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Qcells solar panels review

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Qcells manufactures residential and commercial solar panels. Qcells’s photovoltaic (PV) solar panels combine affordability with performance. Its product ranges are diverse and feature panels that are well-suited for small, medium and large homes. This article provides an in-depth insight into Qcells’s products focusing on pricing, performance and reputation.

Qcells company overview

Qcells was founded in 1999, though it didn’t gain popularity until 2012 when it was acquired by the Hanwha Group –  a South Korean business conglomerate – after facing financial difficulties. It’s now a thriving solar panel manufacturer headquartered in Seoul, South Korea that markets its solar panels in Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, South America, Africa and the Middle East.

Qcells is a Tier 1 monocrystalline solar panel manufacturer, rated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), that is well-known for its above-average solar panel efficiency. Tier one manufacturers means that their products are crafted using high-quality silicon and the manufacturing process is vigorously checked for errors. It has multiple engineering offices which include China, Australia, Germany, North America, South America and Malaysia. 

Qcells is a leading solar panel manufacturer and all of its panels come with minimal degradation. Most of its panels have 98 per cent of nominal power (power that can be stored at a specified time interval ) in their first year and have an annual degradation of just 0.5 per cent after the first year. Its products also come with a 25-year performance warranty, and its panels are projected to produce at least  86 per cent of nominal power for up to 25 years. 

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Qcells pricing and costs

Qcells’s solar panels feature impressive performance ratings across all of its product ranges. What’s most notable about Qcell’s panels is its high-tech aluminium alloy frame that’s certified to combat adverse weather conditions such as high snow and high winds – this features on most products. 

When our researchers compared Qcells’s solar panel pricing with other reputable solar companies we found it to be good value for money. Even its highest power output panels were lower than some other brands such as SunPower.

Solar company Price range Power output range Product warranty range
Qcells £146.40 to £190.40 345W to 410W 12 to 25 years
SunPower £200.28 to £614.40 330W to 440W 25 to 40 years
JA Solar £188.40 to £262.80 365W to 420W 20 to 25 years
Jinko Solar £141.60 to £177 415W to 470W 12 to 25 years
Suntech £103.20 to £232.80 400W to 555W 12 years
REC £171.60 to £262.80 365W 420W 20 to 25 years

Although Qcell is one of the more affordable companies, its product warranty isn’t the longest when compared with SunPower, REC and JA Solar. This could be a downside for some if that is of high priority. Despite this, Qcells has a lot to offer in terms of power output and efficiency.

Qcells reputation

Since 2016, Qcell has consistently scored in the ‘Top Performer’ category of the DNV GL/PVEL PV Module Reliability Scorecard report. The DNV GL is a reputable authority of independent energy experts. The annual report establishes 20 industry leaders for solar panel manufacturers.  

Qcells’s best solar panels

In this article, the featured solar panels were chosen to suit different UK households’ requirements. Our researchers considered the needs of high-energy consumption households as well as small homes. Regardless of size, performance, efficiency and price were always of high priority.  

How we calculate solar panels’ value for money

Our experts multiplied the efficiency by the power output and divided that figure by the cost to calculate the value for money. This provides a fair and measurable result for each of SunPower’s panels. To find out more, read our article on how we review solar panels

Q.Peak Duo Black M-G11+ 400W: Best for small and medium-sized homes

Key features

✓ At least 98 per cent of maximum power in the first year

✓ 0.5 per cent annual degradation 

✓ All-weather technology with high-tech alloy aluminium frame 

Specifications

  • Power output: 400W
  • Efficiency: 20.8 per cent
  • Warranty: 25 years product and performance warranty
  • Cost per panel: £164.40

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
Works well in extreme weather conditions Expensive

Qcells’s Q.Peak duo M-G11+ 400W panel has an average level of efficiency when compared to other solar panels on the market. Most notable is its high-tech aluminium alloy frame, which is certified to withstand high snow and high wind loads. For households that are situated in areas with low light conditions, the Qcells M-G11’s innovative all-weather technology could help bypass any sunlight exposure restrictions. 

