Best solar panels for beating load-shedding

Myles Illidge13 March 2023

Best solar panels for beating load-shedding


South Africans looking to escape load-shedding with a solar power system have various solar panel brands from which to choose, with the best being Canadian Solar, JA Solar, Trina, Longi, and Seraphim.

This is according to spokespeople from Solar Advice, AWPower, and Rubicon South Africa, who also provided several important factors to consider before deciding on a specific photovoltaic (PV) panel brand.

“Although solar panel technology is well understood and reliable, manufacturing good solar panels to last 20+ years is not a trivial undertaking,” a Rubicon spokesperson told MyBroadband.

“There is significant risk in buying ‘cheap’ panels, so Rubicon recommends working within the ‘Tier 1’ PV rankings.”

“Manufacturers meeting the Tier 1 criteria, although not infallible, give a good indication of the capability to produce a quality product,” they added.

A spokesperson from Solar Advice said customers should do proper research before deciding on a PV brand.

“There aren’t any brands that I’d recommend avoiding actively, but there are a few things that they can look out for when considering a product,” they said.

They suggested that customers consider the following before settling on a specific brand of solar panel:

  • Does this product have a good rating online?
  • Compare product parameters with other brands.
  • Compare warranties with other brands.
  • Is there an aftersales service available should the equipment be or become faulty?
  • Are the products compatible with each other?
  • Does the brand offer technical support?
  • Are the replacement parts readily available in South Africa?

“It’s important to realise that a solar power system is an investment, and you want your investment to grow. Choosing products solely based on price rather than quality is a big mistake and will cost you more money in the long run,” the spokesperson added.

The Rubicon spokesperson said its most popular PV brands include Canadian Solar, JA Solar, Trina, and Longi.

“Canadian Solar, JA Solar, Trina and Longi are all well respected and have good bankability — which translates into the manufacturer’s ability to withstand future warranty claims,” they said.

“Given that solar panels are a long-term investment, it’s important to avoid ‘cheap’ panels.”

“If it’s too cheap, then there is a good reason for it. Avoid unknown brands and stick to brands that appear in the popular rankings,” they added.

Managing director at AWPower Christiaan Hattingh told MyBroadband that its suppliers primarily import brands like Canadian Solar, JA Solar, Longi, and Seraphim solar panels.

“There’s a certain list of panels that we consider as a business, being Canadian Solar, JA Solar, Longi, Seraphim, and Jinko Solar. We as a business look at those panels because they are readily available,” Hattingh said.

“The two that stand out, I would say, are Canadian Solar and JA Solar.”

Hattingh explained that after availability, the next thing AWPower looks at is rand per watt — the unit of measure it uses to determine whether or not to use a specific model or brand of solar panel.

The representative from Solar Advice said their recommended brands include Canadian Solar, JA Solar, and Synapse.

“Solar panel brands like Canadian Solar, JA Solar etc., are all excellent brands and come highly recommended,” they said.

“These brands, along with Synapse [inverters] and a few others, are very popular in South Africa because they work well.”

Canadian Solar

JA Solar