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Chinese Solar Panels – Review of Cost, Quality, Brands, Modules on Sale

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Chinese Solar Panel Industry

China’s Solar Industry is the biggest in the world. Due to the low cost of Chinese solar panels, the market rose from almost nil in 2005 to almost 40%  in 2010. The remarkable growth in the Chinese Solar Panel Industry has been due to the supportive Government, low labor and capital costs and aggressive competition. This has made the higher cost solar panel manufacturers cut their prices in order to retain their marketshare. China has a number of  Tier1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 producers of solar panels. There is also a number of big State Owned (SOE) Chinese conglomerates that are entering the Solar Panel Industry.

Chinese Solar Panels are super cheap. The cheapest global solar panel brands are all Chinese. The current costs range between 60~70 cents per watt. A standard Chinese Solar Panel would cost around 210$ for a 300-watt panel. Read about Five Most Affordable Solar Panel Brands.


Here is a list of Chinese Solar Panel Companies:

1) BYD Solar

BYD  is China’s biggest producer of Electric Vehicles and Lithium Ion batteries. The Company got famous when Warren Buffet bought a 10% stake in the company. The company planned to invest 22.5 Billion Yuan on Solar Energy through secured financing. The company has started a 100 MW cell plant in the Shaanxi province and plans to expand to 5000 MW by 2015.BYD signed a $300 million polysilicon supply contract with LDK Solar. BYD Solar Panels are mostly sold in Europe and Australia as of now as the company does not have a global network unlike big solar panel companies like Suntech or Trina Solar. This is also the reason that BYD Solar Panels are one of the cheapest price solar panels being sold. This is also due to the status of BYD Solar Panels being considered Tier 2 which makes them lower priced in the market. Read About BYD Solar Panel Reviews.

2) Canadian Solar

Canadian Solar Inc. is a top Global Module Supplier. Canadian Solar is a vertically integrated company, providing ingots, wafers, solar cells, solar modules, solar power systems and specialized solar products. The Company is headquartered in Canada with factories in China and Ontario. Canadian Solar operates in 11 countries: Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Australia, the United States, Singapore, HongKong, and China. It is listed on NASDAQ Exchange. Canadian Solar has a wide customer base covering over 50 countries. Canadian Solar provides the solar industry with the widest PV product lines from 0.03W to 305W. Canadian Solar also offers customized PV products and OEM service around the world. The Company sells a wide variety of solar panels, unlike other producers. The Solar Panel Selling Price is also quite cheap.

The Canadian Solar Modules can be broadly classified into 1) Standard Modules, 2) NewEdge Modules, 3) e-Modules and 4) BIPV Modules. You can read more about reviews on Canadian Solar Panels.

3) CEEG Solar

China Electric Equipment Group Corporation is based in Nanjing, China and is a China state owned company.CEEG is one of the top 15 Chinese solar module manufacturers and sells solar panels under the CEEG Brand. Like its name implies the CEEG Group has a major presence in the electrical equipment market and 3 of its 4 divisions operate in this segment.  The company is also listed on the NASDAQ under the CSUN symbol. CEEG’s power transformers and PV products have been qualified for CCC, UL and EU  certifications. It launched the Quasar range of high-efficiency solar panels. In 2004, CEEG got engaged in the PV industry and established China Sunenergy (formerly CEEG Nanjing PV-Tech Co., Ltd). CEEG has  4 solar panel production factories and 600 MW of production capacity. CEEG was originally a solar cell producer and seller before getting into the manufacture of solar panels in 2009 through acquisitions of 2 small solar module producers.

CEEG Standard modules are designed for both residential and commercial, rooftop and ground-mounted, as well as on-grid and off-grid photovoltaic projects. They sell monocrystalline solar panels under the 125 and 156 series which indicates the size of the solar wafers used to make these solar modules. Read reviews on CEEG Solar Panels.

4) Chaori Solar

Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Co. Ltd. was established in 2003 and is located in the Fengxian district of Shanghai. It has a registered capital of 527 million Yuan and employs more than 1,500 people. Chaori is a vertically integrated company producing of ingots, wafers, cells, modules and also installs PV system. The company sells solar products in Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and the United States. The company has a wide product range and offers crystalline silicon solar modules, cells, silicon, batteries, ingots and other solar products like solar lights. Read reviews on Chaori Solar Panels.

