Are They Really Tier 1 Solar Panels? Six Questions You Must Ask.

tier 1 solar panel

Some solar companies are claiming that their Tier 3 panels are really Tier 1. How can you identify real Tier 1 Solar panels?

For many years now I’ve been banging on about “Tier 1 Solar Panels”. My recommendation has always been that you should spend a few hundred dollars more for Tier 1 panels, so that you can massively reduce the risk of having crappy solar panels installed on your roof.

I make this simple recommendation because understanding the quality and reliability of a solar panel or the company behind it is not easy.

For many years, the solar industry has used the “Tier ranking” system to help guide buyers and financiers in understanding what makes a good solar panel and a good company. Tier 1 solar panels are the best and Tier 3 the worst, although alarmingly, some industry analysts now go lower than Tier 3!

For obvious reasons, the ranking of a PV manufacturer is a matter of great pride and highly valued. However, it is a very complex task to rank the many hundreds of manufacturers and a lot is at stake. Meaningful rankings are published by a very small number of independent PV industry analysts and due to the effort and importance of the information; rankings are generally not openly published but rather are sold as industry intelligence.

Australian industry research company SolarBusinessServices publishes an annual report called the Australian PV Technology and Brand report, which includes a Tier listing and analysis of all the PV brands available in Australia.

But just what defines a Tier 1 Solar Panel?

Broadly speaking, PV manufacturers can be ranked into Tiers according to measurement and weighting on the following metrics:

1. Experience

2. Financial position

3. Strategic and tactical position

4. Manufacturing scale

5. Deployment scale

6. Durability & quality

7. Technical Performance

8. Brand bankability

9. Geographic coverage

10. Vertical integration

11. Insurance and backing

12. Sustainability

13. Service and support

14. Price competitiveness

15. Innovation and R&D

Classically, a hybrid combination of the first 5-10 metrics are most often considered and quoted although they are of course, somewhat subjective and subject to frequent change. Additionally, a company’s relative attractiveness should (reasonably) be biased heavily towards its presence, commitment and competitiveness in any given market to be meaningful.

SolarBusinessServices report includes a ranking of PV brands specifically designed for the Australian market which has a bias towards the support, experience and history of PV brands available to help local PV buyers determine which brands are most suited to the local market.

Talk is cheap 

Talk is cheap when it comes to making claims about Tier rankings.

One very large solar retailer was recently asked about their Tier ranking claims and said:

“The solar panels are from XXX brand solar company. They have a 25 year warranty (see attached information). There is no actual official (independent) definition of the ‘Tiers’ of panels however large volumes of panels and being around 5 years or more seem to be a couple of accepted criteria for an informal classification as Tier 1.” 

What a load of crap.

This is a solar retailer (or at least an employee of a retailer) who is talking through his arse and making an absolutely un-informed and indefensible claim. The panels he was claiming were Tier 1 are not, by any measure, Tier 1 and his defence of the claim is ignorant at best, deceptive and misleading at worst. Arguably, the claim could be in breach of Australian Consumer Law.

I regularly hear similar unfounded claims about Tier rankings. So how do you tell if the claims are legitimate or not, if the list is not publicly available and what really counts?

Tier rankings are a really good guide to the products and the company behind them. However, for Australian buyers some really important, practical factors are around their ability to support you and their experience in Australia. A good company will be able to demonstrate strong commitment to the local market through sales support, technical support and local support for warranty claims. Preferably they will have supplied a number of company’s significant volume over at least a few years proving they aren’t a fly by night supplier. I also look for local industry association membership or other examples of investment in the development of the industry.

Here are the 6 questions you need to ask when someone claims their solar panels are Tier 1:

1. Ask for a source of their claim and evidence to back it up.

2. As what criteria they are basing their claim on, if it’s not a source.

3. Does the panel manufacturer have a local office and representative staff in Australia?

4. Is the panel manufacturer a member of any associations and what have they done to help develop the industry?

5. Are these panels installed in any medium or large commercial projects or demonstration and test facilities in Australia?

6. Which companies supply their panels in Australia?

Ultimately, you need to look for a combination of size, technical expertise but also a demonstration that they are committed to serving the Australian market; not just dumping low cost product. Your quest is to find a supplier who is honest about their claims and will be around (in Australia) to support you in the long term.

I have also invested in reports that assess the Tier rankings of suppliers and works closely with independent industry analysts. Although I don’t publish a list of Tier rankings, I can help if you want to check the veracity of claims by suppliers. Simply email me with the panel brand and I’ll reply within a day or two advising what Tier I consider that panel to be.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

Comments

  1. We only use flexible panels on caravans. Too many hail damage incidents on conventional ones. Even from Tier 1 manufacturers.

  2. Bethany says:

    Hi Finn,
    Why not publish the list? It should be readily available for everyone, suppliers and consumers, in order to uphold some integrity in the industry.

    • Hi Bethany,

      The list is meticulously researched and I had to pay $4,000 for it! If I post it online the author will kill me :-).

      But shoot me a list of brands by email and I’ll happily rank them for you 🙂

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

      • I live the US but thought I’d ask anyways …your thoughts on Renesola panels, Candian Solar panels, and Q-Cell solar panels?

        Renesola says they are tier 1 but the installer on one of my quotes say that his Q-cell panels are by far better than these other brands…sorry no model numbers in front of me right now….but all are 260 to 265 watt poly panels.

        Anyways thanks

        • All those panels are good, Tier 1 panels. But personally, I’d probably rate Q-cells as the best of those 3 brands in terms of proven robustness and performance over the long term.

          • Jack Wallace says:

            The same question applies to your rating, Finn.
            Why do you rate them as ‘the best etc.’?

            I always placed a lot of confidence in efficiency (FF ratio ~ watch the salesmen of shonky product bolt for cover when you ask them about that) and the willingness of back-up by the company.

            I seldom tout a commercial product, but once again point out that Perlight panels out of China fairly regularly (depending on the particular conditions of the moment) outperform their rated productivity. ( by, occasionally, up to 30% ~ and company back-up is second to none. (see the US fiasco for example).

            I’ve had them up ~ and grid-connected ~ since 2009, and monitored them fairly closely; couldn’t be happier.

      • Hey Finn,

        Winaico is one i’ve been quoted for,
        suntech is another.

        how do these compare/ rate?
        ta

        • Both good, but Winaico would be better in my opinion (and more expensive).

          • Hi Finn,

            I’m looking at going with known utility providers at the moment: 5kw systems – one uses Jinko panels x 20 & Zeversolar inverters) Zeverlution Series who is apparently a subsidiary company of SMA?

            The other company is only a fraction cheaper using Hanwha x 20 solar panels & Fronius inverters.

            I’m seeing another company on Friday whi have options of CanadianSar, Winaico & Sunpower with the choice then for ABB, Fronius or SMA inverters.

            I’m a single mum with three boys & my energy usage is around 12 units however I believe it will go up with them despite buying appliances with more stars etc & watching my power.

            This is why I’ve seen 5kw as more realistic & given $ diff between 4-5kw systems it makes sense….

            So far I’m pretty happy with Jinko panels & Zeversolar inverters but want to double check your advice or by tips would be beyond appreciated! Thank you great blog!

      • Marie leach says:

        LG mono x2 panels LG 280

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          Hello Marie. I’ll mention that LG panels are no longer on tier one lists, but this doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them. This is because the tier one lists are made for the benefit of large solar projects and not residential rooftop solar. I can definitely recommend LG panels, they are certainly high quality. But because they are high quality they do carry a premium over the average tier one panel.

