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A Complete Review of Panasonic Solar Panels

SolarKobo Score: 4.7/5 stars


Manufacturer's Profile

The makers of Panasonic solar panels, Panasonic Corporation, is a Japanese multinational electronics company founded March 13th 1918 in Osaka, Japan. Until 2008, its corporate name was ‘Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.’ In 2008, it became Panasonic Corporation. Panasonic has sold its products under brand names like National, Sanyo and Technics. Since the 2000’s and beyond, Panasonic gained footing in the global market for numerous achievements as a tier-one manufacturer in all markets they serve. Notably, In July 2014, it was announced that Panasonic had reached a basic agreement with Tesla Motors to participate in their mega battery plant in the United States, the Gigafactory 1. Since the 2016 opening of the Gigafactory in Nevada, Panasonic has developed a new battery technology for the “2170” lithium-ion cells it produces and supplies to Tesla. In early 2020, Panasonic announced that it would be leaving the Tesla deal.


Panasonic began making and selling amorphous solar panel modules, an old style thin film technology, under the brand name SANYO, until 1997 when they transferred to their staple HIT™ range of solar panels. Till date, it has sold over 4 million panels in Europe alone.


Panaserv is an official distributor of Panasonic products in Nigeria.


The End of An Era?

On February 1, 2021, Panasonic announced that it will be ceasing the production of solar products at its Malaysian and Japanese factories. Panasonic also said it would completely be exiting the solar panel and wafer market by March 2022. It will however continue selling Panasonic-branded modules but through a subcontracted manufacturer.


HIT Technology

The unique Heterojunction technology (HIT™) cell structure used by Panasonic sandwiches ultra-thin layers of amorphous silicon between the crystalline silicon substrate. It incorporates both crystalline and amorphous technology into the cell to retain the power that is often lost through conventional crystalline cells at the p-n junction. (Read our article on the types of solar panel technology here for a heads-up) The goal is to reduce unwanted energy losses at the boundaries of the cell.

The HIT™ technology has an extremely low temperature coefficient of .258% loss for every degree Celsius above 25 degrees, making it able to produce up to 13% more power during daytime. The temperature coefficient is an indicator of how the performance a solar panel degrade with increase in temperature. For every degree above 25° C, the electricity production of a solar panel will decrease accordingly with the value of temperature coefficient. Therefore the lower temperature coefficient value means higher performance. For instance, if the panel’s temperature increases by one degree from 25° C to 26° C, its electricity production will decrease by 0.26%. If its temperature increases all the way to 35° C (95° F), electricity production will reduce by 2.6%.

Panasonic has the lowest temperature coefficient of any solar panel brand in the market. This in comparison to SunPower/Maxeon at .29% and other high-value Chinese brands like Jinko, Trina and LONGi at around .40%. The benefit of this specification is that as panels get hotter on days of high temperatures and lose efficiency, the Panasonic cells experience the least losses. With the lowest temperature coefficient, HIT™ maintains higher efficiency and delivers higher output even at high temperatures.

Efficiency

The efficiency of a panel is how well a solar panel performs its function of capturing sunlight and converting it into electricity. Under the same set of conditions, a high-efficiency solar panel will produce more electricity than a lower-efficiency panel of the same size. For this reason, a higher efficiency rating is generally preferable. The efficiency of Panasonic solar panels will vary depending on the specific model chosen for the system. While the majority of solar panels fall in the 14% to 18% range, Panasonic panels efficiency range somewhere from 19.1% to 20.3%, making them one of the most efficient brands in the market.


Warranty

Panasonic offers a 25-year linear warranty against any defects on its HIT™ panels. Panasonic guarantees that its HIT™ modules will still retain 90.7% of their generating capacity 25 years after installation.


The Panasonic HIT™ solar panels are a premium brand and by far relatively more expensive than non-premium brands. But their quality and high performance justifies the investment cost in the long run. Panasonic's departure from the industry due to intense competition from mass-market directed Chinese brands would mean a significant loss for the solar industry.


SolarKobo helps its clients in Lagos and throughout Nigeria make the best choice of solar panels. We also have university-trained engineers that provide high-value installation services on order.

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