Silfab Solar Panel Review for 2021

silfab solar washington made solar panels

Silfab Solar Panel Review for 2021

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    Who is Silfab Solar?

    There are a lot of parties involved in a solar installation, so we at Sunbridge Solar like to provide spotlight summaries of companies whose products we use and recommend.

    So, who is Silfab? Silfab Solar was founded in 2010 by a collaborative group of solar investors with extensive experience in solar manufacturing systems, product development, and process engineering. Since its inception, Silfab has grown into a premium brand of high-efficiency solar panels for those seeking maximum power density.

    Silfab makes a point to be at the cutting edge of solar technology and has participated in many custom projects, led several solar initiatives, and has launched new technology and materials to the North American solar market on a regular basis.

    Silfab Solar Office Banner

    Washington-Made Solar Panels By Silfab Solar

    Silfab has solidified its place as one of North America’s leading solar manufacturers, and they are based right here in the Pacific Northwest. In February of 2020, Silfab announced their plans to expand their Bellingham, Washington manufacturing base to address the quickly growing demand for highly efficient American-made solar products.

    washington made solar panels

    Image from Silfab Solar

    Silfab serves as a leader in Washington’s goal to have 100% clean energy by 2045, and the state, as well as the Port of Bellingham, are working in conjunction with them to make this a reality. Western Washington University is also a partner of Silfab, ultimately combining the private sector, the local government, and higher education into one force working for sustainable economic development and green energy for the entire nation.

    Silfab currently employs over 500 North American employees between their two locations: their corporate headquarters is in Mississauga, Ontario while their manufacturing plant is in Bellingham, Washington. They are committed to minimizing the environmental impact of their manufacturing process and, as members of the Solar Energy Industries Association, Silfab works hard to implement responsible collection and recycling processes for retired solar equipment.

    Did Silfab Buy Itek Energy?

    Silfab purchased the former Itek Energy manufacturing site in Bellingham, Washington in 2018. They then added a second production line, which scaled up the 150 MW of panels that Itek had been producing to 400 MW, making Silfab the fifth largest solar panel manufacturer in the country.

    Who Was Itek Energy?

    Itek Energy was founded in 2009 to create US jobs in the clean energy sector. They opened a second facility in Minneapolis in 2014 and expanded again in 2017 to the Bellingham location.

    How Do Silfab Solar Panels Compare To Others?

    Four of the most important metrics to look at when comparing solar panels are performance, warranties, efficiency, and cost. Let’s break these down.

    Performance

    The biggest performance indicator for a solar panel is its temperature coefficient, which indicates how well the panel will handle suboptimal weather conditions. Like many other electronic devices, solar panels perform best when they are kept cool – generally about 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) or less. The temperature coefficient essentially tells you how much the panel’s performance will suffer on hot days

    Specifically, the coefficient reveals the decrease in a panel’s electricity production per each degree above 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).

    So for example, the Silfab website states that their SIL-320 NL panel has a temperature coefficient of -0.36%/degree Celsius, which indicates that if the temperature increases from 25 degrees to 26 degrees Celsius, the electricity output of the panel will decrease by 0.36%. Extrapolating this further, if the temperature hits 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), the production will drop by 3.6%.

    Obviously, this can be detrimental if you live in a place in Eastern Washington or the high desert of Eastern Oregon where the average summer month temperatures are in the 80s and regularly can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can imagine how problematic a poor temperature coefficient would be in extremely hot places like the Southwest! As such, lower temperature coefficients are always desirable.

    Warranties

    A strong warranty is always important when purchasing solar panels, since they are meant to last for anywhere between 10 to 35 years. Solar panel warranties protect against failure that results from manufacturing defects as well as environmental disasters and other issues.

    Some warranties also include performance guarantees, where the manufacturer will replace your panel if it does not meet the stated performance metrics after a set number of years – for example, the panel is guaranteed to produce at least 80% of the original power output after 20 years.

    Most solar panel companies offer 10-year performance warranties, although some higher-end panels are backed by warranties of up to 25 years.

    Silfab Warranties are Some of the Best!