  3. Of course companies will be making false claims about tier one panels if this mysterious list isn’t available to customers. The definition of tier one panels quickly becomes ‘any panel that we sell’ if it can’t be verified or checked. By not making the tier rankings public knowledge it is immediately irrelevant.

  4. Hi Finn – I have been told that the Hareon HR 250P 18/Bbf solar panels with Advanced Junction Box design and the LG solar neon and LG solar mono x are all ‘first tier’ as ranked by the CSIRO. Is this true? And are all good for use in the ACT with our very hot summers and coolish winters?

  5. Brian Shipway says:

    Hi Finn, I would like to know if I Solar is a Tier 1 ranked panel & if a Solis inverter is also a Tier 1 ranking.I look forward to your reply.
    Cheers Brian

    • Hi Brian,

      “I Solar” is not a brand I have heard of – so they are unlikely to be ranked as Tier 1 anywhere.

      Solis is a new entrant in Australia – I’ve not got any experience with them.

      I’d consider using better known brands personally.

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

  6. Hi Finn –
    I’m trying to find out more about Recom panels. On your site their warranty and performance look good but all I can find online about them is that they’re kind of chauvinistic and maybe not very nice. Has that changed? Thanks for your insights. We are in the US.

  7. Hi Finn,

    I am considering a 4KW system with the following specs:

    1 Panel Hanwha HSL60 Poly 250w and SMA -SB4000TL inverter
    or
    2 Panel Munsterland MLS 255p series 250w. inverter SMA -Sunynboy 4000TL
    or a 3KW system with LG panels and JFY inverter.
    All these are priced almost similar.
    Could you please advise which system I should go for. My quarterly consumption is about A$600. and have a 3-phase supply

  8. Keith Coakley says:

    Finn,

    Have been received quotes from EnergyRich Pty solar & energy solutions for both a 3kw & 5Kw systems. Quote is for Blue Sun 250w panels and a Delta RPI 3/5kw inverter. Cannot find any mention of these companies on your site. Not sure where they are made (inverter is definetly china) but suspect it will be china. Can you give me any advice?
    Keith

  9. Hi Finn,

    I have quotes for 5kw system as below:
    – 20x260W QCells with Enphase M215 Micro Inverter: most expensive option.
    – 16x310W JA Solar with Enphase M250 Micro Inverter: medium option.
    – I will get another quote with SMA Inverter instead for both above system for cheaper option.

    The most expensive option is the best system for sure. However, my budget is limited and I have to consider the cheaper one. Could you please advise if they are any big different if I use cheaper option (JA vs Q Cells and SMA vs Enphase)?

    Thanks.

    Harry.

    • You’ll be totally fine with JA and SMA and will save thousands on the upfront price and should last a long time. You’ll probably get about 10% less power than a Q-Cells / Enphase system.

      • Hi Finn,

        I need your help also on which system you think will be more efficient between the two below systems and your opinion on the issue with the M215 or M250

        I have quotes for Q-Cels 265W G4 with Enohase M215 micro inverters, but I have been told by other installers that M215 are too small for this panels but the they say that M250 are about $1000.00 more expensive for 19 of them as the system is just little bit bigger than 5 KW

        The second option will be same panels with Fronius hybread 5.0 3 phase investor as I wanted the system to be battery ready

        • If you want a system that has more battery options in the future then I’d get the Fronius Symo Hybrid. With the Enphase it will be more expensive to add batteries as they will have to be AC coupled. Although it will be easy to add an Enphase battery (although you’ll need a new Enphase Envoy comms module with the battery comms and metering). But no one knows how much the Enphase battery will be.

          M215s will work fine with 60 cell 265W panels, but yes on really good solar days they will clip the output a tiny bit. Also M250s are the latest generation and are about 6 times more reliable than the (already reliable) M215s. So they are the better option if you want microinverters and can afford the M250s.

          • Hi Finn,

            Thank you very much for your reply on my question you have made my decision much easier.
            I did wanted good reliable system to be more optional battery ready system for the future and the quotes for full install including monitoring systems, installation of Endeavour 3 phase meter with off peak circuit nothing more to pay were very simular between Fronius Hybrid and the Enphase invertors, money were not the issue.

            So I have purchased the following 5.3 KW system and will let everyone know how it will perform when installed:
            20 x Q.Cell PRO G4.1 265W panels
            1 x Fronius Symo Hybrid 5.0-3-S invertor with Dataloger + WLAN
            including EFERGY monitor & Endevour energy 3 phase off peak meter

            Complete install for $8248.00 incl GST

          • Great hardware – that should perform very well. The monitoring is a very good idea – essential for getting and keeping your bills as low as possible post installation. Let me know what you think of the Energy monitor!

            Finn

        • Hi Tony…just wanted to check who your installer was or where you got this system. Im looking for something similar. Thanks

    • G’day Champ and crew

      so confused on what panel to go for, qcell trina yingi canadian, 7kw system
      inverter/s will be ever sma bosch or fronius etc 1 phase abb there to.

      What would you go from 1 to 4 on all. as have all different quotes and prices to compare.

      cheers Matt

      • Finn Admin says:

        in terms of quality – here’s my opinion:

        1. Q-Cell
        2. Trina
        3. Canadian
        4. Yingli (Yingli having financial trouble at the moment)

        Inverters:

        1. Fronius / SMA
        2. ABB
        3. Zeversolar
        4. Bosch (they are obsolete – Bosch have stopped making inverters)

  10. chan lee says:

    I am totally new to this and have been doing my own research and your website has heaps of great info, I will be investing in solar power for my home soon and like you say there are heaps of retailers that want my business but chosing a good one ? thats a headache.. I wanted to ask you about a company called express power which has a great deal at the moment but they are using a inverter I cant get info about online , its called REWATT.
    and also panels called INFI ?? have you ay info on these two items.

    • Hi Chan,

      I am not familiar with that company, the inverter or the panel brand! I’d recommend going with well known brands and companies with lots of good reviews.

      Finn

  11. Thank you for such an informative website. We are currently investigating Solar Panels and have been overwhelmed with the information but your website provides all the information in an easy to understand manner.

    We now have quotes from three Solar companies, two have stated their panels are Tier 1 and the third did not provide a Tier ranking. Could you please confirm the Tier status of these panels. Thanks

    Tier 1:
    OneSolar One + Series (super multi crystalline) conversion efficiency up to 20%

    Jinko Solar – JKM 250P

    Unknown Tier:
    BLD250W-60P – apparently german engineering but constructed in China

    • OneSolar is not in any Tier rankings I know of – be careful of any company claiming they are Tier 1!

      Jinko is Tier 1.

      If the BLD panels are Zhejiang BLD Solar Technology Co Ltd then they are Tier 3. “German Engineering” is a furphy.

  12. Love your website. Zuess Apollo solar panels do you have any info about them! Wish I found your site sooner..

  13. Mal Owens says:

    Finn,Great site.Lots of info.We are acquiring quotes for 3Kw System.So far we have Jinko Panels & Topsola panels & Solax & Sofar Inverters.Have you any comments on these products?Cheers Mal

    • Jinko would be my choice for panels – they are Tier 1.

      I haven’t heard of Solfar inverters. Solax inverters seem to be quite well liked by some installers I trust.

