supply chain (explained above) suggests that recognizing American solar panels or 'Chinese solar panels' isn't always straightforward.
For example, SunPower (or Maxeon Solar) is often emphasized as an American solar success story. They're renowned for its operating efficiency and quality of their panels and highlight prominently in positions for the sufficient solar panels. But while they're located in California, they manufacture in Mexico, the Philippines, and China.
Then there is Canadian Solar. Its name indicates that it's in the Great White North, but ironically sufficient, they fabricate in China and are very much a Chinese firm.
If you're trying to find high-quality panels, start looking for a brand that meets the standards you expect from national businesses. That doesn't mean they can't or will not be produced in China.
Chinese Solar Panels And The US Marketplace
While not every product created by a Chinese brand will be cheaper than a domestic one, Chinese solar brands usually provide more competitive rates.
The availability of inexpensive Chinese-made solar products has pushed down solar energy expenses and contributed to some American solar capacity boom.
Although, the US government accused Chinese solar producers of undercutting the competition by flooding the US marketplace.
In response, in January 2018 that the US government included a 30% tariff on sugar imports. This had a direct effect on Chinese brands. But since national brands also rely on solar parts produced in China and other countries, cost increases were seen throughout the broader solar panel industry.
The impact of the tariffs has since significantly been offset by an enormous increase in supply. In mid-2018, the Chinese government decreased subsidies in their community market. This left Chinese providers with more panels to export to the US and other markets, bringing costs of Chinese solar panels back down.
Furthermore, many Chinese manufacturers are now moving manufacturing to the US to escape the tariffs. By way of instance, the largest solar panel manufacturer in the world, Chinese firm Jinko Solar, is opening a plant in Jacksonville, Florida.
That said, various factors have alleviated the effect of tariffs on Chinese and other imported solar panels. Expect Chinese solar panels to stay competitive in cost and keep their share in the US solar sector.
Which Are The Sufficient Chinese Solar Panels?
At Solar Reviews, we evaluate brands based on various value and performance metrics. Check out our listing of the most refined solar panels for your home in 2020.
You will understand the top-ranked solar panels presently sold in the US based on three categories: solar panel efficiency, expert reviews, and solar panels by value.
Out of the five finest solar brands based on expert reviews, there is one Chinese manufacturer: Canadian Solar, at #3.
In solar panel efficiency positions, there's also one Chinese firm on the list of 5. It is Canadian Solar again, this time at #4.
Then there is the last category, the sufficient solar panels by value. That is where Chinese solar panel manufacturers shine. A full four from 5 manufacturers on this listing are Chinese:
The one Non-Chinese brand in the value rankings is REC Group, rated at #4. REC Solar was founded in Norway and manufactures in Singapore -- but, funny enough. A Chinese corporation currently owns it.
As you can see, Chinese manufacturers dominate the list of most outstanding value solar panel manufacturers. Each of these organizations is big and has established a reputation for excellent manufacturing quality. While the solar import tariffs inflicted at the beginning of 2018 have chipped away at their cost advantage, they're still more affordable than other Tier 1 solar panel manufacturers, especially those regarded as premium ones.
The way to get the most significant solar panels to your home (no matter where they were created)
Solar panels are a significant investment, so it pays to do your research.
Start by reading that are the most delicate solar panels for your home. This should provide you with an idea of the critical criteria to use to judge solar panels.
Also, make sure to read testimonials from clients who have gotten that particular brand of solar panels installed on their houses.
Finally, consult your options with a regional solar installer. Once they assess your residence, you can discuss with them that brands are an excellent match for your requirements.
Do keep in mind the solar modules are not the only thing you will want to pay for. If you're opting to get a rooftop installation, you will need tons of other things to mount, protected, and cable your panels in place. You'll require a solar panel. This may run you more than you bargained for when you start adding on labour costs, so remember to consider the American prices of your Chinese panels.
With solar panels, there is no real correlation between location and quality.
If you're purchasing a panel produced in China, you are working with a quality range with nothing to do with the place.
The only real reason to select a panel made in the United States over one made in China is to help stimulate American production.
But if you want to get the best bang for the buck, keep an open mind and compare several brands irrespective of their origin. Based on their excellent value positions, Chinese-made solar panels surely take a peek.