Canadian Solar panels review 2023: Whatever the weather
- 30 May 2022
- 9 min
The upper part of the solar market is dominated by Chinese companies. The only non-Asian brand in the world’s Top 5 is Canadian Solar. How does this brand manage to keep up with Chinese giants? What kind of panels does the company offer? Let’s take a close look at it — here comes our unbiased Canadian Solar panels review.
Founded in 2001, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Over 14,000 employees
Top 5 largest solar manufacturers in the world
Customers in over 160 countries
2,250 authorized patents
595 researchers in R&D department
Although the headquarters of Canadian Solar are located in Ontario, you can still consider it a semi-Chinese brand. The company was founded by physician Dr. Shawn Qu who came to Canada from Asia and started the project in 2001. Shawn Qu is still the CEO of the company to this day. The production facilities are located in China as well as in Canada.
Canadian Solar: Strong and stable
The efficiency of Canadian Solar panels can be considered above average and generally ranges from 18.5% to 21%, with models like HiHero reaching 22% conversion rate. Going for the most efficient panels essentially means that you need less space for your system to meet your energy needs.
$0.6 – $0.9
While Canadian Solar panels prices are a bit higher than what most Chinese manufacturers offer, their modules are still very affordable and can be considered middle-of-the-range in terms of cost. The most modern models are placed at over $0.9 per Watt, while simpler modules go for $0.6 per Watt or even less.
years product warranty
The standard product warranty for Canadian Solar panels is 12 years which is pretty standard for the industry. Panels from HiDM series come with a 15-year product warranty. Some of the latest models, like HiHero, have a 25-year product warranty, on par with Panasonic and REC. The panels don’t lose more than 2% of their power output in the first year of operation. Subsequent annual power degradation is generally no more than 0.55%, which is slightly better than average.
The panels from Canadian Solar are famous for losing very little power on cloudy days, compared to panels from other manufacturers. The brand offers half-cut cell modules for sale, which are much better at dealing with shading than standard 60/72 cell panels.
Canadian Solar engineers work hard on minimizing the risk of module failure during its lifespan. They lowered the threat of microcracks causing electrical separation inside a panel, which resulted in a greater performance and lifetime. PV modules are also better protected from hot spots development which can drastically shorten the life of a panel.
Canadian Solar: Pros
So what stands out with Canadian Solar panels panels? Let’s look at their advantages:
• Efficiency above average. Panels from Canadian Solar reach up to 22% conversion rate which is much higher than average numbers on the market. High efficiency allows you to construct powerful systems with less space and less modules than you would need with panels of a lower class.
• Better hot spots and microcracks protection. The most modern models from the Canadian Solar product line are less vulnerable to hot spots which essentially increases their lifetime. Microcracks are less likely to cause electrical separation inside a module and therefore affect the production and lifespan much less.
• Great performance in low-light conditions. One of the defining characteristics of Canadian Solar panels is their ability to do very well even in bad weather. Solar panels can lose up to 40% of their output when it’s gloomy, but the performance of Canadian Solar modules drops very little even when clouds are thick. They also do well in the winter!
• Diverse product line. Canadian Solar offers all kinds of different panels. They still develop and improve polycrystalline panels, which allow you to save some money. In addition to standard monofacial modules, there are bifacial panels that offer up to 30% more production.
Canadian Solar: Cons
The only thing that doesn’t look too good, in our opinion, is the brand’s reputation. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Canadian Solar after the 2021 report by The Globe and Mail. The media revealed that the company has an operating solar farm in Xinjiang, China, near the Uyghur internment camp. Besides, journalists claimed that Canadian Solar cooperated with the polysilicon manufacturer GCL-Poly whose Xinjiang subsidiary was accused of forced labor. The company denies the accusations. Potentially, this incident might affect the relationship between the company and the Canadian government. However, it doesn’t say anything about solar panels quality or performance.