  14. Hi
    Can you please confirm the Tier status of this panel. Thanks

    Eco Future Black Max
    Half cut cell black

    Love your website by the way

    • Never heard of it – so probably Tier 3

      • Tom Wallace says:

        Yes every panel Finn has not heard of is Tier 3, and every movie Finn hasn’t heard of is 1 star.

        Why don’t you provide technical aspects of the panel, the warranty and look up the local presence.

        Lord Finn, is unfortunately not qualified to determine where any given panel sits on this tier structure. Why? Because the tier structure is a bogus hierarchy devised solely for marketing purposes and does not distinguish one panel from another in real application and the likelihood of performance of warranty obligations, liquidation….

  15. Hallo Finn

    I have been assured by a company that the 8 Sapphire panels and the JFY inverter they propse to put on my roof are top quality. i am interesed to know if you share this opinion.

    Thanks

    • By all accounts the Sapphire panels are very good.

      THe JFY inverter is one of the cheapest budget inverters out there. I would not personally rate it as “top quality”. If you want top quality go SMA, Fronius or ABB.

  16. Hi Finn
    I have been quoted 20X Hanwha HSL 60S 4BB 60 Cell Poly Module with 4.2kW Aurora PVI-4.2-TL-OUTD inverter

    Another company has quoted on 20x Hanwha QPro Gen 3 265W with SMA SB-5000TL-21 Inverter.

    The first quote is $3500 less than the second. Do the difference in components warrant the difference in price?
    many thanks

    • Finn Admin says:

      If the QPro are “Q-Cells” panels then they are better. But not $3500 better IMHO! The SMA is a little better than the Aurora IMHO, but again $3500 is too much more!

      Hanwha is a Tier 1 solar panel, so it a relatively safe bet. Auroras are great inverters.

  17. I am looking to purchase one of the top 5 tier one panels in Australia. I have been told the following brands panels are it. Is this correct?

    LG Solar
    Trina
    Canadian Solar
    JA Solar
    Q Cells

    Thanks

    • yep – they are all good Tier 1 panels – whether they are the best 5 is a whole other debate – there are other good ones out there too.

      Certainly I’d add Sunpower to the top of the list if you want the absolute best.

  18. Hi Finn

    What can you tell me about Hanwha Solar Panels and Solis Inverters?
    Are they a Tier 1 Panel and quality Inverter?

    Regards

    Kel

    • Hanwha are good panels – their Q CELLS models are the ones to go for in my opinion.

      I’ve got no experience with Solis inverters. I’d personally be more comfortable with a bigger brand like SMA, Fronius or ABB.

  19. Thank you Finn I will follow up on the Solis Inverter.

  20. Doug Jacquier says:

    Hi, Finn
    Like many people we are drowning in info so a little help please. Will probably go with SMA or Fromius for the inverter but the panels seem more difficult to get clear answers on.
    I note from your previous replies that two brands we have been quoted on, Canadian Solar and Trina are reputable Tier 1 panels. (Note we have ruled out Q-CELL because we don’t want to buy from Hanwha, a munitions maker that is still making cluster bombs).
    Two other brands quoted are Sapphire and TopSola. You say Sapphire have had some favorable comments but I can’t find any reviews or Tier ratings for them. TopSola seem better known but I don’t see them in any Tier 1 lists.
    Quotes that include Tier 1 panels all seem to be in the $7-8k range for a 5kw system.
    Any and all help greatly appreciated.
    Regards
    Doug

  21. Hi there

    May I ask about Jinco panels if they are tier 1
    And what about Growatt inverter is it good.
    Your advice will be highly Appreciated

    • Jinko are Tier 1 panels.

      Growatt are one of the better budget inverters, although I’d go for a premium one like ABB, Fronius or SMA if you can afford the premium.

  22. Hi Finn
    What tier are the HSL 60S 4BB panels. I’m getting them through AGL.
    Thanks so much
    Leigh

  23. Hi Finn,

    Thanks for the informative website!

    Can I get your opinion on the following two quotes for a 3kW system in Sydney.
    12 x Renesolar 260W panels with 4.2KW ABB inverter from Mark Group
    12 x CSUN 250W panels with 215W Enphase micro inverters from RK Solar
    Both quotes are around $6000 and they seem a bit expensive than average.

    Cheers, Lee

  24. Hi Finn,

    Thanks for helping with this confusing process.

    The quote I have is for solar juice opal panels with a sma sunny tri power inverter.

    Rgds
    Murray

  25. Can you confirm that REC and WINAICO are Tier 1 panels.

  26. Hi Finn… Your site is an amazing help…

    Tossing up bw an SMA/ Renesola combo and a frontius/LG combo (LG275S1C-B3). While I am happy with either invertor I can’t find much in way of reviews on the LG.

    Any advice re these combos please. The prospective installer is suggesting the LG combo (which is around $200 dearer)

    Thanks
    Frank

    • From what I’ve seen the LG panels are really, really well built and have good performance. They are also definitely Tier 1.

  27. Garry Bourke says:

    Hi Finn
    Many thanks for your most informative web site and opportunity to obtain 3 quotes from recommended suppliers. Unfortunately have only received 1 reply from the three recommended suppliers. Have obtained another quote from alternative supplier. Would appreciate your recommendation on the following quotes for a 5 kw system. Have decided to go with micro inverters for each panel base on your website comments/recommendations given that with Aurora Tasmania I will then have the option of feeding any excess power into both tariffs 31 & 42.
    1. 20 x 250w Suntech mono crystralline panels and 20 Enphase EP-M250 micro inverters.
    2. 20 x Opal Solar SJ 250-265P6P multicrystalline modules and either APSYC500 micro inverters.
    3. Is there a lot of difference now days between monocyrystalline panels and polycrystalline panels
    Panels will have to be sited on east and west facing galvanised roof. Only small north facing roof available but this will be affected by a 2 story neighbouring north facing house.

  28. Hi Finn, I note the info above on Hanwha panels which was the product quoted by AGL. The other quote I have is for Matrix solar panels – can you tell me if these are on the Tier 1 list?

    Also, what are your thoughts on the technology for battery storage of solar power?

    Yours is definitely the most useful consumer site for solar energy I’ve come across in my searching, so thanks for your help

    Thanks,

  29. Terry Halmshaw says:

    Hey Finn, just a quick couple of questions in regards to Munsterland MLS-255P-60 series solar panels.

    I received a single page pamphlet from a door to door salesman yesterday and it seems a little fishy.

    It states on the pamphlet in regards to warranty, and I quote “GERMAN GUARANTEE, we are your direct contact for guarantee questions, and by our enlarged product liability insurance we provide for 100% security”

    The above says absolutely NOTHING in regards to any warranty/guarantee it just cites an unknown/un-named insurance company and “we are your direct contact” with NO contact details whatsoever???…

    Second section states this, “A high product quality is guaranteed by the permanent production supervision as well as the observance of the standardised processes”.

    What the hell is the above supposed to be?, are they saying that their company makes no bad products simply because a supervisor is watching?, and what standardised processes?…is that their own standardised processes, or is that industry standardised processes?.

    Both of the above have made me so apprehensive of not only the so called data sheet but of the entire operation attempting to sell to me via door to door salesman, I don’t really trust Indian salesman as they seem to be the most common when it comes to shifty sales tactics, IE telemarketing and fake Microsoft calls in regards to virus and system vulnerabilities…..I don’t feel comfortable with this.

    Please share your thoughts.