Efficiency and power output

The Q.Peak duo M-11+ 400W has an efficiency of 20.8 per cent, which surpasses the average of 20 per cent. Its high 400W output also contributes to a high generation of solar energy and the panel would suit small and medium-sized homes. The panel works well in extreme weather conditions thanks to its high-tech aluminium alloy frame and can withstand high snow loads (5,400 pascals) and wind loads (3,600 pascals).

Cost

Our researchers found Qcells’s duo M-G11 + 400W solar panel to be reasonably priced compared to others on the market. It’s more expensive than JA Solar’s Mono Percium Half-cell 400W panel, but its efficiency is slightly higher. REC’s Twinpeak 405W panel is more expensive and its efficiency is lower than Qcells’s.

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
QCell’s Q.Peak duo M-G11+ 400W 20.80% 400W £164.40
400W JA Solar Mono MBB Percium Half-Cell All Black Short Frame QC4 solar panel 20.50% 400W £114
405W REC TwinPeak 5 Series 20.50% 405W £171.50

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★
Power output ★★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★1/2
Overall ★★★

What is this panel good for?

Generating a good amount of renewable energy in adverse weather conditions. It has the ability to work well in high winds and high snow. 

Not good for

For those on a budget; there are some other panels with slightly less efficiency that are priced a fair amount cheaper per panel.

Q.Peak Duo M-G11A Series 410W: Best for homes with low-light conditions

Key features

✓ Q.antum Duo Z Technology with zero gap cell layout

✓ Certified for high snow and high winds 

✓ Weighs less than other Qcells panels 

Specifications

  • Power output: 410W
  • Efficiency: 21.4 per cent
  • Warranty: 12 years product warranty and 25 years performance warranty 
  • Cost per panel: £152.40

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
High panel efficiency Product warranty shorter than other QCells panels
Good value for money

The Q.Peak Duo M-G11A Series 410W is a durable and efficient solar panel. It has a lot of similarities to the M-G11+ series such as its capability of working well in adverse weather conditions and low light. The panel aluminium alloy frame is certified for high snow (5,400 pascals) and has the ability to cope with high wind loads (3,600 pascals). 

Efficiency and power output

The Q.Peak Duo M-G11A 410W is one of the more efficient panels on the market with an impressive 21.4 per cent. The series comes in various power outputs and its 410W is reasonably priced. 

Cost

When our researchers compared the Qcells’s Duo M-G11A 410W with panels that have a similar power output and efficiency we found that it was good value for money. Both the Longi Himo5 410W and the JAM53S30 Half Cell 410W have a power output of 410W and both are priced higher than Qcells’s. Both panels also have a slightly lower efficiency, so evidently Qcells’s comes out on top in this instance.

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
Q.Peak Duo M-G11A Series 410W 21.40% 410W £152.40
Longi Himo5 – Mono 410Wp 21% 410W £173.89
JAM53S30 410 Half Cell PV 21% 410W £172

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★★
Power output ★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★1/2
Overall ★★★

What is this panel best for?

This lighter-weight panel is good for households that need to withstand heavy snowfall and that don’t receive a lot of light, such as those situated in Scotland. It has the ability to generate a decent amount of energy in low light conditions, high wind loads and heavy snowfall.   

Not good for

Households with lower energy needs. This panel has an above-average efficiency and a high power output, so its potential could be wasted on low-consumption homes.

Q.Peak Duo ML-G9 All Black 380W HQC4 Solar Panel: Best for small homes

Key features

✓ 98 per cent of nominal power in the first year 

✓ 0.5 per cent annual degradation 

✓ Zero gap cell layout 

Specifications

  • Power output: 380W
  • Efficiency: 20.6 per cent 
  • Warranty: 12 years product warranty and 25 years performance warranty
  • Cost per panel: £147.60

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
Affordable Low power output
All-black sleek design

Efficiency and power output

Qcells’s Q.Peak Duo ML-G9 has a lower efficiency than the MG-11A and MG-11+ panels, but would still be a good choice for smaller households as its panel efficiency is above the average 20 per cent. Its 380W power output is also noticeably lower, but it still has the ability to supply enough energy for smaller homes with lower energy consumption. 

