The majority of photovoltaic solar panels sold in the United States aren’t actually made in the US. In the past few months, however, several Asian solar companies, most notably those in China, have begun moving operations and manufacturing solar panels in America.
Why? Because of an import tariff on solar panels implemented by the Trump administration. To incentivize US manufacturing, President Donald Trump introduced a 30% tariff on imported solar panels and the cells used to manufacture them. Because of this, some US solar energy companies have begun manufacturing at new US-based facilities.
This list of American solar manufacturers includes many of the leading solar brands you can buy in the US and includes Hanwha Q Cells, Panasonic, LG Solar, Jinko Solar, and SunPower.
Here’s a rundown of the five best solar panel manufacturing companies in the US.
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Image source: SunPower
Top solar panel manufacturers in the US
The top five solar panel manufacturers are:
- LG Solar
- Hanwha Q Cells
- Jinko Solar
1. LG Solar
LG Electronics’ solar panels are the top solar panels ranked by customers as of June 2020. In fact, they are the only solar panels to beat SunPower’s panels.
The South Korean company announced in June 2018 that it would install two new solar panel manufacturing lines at its Huntsville, AL, facilities. The facility was completed in February 2019 and plans to produce 500 megawatts of solar panels annually.
2. Hanwha Q Cells
In May 2018, South Korean company Hanwha Q Cells announced that it would be building what will likely be the biggest silicon PV manufacturing facility in the US – a plant capable of building 1.6 gigawatts of solar panels per year.
As of June 2020, the company, which is the second best-reviewed solar panel manufacturer on SolarReviews’ Top 20 List in 2020, said that its facility in Whitfield County, GA, began producing modules in March. However, the company did not disclose whether or not it was producing at full capacity at that point.
Interestingly, the company filed a lawsuit against other solar panel manufacturers, including JinkoSolar, LONGi Solar, and REC Group, alleging that the other companies were infringing on its patents, an issue which could impact other international solar panel makers with operations in the US.
US-based solar panel manufacturer SunPower makes some of the world’s most efficient rooftop solar panels. In fact, the A-Series and X-Series panels both exceed 22% efficiency at converting sunlight to electricity.
However, most of the high-efficiency panels use Maxeon cell technology, which is made at facilities in Malaysia and the Philippines. The cells are sent to facilities in Mexico and France where they’re assembled.
In the US, SunPower is building highly efficient P19 Series solar panels at its Oregon facility, which formerly housed SolarWorld. SunPower bought the US-manufacturing arm of the bankrupt company in 2018 and quickly converted it in order to begin producing SunPower solar panels. The plant started full-scale production in early 2019 and should be producing roughly 220 megawatts of solar panels annually.
SunPower’s solar panels are another one of the top 20 solar panels and were ranked fourth by customers as of June 2020. The drawback is – SunPower’s X-Series panels are expensive. The P19 Series are more affordable.
Japan’s Panasonic, through its partnership with Tesla, has some of the largest capacity for manufacturing solar panels in the US. At Tesla’s Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, NY, the companies are building high-quality monocrystalline solar cells and panels.
Tesla also manufactures solar batteries like the Powerwall 2 at their Nevada facility. Tesla has shown a great commitment to American manufacturing jobs in the renewables sector.
It is likely that they are also producing solar cells and tiles for the Tesla solar roof at the facility. At full capacity, which was slated for 2019, the company is expected to produce a gigawatt of solar panels and tiles.
As of June 2020, Panasonic solar panels are among SolarReviews’ top 20 solar panels in 2020. The Panasonic panels are highly rated and reviewed—coming in at fifth on the list.
Tesla solar panels didn’t make the list, however – this could be partly because the company still uses solar panels from various manufacturers (among them Canadian Solar, Kyocera, LG).
The Panasonic panels and the Tesla solar roof represent more premium options.
5. Jinko Solar
Chinese manufacturing company Jinko Solar announced that it would build a manufacturing plant in the US in January 2018—ahead of Trump’s announced solar import tariffs. Instead, it partnered with a US-based energy company, which turned out to be NextEra Energy. Jinko Solar initially said it would produce up to 400 megawatts of panels a year at the facility.
NextEra Energy and its subsidiaries like Florida Light & Power will likely receive most of those solar panels for their solar power plants. They announced they would be purchasing 7 million solar panels from Jinko to increase their use of renewable energy.
The company also makes highly-regarded home solar panels and is ninth on SolarReviews’ Top 20 List as of June 2020.
Jinko has stated that it began manufacturing at its new facility but, like Hanwha, didn’t disclose how much it was producing.
Who is the largest solar panel manufacturer in the US?
First Solar is the largest US-based solar panel manufacturer with an annual production of 1.9GW of solar modules.
It’s great to know there’s an increased chance of getting American-made solar panels. The best way to learn more about these offerings and how much they’ll cost you as a homeowner is by checking out our rooftop solar calculator, so you can calculate the costs and size of the appropriate solar system for your home.
You can also check out and get in touch with top local solar installers to learn more about what they offer, as well as costs, incentives, and rebates for solar panels.