    • I would steer clear of Munsterland solar panels. They are not Tier 1 by any stretch of the imagination, and their anecdotal failure rates are worrying. The only thing German about them is the name.

  30. Hi Finn

    I have recently received two quotes following inquiry with your web-site.
    i) Can you please confirm if the two packages listed below comprise tier 1 panels and inverters? also
    ii) Can you rank the two packages based on your preference?

    1. 20 x 260w Trina Honey Polycrystalline modules with Fronius Primo 5kw Single phase inverter

    2. 19 x 265 watt Q-cell G4 Multicrystalline panels With Fronius Primo 5.0

    Regards

    Brad

  31. Thanks Finn. Price is almost identical so the choice will come down to add ons. Thanks for the feedback.

    BTW I have enjoyed my experience on your web site, you an your team have done a great job designing venue which packages info in a very accessible way.

    Regards

  32. Hi Finn,

    We are planning for a 10 MW grid tied pv in India and have shortlisted Canadian Solar, Jinko, Trina and REC, and in the inverters front we are confused to go with string or a central and the companies we have in mind are SMA, ABB, Schneider and Bonfiglioli with Lapp DC cables.So please recommend the ideal set up.Thanks in advance.

  33. Phillip Hopwood says:

    Hi Finn,
    Thanks for the great site and Q&A.

    I am looking at LG MonoX 275 or similar, or REC Peak 260w with a Fronius Primo Inverter. Probably looking at somewhere around a 5kw system.

    May look at batteries in a few years. I see Q-cells seem to be more popular here. There seems to be quite a difference in the efficiency in the charts here. 98 vs 91… REC260PE are rated 15.8% panel efficiency and here 90% performance efficiency. In Tasmania REC’s seem to be the most popular at the moment. The installers who comment on Whirlpool seem to focus on LG and REC, with a few Q-Cell fans.

    I have had a few cold callers on the phone, including Integrasolar who want to sell me Eco Black Max split cell 250 CB-60’s that supposedly have LG cells. I can’t find the company listed by the Clean Energy Council, or their panels listed here. Mixed reviews online, and not for me.

    I am looking for a supplier just for the panels and inverter, as I have a relative who is qualified to fit them. Any suggestions for a supplier who can ship to Hobart? Value and availability are going to be the final deciders.

    Thanks!

    • LG are getting a very good rap from installers at the moment. But they are quite expensive. REC and Q-Cells are excellent too, and probably a bit cheaper.

      If you have an ABN, you should be able to order from http://www.solarcart.com.au – they stock, LG, Q-Cell and Fronius

      • Phillip Hopwood says:

        Thanks Finn!

        Found a local supplier who mainly does Jinko panels, but can get REC, Renesola and others. I will see what the price differences are.

  34. Lucille Bright says:

    Hi Finn,

    I would like to know if
    suntech
    risen
    trina
    are teir 1 and if so which is the better option for a solar battery storage installation through the company giant power.

    thanks

  35. Robert Miller says:

    Hi Finn, great site.
    I am weighing up between 2 5kw systems. One quotes 20 x 260w Hanwha panels and the Bosch 4.6 inverter. The max output of the inverter is actually 4.6kw which concerns me. The Hsl 60 s panels I do not think are q cells so whilst it may be a tier one manufacturer I’m sure it’s a budget panel.

    The other system quotes a ABB inverter (max 5kw out) and Guangye panels who the supplier says have made Trina panels.

    The post install support should be better on the second.

    Cost is similar.

    So the concerns are the Bosch inverter output, the Guangye panels and that the Hanwha panels won’t really be top of the range anyway.

    Your thoughts please?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Robert,

      The quality of the install is just as important as the components used. If my guest as to the first installer is correct then I would not be confident in the install! I’m sure the Bosch is a good inverter (and it is fine to have 4.6kW inverter with 5kW of panels), although I’ve not direct experience of them. Yes – I’m sure the Hanwha panels are the cheapest ones they offer!

      I always recommend Tier 1 panels. Gangye panels are not T1. So I would not recommend them. Simple as that. Pay a few hundred more for proper T1 panels.

      ABB is a good inverter.

  36. James McDonnell says:

    Hi Finn
    What a fantastic site for the for someone who knows nothing about solar energy.
    I have a number of quotes for a 3Kw ststem, 3 of which in am leaning towards, which I hope you can comment on.
    1. 12 Suntech panels with a JFY inverter; $3540
    2. 12 Q Cells QPro G4 Poly with Fronius Primo 3.0 Kw inverter; $6485
    3. 12 x 250 watt Trina solar panels with a 3.0Kw zevever inveter; $4095.

    I have a limited budget but want the best for what I see as long term investment.

    • HI James,

      All those panel brands are good Tier 1 which will do the job and are well supported in Australia. The Q-Cells are probably the best quality.

      The Fronius is by far the best inverter out of the 3. The Zeversolar, is one of the better budget inverters. The JFY, while well supported in Australia for warranty issues (of which there are many!) is a bottom-end inverter at a price to match.

      If you go for a budget inverter it is absolutely critical that it is installed in a cool – shaded area to reduce the stress on the components.

    • Ŕobert miller says:

      Thanks Finn to the reply on my question above and hi James.

      Since my question I have managed to secure 6kw of renesloa pid free panels (although PID is not much of an issue under 600v systems which most/all domestic will be), and a 6kw Abb inverter with the WiFi module so I can monitor it. Installed for $6800.

      Another supplier suggested I could run a 5kw SMA inverter on 6kw of panels (east west facing produces max 85% of the 6kw = 5.2kw) but to my mind on those sunny days it’s pushing that inverter to the max on a regular basis. Better to stick with a similar priced but appropriately sized ABB.

      Thanks Finn and happy hunting y’all! It’s not easy.

  37. Hi Finn, Great site and very informative.
    I have two quotes which I would like your opinion on if you wouldn’t mind. My intention is to go over to batteries once they are more affordable.

    1. Solax Hybrid Battery ready inverter Sk-TL5000 and Chiko integration – premium profile with 20 x 250 W CSun panels

    2. Solax Battery Ready X1-5000T inverter with 20 x 250W Hanwha HSL60s panels.

    Currently the first is $1200 dearer …… if that is better, is the money worth it?

    Thanks
    Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      I’m not too familiar with the Solax gear. But a quick look over the tech specs shows that the SK-TL5000 certainly claims to be compatible with an optional plug in battery charger/controller/ The X1-5000T appears to make no such claims about being battery compatible.

      Here’s what I’d do before proceeding:

      1) Ask them to provide details, in writing about how the X1-5000T can be upgraded to battery storage.
      2) Ask them how many SK-TL5000 installations they have done with batteries attached, and ask if you can talk to the owners about how much self consumption it allows. The SK-TL5000 may be a great solution – but it is very new and untested – so make sure you see one working in anger before committing. Ask them also if they have included the separation of ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ loads in your switchboard as per the Solax tech guidelines in their cost estimate.

      3) The CSUN panels are a well-regarded panel. I class them as Tier 2 – as they are a smaller manufacturer. Hanwha is a good Tier 1 manufacturer, but I think those are Hanwha’s budget range. Their best panels are the Hanwha Q-Cells range, and they are not much different in price!

      4) The quality of your system comes down to the installation. make sure the company you use has a good reputation for install quality. A quick search on “whirlpool” usually gives lots of clues.

