Hanwha is one of the world’s top 10 solar module manufacturers. They’ve been in the industry for over twenty years and have become a popular choice among homeowners. However, that fact might remain unknown for some solar enthusiasts, especially those taking their first step in the solar world. We’ve written this Hanwha solar panels review to facilitate new solar enthusiasts with the essential information surrounding this manufacturer.
With this Hanwha solar panels review, you’ll learn all about the company, what solar panels they make, how much they cost, and how they compare to other manufacturers. The goal is that you have all the information you need in one place.
About Hanwha Solar Panels
We’ll start this Hanwha solar panels review by introducing you to the company’s history and the type of products they’ve launched so far.
The History of Hanwha
Hanwha is a Tier 1 solar panel manufacturer, making high-performance photovoltaic (PV) products for the residential, commercial, and industrial solar energy markets. However, the company’s history has seen its ups and downs. Initially, Hanwha was a German company. German entrepreneurs, Anton Milner, Reiner Lemoine, Holger Feist, and Paul Grunow established Hanwha in an area of Thalheim in 1999. After filing for insolvency in 2012, Hanwha Group, a South Korean Chemical company, acquired them. Since then, they’ve moved their manufacturing facilities to Malaysia, China, South Korea, and the US. Germany is still home to its primary research and development center. Today, Hanwha mainly goes by the name Q Cells, and it has become a leader in the solar industry.
What Types of Panels Does Hanwha Make?
Hanwha Q Cells has produced a wide range of panels through the years, but they currently only focus on manufacturing monocrystalline PERC solar cells. The manufacturer offers five series of its PV modules, with the Q.PEAK panels being their newest and most popular series yet. The Q.PEAK panels incorporate Q.ANTUM DUO PERC technology, which allows for the passivation of the solar cell’s rear side. This type of technology employs a reflective layer that captures previously unused sunlight back into the cell to convert it into solar electricity, reducing electrical and optical losses. Most homeowners choose Hanwha panels for their sleek black-on-black design and high efficacy ratings.
How Hanwha Solar Panels Compare to Other Manufacturers
We’ll focus this section of the Hanwha solar panels review on three essential features that all homeowners should check during their research: efficiency, performance, and warranties.
The term “solar efficiency” refers to the PV module’s capacity to convert sunlight into usable electricity. Hanwha Q Cell panels have a 19.8% – 20.9% efficiency, with the Q.PEAK DUO-G5 and Q.PEAK DUO XL-G9 models topping out at 20.9%. Most solar panels in the industry have 15 and 20% efficiency, but premium models can be as high as 22.8%. Considering these values, Hanwha Q CELLS aren’t among the highest efficiency modules in the market.
Knowing how solar panels work under high temperatures is crucial to evaluate their performance. Manufacturers design their solar panels to operate in temperatures lower than 25° C (77° F). However, many homeowners install solar panels in areas with higher temperatures. The solar industry refers to this decrease in efficiency as the “temperature coefficient.”
The temperature coefficient is important because it describes how much your module’s efficiency will decrease in temperatures higher than 25° C (77° F). If you live in an area with high temperatures, you’ll have to buy a solar panel with a low-temperature coefficient (the lower the better) so that your panels can still produce enough power for your home. On average, solar panels output decreases between 0.3% and 0.5%, and the Q CELLS solar panel has a temperature coefficient of 0.35%.
Like most Tier 1 solar companies, all Hanwha Q CELLS solar panels have a 12-year product warranty and a 25-year linear performance warranty. For the Q.PEAK DUO-G6+ and Q.PEAK DUO-G8+ series models, Hanwha extends their product warranty to 25 years. The South Korean manufacturer guarantees their panels will put out 98% of their rating during the first year and decrease 0.54% per year. By the 25th year, Hanwha guarantees a minimum power output of 83%.
How Does Hanwha Compare to Panasonic?
These numbers might not mean much without context, and it’s easier to understand them when compared to other manufacturers. For example, Panasonic, another industry leader, produces panels with 19.1% to 21.2% efficiency. We can see there’s a considerable difference with Hanwha, positioning their panels on the mid-range side.
