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JA solar panels review: What's the best panel for you?

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This article provides an in-depth look at solar panel manufacturer JA Solar, including its reputation, pricing and customer feedback. Our researchers also closely analyse its product range, including model specifications, performance and user experiences.

What is JA Solar?

Founded in May 2005, JA Solar is based in China and specialises in producing solar panels, solar storage batteries, and related elements, such as frames and junction boxes. It has its own manufacturing facilities, producing components for domestic and commercial settings and marketing them in 135 countries. JA Solar has consistently featured in the Fortune China 500 and Global Top 500 New Energy Enterprises. 

JA Solar is classified as a Tier 1 manufacturer by BloombergNEF. This means it employs state-of-the-art robotic techniques to oversee the production process, minimising or completely eradicating errors associated with human intervention. Tier 1 panels are also crafted from the highest quality silicon, boosting the solar panel’s performance.

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JA Solar company overview

ja-solar-logo
JA Solar is based in Shanghai (JA Solar)

JA Solar Holdings is recognised for its contributions to advancing solar cell technologies and its commitment to producing efficient and reliable solar products. 

Over the years, JA Solar’s influence has expanded globally, and its footprint now extends to several continents, indicating its prominent role in the worldwide solar market, and the company’s ability to cater to diverse customer requirements.

In May 2023, the company released its next-generation DeepBlue 4.0 Pro solar panels. By incorporating benefits such as superior efficiency, high power, enhanced power generation capacity, and robust reliability, DeepBlue 4.0 Pro can deliver increased profits for users who sell any excess electricity generated by their panels through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme. These include solar panels for homes and commercial installations. 

JA Solar products

JA Solar offers two main types of solar cell technologies – Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC or P-Type) and N-Type. While their designs are similar, the N-Type solar cells, which represent a more recent technology, deliver a 3.9 per cent increase in efficiency, according to JA Solar. N-Type cells come with a higher price tag than P-Type cells and are not as widely available. 

Like most manufacturers in the solar industry, JA Solar develops monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels. However, consistent with the industry trend, the company has shifted most of its production towards monocrystalline technology. Made from a single crystal structure, monocrystalline panels have demonstrated higher efficiency than their polycrystalline counterparts crafted from multiple crystal structures. When combined with their N-Type technology, JA Solar’s monocrystalline panels position themselves at the top of the efficiency scale for mid-range solar panels.

JA Solar’s JAM60S20 panel offers high efficiency of 21 per cent and a power output of 340W, for a lower price tag than many of its competitors. Meanwhile, the JAM72S30 solar panel stands out for larger homes, as it boasts an impressive power output of 540W, which is a greater output than most domestic panels.

JA Solar prices and cost structure

The cost of solar panels from JA Solar is quite competitive compared with other companies. Our research has found that a 540W panel, for instance, is priced at around £230. Sharp sells a similar model for around £50 more. However, JA Solar’s product warranties only last 12 years – half that of many other manufacturers. 

JA Solar reputation 

Since 2017, JA Solar has consistently scored in the ‘Top performer’ category of the DNV GL/PVEL PV Module Reliability Scorecard report. DNV GL is a leading authority of independent energy experts, and PVEL conducts independent PV testing. This annual report identifies 20 high-performing solar panel manufacturers. 

Clean Energy Reviews awards JA Solar four out of five stars for service and support; Solar Reviews gives the manufacturer 4.5 stars.

JA Solar’s best solar panels

The featured solar panels were chosen to suit various requirements, including large, energy-hungry families, properties in rural locations, and city apartments. However, JA Solar has an extensive catalogue of available panels and associated equipment. 

What do we mean by value for money?

To calculate the value for money of each solar panel, our experts multiplied the efficiency by the power output and divided that figure by the cost. This provides a measurable result for each solar panel. To find out more, read our article on how we review solar panels.