      At the moment in my opinion, the best way to be battery-ready is to use a Fronius Hybrid Inverter or a SolarEdge system if you want to use a ‘Powerwall’ style DC battery, or an Enphase system (although that is only directly compatible with the Enphase AC Battery).

      Also installing a good monitoring system that measures your household consumption is an important part of knowing how many batteries to install to optimise your payback.

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

  38. Hi Finn,

    In your opinion which of the following would you recommend?

    2.7kw Solar Eclipse with 9 x 300w LG Black panels and 9 x Enphase M250 inverters

    2.385Kw Next Generation Solar with 9 x 265w JA riecium panels and

    3.25kw loop solar 13 x 250w Jinko panels and SMA SB3000TL-21 inverter

    3.64kw 13 x 280w Solarworld panels and SMA SB4000TL-21 inverter

    Considering I have limited roof space, considering batteries in the future, and in melbourne climate? would the mono help that much substantially?

    Appreciate your feedback

    • The LG panels have a great reputation for power per square metre. But they are expensive. Micro inverters will also increase the power output per m2. Again at a price premium.

      All the other panels are good Tier 1’s.

      The SMA is a great inverter.

      If you want a super high performance system with panel level monitoring and easy addition of an Enphase battery, then the LG/Enphase is a great system. But bear in mind that the Enphase batteries are likely to cost about $2000 per 1.2kW installed. And you should get the Envoy-S model comms unit for easy battery install and consumption monitoring. If you want to use another battery, you’ll have to AC couple them and get a seperate battery inverter.

      All the other packages (assuming they are well installed) will work very well too. Batteries can be DC coupled, which is generally easier than AC coupling, but will still need a “Sunny Island” or similar battery inverter.

  39. Hi Finn,

    This solar lark is so damn complex so thanks for an informative site. Whats the deal with the CSUN panels that come out of Turkey rather than China …. are they considered T1

    rgds

    Matt

    • HI Matt,

      Some Tier rankings consider CSUN a good Tier 2 panel – others a Tier 1. Usually they are a mid-range or budget offering.

      I think they make them in Turkey to get around the EU and USA antidumping tariffs on Chinese panels.

  40. Kurt Benson says:

    Why don’t you recommend the Bloomberg New Energy Finance tier rating?

    • I do – it is a good reference/starting point.

      But it is also not Australian Specific. A Bloomberg Tier 1 manufacturer that has no Australian office, or Australian industry involvement etc is probably not a good choice for an Aussie customer.

  41. Hi Finn,

    This forum is so good; Thanks everyone for their valuable comments

    Any comments on Green Reliance Solar Company?

    3kW Solar System:

    12 x Hareon Solar Panels – 3 Junction Boxes
    1 x ABB PowerOne 3.0 Inverter / SMA 3.0
    Grace Solar / Lock Solar Mounting Kit
    Full CEC Accredited Installation

    I’ve been quoted $5900 with a Bosch Inverter

  42. Hi Finn,

    What do you know about Universal solar USP -P6-60 series panels. They are offering a URE 3k inverter. For a certain price

    Whereas I probably wish to go with a local (knows the hot weather here) who is supply REC panels namely REC255PE panels – believe they are good. With a ABB PVI 3.0 inverter.

    I’m looking at $2.5k difference between the 2. Seems a bit excessive mind you I can’t be sure about the USG panels.

    Your input would be appreciated

  43. Hi Finn,

    I have followed a lot of your posts over the years and generally information you give is sound. You’re a very principal man and you have a lot of pride in what you do, which is why a lot of people on here respect you and they take your word as gospel. on the odd occasion that your information is slightly out I don’t say anything, because as a whole I understand that the sentiment and the message you are delivering is correct.

    However, this article it’s miles away from the actual version. I know its I am in the solar industry myself I have been for a quite a number of years. Like you I am very principled, passionate, dedicated to reliability, quality, and neither my team or I have ever sold a customer anything other than a tear 1 panel, nor will we start to. over the years I have built up a customer base in the thousands. I have been rewarded for my efforts and my integrity with countless word-of-mouth referrals.intention was to not confuse the layperson. Again your sentiment on this topic is still 100% correct.

    I just thought that this is a very important topic, and many people make their decisions based upon what you’re saying, I was hoping clarification could be given. In inaccuracies were minor but I lost a client because of this post, and I know that you always selflessly give sound advice. many times in which other companies all over the industry gain from. my client directed me to this post and I have to see the solar business services documentation for the Jinko panel. I’ve tried opening the link on both my Mac and my Windows PC but it won’t come up, and the client won’t except the Bloomberg list as the official list..

    There is only one recognised entity that can give a teir 1 ranking, and that is Bloomberg. However, I completely agree with you, that the 15 points by the unrecognised entity (SolarBusinessServices) that you’ve listed above should be the mandate. As Bloomberg is recognized world wide as the only entity that has the authority to give Tier rankings, we can not in Australia, change or edit or misrepresent their results. I am a advocate for an Australian based ranking of panels, as there are far too many panels on our shores that quite frankly, don’t cut the mustard.

    Bloomberg are the one, and only one, team that can determine who mets the required T1 panel Standard. And m) that is bankability. under this heading there is minor regulations and from the very minor regulations, assumptions can be made with as to other facets of the panel and also the quality. But this is just an assumption and cannot be taken as gospel. This is the exact information that Bloomberg gives on their website defining their tier structure.

    “Tier 1 module manufacturers are those which have provided own-brand, own-manufacture products to five different projects, which have been financed non-recourse by five different (non-development) banks, in the past two years. (This is an increase from three projects and three banks in Q1 2014).
    These 1.5MW+ deals must be tracked by our database, ie the project location, size, developer,
    bank and module maker must be in the public domain. One exception is manufacturers which have filed for bankruptcy or a form of insolvency protection; these are moved to tier 3 until further notice. Major defaults on bond payments by the parent company will also cause the firm to be moved to tier 2 or 3 regardless of the number of bank financed projects.
    This classification is purely a measure of industry acceptance, and there are many documented examples of quality issues or bankruptcy of tier 1 manufacturers.

    3.1. Tier 2
    Module makers which have supplied product to some projects with bank financing, and have some industry reputation, are considered tier 2. We do not publish a tier 2 list.

    3.2. Tier 3
    Module makers where there is little data on the deployment of their products, or which have filed for insolvency protection, are considered tier 3. Suppliers exiting insolvency protection must meet the normal tier 1 and 2 criteria in their new incarnation. We do not publish a tier 3 list”.

    I think that a very good website for you to refer your clients to is actually the Australian solar council is “Positive Quality”. The positive quality list is extremely exclusive. The qualification criteria for this program is published on their website for everyone to see. But again, all of your advice and recommendations about quality to the people who have posted on this forum, is completely accurate. I truly believe that in Australia this is certainly the best way for a consumer to buy a panel with confidence. I believe it is important for a consumer to buy a panel that is recognised by an Australian body who has stringently tested A panel for performance reliability, quality, and also has approved it as being appropriate for our conditions. i’ll be very interested to know your thoughts on this Flynn.

    I am in the solar industry myself I have been for a quite a number of years. Like you I am very principled, passionate, dedicated to reliability, quality, and neither my team or I have ever sold a customer anything other than a tear 1 panel, nor will we start to. over the years I have built up a customer base in the thousands. I have been rewarded for my efforts and my integrity with countless word-of-mouth referrals.