Cost

The Q.Peak Duo ML-G9 is one of Qcells’s more affordable panels. When our researchers compared it to other similar panels we found its pricing to be average. It’s cheaper than JA Solar’s MBB Percium Half-Cell 380W panel and has marginally higher efficiency. 

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
Q.Peak Duo ML-G9 20.60% 380W £147.60
380W JA Solar Mono MBB Percium Half-Cell Silver Short Frame QC4 20.40% 380W £153.60
Suntech 375W Mono PERC Black Frame 20.60% 375W £147.47

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★
Power output ★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★
Overall ★★★

What is this panel good for?

Households on a budget. This Qcells’s panel is affordable when compared to other similar panels and still has an above-average efficiency. 

Not good for

Large properties with more than three bedrooms  – the power output is not well-suited.

Q.Peak Dup M-G11S Series 420W: Best for homes with a high energy consumption

Key features

✓ 98 per cent nominal power during the first year

✓ 0.5 per cent annual degradation 

✓ Works well in adverse weather conditions

Specifications

  • Power output: 420W
  • Efficiency: 21.5 per cent
  • Warranty: 12 years product warranty and 25 years performance warranty
  • Cost per panel: POA

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
High power output Weighs more than other QCell panels
High panel efficiency

Efficiency and power output

The Qcells Q.Peak Duo M-G11S 420W panel has an efficiency of 21.5 per cent, which is higher than its other panels. Its high efficiency combined with the panel’s 420W power output would be well suited to larger homes or households with high energy consumption. The panel can also withstand snow and high winds and would still work well in cloudy conditions or homes that have high shade coverage. Thanks to its bypass diodes which improve efficiency by allowing the current to flow around the shaded panel instead of through it.  

Cost

The M-G11S 420W panel prices aren’t widely available, which makes it difficult to compare to other panels on the market. Although, we did compare it for power output and efficiency. 

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
QCells Q.Peak Duo M-G11S 420W 21.50% 420W POA
Jinko Tiger Neo 420W N-Type 54 Cell 21.50% 420W £177
420W REC Alpha Pure-R Series All Black Solar Panel 21.70% 420W £262.80

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★★
Power output ★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★
Overall ★★★1/2

What is this panel best for?

Efficiency and power output – its 21.5 per cent efficiency is one of the best on the market. This panel would suit large homes with more than three bedrooms.

Not good for

Homes with a small energy consumption. With such a large projected power output and efficiency, the Q.Peak M-G11S may produce more solar energy than is required. 

Frequently asked questions about Qcells solar panels

Qcells is a reputable solar panel manufacturer with four different models including the Q.Peak Duo, MG-11, MG11A and the ML-G9 series. Each series features a wide range of power outputs and efficiency.

Qcells do not install any of their solar panels themselves. To install Qcell’s solar panels, it’s best to purchase from a trusted and MCS-Accredited solar panel installer. Although Qcell doesn’t provide installation, they do come with long product and performance warranties, which means you’re covered, should you require replacements.

rachel

Rachel Sadler

Home Tech Writer

Rachel is a seasoned writer who has been producing online and print content for seven years. 

As a home tech expert for Independent Advisor, Rachel researches and writes buying guides and reviews, helping consumers navigate the realms of broadband and home security gadgets. She also covers home tech for The Federation of Master Builders, where she reviews and tests home security devices. 

She started as a news and lifestyle journalist in Hong Kong reporting on island-wide news stories, food and drink and the city’s events. She’s written for editorial platforms Sassy Hong Kong, Localiiz and Bay Media. While in Hong Kong she attended PR events, interviewed local talent and project-managed photoshoots. 

Rachel holds a BA in English Language and Creative Writing and is committed to simplifying tech jargon and producing unbiased reviews.

Amy Reeves

Editor

Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.