555W JA Solar Mono PERC Half-Cell GR MC4: Best for large families

555W JA Solar Mono PERC Half-Cell GR MC4
The 555W JA Solar Mono PERC Half-Cell GR MC4 (JA Solar)

Key features

✓ Efficiency of up to 21.5%

✓ Lower cost at high energy output than many competitors

✓ Shading has less effect on energy production

Specifications

Power output: 550W

Efficiency: 21.5%

Warranty: 12 years 

Cost per panel: £156

Pros Cons
Thin frame design with enhanced weight-bearing capabilities Shorter warranty than its competitors
High power output

The 555W JA Solar Mono PERC is a half-cell panel, with each standard cell being split, providing improved performance and efficiency, especially in shady conditions. It also has a sleek, slim-build frame, belying its enhanced tolerance for mechanical loading and increased durability. 

Efficiency and power output

JA Solar’s GR MC4 model has a peak power output of 550W and an efficiency percentage of 21.5. It also benefits from the half-cell configuration, which minimises the impact of shading on the panel, allowing it to continue generating power even when not in full sunlight. 

Cost

Our researchers compared the GR MC4 with other models offering similar outputs and efficiency. 

JA Solar’s GR MC4 is priced competitively, with Longi and Trina Solar offering panels at a comparable price with the same efficiency of 21.5 per cent.

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
JA Solar GR MC4 21.50% 550W £156
JA Solar 540W Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB 20.90% 540W £232.80
Longi Solar 500W Hi-Mo 5M 21.50% 500W £145.20
Sharp 540W Nujd540 20.80% 540W £246.82
Trina Solar 505W Trina Vertex-S Triple Cut PERC Mono 21.10% 505W £162

What is this panel best for?

The GR MC4 would make a good panel for your system if you have a large family. Delivering up to 550W provides enough energy for a power-heavy household. 

Not good for

While this panel has good efficiency, if you only have a small energy requirement, it could be more than you need.

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★★
Power output ★★★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★★
Overall ★★★★

365W JA Solar Mono MBB Percium Half-Cell All Black MC4: Best for homes requiring planning permission

365W JA Solar Mono MBB Percium Half-Cell All Black MC4 Solar Panel
The 365W JA Solar Mono MBB Percium Half-Cell All Black MC4 Solar Panel (JA Solar)

Key features

✓ Efficiency of up to 19.6%

✓ Easily upgrade with more panels

✓ Resistant to high levels of sea salt, ammonia, dust or sand

Specifications

  • Power output: 365W
  • Efficiency: 19.6%
  • Warranty: 12 years 
  • Cost per panel: £108

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
Discreet all-black design Shorter warranty
Easy installation

JA Solar’s 365W panel incorporates PERC technology. PERC cells have an additional layer on the back, producing 6 to 12 per cent more energy than conventional panels. 

Efficiency and power output

This model has a peak power output of 365W, meaning a system comprised of these panels is perfect for an average family. With an efficiency of 19.6 per cent, and the option to increase your system size, JA Solar’s panel has much to offer. 

Cost

Our researchers compared JA Solar’s 365W panel with other models offering similar outputs and efficiency. 

JA Solar’s model comes at a lower price than many competitors. However, its efficiency is also less than other, more expensive models.

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
JA Solar 365W 19.60% 365W £108
Q Cells 350W Mono Q Peak Duo G9 Plus 20.30% 350W £160.80
REC 365WTwinPeak 4 Series 20% 365W £188.40

What is this panel best for?

If your property needs planning permission before installing a solar system, these solid black panels are sleek and discreet. However, you’ll still need to seek permission before installing the panels.

Not good for

Although JA Solar’s innovative technology allows this system to be easily expanded, if you’re looking for more power, you may find better value with a larger system at the start.

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★
Power output ★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★
Overall ★★★

400W JA Solar Mono MBB Percium Half-Cell All Black Short Frame QC4: Best for limited roof space

400W JA Solar Mono MBB Percium Half-Cell All Black Short Frame QC4
The 400W JA Solar Mono MBB Percium Half-Cell All Black Short Frame QC4 (JA Solar)

Key features

✓ Efficiency of up to 20.5%

✓ High energy output with a reduced frame size

✓ Lower risk of hot spots

Specifications

  • Power output: 400W
  • Efficiency: 20.5%
  • Warranty: 12 years 
  • Cost per panel: £114

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
Shorter frame 12-year warranty
Cell crack risk limited to a small area of the cell

Being a short frame model, JA Solar’s 400W panel is ideal for smaller roofs, and by incorporating PERC technology, the panel still has an efficiency of 20.5 per cent. With a durable black surface unbroken by lines of silver, the MBB features 12 or 16 busbars, providing high reliability and power output. 

