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Solar Panels in Australia – List of Suppliers,Cost and Review (Sharp,Sunpower,Suntech,Silex,BP Solar,REC)

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ASolar Panelsustralia has seen a big increase in solar panel installations due to generous subsidies given by individual states in Australia like New South Wales and others.Unlike other parts of the world where solar installations have started with large solar farms,residential rooftop installations have powered Solar Energy in Australia.The sharp growth in solar power has attracted most of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world like  Suntech, Canadian, REC, Kyocera, Sharp, Sanyo, Yingli, Suntech, Trina Solar and others.The major Solar Panel Suppliers in Australia are foreign manufacturers as Australia does not have a local content policy to promote manufacturing of solar cells or solar panels.Only a few handful of companies have manufacturing operations in the country.Almost all of the solar panels sold in Australia are imported.

Review of Solar Panels

Like other places in the globe,Chinese solar panel manufacturers have captured the lion’s share of the market with their aggressive pricing of good quality solar modules.However there are some European and Japanese companies like Sharp,REC which are present as well.These companies sell solar panels at a premium advertizing their better quality vis a vis the Asian solar panels.However the quality difference of the expensive Western solar panels is not that great for the pricing difference.So you would in general be better off buying Chinese solar panels of reputed companies like Suntech,Trina Solar,Yingli and others.Note these companies are much bigger than the Western companies and have a good track record as well.From a purely economic and cost benefit analysis you are better off buying the Chinese solar panels.

Cost of Solar Panels

Solar Panel  prices can differ widely depending on the technology,power,brand and quality.Thin Film Solar Panels are cheaper than the mainstream crystalline silicon solar panels.However they have lesser efficiency which means they take up more area to generate the same power.Solar Panels which are more efficient have a higher price.Monocrystalline Solar Cells cost more than the Multicrystalline Solar Cells.European and Japanese Brands also have a higher price tag while cheap imported Chinese panels cost less.Solar Panel prices have crashed by almost 30% in 2011 and you can get a 250 watt Solar Panel price at around $425 now.Expensive Panels might cost you more and you would have to pay $500. However for small installations ,panels can only be bought from  distributors which is more expensive and can cost you almost 50% more.Note Solar Panels form only a part of the total Solar System Cost.

List of Solar Panels Suppliers


Here is a list of the main Chinese Solar Panel companies which sell in the Australian Market

  1. Suntech – Suntech was  the world’s biggest producer of solar panels in 2010 and was one the first companies to set up operations in China.Its example was followed by a host of other Chinese companies.Suntech has been slow to expand compared to the fast growing small companies in China and has lost marketshare to them.It has started to vertically integrate in order to meet the low cost challenge from Trina and Yingli.Suntech makes one of the best quality Solar Panels in China.
  2. Yingli Green Energy – Yingli Green Energy is one of the oldest Chinese companies and is completely integrated from polysilicon.The company has been expanding rapidly and has one of the lowest cost structures in the industry.Yingli Green Energy has been sponsoring Football in Europe and has started a new line of high efficiency “Panda” Solar Panels.Yingli is the second biggest producer of Solar Panels in China
  3. Trina Solar – Trina Solar is one of the lowest cost manufacturers of Solar Panels in the World right now and also sells it at a very low price.This is the reason that the company in a span of few short years has managed to acquire a substantial  global marketshare.The prices the solar panels being sold are around $340 per 200 watt module.Trina Solar.Like Yingli and Suntech,Trina Solar Panels are one the best quality in China
  4. Hanwha Solar One – The Company which was recently acquired by South Korean Chemicals Giant Hanwha also makes one of the cheapest panels and sells it a very low price.The quality is also quite good and with strong parentage behind it,the solar panels made by the company.Again like Trina Solar,it has very low cost Chinese manufacturing capacity.The company was earlier known as Solarfun.
  5. Canadian Solar – The Company sells a wide variety of solar panels unlike other producers.The Solar Panel Selling Price is also quite cheap.The Company is headquartered in Canada with factories in China and Ontario.Canadian Solar is the 5th biggest producer of Solar Panels in China.
  6. LDK Solar – This is the biggest producer of solar wafers that are used by crystalline solar panels but is losing its No.1 position to GCL Poly.Is expanding rapidly into other parts of the solar supply chain and could break into top 10 solar panel producer in the next couple of years.LDK Solar is building a huge solar panel and cell production facility.It sells Solar Panels mostly to other Solar Panel Companies.
  7. Jinko Solar – Jinko Solar has shown the fastest growth rates in the Chinese Solar Panel Industry.The company is expanding again to become one of the Top 5 Solar Panel Producers in China.Jinko Solar like Trina and Yingli is vertically integrated and has one of the lowest cost solar panel production process.

