Canadian Solar Panels: An Independent Review by Solar Choice

Note: Solar Choice is not a solar installer and has no financial or other incentives to promote any product brand over another.

Overview of Canadian Solar – Company History

Canadian Solar was founded in 2001 by Dr. Shawn Xiaohua Qu in Canada. Dr. Qu is still currently the Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar. In 2006 Canadian Solar was listed on the NASDAQ. Although most of their production is based in China, Canadian Solar has two manufacturing facilities in Ontario, Canada.

In March 2020 the Canadian Solar research and development team produced an n-type multi-crystalline silicon solar cell that tested at a world record 23.81% efficiency. Currently, the world’s most efficient residential solar panel is 22.6%.

Canadian Solar have the fifth largest solar panel manufacturing capacity in the world (according to Bloomberg NEF), and have an increasing Australian presence. They have 4 warehouses across Australia and employ 50 local staff to work across solar panel sales and service and their large-scale solar farm projects.

Key Panel Indicators

 Canadian Solar Panel
Bloomberg Tier 1 RankingYes
PV Evolution Labs Top Performer 2024Yes (6 out of 7 tests)
Office location in AustraliaYes

What is a Bloomberg Tier 1 Solar Panel?

Bloomberg’s infamous tier 1 ranking is NOT a measure of Solar Panel quality in any way. It is simply an indication of the bankability of the manufacturer based on publicly released information on the financial health of the company. This should give you an idea if the company is a large, well-known manufacturer.

Canadian Solar was listed as a tier 1 panel in the latest Bloomberg NEF report.

See full list of Bloomberg Tier 1 Solar Panels

What is PV Evolution Labs Top Performer?

PV Evolution Labs with support from DNV GL independently test solar panel reliability. The tests are voluntary, with solar panel manufacturers paying to participate in the testing. This testing process is internationally renowned and is an accurate reflection of the solar panel’s performance.

Canadian Solar Panels was listed as a top performer for 5 performance tests(damp heat, mechanical stress sequence, hail stress sequence, PID, LID+LETID, PAN performance) in the latest report. Please note that Canadian Solar had a large number of different solar panel models tested with varying results.

See full list of PV Evolution Labs Top Performing Solar Panels

Why is office location in Australia Important?

Most solar panel manufacturers entering the Australian market first set up their distribution channels and worry about customer service later. This has led to many unhappy customers who are left trying to contact Chinese head offices to claim on their 10-year product warranty.

Relying on your solar installer is not always an option as we’ve seen many residential solar installers (including the large ones) go out of business well within the lifetime of the systems they are installing.

Canadian Solar’s Australian head office is located in Cremorne, Melbourne and they have warehouses in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. For warranty claims you can contact their head office on 03 8609 1844.

Compare quotes from up to 7 installers in your area now.

How Much do Canadian Solar Panels Cost?

Based on Solar Choice’s database we have provided the below-average costs as an indicative guide. These prices include:

  • Full turnkey Solar System with Canadian Solar Panels
  • Installation from a pre-vetted reputable installer from Solar Choice’s network
  • The STC rebate and GST
System SizeAverage Fully Installed Cost
6kW$6,293
8kW$8,185
10kW$9,413

Canadian Solar Panels – Points of Difference

There are many solar panels out there, what makes Canadian solar panels stand out? 

A wide range of solar panels 

Canadian Solar has a wide range of solar panels, it offers a power range from 200W to 665W including Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, and PERC. Canadian Solar panels can be used in almost every solar project including residential, commercial, and solar farms.

A Trusted and Long History Company 

Canadian Solar have a long history in the competitive solar panel market operating for over 20 years. Through-out the majority of this time Canadian Solar has remained on the Bloomberg tier 1 list (measuring financial stability) and is listed as one of the leading manufacturers by production capacity (No.4 in 2022).

Canadian Solar Panel Technologies

A vast range of solar panels listed on Canadian Solar’s Australian website are approved by the Clean Energy Council for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which is Australia’s home solar rebate program. Canadian Solar have different models directed at the residential, commercial and utility-scale market.

HiHero Series HiHero Series

The series of HiHero is High-Efficiency Heterojunction (HJT) Cell Module. They have a higher module efficiency (up to 22.5%) and a longer product warranty and performance warranty (25 years and 30 years respectively) The power range is 415W to 440W, it is suitable for both commercial and residential projects.

