Canadian Solar Panels Review

Updated: March 15, 2021

Right from its name, Canadian Solar is an Ontario-based solar manufacturer, known to be among the biggest solar manufacturers in the world. The company, founded in 2001, now operates in all six continents of the world and has delivered over 52GW of solar modules to over 13 million homes in 150+ countries.

Their solar panels have become widely popular in the market because of their quality and cost.

canadian solar panels review

PRICE! Canadian solar panels offer Tier 1 solar panels for the price of Tier 2 solar panels. Since they produce large volumes of solar modules each year, the company has been able to produce cost-effective panels while maintaining a relatively high-quality solar panel.

If you factor in the solar rebates from Australia’s federal government and some state governments, these panels easily become the cheapest panels in the market.

Canadian Solar is also improving its panels thanks to its R&D team. The company now has over 1,500 patents and has recently set a new world solar panel efficiency, 23.5% with their new n-type multi-crystalline silicon solar cell.

Cell technology

Having been in the market for over 17 years, Canadian Solar has adopted numerous cell technologies which drive the efficiency of their solar panels.

The company combines monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon cells with PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Contact) technology, the half-cut cell technology and the multi-busbar technology (MBB) in the design for most of their panels.

Their latest BiHiku series panels also embrace the bifacial technology which improves the light absorption rate of the panels.

Are Canadian solar panels perfect for rooftop solar?

It depends. While Canadian solar panels are very cheap, their efficiency is significantly lower compared to 22.6% of the world leaders like SunPower and LG.

This means that you’ll need many solar panels to get the most of your solar systems. It’s ideal for homeowners with a large roof space and a tight budget.

If you, however, need to generate a lot of power with a small rooftop, then Canadian solar isn’t the right solar panel for you. Look for panels with higher efficiencies and power outputs.

Range of Canadian panels

SeriesModel
HiKu144 poly cell (395 ~ 440 W)
144 mono cell (425 ~ 455 W)
120 poly cell (325 ~ 365 W)
120 mono cell (350 ~ 375 W)
132 mono cell (400 ~ 425 W)
156 poly cell (440 ~ 485 W) (HiKu 5)
156 mono cell (475 ~ 500 W) (HiKu 5)
156 mono cell (570 ~ 590 W) (HiKu 6)
144 mono cell (525 ~ 545 W) (HiKu 6)
120 mono cell (580 ~ 600 W) (HiKu 7)
132 mono cell (640 ~ 665 W) (HiKu 7)
Ku120 poly cell (295 ~ 330 W)
144 poly cell (355 ~ 395 W)
156 mono cell (430 ~ 450 W) (Ku 5)
BiHiKu144 Poly Cell (390 ~ 440 W)
144 Mono Cell (420 ~ 445 W)
156 poly cell (430 ~ 475 W) (BiHiKu 5)
156 mono cell (465 ~ 490 W) (BiHiKu5)
144 mono cell (520 ~ 540 W) (BiHiKu6)
156 mono cell (565 ~ 585 W) (BiHiKu6)
120 mono cell (570 ~ 595 W) (BiHiKu7)
132 mono cell (635 ~ 655 W) (BiHiKu7)
HiDM60 format mono cell (320 ~ 340 W)
120 mono cell (300 ~ 320 W)
78 format mono cell (390 ~ 405 W) (HiDM5)
All Black Series120 mono cell (300 ~ 320 W)
60 format mono cell (320 ~ 340 W)

HiKu Series

Canadian Solar’s HiKu series is one of their best performing solar panels in efficiency and power output. Their launch of the Hiku5, Hiku6 and Hiku7, earlier this year also improved the range and flexibility in this series.

Size: 1765 X 1048 X 40
Cell type: Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline PERC
Cell number: 144/120 dual cells
Output: 330 – 455W
Weight: 21.1 – 37.5kg

HiKu series

Cell technology

Canadian Solar’s Hiku Series leverages the high-power dual cell PERC technology with half-cut poly and mono silicon cells, to achieve the high module efficiencies.

The dual cell technology increases the cells’ shade tolerance by almost 50% while also ensuring a lower hotspot temperature on the shaded cells.

The panels also use Multi-Busbar technology, which reduces the cells’ internal resistance and hence improving its power output.

