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Founded in 2010, Silfab might be looking like a young solar company that is only starting its way. In reality Silfab is a project by solar entrepreneurs from Canada, Italy, China, USA with over 40 years of experience in the industry. Today Silfab is already one of the most known American solar brands with a quality up-to-date product. Let’s look at the goods that this solar union brings to the table in our Silfab solar panels review.
Founded in 2010 by
international solar investors
Employs over 500 people
Silfab panels conversion rate is higher than average: the efficiency of their PV modules ranges from 18.9% to 21.4%. In fact, the manufacturer claims that Silfab Elite is the most efficient among North American panels. High efficiency means you’ll need less space to build a system to match your energy needs which is especially important when there is not a lot of room to work with. Silfab engineers implement modern solar technologies, like half-cut cell design and PERC, into their own product, which results in better production levels.
Silfab occupies the middle of the price range in the industry. Their panels come at $0.7-$1.1 per watt, depending on the model. While Chinese panels tend to be cheaper, there are definitely brands with a much more expensive product, like Panasonic or Solaria. Silfab solar panels prices are comparable to the ones of other American manufacturers, like Mission Solar and Canadian Solar.
of rated output guaranteed in year 30
Silfab panels come with a 12-year warranty which can be extended to 25 years if the system was installed by a qualified Silfab installer. There is also a 30-year performance warranty which is exceptional for the industry. Silfab modules should retain 85% of their output after 25 years and over 82% after 30 years. Notice that the panels lose around 3% of their power in the first year in service.
The panels from the American brand are sturdy and well-prepared for extreme weather conditions. Most of them can withstand 5400 Pa front load, wind or snow. Half-cut cell design is already adopted by American engineers and that contributes to higher durability of panels and better shading tolerance.
So what are the strong sides of the Silfab product and what is weak about it? First, let’s cover the pros:
• Good efficiency. The conversion rate of Silfab panels is better than average. The manufacturer claims that his Silfab Elite is the most efficient panel among North American ones.
• Great design. Silfab solar panels feature all-black design which looks stylish and appealing in any circumstances. Engineers have managed to minimize the cell gap and remove visible busbars in Silfab Elite which gave this model a more uniform look.
• Strong warranties. Silfab offers 25-year warranties for systems that are constructed by approved installers. A 30-year performance warranty is rare in the industry and certainly makes Silfab panels stand out.
What about the things that we didn’t like about Silfab? Well, Silfab acquired a controversial reputation over the years. Their former employees complain that working conditions were bad and some of them weren’t paid their salary for months. Some customers had issues with getting warranty support, so we recommend reading the terms carefully. There are lots of positive reviews from satisfied customers, though, so hopefully those issues won’t come up again and will be forgotten eventually.
We’ve listed advantages and disadvantages of Silfab panels. Now it’s time for our engineer to take a look at a couple of models from the Silfab product line and share his opinion.
Silfab SLA-M is an older panel from an American manufacturer, but still one of the best that they’ve made. It's a 60-cell module designed primarily for residential installation. The panel is engineered to bear 5400 Pa wind or snow load. It is protected from ammonia and salt mist corrosion and resistant to Potential Induced Degradation. The panel loses no more than 3% of its power in the first year in service and no more than 0.57% in subsequent years. It means that by the year 30 you still have over 80% of its initial power.
The manufacturer claims that Silfab Elite is a panel with highest efficiency among those that are manufactured in North America. Its conversion rate reaches 21.4% under Standard Test Conditions. As you can see, engineers have reduced cell gaps and eliminated external busbars which not only increased the efficiency, but improved the appearance of a module as well. It is a great choice for both small and large residential projects.
This is a high-output 156 half-cut cell module – SIL-490. Under Standard Test Conditions it reaches 490W output with 20.9% efficiency. This model is a good choice for commercial and industrial projects of small and large scale. Half-cut cell design provides better shading tolerance and increases the durability of a module. Silfab panel comes with a 12-year product warranty that is extendable to 25 years and 30-year output warranty.
Silfab 490W Solar Panel 156 Cell SIL-490-HN
Pickup on Thu, Jun 01 from Plano, TX
Delivery on Jun 06–09
Silfab Prime is the most basic choice from Silfab for building a residential solar system. All-black design looks very pleasing and stylish. 120 half-cut cells ensure durability and higher output per square foot, plus better shading tolerance. The panel is ready for all kinds of extreme weather conditions: the module is made to withstand 5400 Pa mechanical load load which is roughly equivalent to 210 mph wind. Silfab Prime comes with a 12-year product warranty that is extendable to 25 years, and 30-year performance warranty. After 30 years in service the panel retains 82.6% of its output.
Silfab 370W Solar Panel 120 Cell SIL-370-HC
Pickup on Thu, Jun 01 from Schenectady, NY
Delivery on Jun 06–09
So far we have looked at specifications of Silfab panels, their pros and cons and even reviewed three of their most modern models. Let’s list down the most important points about the brand:
• Silfab is a North American brand, founded in 2010 by international investors.
• The headquarters are located in Ontario, Canada, while manufacturing facilities are located in Toronto and Washington state.
• The brand makes panels for all kinds of applications: residential, commercial and industrial projects.
• Their panels efficiency is above average and ranges from 18.9% to 21.4%
• Silfab come at a medium price: around $0.7–$1.1 per watt.
• The brand offers a 12-year standard product warranty which can be extended to a 25-year one if the installer is qualified by Silfab.
• There is an exceptional 30-year performance warranty: Silfab panels retain over 85% power after 25 years and over 82% after 30 years.
• Silfab panels show good harsh weather resistance and half-cut cell design contributes to better shading tolerance.
• All-black design makes Silfab more appealing. However, all-black PV modules generally tend to heat up faster and Silfab performance at high temperatures is pretty average.
Overall, we would say that Silfab is a fine brand. Maybe there isn’t anything super special about their panels, except slightly longer output warranty, but their modules are well-made, look great, provide good output and come at a fair price. With that we end our 2022 Silfab solar panel review – be sure to tune in for others.
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Illustrations – Marina Fionova
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