KuPower Series KuPower Series

KuPower Series is the series Canadian Solar has offered for many years. They keep a number of panels in stock to act as replacements on older systems where required. Kupower has a wide range of module replacements from 200W to 355W with different sizes for 6-inch, 48/60/72 full-cells, and 5-inch, 72/96 full-cells. They can also be used to replace the other brand of solar modules that have failed, not just Canadian Solar

BiHiKu SeriesCanadian Solar Panel BiHiKu review

Mostly applicable in the utility-scale market or large-scale commercial ground-mount projects. These bificial panels enable light to be absorbed from the top and bottom of the panel increasing the energy yield by up to 30%. These panels are up to 665W and up to 2.4m in length, significantly larger in dimensions and output than a typical residential solar panel.

HiKu SeriesCanadian Solar Panel Hiku Series

The HiKu Canadian Solar panels are regularly used in rooftop commercial projects as they offer great module efficiency at a cost-effective price. These panels are typically seen at 330W at their most cost effective price point, but the modules in this series can go up to 670W. The module has been designed for easy and efficient installation on rooftops and is a popular choice among Australian residential and commercial installers.

All Black SeriesCanadian Solar All Black Series Review

The all black series creates an aesthetic appeal with a black frame and black back sheet. These panels are designed for residential homes and to provide a sleek look. Despite the dark colour of the panels, Canadian Solar’s modules still perform well in hot conditions with a low temperature coefficient (Pmax) of -0.34 % / °C.

Independent Testing of Canadian Solar Panels by PV Labs Australia

In a 2023 study commissioned by the ACT Government, PV Labs Australia testing a sample of 121 solar panels sourced directly from suppliers in the market. The solar panels featured 14 different solar panel brands and they have published the results. 

The solar panels were tested via a visual inspection, STC power, electroluminescence, wet leakage and potential induced degradation. 

Canadian Solar had mixed results from the 2 rounds of testing. In the first round of testing they scored a relatively low score of 76 out of 100, however recovered in round 2 with a good score of 92 out of 100. 

It was noted in the accelerated aging test that a Canadian Solar panel developed a likely shunt through the testing procedure.

See the full report here.

Canadian Solar’s Warranty Policies in Australia

Solar panels come with a product and performance warranty. The product warranty is designed to cover manufacturing faults in the panel that leads to damage or malfunction and is typically 10 years for most solar panel manufacturers. Canadian solar offer either 12 or 15 years a product warranty depending on which module you are looking at, which we would consider to be slightly ahead of the market’s expectations.

The performance warranty on a solar panel covers a minimum level of output of the solar panel based around a normal degradation rate for the panel. Most solar panels guarantee a maximum degradation rate of 2.5% in the first year and 0.7% a year thereafter until the 25th year leaving a remaining output of ~80% of its nameplate value. Canadian Solar’s warranty again varies by panel but is often slightly ahead of this standard. For example the commonly used HiKu series comes with a maximum degradation guarantee of 2% in the first year and 0.6% from year 2 to year 25 leaving a end value of 84.8% of the labelled power output.

Canadian Solar have Australian offices and we anticipate this to be one of the easier companies to claim warranty from even if your installer is no longer around. Canadian Solar have a different warranty policy and document for each solar panel series so make sure you look up the right document on their website that corresponds with your quote to see what you are being offered.

Compare quotes from up to 7 installers in your area now.

Comparison of Canadian Solar Panels

 BiHiKu Bifacial Mono PercBiHiKu Bifacial Poly PercHiKu Poly Perc
Cell Number144144144
Cell TypeMono-crystallinePoly-crystallinePoly-crystalline
Power Output420Wp420Wp425Wp
Nominal Power Voltage39.9V39.5V39.7V
Power Density187.98 W/m²187.98 W/m²192.38 W/m²
Panel Efficiency18.8%18.8%19.2%
Annual Power Degradation0.45%0.45%0.55%
Dimensions2132 x 1048 x 30mm

(2.23m²)

2132 x 1048 x 30mm

(2.23m²)

2108 x 1048 x 40mm

(2.21m²)

Weight28.4kg28.4kg24.9
Product Warranty 12 years12 years12 years
Performance Warranty30 years30 years25 years
Operational Temperature Range-40°C to 85°C -40°C to 85°C -40°C to 85°C
Made inChina, Thailand & VietnamChina, Thailand & VietnamChina, Thailand & Vietnam

Canadian Solar Panels Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Tier 1 Solar Company by Bloomberg New Energy
  • Have an Australian Head-Quarters in Melbourne along with Warehouses in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth
  • Premium panels have 25 year performance and product warranty

Cons

  • Name can be confusing for customers who think the panels will be manufactured in Canada. The majority of panels that land in Australia are Chinese manufactured. Whilst Canadian Solar do still operate manufacturing plants in Canada, these panels are typically deployed to other Countries.