Efficiency

Thanks to Canadian Solar’s focus on R&D, the HiKu solar panels have a very low degradation rate. The panels lose about 2% of their initial power output within the first year and a degradation rate of around 0.55% for the subsequent years to the 25th year.

Warranty/ Guarantee

Canadian Solar stands behind their solar panels with a 12-year product warranty, and a 25-year linear power output warranty.

Peak Performance

With the right conditions, Hiku solar panels can generate a maximum of 450W of energy with a 20.37% efficiency. However, newer and larger panels in development, including the HiKu5, HiKu6 and HiKu7 panels all can output more power, with the latter achieving a 665W output with a module efficiency of up to 21.4%.

Panels needed for 6.6kW solar system

The high efficiency of the panels in this series ensures that you require fewer panels for solar installations. For a 6.6kW solar system, you would only need 9 panels if you’re using the 665W panels.

With the popular 380W panels, you would only require 17 solar panels. This makes panels in this series suitable for commercial properties and utility projects.

Datasheet:

HiKu Series

Ku Series


The Ku Series from Canadian Solar is among their best solar panels for residential homes. These solar modules are available in both the polycrystalline and monocrystalline cells.

Size: 2000 X992 X35 mm
Cell type: Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline PERC
Cell number: 144/120 dual cells
Output: 295 – 400W
Weight: 18.5 – 23.7kg

kuPower series

Cell technology

Ku series solar panels are based on the Low Internal Current (LIC) technology that focuses on reducing power losses in the cell connections. The panels also feature the dual cell technology that improves the panel’s shade tolerance, and PERC technology that minimizes microcracks and lowers hotspot temperatures.

KU Cell Technology

Efficiency

Ku solar panels maintain a 97.5% of its power output during the first year and a 0.5% degradation rate for the following years. This converts to around 93.0% of the initial power output after 10 years and 83.0% after 25 years.

Warranty/ Guarantee

Ku solar panels receive a 12-year product warranty from Canadian Solar with a 25-year performance warranty.

Peak Performance

Canadian Solar Ku solar series has a maximum power output of 450W with a 20.8% efficiency on the Ku5 panels. Their popular Ku Series panels achieve around 375W with an 18.9% module efficiency.

Panels needed for 5kW solar system

11 – 13 solar panels, depending on the panel ratings you choose. For a 5kW solar system, these are very few solar panels, which is good for homeowners with small rooftops.

Datasheet:

Ku Series

BiHiKu Series


Canadian Solar’s BiHiKu series is one of the biggest developments in the company. These panels put the company to the 500W+ list – which is a unique feat among solar manufacturers.

Size: 2132 ˣ 1048 ˣ 30 mm
Cell type: Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline PERC
Cell number: 144 dual cell
Output: 390 – 655W
Weight: 28.4 – 39.4kg

BiHiKu series

Cell technology

The BiHiKu series combines bifacial technology with mono and poly PERC technology to significantly increase the cells’ power output by almost 30%, and minimize the power losses in cell connections.

The Bifacial technology combined with dual cell tech is also a massive game-changer, improving the solar cells’ shading tolerance, lowering the hotspot temperatures.

The panels use Canadian Solar’s LID + LeTID technology to reduce the degradation rates in the panels to less than 2.0%.

Efficiency

The Canadian Solar BiHiKu Series panels maintain a 2% degradation during its first year and 0.45% annual degradation during the subsequent years until the 25th year. This lower degradation rate is a great assurance that the panel will last for a long time and also have a shorter ROI.

Warranty/ Guarantee

These solar panels come with an extended 30-year linear power output warranty and a 12-year product warranty. This is much better than the typical 10-year/25-year warranty from most manufacturers in the market.

Peak Performance

The maximum output of the BiHiKu series panels under ideal conditions is 655W (BiHiKu7) with an impressive 21.1% solar panel.

Panels needed for 3kW solar system


Due to the high output and efficiency of these panels, you’ll need only 4 (655W) panels to meet your total energy requirements with a 3kW solar system. If you go with the popular 445W module instead, you’ll need about 6 panels.
This is a really good solar panel for large-scale solar projects and commercial buildings.

Datasheet:

BiHiKu Series

HiDM Series

The high-density solar panels, HiDM, are among the most efficient solar panels in the market. The most popular panels of these shingled modules are the all-black 390 – 405W panels.