5) Chint Astronergy

Astronergy was founded in 2006 and is the solar subsidiary of the Chint Group. As a leading integrated solar manufacturer, Astronergy specializes in research, development & production of high performance monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells & modules, as well as amorphous/microcrystalline thin film PV modules. With support from its parent company Chint, Astronergy has become a global total solutions provider for photovoltaic systems.

It has one of the complete PV product lines in mainland China. In collaboration with its parent company, the Chint Group, Astronergy provides not only top-of-the-line solar modules, but also complete BOS components including inverters, array combiner boxes, DC protection, AC protection, and transformers. This has enabled the company to become the first in the industry to provide customizable PV solutions to satisfy a variety of photovoltaic needs, all from a single source.  Astronergy’s parent company, The Chint Group is a leader in low-voltage electrical power transmission & distribution industries. Very recently, Chint-Astronergy completed a 50MW solar PV power plant in Bulgaria. The company is headquartered in China & partnered globally through its offices in USA, Germany, Spain, Australia, Korea & Japan. Read reviews on Chint Astronergy Solar panels.

6) CNPV Solar

CNPV is a semi vertically integrated solar panel producer like most of the other Chinese solar panel makers in the sense that it does not produce polysilicon which is the main raw material for producing solar modules. However, it makes solar wafers, cells and finally the panels in-house. CNPV is one of the bigger Tier 2 Chinese solar panel manufacturers with its factories based in China. The company does not have a big presence in the retail solar panel market as it sells mainly to solar farm developers. However, with solar roofs becoming more important as the government focuses their efforts on residential installations compared to utility installations, it is a matter of time before CNPV becomes available through online and offline dealers for residential solar. Quality wise and price wise the company is comparable to the smaller Chinese solar panel producers like CEEG, Sunink, ET Solar and SunEarth. The company is listed on the NYSE.

The Solar Modules are majorly of two types – Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline. Read Reviews on CNPV Solar Panels.

7) ET Solar

Was founded in 2007. The company is relatively small compared to the biggest solar panel producers like Yingli, Suntech as its capacity is one/fifth the size of these big panel producers. ET Solar is a quasi vertically integrated solar equipment manufacturer with a presence in Europe, North America, and Australia. However, it does make silicon ingot, wafer, cell, module and a variety of BoS component products. ET Solar offers high-quality modules, inverter, tracker, BIPV, PV Kit and other solar products in more than 50 countries and regions in the whole world. Worldwide more than 500MW projects are already finished. The company is not publicly listed but is funded from Private Equity Sources. ET Solar has a good presence in the UK and Australian Markets.

ET Solar sells solar panels in a wide variety of power ratings and their quality is generally regarded as decent without being great. Read ET Solar Panel Review.

8) JA Solar

JA Solar was founded on 2005 and was publicly listed on New York’s NASDAQ stock market (ticker symbol: JASO) in  2007.  The company sells its products to solar manufacturers worldwide, who assemble and integrate solar cells into modules. The company has two solar cell manufacturing facilities, one located in Ningjin and the other in Yangzhou. JA Solar manufactures solar wafers, solar cells and solar modules making it semi integrated. JA Solar has also diversified into manufacturing and installing solar systems becoming a solar EPC Players. Yangzhou JA Solar PV Engineering Co. Ltd. subsidiary company of JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. is engaged in the solar PV system projects.

JA Solar is the biggest solar cell producer in the world with more than 2000 MW of silicon cell capacity. The company has one of the lowest costs in the processing of solar cells from solar wafers. The company is primarily a supplier of solar cells to most solar panel producers in Europe and Asia. Unlike its peer Trina and Yingli Solar, JA Solar does not have a good brand name or distribution of solar panels. It is more of an upstream supplier of solar products to solar companies rather than an end distributor of solar panels.

JA Solar primarily sells solar panels as an OEM Solar Panel Producer which means that it sells its solar panels to companies who put their own brand names on solar panels produced by JA Solar. The company also sells polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels under the SECUM and MAPLE brand name. Read about JA Solar Panel Reviews.

9) LDK Solar

is one of the biggest producers of solar wafers that are used by crystalline solar panels. LDK Solar was established in 2005 in China. As a vertically integrated manufacturer and supplier of photovoltaic (PV) products, LDK Solar has more than 21,900 employees worldwide. The Company’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in China. LDK Solar manufactures and markets multicrystalline and monocrystalline wafers for manufacturers of solar cells and modules. It sells Solar Panels mostly to other Solar Panel Companies. LDK Solar acquired the crystalline module manufacturing plant of Best Solar in February 2010 to bring the manufacturing capability in-house. It constructed a polysilicon plant with two production facilities near its wafer production plants in Xinyu, China.