    The other thing that I wanted to say is that on a couple of your posts, you give really sound advice on how to spot a slimey salesman from the real professional. I’m sure that you agree with me that there are also some really good sales people in our industry, and also, even though it’s not so prominent, there are also some unscrupulous qualified installers, designer’s, and business owners who are just out there to line their own pockets. I bring this up, as I might be wrong, but it seems that you do not like sales people in general. I am in the solar industry myself I have been for a quite a number of years. Like you I am very principled, passionate, dedicated to reliability and quality, and neither my team or I have ever sold a customer anything other than a tier 1 panel, nor will we start to. over the years I have built up a customer base in the thousands. I have been rewarded for my efforts and my integrity with countless word-of-mouth referrals.

    I started my career as a salesman, and I have seen many sales people come and go. The ones that stick around and have stayed in this industry through good and bad, are the ones that truly have a desire to help, not sell by decieving. These professionals have dedicated themselves to learning everything they can about solar, and have worked just as hard to be able to deliver the benefits, the negative, and everything in between, in a way that is communicated with clarity , and conviction. It is only then that the client who is the most important person involved can make an informed discussion based on facts with and easy for a client to understand. some of them without formal qualification, are actually just as dedicated as you and I with qualifications. They treat their customers the respectful and are always professional, just as you or I would treat a close friend or relative.. Society already has a negative view of sales people, and the good ones out there, do not deserve to be branded in the same light as a bad.

    On this website, from your thousands of posts, it is abundantly clear that you have freely given a huge amount of your time, knowledge, and expertise, Much of this information that you given was not for your benefit, and in most cases, actually for the benefit of the Unknown recipient, and the beneficiary is other, is the retailers that receive an enquiry. My view is when eople make the decision to use a service on this website based on their belief and trust in you. This by proxy, makes you, theoretically the salesperson in this instance. And a very good one too, not because of conversion ratio, or for man hours spent on here with a potential client, but because the main objective and focus of a good salesperson should never be on the process, sale, or technique., it should be about finding the client the best solution for their problem, and for this case m, the problem is, without a solar system, we are all paying too much to energyproviders.

    I always remember that no matter what the business, and no matter what the product, service, offer deal etc, you can not have a purchase without a sale and someone is always needed to be a buyer and another facilitate this – The buyer. There are some absolutely spectacular sales professionals out there, not spectacular because of the volume of sales is high, but because of their integrity, dedication and real desire to help people. It was actually one of these SalesProfessional that inspired me to join this professional years ago.

    Like you Flynn, we do everything correctly. my team and I, don’t just follow, but far exceed the ACCC’s guidelines for a sales made within this industry. I believe that the document released by the ACCC, with the guideline for unsolicited door-to-door sales should be in every home. I am just getting my business processes and standards ready to lodge my application, to become a CEC preferred supplier, because this should be the minimum standard for all companies.

    ok that longer than anticipated, please understand that I have utmost respect for you and have done for years, and this was by no means a criticism of your body of work. The Post won’t post on your wall. unless authorised so you can delete it and no harm done.

    hope to talk to you again

    Steve

    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the detailed critique!

      I will actually be updating this post with a newer one soon, and I’ll incorporate a lot of your points.

      I actually have the utmost respect for good salespeople. I think sales is the most important function in business. Everything starts with a sale. I spent some time in sales in the Engineering Consulting industry. What I can’t stand are the small minority of bad or unethical salespeople. I will be careful how I wrote about this going forward!

      Cheers,

      Finn

  44. Hi Finn,
    I have a 2 quotes for 2 systems, 1 work and one home . i am in WA
    Work quote 1 ($500 p/month bill) (Company – Eurosolar)
    Zever Solar + USP Panels – 10 KW 40 Panels – o 4 Panels free
    o Power Monitoring Unit
    o 10 Years warranty on Inverter
    o 30 Years of performance warranty on Panels
    $8100
    OR
    Work quote 2 (Company – Suncity Solar , local in my town)
    ENPHASE or SMP + QCELL Panels – 5kw 22 panels
    $9,152.00
    Also, will the 2nd quote with 5kw system be sufficient ?

    And;
    Home quote 1 ($150 p/month bill)
    URE + USP panels 5kw – 20 Panels
    $3800
    OR
    Home quote 2
    Bosch BPT-S3 4.6 16 Bosch Panels 3.5 kw system
    $4790

    Thanks Finn,
    Kind regards
    Steve

  45. Finn I was about to give a company advertising a 3kw Bosch system for $2999 a phone call having read your entire website. Then I came upon this last blog’ Bosch no longer make solar panels in Australia’ be warned if they are still advertised in 2015!
    what do you recommend I install? I live in northern nsw close to qld border. I also understand that in nsw we will no longer be able to feed into the grid & receive any funds at all from March/April 2016 is this correct? In that event what inverter would be best?
    M.A.

    • Hi M.A.

      I’m fairly sure you can still get a Feed In Tariff if you look around the energy retailers.

      Pop your details into https://mozo.com.au/energy and check the box saying you’ve got solar to see the feed in rates available in our area. Diamond Energy do 8c in NSW last tike I checked.

      I would in stall a good Tier 1 panel – the best are Sunpower and LG and Q-cells, then you’ve got Trina, Yingli, Jinko, Canadian, JA Solar, Suntech, Hanwha, Renesola, ET Solar.

      Good inverters include SMA, Fronius, Delta, ABB or ENphase if you want micro inverters.

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

  46. Hi Finn,

    Great web-site – I have been studying it for hours over the last few days.

    Tried to use your 3 Quote system – unfortunately, you advised that you didn’t have anyone in my area in East Gippsland.

    Anyway, I’m currently looking at a 3kW system, with 12 x 250 w Polycrystalline Panels from JA Solar with a Sungrow SG3KTL-D inverter – the supplier is quoting just over $4,000.00.

    From what I have gathered from your site, the components all appear to be of a high standard and so I assume that it would be a good system.

    Are you able to tell me whether you think that it’s a good system and that the price is reasonable.

    Appreciate your advice

    Peter

    • The panels are good – Sungrows are good mid-range inverters and have good efficiency – but probably won’t be as reliable as a SMA or Fronius (i.e. premium brand). Not a huge issue if it is under warranty.

      JA are excellent. Price seems good,

      Gippsland Solar are a great company – they are clients of SQ – but do switch our service on and off as they get busy!

      • Hi Finn,

        thanks for your advice – will go ahead with purchase.

        By the way, not sure if people are aware, but there is an useful site which provides daily solar exposure for most locations in Australia.

        It’s run by the Bureau of Meteorology and is at http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/ . In the field 1, select Solar exposure and then closest weather station to you and complete the rest – it then opens new page giving Daily global solar exposure for specified year and on a daily basis.

        You can select whatever year and it also summarises for all years.

        I’ve seen other sites giving amount of sun a location may get, but its usually just for capital cities and its an annual figure.

        Anyway, I found the site useful and others may as well

        cheers

  47. Anupkumar.K.Hanchinal says:

    Hi sir,

    Zhongli Talesun Solar is it good one ? Tire 1 or not ? please email me in details. Your suggestion may help me in selecting good one for my project so that i ill be thankful to you always

    Thanking you

  48. Hi Finn

    i have just received one quote from a W Aust company for $12000 on the following 25 jinko panels
    6.5kw of panels
    5kw Zever inverter
    25 yr warranty on panels
    15 yr warranty on inverter
    tier 1 guarentee
    250w panels
    Is this a good?deal because on this forum you have previously mentioned that the Zever inverter is budget rated. should I get a premium brand inverter or a better price .ps we use approx 20 units of power per day

    • Zever is a budget inverter – I would go for a premium brand (SMA, Fronius etc.)