Efficiency and power output

Constructed using high-efficiency PERC cells in a half-cell layout, these modules produce a high power output of 400W and an efficiency of 20.5 per cent. 

Cost

Our researchers looked at several models similar to JA Solar’s 400W panel, and discovered that generally, prices were comparable, except for Sunpower’s panel. Whilst this panel had a greater efficiency – 2.6 per cent, we’re not sure it warrants the additional £300. 

Being a short frame model, JA Solar’s 400W panel is ideal for smaller roofs, and by incorporating PERC technology, the panel still has an efficiency of 20.5 per cent. With a durable black surface unbroken by lines of silver, the MBB features 12 or 16 busbars, providing high reliability and power output. 

Efficiency and power output

Constructed using high-efficiency PERC cells in a half-cell layout, these modules produce a high power output of 400W and an efficiency of 20.5 per cent. 

Cost

Our researchers looked at several models similar to JA Solar’s 400W panel, and discovered that generally, prices were comparable, except for Sunpower’s panel. Whilst this panel had a greater efficiency – 2.6 per cent, we’re not sure it warrants the additional £300.

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
JA Solar 400W Mono MBB Percium Half-Cell QC4 20.50% 400W £114
Longi Solar 405W Hi-Mo 21% 405W £128.40
Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 21.22% 400W POA
Q Cells 400W Q Peak Duo Plus M-G11 20.80% 400W £146.40
Sunpower 400W Max3 400 Series Mono 22.60% 400W £408

What is this panel best for?

If you have limited roof space, a system with short-framed panels will still generate a high electrical output. 

Not good for

Properties with flat roofs that require panel mounts to be installed.

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★★
Power output ★★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★½
Overall ★★★½

405W JA Solar Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB Silver Frame Solar Panel: Best for eco-conscious neighbourhoods

405W JA Solar Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB Silver Frame Solar Panel
The 405W JA Solar Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB Silver Frame Solar Panel (JA Solar)

Key features

✓ Efficiency of up to 20.70%

✓ Improved temperature-dependent performance

✓ Energy generation minimally affected by shading

Specifications

  • Power output: 405W
  • Efficiency: 20.70%
  • Warranty: 12 years 
  • Cost per panel: £103.20

Pros and cons

Pros and cons Cons
Pros Shorter warranty than its competitors
Minimises micro-crack impacts Silver frames may meet opposition from neighbours

Many newer solar panel models are favouring slick black frames over the bright silver strips of anodised aluminium. Although durable and resistant to bad weather, panels incorporating these shiny lines have been known to cause division in more-conservative locations, due to their conspicuousness. As there is no difference in performance or price between silver or black frames, likely, discreeter models will gradually replace silver options. 

Efficiency and power output

JA Solar’s silver-framed 405W model has an efficiency of 20.70 per cent and a power output of 405W, enhanced by the half-cell configuration and multi-busbar technology. 

Cost

We compared JA Solar’s 405W silver panels with similar models to determine their market placement. 

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
JA Solar 405W Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB 20.70% 405W £103.20
Perlight Delta 415W Mono 21.20% 415W £203
REC 405W TwinPeak 5 Series Panel 20.50% 405W £180

What is this panel best for?

The bright silver frame makes these panels best for homeowners who are happy to advertise their eco-credentials.

Not good for

If your property is located in one of the many picturesque locations found throughout the UK, you may be better off choosing a more unobtrusive solar panel for your roof.