Should I Buy Canadian Solar Panels?

Canadian Solar have been around for a long time and suit customers looking for a mid-range panel that has been tried and tested. With a presence in Australia, all signs point to their warranty policy and process not causing too much trouble if you have to go down that path. We would recommend choosing one of the Canadian Solar panels that now offer a 25-year product warranty for extra piece of mind.

Example of a Canadian Solar Commercial Solar Project

In 2016 Canadian Solar installed a photovoltaic system on the roof of the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) located in Darling Harbour. Which when installed was one of Australia’s largest panel arrays in a business district. Canadian Solar in conjunction with CSA Services constructed the solar system across the three sites, this installation featured state-of-the-art products and an innovative roof-top mounting structure. The system consists of 2,004 260W Canadian Solar modules and is estimated to generate around 545MWh of electricity annually.

International Convention Centre Sydney

Read more product reviews from Solar Choice

Compare quotes from up to 7 pre-vetted installers in your area now.
Since 2008 our knowledge and sophisticated software has allowed over 300,000 Australian households and businesses to make a well-informed choice on their solar & battery installer.
Jeff Sykes

Reviews from Australians who have installed Canadian Solar Panels

Rated 4.79 from 78 reviews
6th June 2024
Jay
-
6kW system
5.00

6th June 2024
Eddie
-
10-15kW system
1.00

would be happy if they turned up to install them

30th May 2024
VIC - 3783
10-15kW system
5.00

System is performing as advertised. No problems at this stage (touch wood).

17th May 2024
David
-
6kW system
1.00

15th April 2024
John
-
10-15kW system
5.00

28th March 2024
Jay
-
10-15kW system
5.00

27th March 2024
Henrique
-
10kW system
5.00

Works as expected

24th March 2024
Lea
-
10-15kW system
5.00

10th March 2024
NSW - 2039
6kW system
5.00

System performance is sound after 6 years

8th March 2024
Bryan
-
7kW system
5.00

25th February 2024
WA - 6149
6kW system
4.00

17th February 2024
Mohammad
-
10-15kW system
5.00

10th February 2024
Deepa
-
10-15kW system
5.00

Performance is great so far

10th February 2024
Garry
-
10-15kW system
4.00

3rd February 2024
Abraham
-
10-15kW system
5.00

31st January 2024
Tahir
-
7kW system
5.00

Output ia great and a good quality

29th January 2024
QLD - 4074
6kW system
5.00

Very happy overall with panels and their installation.

13th January 2024
Graeme
QLD - 4030
6kW system
5.00

Have worked efficiently continuously with little deterioration in performance

11th January 2024
Filipe
-
10-15kW system
5.00

1st January 2024
Lynda
NSW - 2779
6kW system
3.00

24th December 2023
Ray
TAS - 7052
5kW system
5.00

SEEMS TO BE DOING WHAT IS REQUIRED BUT ONLY A COUPLE OF MONTHS OLD.

13th December 2023
Mark
SA - 5091
6kW system
5.00

It's been just over 4 yrs with the Canadian solar panels no issues at all very happy.

13th December 2023
Jordanna
VIC - 3037
10kW system
5.00

4th December 2023
Steven
-
6kW system
5.00

26th November 2023
Kevin
QLD - 4860
7kW system
5.00

20th November 2023
Neil
-
15-20kW system
5.00

Nice and shiny panels

15th November 2023
Vincent
-
15-20kW system
5.00

Canadian solar panels

1st November 2023
Sam
VIC - 3037
6kW system
4.00

I cannot comment as they were only installed and ooerating for 2 weeks now

23rd October 2023
John
-
6kW system
5.00

I am very happy with the style of the Canadian panel that was recommended by Solar Wholesalers. I live on the coast and experience high winds, and the extra stiffening brace in the middle of the panels is a bonus.

20th October 2023
Gerhard
QLD - 4226
6kW system
5.00

At this early stage they appear very efficient.

11th October 2023
Mark
SA - 5052
6kW system
5.00

6th October 2023
Robert
WA - 6107
6kW system
5.00

Was upgraded to these panels from time of quote to install

4th October 2023
William
NSW - 2472
6kW system
5.00

Work terrific

5th September 2023
Susan
NSW - 2234
6kW system
5.00

Recommended by sunfloe

29th August 2023
Edmond
-
10-15kW system
5.00

Can't fault them, they are doing the job.