European Solar Panel Companies

Renewable Energy Corporation – It is Norwegian manufacturer of mainly polysilicon and wafers.It suffered like other Europeans from the declines in solar panel prices.Has moved manufacturing to Singapore to lower its cost.Fell down the rankings due to tough competition.However is completely integrated.

BP Solar – This Oil and Gas Company also sells Solar Panels though it has stopped manufacturing them.The company had a factory to make solar cells and solar panels in Australia which was sold 3-4 years ago to Silex Solar.For ethical reasons and also because of cost I don’t recommend buying BP Solar Panels.

Note European companies are under huge pressure from low cost Chinese competition and some are closing their operations.So you need to be careful in buying solar panels from companies as you may lose the 25 year warranty if the company closes down.

Japanese Solar Panel Companies

Japanese Solar Panels are sold by giant Japanese conglomerates like Sharp,Panasonic and others.Unlike the Chine

1) Sharp – Sharp,the Japanese Zaibatsu known more for its Electronics Products is also the world’s No 1 Company in terms Solar Module Revenues.Sharp has been the solar world leader since the past 4-5 years despite stiff competition recently  from upcoming Chinese Crystalline Solar (c-Si) players and Thin Film Leader First Solar

Sharp’s c-Si division is not cost competitive with the Chinese and Taiwanese companies as its cost structure is almost 30-40% higher than the cheapest Chinese producers.Though the quality of Sharp’s crystalline silicon modules is considered much better,the cost difference has become too big in a rapidly commoditizing industry

While companies like Masdar are abandoning their Thin Film plans,Sharp has started shipping a-Si modules from its 1 GW capacity  plant in Sakai.With its established distribution strengths and technological abilities in LCD Technology,Sharp is one company that can survive the c-Si onslaught.

2) Sanyo-Panasonic  – Sanyo plans to invest more than  70% of its total investment over the next  3 years in its renewable energy and energy storage segments.Sanyo has never been as successful in the hyper competitive electronics market as other Japanese companies like Sony or Sharp.However its lithium batteries and solar panels possess cutting edge technology.Its solar panels with proprietary HIT technology rival the best  in terms of efficiency and quality.

Panasonic after acquiring Sanyo has completely changed its strategy to become a major Green Player targeting a Major Percentage of Sales in the future to come  from Green Products.Panasonic which is the world’s biggest Plasma TV producer is going to spend $1 Billion on Green Building investments.Panasonic will combine its Green Strengths with Sanyo’s to sell a complete Eco-Friendly Home complete with Solar Power,LED Lighting and Energy Storage and Efficiency capabilities.In Solar where Panasonic  is the No. 3 player in Japan behind Sharp and Kyocera ,it is speeding up the expansion of solar capacity.It will spend more than $500 million aiming to triple its energy solutions business in Europe to 800 Million Euros by 2016.

3) Kyocera – Kyocera is Japan’s second largest solar panel producing company.The company recently won a major contract to build a solar farm in Thailand.Unlike other companies it has been slow off the blocks and unless  it perks up its game,it is likey to become a even smaller company in the global scheme of things.

USA Solar Panel Companies

Sunpower – Sunpower is a vertically integrated solar energy company known more for its highest efficiency solar panels.The company bought Powerlight a few years ago to enter the solar systems market and has bolstered the business constantly to become a major global installer.Sunpower is present in all 3 segments of the solar sytems business namely a)residential b)commercial and c) utility. It is one of the largest US installers and has recently won a number of large utility contracts for building solar farms.

Note First Solar which is the second largest supplier of solar panels has also started making solar panels for residential applications.However this solar panel supplier due to its technology remains mainly a supplier to big power plants .

Australian Solar Panel Companies

 Silex Solar – This is the largest Australian solar panel supplier buy puny by international standards.Like Western companies it is too under huge pressure and may have difficulty in surviving.It recently fired some workers and has decided to buy solar cells from outside than making them

Dyesol – The company is a startup making esoteric new generation organic solar cells and panels.The technology still has a long way to mature and is not a mainstream commercial company yet.


There a number of small companies that sell solar panels but they buy all the solar cells and panels from outside suppliers.So you would be better off buying solar panels from the companies listed above.There are some other solar panel suppliers but they are not focusing on selling at this time on Australia though that may change with time.You can read the following articles to get a better understanding of the solar panel market and how to buy.

  1. Which is the Lowest Cost Solar Panel Manufacturer in the World
  2.  Free Solar Panels – They don’t Exist and Why you should not Confuse Free with Government Subsidies
  3. Solar Panels Efficiency – Range,Technology Dependence,Companies with Highest Efficient Solar Modules




Abhishek Shah

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