Overview of three Canadian Solar panels
Canadian Solar offers modules for all types of solar projects, whether it’s a residential system or a commercial/industrial installation. We’ve asked our engineer to take a look at a few panels and share his opinion with us.
Aside from PV modules, Canadian Solar also offers inverters, system kits and batteries.
Hiku Black – Stylish home choice
Hiku Black is a great choice for a simple home installation. It provides up to 370W of power with its efficiency reaching 20%. Half-cut design gives the panel better shading resistance and improves its durability. The model comes with great 25/25-year warranties for product and performance with degradation rate being 0.55% or lower. All-black design makes the panel look fantastic on any roof.
Hihero – Protected on all fronts
HiHero is quite an unusual module with 108 half-cut cells – not something that you see everyday. The cells are slightly larger than usual, therefore the panel itself is bigger than a standard 60/120 cell module, but shorter and wider than 72/144 cell panels: 68.0 х 44.6 х 1.38 in. It provides 405-430W power output with its efficiency reaching 22% – the highest number for Canadian Solar panels.
Heterojunction cells ensure superb performance at high temperatures. The model comes protected from all sorts of threats, like Potential Induced Degradation (PID) or Boron-Oxygen Light-Induced Degradation (BOLID). It makes HiHero suitable for any kind of climate. You can be sure that you are getting a reliable panel that is backed up by a 25-year product warranty and a 30-year warranty for performance.
Hiku7 – Overwhelming power
Hiku7 is the most powerful model in the Canadian Solar product line. It provides up to 670W output with up to 21.6% efficiency. There is also a bifacial version of Hiku, which allows you to get up to 30% more production from a single panel, depending on the reflectivity of the surface. The panel is well protected from hot spots development, and the impact of microcracks is minimized. It comes with a 12-year warranty for the product. Overall, this is a module to build huge commercial systems and solar farms with.
A1SolarStore recommends Canadian Solar 400W CS1Y-400MS
Canadian Solar HiDM5 is an all-black panel for all kinds of applications. It provides 400W power output with 19.9% efficiency. The panel is a great choice for cold, snowy regions: the module can withstand 5400 Pa snow load and 2400 Pa wind load. The module has 3 bypass diodes and the manufacturer promises better shading tolerance. The trump card of this model is, of course, its striking all-black design: the panel looks great on any roof. It comes with a 15-year product warranty on material and workmanship and a 25-year performance warranty.
A1SolarStore verdict: Canadian Solar is a fine brand
Now, as we are close to ending this Canadian solar panel review, let’s list the importants facts about the brand and its product:
• Canadian Solar headquarters are located in Ontario, but the production facilities are in China as well as in Canada.
• It is the only non-Asian solar manufacturer in the world's Top 5.
• The efficiency of Canadian Solar panels ranges from 18% to 22%.
• They are middle-of-the-range in terms of price: the cost per watt varies from $0.6 to $0.9.
• The product warranty ranges from 12 to 25 years.
• Degradation rate is slightly lower than average: 0.55% power loss per year.
• Latest models have better protection from hot spots and microcracks which makes them last longer.
• Product line is diverse: there are polycrystalline and bifacial modules for sale, in addition to standard monocrystalline panels of a medium and high output.
• Panels lose less production in low-light conditions than average.
Overall, we can see that Canadian Solar is a powerful player on the market and brings to the table a strong impressive product. Hopefully, the company will continue to do so in the future. On that note we end our Canadian solar panel review 2022 and we’ll see you next time.
Compare Canadian Solar to other popular brands:
☀️ Canadian Solar panels vs Trina Solar
☀️ Canadian Solar panels vs Q CELLS
☀️ Canadian Solar panels vs Jinko Solar
☀️ Canadian Solar panels vs LONGi Solar panels
☀️ Canadian Solar panels vs Panasonic panels
☀️ Canadian Solar panels vs Sunpower panels
☀️ REC vs Canadian Solar panels
Illustrations – Ekaterina Ivanova
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