Size: 1700 ˣ992 ˣ35 mm
Cell type: Mono-crystalline
Cell number: 60 cells
Output: 320 – 420W
Weight: 19.2 – 23.4kg

HiDm series

Cell technology

Canadian HiDM solar panels embrace a shingle cell configuration alongside monocrystalline cell and PERC technologies which improves not only its aesthetics but also its power output.

The high-density PERC technology maximizes the light absorption rates for the modules, increasing their cell module efficiencies. The technology also boosts the panel’s shading tolerance and reduces hotspot temperature.

HIDM Cell

Efficiency

HiDM solar panels feature a 2% power degradation rate for the first year and about a 0.55% degradation between the 2nd and 25th year. This reflects an 83.1% power output of its initial capacity after 25 years.

Warranty/ Guarantee

The HiDM series is the only solar panel from Canadian Solar to receive a 15-year product warranty and a 25-year performance warranty. This shows a good backing from the company for their product.

Peak Performance

Under ideal conditions, the HiDM solar panels can output a maximum of 420W, with a 20.4% efficiency.

Panels needed for 10kW solar system

To install HiDM solar panels for a 10kW solar system, you’ll need around 23 solar panels. This is because the high efficiency of Canadian Solar’s HiDM means you won’t need more panels to reach your daily energy production costs.

Datasheet:

HiDM Series

Australian office?

Yes. Canadian solar panels have set up four warehouses and representative offices in Australia. Their head office is located in Cremorne, Melbourne while the other warehouses are in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.

Why an Australian office is important

Being one of the largest mass-solar panel manufacturers in the world, warranty claims are bound to occur frequently among the company’s customers.
Having an office in Australia makes it easier for customers to contact the company’s representatives for help. It also eases the burden on relying on solar installers who may disappear from the market at any time.

Canadian solar panel specification/ datasheet

 HiKu SeriesKu SeriesBiHiKu SeriesHiDM Series
Cell Number144/120144/120144 dual cells60
Cell TypePolycrystalline and Monocrystalline PERCPolycrystalline and Monocrystalline PERCPolycrystalline and Monocrystalline PERCMonocrystalline
Power Output330 – 455W290 – 400W390 – 655W320 – 420W
Panel Efficiency20.37%18.9%21.1%20.4%
Annual Power Degradation0.55%0.5%0.45%0.55%
Dimensions1765 X 1048 X 402000 X992 X35 mm2132 ˣ 1048 ˣ 30 mm700 ˣ992 ˣ35 mm
Weight21.1 – 37.5kg18.5 – 23.7kg28.4 – 38.4kg19.2 – 23.4kg
Product Warranty12 years12 years12 years15 years
Performance Warranty25 years25 years30 years25 years
Operational Temperature Range-40°C to 85°C-40°C to 85°C-40°C to 85°C-40°C to 85°C
Made inChina, Thailand & VietnamChina, Thailand & VietnamChina, Thailand & VietnamChina, Thailand & Vietnam

FAQs

Yes! Canadian solar panels have been recognized by Bloomberg NEF as Tier 1 panels since 2017. Bloomberg also named it as the number 1 most bankable solar panel manufacturer in 2020.

Being a publicly-traded company, their latest financial reports indicate that the company is solid financially.

Canadian Solar, Inc. The company is owned by Dr Shawn Qu and has employed over 15,000 workers and 500+ researchers and engineers globally. It’s currently ranked as the fifth-largest solar panel manufacturer in the world in terms of volume.


In China. Although Canadian Solar has its headquarters in Ontario, Canada, most of its production facilities are in China. Other production factories are in Vietnam, Indonesia and Brazil. It was not until 2011 that the company opened a production facility in its home country, Canada.

Approximately 25 – 30 years. Like most other Tier 1 solar manufacturers, Canadian solar provides a 10-year product warranty with a 25-year performance warranty. However, their solar panels can easily last for 2 – 3 decades with proper maintenance throughout the years.

Yes! Canadian solar panels don’t exaggerate their solar module’s efficiencies like most other manufacturers. They provide the right estimates for their products output and a reliable warranty that ensures they cover their products in case of an issue. It’s, therefore, one of the most reliable in the market.

Ben McInerney head shotAuthor: Ben McInerney is a renewable energy enthusiast with the goal of helping more Australians understand solar systems to make the best choice before they purchase. Having an accredited solar installer in the family helps give Ben access to the correct information, which allows him to break it down and make it easily understandable to the average homeowner.