When it comes to performance, Hanwha’s panels have a temperature coefficient of 0.35%. If you remember, we mentioned that the lower the temperature coefficient, the better. It’s hard to compete with Panasonic’s 0.258%, but still, Hanwha isn’t the most efficient in the market. Homeowners who live in areas with high temperatures should carefully consider this feature.
While Hanwha’s 12-year product warranty is two years longer than most companies, it falls short of Panasonic’s 25-year product warranty. Still, Hanwha’s 25-year linear performance warranty equals Panasonic’s, which also offers a 25-year linear warranty for their modules. The linear warranty is crucial because it guarantees by what percentage a module’s efficiency should decrease over time.
Hanwha guarantees their modules will produce 98% of their rating during the first year and decrease 0.54% per year. By the 25th year, Hanwha guarantees a minimum power output of 83%. On the other hand, Panasonic guarantees that their panels will put out 97% during the first year and decrease only -0.45 % per year, which means that in the 25th year they’ll have an output of 86.2 %
Further Reading: Panasonic vs LG Solar Panels, Which Is Better?
How Much Do Hanwha Solar Panels Cost?
No Hanwha Q Cells review would be complete without including the average cost for their modules since it’s a decisive factor for many homeowners. Most Q Cells systems have an average cost of $2.32 and $3.08 per watt, making Hanwha Q Cells one of the best quotes on the solar market. Considering the average cost of solar panels is $2.85, Hanwha Q Cells have very competitive rates.
If you take a 6 kW system, homeowners can pay anywhere from $13,920 to $18,480 (these numbers don’t include any rebates or incentives.) After applying the 26 percent federal tax credit for solar, a Q Cells 6 kW system ends up costing between $10,301 to $13,675.
What Makes Hanwha Solar Panels Different?
By far, what makes Hanwha solar panels different from other brands is their Q.ANTUM DUO PERC technology.
As we mentioned before, Hanwha Q cell panels incorporate Q.ANTUM DUO PERC technology. This technology advancement allows companies to build solar panels that produce more electricity in the same amount of space as less efficient panels.
By incorporating this technology, Hanwha has tackled two common issues: light-induced degradation (LID) and potential induced degradation (PID), which ultimately reduce power output.
Let’s break down what this technology does for better understanding.
The “duo” in Q.ANTUM DUO refers to the newest improvements in Hanwha Q Cells PV modules. Currently, the company cuts each solar cell in half and wires each panel in two halves, two practices with many advantages. Solar panels with half-cut solar cells experience less resistive energy loss, have more area for the PERC layer to grab photons, and have better durability.
As for split-panel design, it prevents energy losses from shading since the section of the panel that does receive sunlight still works to its full potential.
The PERC, which stands for “passivated emitter and rear contact,” refers to the extra layer of conductive material on the backside of the cell. This material captures extra energy from photons, preventing its loss.
Hanwha panels’ low price is another feature making the difference. While Q Cells solar panels may not be the most efficient, they have an excellent price-to-quality ratio, especially when comparing them to other mid-range solar companies.
An Honest Hanwha Solar Panels Review
All in all, is Q Cell a good brand? Yes, Hanwha Q cell is an excellent brand. Even if world-leading companies like Panasonic outpace them, Hanwha panels are suitable options for homeowners with a tight budget but want to install high-quality panels in their homes.
Like most mid-range modules, Hanwha Q cell panels are between 19.8% – 20.9% efficient, with the Q.PEAK DUO-G5 and Q.PEAK DUO XL-G9 being their most efficient at 20.9%. Regarding performance, Hanwha panels have a temperature coefficient of 0.35%.
Their product and performance warranty is above the industry standard of 10 years, offering a 12-year product warranty and a 25-year linear performance warranty. Hanwha guarantees their panels produce 98% of their rating during the first year and only lose 0.54% of their efficiency every year.
Finally, they offer highly competitive bids, with their cost per watt ranging between $2.32 and $3.08. Hanwha’s price translates into higher cost savings for homeowners, which make up for the lower efficiency rating.
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