Canadian Solar: The Comprehensive Review

By Siena Hacker
10 September 2018
Here's our comprehensive review of Canadian Solar

While there are numerous solar panel companies on the market, Canadian Solar is definitely a top player in the industry.

Beyond manufacturing quality panels, Canadian Solar also manufactures and sells solar parks around the world. In fact, they recently sold three solar farms in Japan totaling 30.4 MW at peak performance.

While the company might have global name recognition, do they make the right solar panel for your home? We’ve written a comprehensive breakdown of Canadian Solar to help you make the best decision. Read on to learn about about bankability, price, efficiency, and warranty of Canadian Solar panels.

Canadian Solar - A Solid, Bankable Brand

The Ontario based company, which was founded in 2001, is well-regarded throughout the world for its high-quality panels. According to Bloomberg, the company has operations in Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, North America, Africa, and the Middle East. With over 405 gigawatts of solar panels installed globally, Canadian Solar is currently one of the largest panel companies in the market.

Canadian Solar Project

Canadian Solar donated panels for this Extreme Makeover project  in Georgia (source

Though the company has not been around for as long as others, like Panasonic, it has almost two decades under its belt. As a publicly traded company, their financial information is available. While the fact that the company only manufactures solar panels might be a risk in terms of product diversity and industry dependence, their reporting indicates that they have a pretty strong financial position.

Canadian Solar's Module Lineup

Here's a full list of Canadian Solar's module offerings:

Name Power (W) Efficiency Size (in) Weight (lbs) Features
HiKu 320/405 17.65-18.33% 83 X 41.3 X 1.6 54.9 High output poly module
BiKu 280/380 17.54-18.29% 79.3 X 39.2 X 0.33 64.6 Bifacial modules add 30% power
HiDM 320/335 18.98-19.86% 66.9 X 39.1 X 1.38 42.3 High density mono module
Ku Modules 350/365 17.64-18.40% 78.7 X 39.1 X 1.38 49.6 Modules with low internal current
Dymond 315/340 17.33-17.94% 65.4 X 39.2 X 0.33 50.7 Most durable module offering
MaxPower 310/340 17.49-18.00% 77.2 X 39.1 X 1.38 49.4 Highest energy yielding module
All-Black 265/295 17.72-18.33% 65.0 X 39.1 X 1.38 40.1 Canadian's aesthetic offering
Standard 260/285 16.50-17.11% 65.0 X 39.1 X 1.38 40.1 Canadian's standard offering

Tier-One Solar Panels at Tier-Two Prices

While its corporate headquarters are in Ontario, many of the company’s manufacturing centers are located in China. In fact, it wasn’t until 2011 that Canadian Solar actually opened a manufacturing plant in Canada.

Low production costs in China have allowed the company to maintain high production values at a low cost. While Canadian Solar is a tier-one ranked panel company, it sells its panels at second-tier or third-tier prices. The company gets big points for its low costs, made even cheaper when applicable state and federal incentives are applied. Low costs mean an even faster return on your investment and a greater bang for your buck.

Lower Efficiency than Market Average

Though Canadian Solar panels offer a good price, they have lower efficiencies than other modules on the market. With an average efficiency rating of 16.6% across their product line, their efficiency is lower than many of Panasonic or Sunpower’s offerings. For homeowners who are seeking higher efficiencies, Canadian Solar’s new HiDM panel offers a maximum module efficiency of 20.16%.

Canadian Solar HiDM Panels

The Canadian Solar HiDM Module

However, efficiency should generally only be the concern of homeowners with very limited roof space. For homeowners with ample roof space, higher efficiencies won’t make much of a difference in meeting your energy needs.

Canadian Solar Warranty is Average Among Manufacturers

Like many other companies in the industry, Canadian Solar offers a standard ten year warranty. While the warranty only covers a decade, the panels will likely continue producing power for an additional two to three more decades.

Though Canadian Solar’s warranty is similar to many other companies in the market, other well-known module manufacturers surpass their coverage. For example, Panasonic offers a 15 year product guarantee for physical defects and a 25 year power production warranty for 80% or rated output.

No matter which company you choose, homeowners who utilize Pick My Solar’s free marketplace platform can take advantage of the TriGuard Guarantee for three layers of coverage at no additional charge.

The Full Breakdown on Canadian Solar Panels

Canadian Solar has a strong history of producing quality panels with the economic backing to likely ensure they fulfill their warranties. The fact that they are globally recognized and consistently one of the top three module manufacturers is a result of their workmanship. Though not all their products boast extremely high efficiencies, they offer lower prices and standard warranties that will meet many homeowners’ needs.

Still not sure if Canadian Solar has the right panels for your home? Here's a few tips when considering this brand:

  1. Do you need high-efficiency panels? If you don't have a lot of roof space with good sun exposure, you may want to consider higher output panel brands like Sunpower or LG.
  2. Do you care about the look of the panels? If aesthetics are a concern for you (if the face the street, for instance), you may want to look at models that are all-black or frame-less.
  3. Get multiple offers from providers. Use Pick My Solar's online marketplace to look at competing quotes from vetted installers. Our experts will remotely design your system and help you compare Canadian Solar to other brands. Free! Learn more here

👋 - We're Pick My Solar. Our mission is to empower communities to adopt sustainable technologies through transparency and choice. We've built an online platform where you can get competitive solar offers from top-notch providers.

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