      I would not sign up unless I knew the panel brand too.

      The going rate for a good 6.5kW is about $10k

  49. Hi Finn

    Thanks for your site. Are topsola tier 1?

    Regards

  50. Hi,

    not so much of a question but just some info.

    Some of the prices people have been quoted seem very expensive.

    I live in Brisbane and have a two story house.

    I have had a 5.2kw system installed for $4410.00 by AGL.

    The system is 20 x HSL60S Q cell panels (i believe are reasonable quality-25 year warranty also)

    and

    Solis 5000 inverter. The inverter is not battery ready but has dual channels, allowing for two sets of panels to be run simultaneously. The brand appears to be not as well known so no glowing or negative reports from previous users but came with an 8 year warranty.

    The system also came with 2 years monitoring included.

    AGL had a price match policy and as a result dropped their price by over $2000.00 after i shopped around.

    I have only had the system for 4 months so i am not going to say it is a great system but i have not had any issues yet. I average 33kw per day on clear days

  51. Hi

    Had a quote for 6KW FOR $7K

    23 x Q-CELLS Q.PLUS 265 G4
    1 x Fronius Primo 5.0-1 AUS

    Are these panels Tier 1 and does the quote sound good?

    Simon
    Perth, WA

  52. Hi Finn,
    Thanks for the excellent website.
    I’ve just been quoted $4,700 for a 3 kW. System using 12 topsola panels (TSM 60-156 poly) and a Growatt Sungold 3000TL inverter.

    Could you comment on the quality of the products and the cost please ?

    I’m in victoria with a ENE facing roof. The guy assures me that this orientation will only see a 2% drop in efficiency. Does that sound right ?

    Thanks, Paul

  53. Hi Finn,

    Can you provide any insight into Matrix panels?

    And is the difference between QCells G3 and G4 just generation of panels?

    • I’m not familiar with Matrix panels.

      Yes G4 are the next generation after G3.

      • Thanks for the reply Finn! Your site is making it much easier to get my head around the confusing world of solar systems.

        I am finding it hard to find “real-world” reviews on Seraphim panels as well. Are they tier 1 and worth considering? A company (from your 3 quote method) that quoted me on these panels (SRP-260-6PB) was telling me about them passing a “thresher” test.

  54. Gabrielle says:

    Hi I’m looking at a 5kw system that needs to be 3phase.
    One company States the SMA – sunny boy inverter is battery compatible but another States that it’s not ? Can you help.
    Also what do you know of Eco future panels? One company is claiming they are top of the range but can’t find much about them.
    Thanks for your help

    • The SMA Sunny Boy is not battery compatible without a separate battery inverter such as the Sunny Island. The Sunny Islands cost $4,000 – $5,000 depending on size.

  55. Hi Finn
    What are your thoughts on a 3Kw 12 Panel Hanover system for $7k? Is this value or is Hanover also not Tier 1?

    Thanks
    Stu

  56. Paul Carter says:

    Hi Finn,

    What is you opinion of the Opal Solar panels, OSM250P6-60-S | OSM255P6-60-S | OSM260P6-60-S MULTICRYSTALLINE SILICON MODULE.

    And also you opinion of the Zever Solar Evershine TL Series, we are looking at the 5kW unit.

    System we are looking at is 4.75kW, 19 Opal Panels with the Zever inverter.

    Look Forward to your reply.

    Thanks
    Paul

    • I think they are good panels. I believe they are made by JA Solar (A Tier 1 manufacturer) for Opal and have been appraised by The Australian Solar Council as top quality.

      • Paul Carter says:

        Thanks for that.

        And your opinion of the Zever Solar Evershine TL Series Invertor?

        We are looking at a 4.75kW setup with these 2 comonents for $4000.00 plus $500.00 Grid Conection.

      • Hi Finn,

        What is you opinion of the Zever Solar Evershine TL Series Invertor, we are looking at the 5kW unit.

        System we are looking at is 4.75kW, 19 Opal Panels with the Zever inverter.

        Look Forward to your reply.

        Thanks
        Paul

  57. Hi Finn,

    Got need to make a decision between these 2 systems and was wondering what your thoughts were.

    Option 1
    Fronius Primo 5.0-1 inverter with 20x Q.Cell 260kw

    Option 2
    Evershine TL 5000 with 20x Jinko JKM
    260-P

    Price about the same. Thanks for your time.

    Regards
    Vanessa

    • My choice would be (1) – Fronius are top end inverters. Q-Cells are top-end panels.

      Jinko are very good Tier 1 panels – but most people I know rate Q-Cells as a bit better.

  58. I am finding it hard to find “real-world” reviews on Seraphim panels as well. Are they tier 1 and worth considering? A company (from your 3 quote method) that quoted me on these panels (SRP-260-6PB) was telling me about them passing a “thresher” test.

    • Seraphim have recently been classed as Tier 1 by Bloomberg. They have passed the thresher test which is a very good thing to pass. They have also performed very well in “Photon Magazine” tests.

      The one downside is that I don’t believe they have an Aussie office. So check what happens if you have a warranty issue down the track.

  59. Ever heard of Ameri-solar panels? My parents received a quote from Eurosolar with these panels and a choice of different inverters and the quote is significantly less than what you are indicating as a “going rate” ( cue alarm bells).

    The Inverters are SMA, ABB or SOLAX in order of most to least expensive.

    They didn’t specify which size inverter but have quoted on a 6kW system. As far as i can see the SMA is only able to do roughly 5KW for the 5000TL which is the largest one in the brochure they supplied. Perhaps the panels are so crap that 6KW of them wont even stress the 5kW Inverter??

  60. Hi Finn,

    In Victoria TVS are offering a 4.5kW Bosh inverter with 14x 250kW panels. The panels are ‘Eco future’ brand from China. Would this be a good system to buy? Are these Eco future panels ok or a bit dodgy?

    • I think the quality of the Bosch inverters are OK – but be aware that Bosch have now pulled out of the inverter market – so the inverter is essentially obsolete already.

      I have never heard of ‘Eco Future’ solar panels. That’s generally a bad sign – and means they are likely Tier 3 or 4.

  61. karen M says:

    Hi, Thanks for all this useful info.
    I live in Victoria, we are looking at getting a 4kw system with a battery as we are hoping for our solar system to supply almost all our household power 24/7 if possible.
    AGL have quoted $15298 for AGL 4160 with Solis 4000 2G inverter, Solar command and Power legato battery installed.(after they have taken off $2701 for the sale of 73 x STCs.
    Thats for 16 x 260W Hanwha solar panels (HSL60S Poly).

    Are these products all good?
    Does this sound like it would suit our purpose?
    Is this a reasonable price?
    Any other suggestions/comments gratefully appreciated.

    • Firstly – I would not recommend buying a battery from anyone unless they have taken the time to look at your energy profile. i.e. a graph of your energy usage and how it changes throughout the day for both winter and summer.

      Without that information you cannot predict how much of your usage will be supplied from your panels and battery – and it is a lot of cash to drop without that info.

      Assuming they have provided a full energy usage analysis and put your predicted savings in writing, i.e. what you can expect your bill to be post-installation if your energy usage profile stays the same, then here’s what I reckon to the hardware:

      Solis inverter: very obscure brand in Australia – I’d go for a better known brand such as SMA, Fronius or ABB.
      Hanwha panels are the cheaper panels from Hanwha. Hanwha Q-cells are the premium ones. They are still Tier 1 panels that should do the job though – just not premium Tier 1.

