My first encounter with the solar world was much like that of many other folks, solar is solar. After a bit of education and research I soon found this was not the case. In fact, this notion is pretty far from reality. There are a couple of factors in my opinion and which I believe have the consumer in this mindset. The first is there are so many solar companies and contractors in the that any solar voice is drowned out unless it's "loud, repetitive, or by a perceived large organization." These organizations also typically sell an inexpensive product hidden by a concept, therefore the quality of the product is lost.....on purpose. Secondly, because solar is perceived as semi-technical and somewhat expensive, solar consumers are steered away from true measures of quality,and ultimately pacified by price.
With that said I believe there are a few good brands of solar product on the market. But, based on the number of solar panel companies in existence this would make the percentage of good brands minute.
Going one step further down this road I have yet to find one brand superior to the Sunpower brand of solar. I say this for many reasons. Across their entire panel offering, their efficiency rating is much higher than the field. The electric conduction contacts have been increased in size for greater conductivity capacity and removed from the front. This front contact look is what commonly loses eye appeal for most consumers. Also by moving the contacts they increase visual appeal, allow for more sunlight to penetrate, and protect the panels inner integrity form the elements.
A couple of impressive highlighted features in a Sunpower panel not only make it unshoppable but also save the consumer money via increased production. The panel is able to pick up several colors of usable light and convert it to power, so the Sunpower panel wakes up earlier in the morning and captures light later at night vs. the competition. Other panels do not do this. Even more wowing, the Sunpower panel produces power on both overcast, and rainy days...an unheard of feat in the solar world!
To my point all solar is not created equal, the biggest solar companies are not better,efficiency and product features are pretty darn important to production, and cheap and less money do not always equal a good deal. The latter was a reality few weeks ago when a lady purchased a system from a large solar organization who is no longer in business looked to us for assistance. We were curious why she made them her choice.....her answer was the size of the organization and price. 6 years to the day she was responsible for purchasing a 5 thousand dollar failed inverter used to convert usable power from her panels. My thoughts? How much did she really save......?