Bad News: Your Solar Panel Performance Warranty Is Probably Crap

Solar panel performance warranties are crap

I’ve actually read the solar panel warranties for most of the major solar panel brands. They are almost universally full of crap clauses. Thankfully you are protected by Australian Consumer Law no matter what the warranty says.

SALESMAN:  Hi everybody!  I’m Ronald Brakels and have I got a deal for you!  Right now, for a limited time only, I am selling Brakels LED lights.  And let me tell you, they’re the best.  We have all the best LEDs here at Brakels Incorporated.  If you install these LED lights you will cut your electricity use, protect the environment, and reduce your electricity bills.  And what’s more, we have such faith in Brakels LED lights, they come with a 25 year performance warranty.  Buy a pack of 10 today!  Don’t Delay!

LITTLE OLD LADY:  Excuse me young man, but I bought 10 of your LEDs and 2 of them have stopped working.  I’d like them replaced under their 25 year warranty.

SALESMAN:  I’d like to help you, I really would, but it’s a 25 year performance warranty and bulbs that don’t work at all have no performance and so aren’t covered. [Read more…]

DNV-GL’s 2018 Scorecard Results — Longi, REC, & Suntech Only Residential Solar Panels To Pass All Tests

DNV-GL solar panel reliability scorecard 2018

Those nice people at DNV-GL have done another year’s worth of panel torture testing. Here is a summary of the results.

Over the past 4 years the Norwegian company, DNV-GL, has performed annual tests on solar panels and released a report on their performance.  Their latest one, the 2018 PV Module Reliability Scorecard is now available.  The good news is solar panel reliability looks as though it is continuing to improve.  If you buy now you are more likely than ever to get panels that will last for decades without failing and with only minimal deterioration in output. [Read more…]

How Norwegian are REC Solar Panels? And Does It Matter?

REC solar panels

Some people are getting their knickers in a twist over whether REC solar panels are European or Asian.

I’ve had a request to clear up the question of whether REC is a European or Asian company. The confusion arises because although the company was founded in Norway and has its headquarters there, it manufactures REC solar panels in Singapore and is owned by a Chinese corporation.

I have looked into this topic exhaustively and I can state the answer to the question of whether REC is European or Asian is — Yes.

Yes — it is European or Asian. [Read more…]

Solar Panel Optimisation: Micro inverters, DC Optimisers, AC Solar Panels & Maxim Explained.

Solar panel optimisation

Solar Panel Optimisation is an extra feature you can pay for when buying solar that optimises the power output from each panel independently. [Read more…]

Half Cut Solar Panels: Higher Efficiency & Better Shade Tolerance

half-cut panel and installer

Don’t let a half-cut solar installer install your half-cut solar panels.

Silicon solar cells of the type now used for almost every residential solar installation in Australia have been around for a long time.  They are 64 years old.  This makes them same age as nuclear power generation.  They’ve come a long way since they were first made at Bell Labs in the United States.  Originally they were only able to convert around 6% of the energy in sunlight into electrical energy but now the most efficient solar panels on the market manage 22%.

Unfortunately, the days of large improvements in efficiency have long been over.  Now we only see small incremental improvements and one of these in use that will be much more common in the future are panels that use half cut solar cells. [Read more…]

LG Solar’s Product Warranty Now 25 Years For All Panels

LG solar panel warranty

It’s only two months now since I wrote an article telling everyone in the world the product warranty for LG Solar’s NeON 2 panel was being extended from 12 years to 15.  But if you were looking forward to to getting some NeON 2 solar panels and enjoying that sweet 15 year warranty, I’m afraid you’re out of luck because it’s no longer available.  Instead you’ll just have to enjoy a massive 25 year product warranty as it has been extended by another 10 years. [Read more…]

Jinko Maxim Panels With Cell String Optimization Will Not Be Sold In Australia

Jinko Maxim Solar Panels not coming to Australia

Bad news for fans of cheap panel level optimisation. Jinko MX solar panels are not coming to Australia.

Last Tuesday I went to Sydney to attend the Smart Energy Conference & Exhibition.  I learned many things, one being that Jinko Maxim panels that use use cell string optimization — described in  this article — will not be sold in Australia because they were unable to stop them interfering with television reception. [Read more…]

LG Solar Improves Warranties And Gives Mono X Panel The Boot

LG NeON2 warranty

LG’s more affordable panel range, the NeON2, has gone from a 12 to 15 year product warranty.

I like high quality panels.  I really do.  If a panel is well made, reliable, and comes with a full replacement warranty that’s something I appreciate.  Seeing panels go up on roofs that have a decent chance of lasting longer than I will makes me feel positive about the future.  Obviously not my future, but the future in general.

A major provider of high quality panels in Australia is South Korea’s LG Solar.  I only have good things to say about them.

No wait, that’s not true. [Read more…]

Installing Solar Panels On A Flat Roof — All The Angles Covered

flat roof solar panels

Beautifully installed frameless solar panels on an almost flat (3º N) roof. Photo credit: Gippsland Solar

If you are checking out this article because you are planning to put solar panels on a flat roof, then odds are you’re looking to install a commercial solar system.  While there are homes with flat roofs, they’re not nearly as common as flat business roofs.  But whether it’s for a home or a business the basic principles of installing on a flat roof are the same.  It’s just that commercial systems tend to be a lot larger. [Read more…]

Small Business Commercial Solar With A 3 Year Payback – A Real World Case Study

Small scale commercial solar

Can commercial solar power for small business really slash overheads and pay for itself in 3 years? A real-world example.

A few days ago I wrote an article on commercial solar for small businesses but I was worried it may have been a little abstract.  I mentioned this to Finn, my boss1, and he said people might:

  • not believe that they can get a 3 year payback on a small business solar system – it seems too good to be true
  • appreciate something a little more hands on

.. and suggested I do a case study. [Read more…]

Footnotes

  1. He’s only fired me twice so far, so I’m doing quite well as these things go.  Once for misusing an apostrophe and I don’t know what he sacked me for the second time because I was too drunk to remember.
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