Most of the UK’s MCS registered PV solar panel installers are able to offer a choice of solar panels from a range of manufacturers. Choosing the appropriate PV solar panels for your home or business may be decided by a number of factors: the suitability of the panels for use in the UK’s climate, the overall efficiency of the panels, the manufacturer’s reputation for quality and service, the product warranties and, of course, the price may all have an influence on your decision.
Different PV solar panel manufacturers have different strengths when it comes to providing PV solar panels for the UK market, but in terms of popularity and suitability here are the top ten companies you’re likely to choose from when buying PV solar panels for use in the UK.
- 1. Solarcentury (UK) Founded in 1998, Solarcentury is Britain’s most experienced PV solar power company. Besides being authorised distributors of Sharp, Sanyo and Yingli PV solar panels, Solarcentury also manufactures its own, the Solarcentury SC-M185-H18. Designed with the requirements of the UK market in mind, Solarcentury’s PV solar panels boast high efficiency, resilience to adverse weather and a twenty-five year performance guarantee.
- 2. Romag (UK) Recently acquired by property investment group Gentoo, Romag has been a UK manufacturer of specialist glass products since 1943, and has produced a range of PV solar products with the brand name Powerglaz since 2004. Romag became the first UK PV solar panel manufacturer to win a licence under the prestigious Kitemark Scheme for Microgeneration, and is responsible for the largest private PV installation in Britain at Michael Eavis’ farm – home to the Glastonbury Festival.
- 3. Sharp (Japan) Consumer electronics giant Sharp has more than fifty years’ experience in the production of solar energy devices. Thanks to the familiarity of the brand, the breadth of its PV solar panel ranges and the company’s ability to combine high production values with comparatively affordable prices, Sharp’s PV solar panels are among some of the most commonly available solar panels in the UK market.
- 4. Suntech (China)
That Suntech’s PV solar panels should be so widely available throughout the UK is no real surprise; this Chinese company is the world’s largest producer of silicon solar modules and received accreditation under the UK’s Microgeneration Certification Scheme in 2010. Offering guaranteed low-light performance and a twenty-five year warranty as standard, Suntech PV solar panels are well suited to the UK’s operating conditions.
- 5. Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) (Norway) If any PV solar panel manufacturer should have knowledge and experience of low light and harsh weather conditions, it’s Norwegian firm REC. With a rapidly growing global presence, REC’s Peak Energy range of modules, which are optimised to perform efficiently under a range of environmental conditions, are increasingly on offer from UK PV solar panel suppliers and installers.
- 6. Mitsubishi Electric (Japan) Japanese technology corporation Mitsubishi’s involvement with PV solar technology began in the 1970’s. Today, Mitsubishi provides a number of PV solar product ranges for the UK domestic and commercial markets, from single PV solar panels to PV solar ‘packs’ which contain every component needed to install a PV solar electricity generation system. Offering high levels of efficiency and robustness at a competitive price, Mitsubishi PV solar panels are a popular choice in the UK market.
- 7. Viridian Solar (UK)
UK PV solar panel manufacturer Viridian Solar is a newcomer to the UK market but is already making a name for itself thanks to the innovation and expertise of its engineers. Based near Cambridge, Viridian started producing solar thermal panels in 2007, branching out into photovoltaics with its Clearline PV solar panel range as recently as 2009. Offering efficiencies of up to 15.3%, these sleek low-profile modules are likely to become increasingly popular with UK suppliers and installers.
- 8. Q Cells (Germany) German solar technologists Q Cells have enjoyed rapid expansion since the company started with four employees in 1999. Now manufacturing in Germany and Malaysia with a global staff of 2000 employees, Q Cells mono- and polycrystalline PV solar panel ranges are setting new standards for performance and reliability. In Buxton, Derbyshire, Q Cells have just completed the UK’s first major commercial PV solar installation to use Q-Smart – the world’s most efficient PV solar modules.
- 9. Sanyo Solar (Japan)
Another Japanese electronics manufacturer that has become a household name, Sanyo is now part of the Panasonic empire. Sanyo Solar has been around for thirty years and continues to be a leading innovator in PV solar panel technology. Sanyo Solar’s panels have always been popular and widely available in the UK market thanks to their efficiency and affordability, and this trend looks set to continue with the release of Sanyo Solar’s next-generation PV solar panels, featuring their patented high efficiency HIT technology.
Perhaps it’s inevitable that the top 10 solar panel manufacturers for the UK market should be dominated by the electronics giants of eastern Asia. But thanks to Kyocera’s low production costs, high quality manufacturing and testing processes, PV solar panel efficiency ratings and warranties, Kyocera remain a popular choice for UK domestic and commercial PV solar panel installations.