    A strong warranty is always important when purchasing solar panels, since they are meant to last for anywhere between 10 to 35 years. Solar panel warranties protect against failure that results from manufacturing defects as well as environmental disasters and other issues.

    Some warranties also include performance guarantees, where the manufacturer will replace your panel if it does not meet the stated performance metrics after a set number of years – for example, the panel is guaranteed to produce at least 80% of the original power output after 20 years.

    Most solar panel companies offer 10-year performance warranties, although some higher-end panels are backed by warranties of up to 25 years.

    Efficiency Of Silfab Panels

    Solar panel efficiency measures how well a panel can capture sunlight and turn that energy into usable electricity. This metric is expressed as a percentage, and the higher the percentage is, the more efficient the panel is. Essentially, a panel with a higher efficiency rating can produce more electricity within the same period and under the same conditions as a panel of the same size with a lesser efficiency rating.

    Most solar panels are between 15-20% efficiency, with a few outliers reaching almost 23%.

    Silfab panels’ efficiency ratings vary based on the panel in question, but the product line ranges from 17.6-19.4%. This places them squarely within the upper half of the average range, but they aren’t so highly efficient that the cost of the panel becomes prohibitive. Which leads us to…

    Range Of Solar Panel Efficienes

    solar panel efficiency chart

    Silfab Solar Panel Cost

    The cost can definitely be a deciding factor in the search for the perfect solar panels for your home or business. Of course, solar panels are not the only piece of the puzzle when it comes to determining the overall cost of a solar energy system installation.

    So, if we look at overall quotes from various installers who use Silfab panels, we can deduct that for the total system cost, the price per watt for Silfab panels is between $2.41 and $3.19. This is lower than the national average of $2.51 to $3.31 per watt, which means that Silfab panels are an economical option.

    Price Per Watt

    Keep in mind also that there are many different local, state, and federal incentives that can further reduce the cost of installing a solar energy system and drop the price per watt even lower.

    solar panels price per watt chart

    Silfab Vs. LG Solar Panels

    While known for their home appliances, LG Solar is another popular brand of solar panels, so let’s briefly look at how they stack up against Silfab panels. Generally speaking, Silfab panels are less expensive and have better warranty protection than LG panels, while LG panels have slightly higher power density.

    There is also something to be said about the fact that LG panels are made in Korea while Silfab panels are, as we’ve mentioned, produced right here in the Pacific Northwest. There are of course pros and cons to each, but Silfab arguably offers a better-protected panel for less money than LG does.

    Are Silfab Solar Panels Good?

    Overall, yes they are! Their low cost, good power density and efficiency ratings, and gold-standard 30-year warranties all serve to recommend these panels well. At Sunbridge Solar, we would not hesitate to install Silfab panels on a client’s home or business.

    Popular Silfab Solar Panels

    Silfab offers many different solar panel options, ranging from 300 to 390 watts. Let’s look at a few of the popular options:

    Silfab 320 NL

    Silfab 320 NL

    This 60-cell black 320 W panel has an extremely sleek look without the typically visible lines and bright silver aluminum frame. This panel blends in extremely well with dark roof surfaces for a solar array that won’t catch the eye.

    Silfab 310 NL

    This panel is also 60 cells and has the same black frame as the previous panel, but it has an output of 310 W rather than 320.

    Silfab 330 HL

    Another all-black panel, this option has 120 half-cells rather than 60 cells, giving the panel a different overall shape.

    P-Series

    This panel has a more traditional look with visible lines and a silver aluminum frame, and it boasts a staggering 390 watts.

    Other Silfab Solar Panels

    No matter your solar panel needs, Silfab has a panel option for you. You may view all their available solar panels at SilfabSolar.com.

    How To Buy Silfab Solar Panels

    The easiest way to purchase Silfab panels is through a qualified solar installer, like us at Sunbridge Solar! We can install Silfab panels at your home or business – request a free consultation or call us at 360-313-7190 to get started on a path to generating your own power!

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    Adam Walters

    Adam Walters

    Adam has over 8 years of experience working directly with Portland-area solar installers and supporting companies. Over his years, he has worn many hats and gained a holistic understanding of local PNW solar markets.

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