29th August 2023
Emily
QLD - 4870
7kW system
4.00

They seem ok. Having an issue with State 567. Trying to sort out with electrical company.

20th August 2023
Garry
-
6kW system
5.00

18th August 2023
Geoffrey
SA - 5125
6kW system
5.00

No issues

18th August 2023
Pauline
-
10-15kW system
5.00

Looks great

3rd August 2023
L.stewart
-
6kW system
5.00

nil comment

28th July 2023
Sergey
VIC - 3046
6kW system
5.00

I guess all panels in this range are similar. Too early to tell. I choose these ones mostly for the convenient power output (actually, slightly less than most others), which made an even number of panels in my case (18, instead of 17 with other similar brands). Also, they have black bezel, which looks better than silver.

28th July 2023
Alison
-
6kW system
5.00

13th July 2023
Richard
NSW - 2147
5kW system
4.00

They work. Around 73 percent efficiency. Max 3.6kW from a 4.9kW system

12th July 2023
Kylie
-
10-15kW system
5.00

Happy with the performance of the panels so far!

6th July 2023
Mark
NSW - 2324
6kW system
5.00

Efficient panels, they do not lose output on really hot days

3rd July 2023
Greg
WA - 6010
6kW system
5.00

14th June 2023
Daniel
VIC - 3337
10kW system
5.00

15th May 2023
Tom
NSW - 2576
6kW system
5.00

5th May 2023
Andrew
QLD - 4213
10-15kW system
5.00

19th April 2023
Rachel
-
5kW system
5.00

The black panels look so great, they blend in so well. Much less noticeable than other panels I've seen.

11th April 2023
Adrian
ACT - 2617
10-15kW system
5.00

Everything is going well to date.

23rd March 2023
Paul
-
10kW system
5.00

product seems good

15th March 2023
Colin
SA - 5575
10-15kW system
5.00

Am happy with what has been installed

14th March 2023
Steve
QLD - 4020
9kW system
5.00

None

9th March 2023
Luke
-
6kW system
5.00

N/A

23rd January 2023
Christopher
NSW - 2478
5kW system
5.00

Installed in 2018 by another company and have operated satisfactorily since

19th January 2023
Jodie
SA - 5045
10-15kW system
5.00

Excellent so far

17th January 2023
Chris
VIC - 3071
6kW system
4.00

too soon to compare estimates given to me prior to signing the contract however my app tells me during the first 3 days of power generation this 6.6 (6.03) system recorded 40kw on a clear hot day in January ( 36 degrees ). These panels are facing south on 27 degree and 22 degree metal roofs. We noticed a distinct drop in radiant heat from the ceilings of our two story house . ( panels can cool the roof up to 5 degrees in summer).

23rd December 2022
Manish
QLD - 4110
10kW system
5.00

24th October 2022
Mark
-
3kW system
5.00

11th October 2022
Leonie
QLD - 4207
10-15kW system
5.00

No issues look great

27th September 2022
Jamie
SA - 5069
10-15kW system
5.00

30th August 2022
David
QLD - 4556
6kW system
5.00

Appears to be working well, even on overcast days.

30th August 2022
Susan
QLD - 4878
6kW system
5.00

23rd August 2022
Nav
NSW - 2125
6kW system
5.00

25th July 2022
Ken
-
6kW system
5.00

5th July 2022
Karen
-
6kW system
5.00

5th July 2022
Kingshuk
VIC - 3750
10kW system
5.00

One of the best in the market

31st May 2022
Jason
VIC - 3350
6kW system
5.00

Solid product, adaptable to shading and low light, so far good output above expectations despite poor weather

19th April 2022
Arthur
NSW - 2022
8kW system
5.00

12th March 2022
Kevin
QLD - 4860
7kW system
5.00

8th February 2022
Billy
QLD - 4560
8kW system
5.00

Chosen for better warranty-25yrs. Also used by well known commercial entities.

23rd August 2021
Keith
WA - 6285
6kW system
5.00

Excellent

26th July 2021
Phil
VIC - 3461
6kW system
5.00

1st July 2021
Joseph
-
6kW system
5.00

best choice

1st July 2021
Richard
-
10-15kW system
5.00

Very good

11th May 2021
-
9kW system
5.00

This is my second installation using Canadian Solar panels. The electricity generation is in line with expectation.

4th May 2021
-
6kW system
5.00