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★★
Power output ★★★½
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★★
Overall ★★★★½

495W Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB Silver Frame MC4 Connectors Solar Panel: Best for coastal or exposed properties

495W JA Solar Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB Silver Frame MC4 Connectors Solar Panel
The 495W JA Solar Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB Silver Frame MC4 Connectors Solar Panel (JA Solar)

Key features

✓ Efficiency of up to 21.30%

✓ High energy output 

✓ Durable textured surface

Specifications

  • Power output: 495W
  • Efficiency: 21.30%
  • Warranty: 12 years 
  • Cost per panel: £135.30

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
Thin, yet highly robust, frame design Short warranty
Includes MC4 connectors

JA Solar’s 495W mono panels deliver an impressive performance even in low sunlight conditions, such as during overcast days, early mornings, or late evening hours. The advanced textured glass surface enhances durability against sea salt, dust, or sand.

Efficiency and power output

This particular model has a peak power output of 495W, and an efficiency percentage of 21.30, making it one of JA Solar’s best-performing panels. 

Cost

Our researchers looked at the price of the 495W JA Solar module against similar offerings from other manufacturers. 

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
JA Solar 495W Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB MC4 Connectors 21.30% 495W £135.60
Longi Solar 500W Hi-Mo 5M 21.50% 500W £145.20
Trina Solar 505W Vertex-S Triple Cut PERC Mono 21.10% 505W £162

What is this panel best for?

Thanks to the durable textured glass surface’s ability to resist sand, dust and salt air, these panels would be ideal for exposed or coastal properties.  

Not good for

Smaller town houses where the textured surface is an unnecessary feature. 

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★★
Power output ★★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★★
Overall ★★★★

Frequently asked questions about JA Solar

With products ranging from monocrystalline to polycrystalline solar panels, JA Solar has been a leader in developing PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell) technology, which significantly enhances solar panel efficiency.

BloombergNEF classifies JA Solar as a Tier 1 solar panel manufacturer, indicating robust investment in production, extensive experience in manufacturing, and a solid track record of reliable products. 

JA Solar won the Technical Excellence Award in the 2023 Golden Leopard Award Ceremony enterprise category, and its DeepBlue 4.0 X solar panel won the Golden Module Award in the photovoltaic module and material equipment category.

JA Solar’s JAM60S20 solar panels stand up to its competitors regarding efficiency and value for money. However, the 12-year product warranty offered by JA Solar pales compared with the 25-year warranties offered by many other premium brands, including SunPower, Panasonic, and LG. Aesthetically, too, they may not be as appealing as some of the more contemporary, sleek designs in the Panasonic or SunPower ranges.

The warranty for the JAM60S20 is 12 years, with a 25-year linear guarantee for performance.

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Katharine Allison

Energy Saving Writer

As Independent Advisor’s energy saving expert, Katharine, a keen advocate for sustainability, is an authority on solar panels, double glazing, and cutting-edge renewable energy technologies. Her dedication merges with a commitment to enlighten and steer readers toward embracing eco-friendly solutions and the latest trends in sustainability.

With over 10 years of experience, she has worked with some of the UK’s leading companies and publications, including the Federation of Master Builders, Architectural Digest, and Denon Construction. 

Katharine is particularly passionate about consumer causes and animal welfare and has art, philosophy, and psychology degrees. She lives with her sled dogs in East Sussex.

Nick Jones

Editor in Chief

Nick Jones is a highly experienced consumer journalist and editor, who has been writing and producing content for print and online media for over 25 years.

He has worked at some of the UK’s leading publishers including Future Publishing, Highbury Entertainment, and Imagine Publishing, with publications as diverse as Homebuilding & Renovating, TechRadar, and Creative Bloq, writing and editing content for audiences whose interests include history, computing, gaming, films, and science. He’s also produced a number of podcasts in the technology, science, gaming, and true crime genres.

Nick has also enjoyed a highly successful career in content marketing, working in a variety of topics such as health, technology, and finance, with market-leading global companies including Cisco, Pfizer, Santander, and Virgin Media.

Now the Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Advisor, Nick is involved in all aspects of the site’s content, where his expertise in finance, technology, and home products informs every article that’s published on-site. He takes a hands-on approach with our VPN content, penning a number of the articles himself, and verifying that everything we publish in this topic is accurate.

Whatever the area of interest he’s worked in, Nick has always been a consumer champion, helping people find the best deals and give them the information they need to make an informed buying decision.