The Solar Modules are major of two types – Monocrystalline and Multicrystalline. LDK Solar is one of the lowest cost panel manufacturers today offering panels at just 70-80 cents per watt. Read LDK Solar Panel Review.

10) NESL

Changzhou NESL Solartech Co Ltd. was founded in 2006, with an initial registered capital of 50 million RMB. NESL  is a state owned Chinese company with its own R&D, design and manufacture facilities for solar energy products. NESL’s production capacity is 400MW annually, with over 1,100 employees worldwide. The company also has offices worldwide in America, Germany and Australia. NESL specializes in solar PV panels, solar systems, solar PV application products, wind turbine equipment and solar-wind power systems. The company has experience in the design and production of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels, BIPV modules, on-grid and off-grid solar power systems and solar lighting systems. NESL has mono- and poly-crystalline solar modules ranging between 5W to 300W.  Read more about NESL Solar Panel Reviews.

11) Phono Solar

Phono Solar is a JV between Phono Technologies Switzerland and Sumec Group of China. Phono’s parent company SUMEC Group has been in the  PV industry from early 2004. SUMEC Group Corporation (SUMEC), founded in 1978, is a key member of China National Machinery Industry Corporation (SINOMACH). Phono Solar’s three production facilities will produce more than 500MW of PV Modules in 2011. The products are widely used in many fields such as power station, telecom, transportation, lighting, broadcasting, civil defense, marine etc. The company’s products are made in China and marketed by the Swiss company under the Phono Solar Brand. The Company also sells micro wind turbines which are used in small residential installations. Phono Solar manufactures both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels in the 75 Watts to 240 Watts Range. Also, read reviews on Phono Solar Panels.

12) Renesola

Established in 2005, is a leading global photovoltaic manufacturer. The company has its own R&D team and advanced production equipment. Renesola is a vertically integrated company with complete R&D and manufacturing of polysilicon, silicon wafer, and solar modules. Renesola has a global presence with sales branches established in Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific regions. Renesola Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of silicon wafers & solar modules. This Chinese solar company is one of the lowest cost producers of the solar wafer in the world. It is expanding into other parts of the supply chain. Like LDK Solar, Renesola sells most of its Solar Panels under an OEM Contract.

Renesola Solar Modules are divided into Monocrystalline and Virtus Series. Read About Renesola Solar Panels Review.

13) SunEarth

NB Solar Sun Earth or SunEarth Solar Panels is the Brand of Solar Panels sold by Chinese Ningbo based manufacturer of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar modules SunEarth Solar Power Co.Ltd. The company is known as NB Solar in USA. It has 4 facilities for silicon (3000 tons polysilicon plant), wafers (40 MW ), solar components and solar system production. The company has been in the solar industry for 45 years which would make it one of the oldest solar companies in the world. However, it seems to have been left far behind in terms of capacity with only 350 MW in 2009. The Headquarters are in Hi-tech Zone, Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China

Sun-Earth is a major supplier of solar systems to telecom towers in China and portable solar systems to Africa. It claims to have supplied to utility grade systems in Spain as well. However, it does not have much of a brand name compared to listed Chinese solar companies like Trina Solar, Yingli or Suntech. It is a Tier 2 Supplier of Solar Panels like CEEG Solar and BYD Solar Panels. Therefore its solar panel prices would be lower than that of the Tier 1 solar panel suppliers. Read Reviews on SunEarth Solar Panels.

14) Sunlink

SunLink PV was  founded in 2004. Sunlink solar Panels are manufactured by a small company Jiangsu Sunlink PV Technology Co. Ltd based out of China with module production capacity of 200MW. They sell  5W to 300W both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. They have IEC61215 Ed.2, IEC61730, UL1703 certificates. Like small Chinese solar panel producers Sunlink solar panels are one of the cheapest available in the market because of the simple reason that they don’t have the brand name of their bigger rivals like Canadian Solar.Their solar panels are of decent quality at a very low price. Read reviews on Sunlink Solar Panels.

15) 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.

The company was founded in 2001 by the solar scientist Dr. Zhengrong Shi and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Suntech offers solar products for every application and market, from off-grid systems to homes, to the world’s largest solar power plants. Their solar modules are installed in over 80 countries. Suntech has offices in 13 countries, including regional headquarters in San Francisco, California; Schaffhausen, Switzerland; and Wuxi, China. The manufacturing sites are located in China, Japan and the United States. The Suntech Solar Modules can be broadly divided for Residential, Commercial & Utility Scale purposes.

