In February 2021, Panasonic announced that during fiscal year 2022 (ending in March 2022), it will stop manufacturing photovoltaic (PV) modules (aka solar panels). This announcement created some confusion about Panasonic’s future role in the solar industry, causing some to wonder if the company will stop selling solar panels altogether. But this is not the case! The company stated that it will “continue to sell outsourced photovoltaic modules as it has been doing in North America.” We sat down with Panasonic to get the inside scoop on their future in the clean energy industry.
- You can still buy Panasonic solar panels
- Outsourcing manufacturing is a common strategy used by leading companies in most industries
- During fiscal year 2022, Panasonic will begin outsourcing its solar panel manufacturing, but will sell these panels under the Panasonic’s Evervolt™ brand
- Panasonic will continue to uphold its standards and 25-year warranty for previously installed panels and for outsourced panels in the future
- Panasonic will expand its offerings to include other energy management equipment in addition to solar panels
- To start your solar journey, visit the EnergySage Marketplace
Why do companies outsource their manufacturing?
Each year, the price of solar has continued to drop, making solar more accessible to consumers. Much of this decline comes from reducing the price of the actual hardware–solar panels!–that goes on your roof: according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, globally, the price of solar modules ranges between $0.20 per Watt and $0.40/W, down from $0.60 to $0.70/W in 2015. These cost improvements make sense from an economies of scale perspective (manufacturing of solar panels has become more efficient and more cost effective as it has expanded throughout the world), and is a positive from a solar shopper perspective: the average price of solar on EnergySage has dropped 27 percent since the end of 2014!
However, as the price of solar panels decreases, the manufacturing of panels becomes less profitable for solar panel brands. In fact, that same NREL report referenced above shows that the average operating margin for solar panel manufacturing is often negative, meaning only the manufacturers with the largest scale can continue to compete in the space.
In response, many brands have shifted their focus to improving the quality of their panels, while outsourcing the actual manufacturing to third-party companies under their same standards. This strategy is not unique to the solar industry: from Apple to Nike to IBM, many leading companies across most industries outsource their manufacturing.
Panasonic’s future in the energy industry
As previously stated, Panasonic will continue to sell Panasonic-branded solar panels; these panels will just be manufactured by third-party companies instead of by Panasonic directly. Panasonic will maintain its sales of the Evervolt™ series of solar panels under the same brand, produced by the same standards, and, most importantly, backed by the same warranty.
Panasonic is also expanding its offerings to provide a full home energy management solution. The company already offers energy storage solutions in addition to solar panels, and plans to expand into a suite of new products in the clean energy industry, including energy management systems, inverters, electric vehicle chargers, and heat pumps.
What does this mean for you?
On the EnergySage Marketplace, Panasonic panels have consistently been the most quoted solar panels since 2018. If you’re already a proud owner of Panasonic solar panels, this announcement will have no impact on your system. Panasonic remains a bankable company in the solar industry and will continue to uphold its industry-leading 25-year product and performance warranty.
If you’re hoping to buy Panasonic solar panels, you still can! The only change is that, similar to many other solar panel brands, Panasonic will no longer be the company that actually manufactures the panels.
Find the best price for Panasonic solar panels
You can compare quotes from multiple installers offering various equipment options, including Panasonic solar panels, on the EnergySage Marketplace. By reviewing Panasonic panels against other solar panel options, you can be sure that you’re choosing the equipment that will best fit your needs. If you’re set on Panasonic equipment, simply note this in your profile so our network of qualified, pre-vetted solar installers can include these panels in your quote.