Read Suntech Solar Panel Review.

Suntech is amongst the five most cheap solar panel brands in the world. Read Five Most Affordable Solar Panel Brands. The prices the solar panels being sold are around $160-200 per 200 watt module.

16) Talesun

Is an international manufacturer of solar cells and modules with offices in Munich, San Jose and Shanghai. The photovoltaic solar cells and modules are manufactured in China in a fully automated production plant. The manufacturing plant is expected to reach 2 GW of capacity by the end of 2012. Recently, Talesun has signed an agreement with the government of Qinghai, China’s largest province. The cooperation deal has a six year term and commits Talesun to develop solar farms in the region, at an annual volume of 150 MW. The company manufactures both monocrystalline modules, with output between 170W – 310W and polycrystalline modules, with output between 220W – 310W. Read Talesun Solar Panel reviews.

17) Tianwei

Tianwei New Energy is located in  in west China. Tianwei New Energy Holdings Co Ltd. (TWNE) is an affiliate of China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC). Tianwei is a company with over 50 years’ history and  has a well established fully integrated PV industry chain. TWNE engages in the entire value chain of the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry – the R&D, manufacturing, sales and service of polysilicon materials. It is a fully integrated polysilicon, wafer, cell, module and PV system supplier. TWNE has a total investment of about USD1.5 billion. TWNE’s solar panel manufacturing capacity is 500MW. It has six subsidiaries. Tianwei Solar panels can be divided into Monocrystalline & Multicrystalline Modules. Modules are available in the 190W ~ 250W and many more capacities. Read about Tianwei Solar Panel Review.

18) Trina Solar

Is one of the lowest cost manufacturers of Solar Panels in the World right now. This is the reason that the company in a span of few short years has managed to acquire a substantial global market share. Like Yingli and Suntech, Trina Solar Panels are one the best quality amongst Chinese Solar Panels.

Founded in 1997, Trina Solar is one of the world’s foremost PV companies. Fully vertically integrated from the production of ingots to modules into both mono and multi crystalline technologies, Trina Solar offers high-quality modules and solar solutions. With more than 12 offices worldwide, Trina Solar has partnerships with leading installers, distributors, utilities and developers in all major PV markets and is listed on the NYSE.

The Solar Panels come in a very varied range and can be broadly classified for convenience into two categories:

  • By Business Need – Commercial, Residential & Utility
  • By Panel Type – Performance, Aesthetics & Universal

The prices the solar panels being sold are around $160-200 per 200 watt module. Read the Detailed Trina Solar Panel Review.

19) Yingli Solar

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 is the second biggest producer of Solar Panels in China. One of the world’s first fully vertically integrated photovoltaic manufacturers, the company develops, manufactures, and sells high-quality modules under the brand Yingli Solar to a wide range of markets, including Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, South Korea, China, and the United States. The company is headquartered in Baoding, China with over 11,000 employees worldwide & more than 10 branch offices globally. It is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 2007 (NYSE: YGE). The business model covers the entire PV value chain, from polysilicon production to the assembly of modules. Since 1998, the capacity has grown from 3 MW to over 1 GW, with more capacity expansions of 600 MWp in Baoding, China and 100 MWp in Hainan, for a total of 1.7 GW in production by the end of 2011.

The product range includes high-quality, reliable monocrystalline and multicrystalline modules. Read about Yingli Solar Panel Reviews.

Anti-Dumping Duties

The US imposition of duties on Solar panel imports from China has raised the hackles of the Chinese Government which considers the solar industry to be strategic to its future growth. While it will not affect the Chinese exports in a big way considering the easy workarounds, it has the potential of making the Chinese Government react negatively. The biggest losers could be the Polysilicon companies and Solar equipment suppliers based in the USA. Anti-dumping duties are imposed by the US against the Chinese solar panel companies with the total quantum of duties around 35-36% for most of the Tier 1 Chinese solar panel players.

The US Department of Commerce gave its final ruling on imports of Chinese made solar cells on 10th Oct 2012 after announcing a preliminary ruling early this year. The rates for CVD and AD have been revised in the final ruling. While the countervailing duties (CVD) has been reduced, anti dumping duties (AD) have been increased which means that the effective combined rate remains in the same range.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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