      Power Legato seems like a good unit. Although check that the battery can access all your appliances when in grid-connect mode. Ask the salesperson: “Will the battery be connected to every appliance in the house during normal operation?” If the answer is “No”, then I personally would not proceed. I think the Power Legato may be limited to only connecting to the ‘essential loads’ circuit – even when not in backup mode, which could seriously limit it’s load shifting capabilities. (If that sentence made no sense – I apologise – I will be writing a blog post explaining what that means soon.)

      Price seems fair – although you may as well get 5kW of panels to ensure you get plenty of power in winter too?

  62. Tom Martin says:

    Sunpreme maxima-gxb-310w
    what tier is sunpreme found in?
    Thanks

  63. Sanu mathew says:

    Hi Finn , I am from WA, got quote from a local company . Products they are providing. Quells proG4 22 panels *265 (5.8kw) and SMA 5KW inverter for $5500. If I want to add battery in the future, do I need to change whole inverter system and does this price for this system and panel are fair deal??

    Sanu.

  64. Hi Finn,

    Help please… I’ve recieved varying quotes from companies in the last week.
    1. 5kw system – Panels 19x renesolar, Inverter SMA $7600
    2. 5kw system – Panels 18x trina, Inverter Fronius $5800
    3. 5kw system – Panels 15x sunpower, Inverter SMA $11000
    4. 5kw system – Panels 20x jinko, Inverter SMA $5990

    The rebates seemed to vary about $500, between companies. The above are all post rebate quoted amts.
    No metering was incl in prices and was told it couldn’t be quoted in the pricing by all, but 1 supplier.

    I’m not sure on the panels grading/tier to be able to decide… I was leaning towards SMA inverters after reading some of your pages…
    And wanted to make sure that the system was battery compatible in about 5 years, when battery prices are more reasonable

    Your thoughts would be appreciated

    • Finn Admin says:

      Sunpower are the best panels – but they are super expensive as you have found out.
      Renesola, Trina and Jinko are all good Tier 1.

      SMA and Fronius are both excellent inverters. SMA is probably the lowest risk to add batteries (including backup) to in the future, using a battery inverter. The Sunny Boy Storage would be a good way to do this.

  65. Chirs Duce says:

    Hi Finn,
    I have used your knowledge and website for guidance and am about to sign off on a 5.2Kw system from AGL using Hanwha HSL60S Poly panels (20 x 260W) and a Solis inverter. They are offering an existing customer incentive (AGL electricity customer) of 12c feed in tarrif for the first 4 years, so that made a strong case for going with them, and they gave a seriously good discount on the larger system.

    I asked about the Solis inverter and was told by sales person it is their standard inverter for their installations. I would rather look at something better for the inverter.
    I have heard there is a type of inverter that can be programmed to heat hot water systems during the day on a seperate output. I think this would be well worth some extra dollars.
    Do you or anyone else know about this type of inverter?
    Thanks for the help, you’ve made a long and confusing process much more approachable.
    Cheers,
    Chris.

    • Hi Chris,

      I’ve heard mixed opinions on the Solis inverters. It is a relatively obscure brand – but if it is warranted by AGL – it should be a pretty safe bet. Get the longest warranty you can for it from AGL.

      If you want to program your hot water system to operate when there is lots of sun, a good choice is the Fronius range:

      http://www.fronius.com/cps/rde/xbcr/SID-E62BDE76-2B7228B8/fronius_australia/SnapINverter_FeatureGuide_797969_snapshot.pdf

      These inverters have outputs that can be used to switch on and off loads like Hot Water and Pool pumps. If you combine the inverter with an energy meter then the inverter can only switch the loads on when you have enough excess solar. I’m a big fan of this kind of control. Here’s what it looks like:

      energy management

      You need a savvy solar installer to wire this up and program it. I’m not sure if AGL will be able to do it as they tend to favour simple installs.

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

      P.S. If you put your postcode in this tool – you may find other retailers that can match (or get close to) the 12c FiT:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/energy/

  66. Hi Finn,

    I am considering the 3kW solar panels system and have received the following quotes:

    1. Primo 3.0-1 Fronius Primo 3kW inverter (10 yrs warranty) + 12 x REC260PE-SLV (MC4) REC Peak Energy 260W poly module (10 yrs warranty) + workmanship (10 yrs warranty) for $5600;

    2. SMA (SUNNYBOY) 3kW inverter (5 yrs warranty) + 12 x 250W panels TDG TalentE T250P606 or Benq Multi-Crystalline 250 Watt PM245P00_250 (5 yrs warranty + workmanship (10 yrs warranty) for $4995;

    3. Bosch BPT-S 3kW inverter (5 yrs warranty) + 12 x 250W panels EcoFuture ECO250-P60 (5 yrs warranty) + workmanship (10 yrs warranty) for $3800.

    Your let me know your thoughts and recommendations.

    Thank you,

    Raf

    • 1. Primo 3.0-1 Fronius Primo 3kW inverter (10 yrs warranty) + 12 x REC260PE-SLV (MC4) REC Peak Energy 260W poly module (10 yrs warranty) + workmanship (10 yrs warranty) for $5600;
      A premium system – really good Tier 1 panels and top-shelf inverter – hence the price premium.

      2. SMA (SUNNYBOY) 3kW inverter (5 yrs warranty) + 12 x 250W panels TDG TalentE T250P606 or Benq Multi-Crystalline 250 Watt PM245P00_250 (5 yrs warranty + workmanship (10 yrs warranty) for $4995;
      Great inverter (although the 10 year warranty on (1) is worth a lot – as inverters are the one component that tend to fail in the first 10 years). Not familiar with TDG panels. Benq are good Tier 1 panels – although quite rare in Australia.

      3. Bosch BPT-S 3kW inverter (5 yrs warranty) + 12 x 250W panels EcoFuture ECO250-P60 (5 yrs warranty) + workmanship (10 yrs warranty) for $3800.
      Bosch Inverters are obsolete – Bosch stopped making them. I’ve never heard of Ecofuture panels – so I’d avoid them personally.

      My choice would be (1) because I really like paying for quality. Option (2) with the Benq panels would be my 2nd choice.

      I would not invest in (3) mainly due to the obscure panel brand.

      • Hi Finn,

        Thank you for your prompt response on my post yesterday.

        I have received another 4th quote – detail below:
        4. Fronius Primo 3.01 M (3kW) single phase inverter (10 yrs warranty) + 12 x Opal 250 watt panels (10 yrs warranty) + workmanship (10 yrs warranty) for $5020.

        In my opinion this offer includes premium components, 10 years warranty for a competitive price from one of the highly rated installers in Melbourne.

        What are your thoughts on that one?

        Thank you,

        Raf

  67. Louise says:

    Hi Finn
    We have recently put a small deposit on a solar system from a company that (regularly advertise on TV). They advertised a 5kw Bosch Inverter and upgraded Tier One Jinko poly panels (260w) x22 panels. We have since looked into the Bosch Inverter and have found they are only a 4.6kw Inverter. Is the Inverter able to sufficiently run the 22 x 260w panels?
    Also are you able to advise if these panels are definitely a Tier One panel as this solar company have stated? The total price for this package is $5,360 which includes installation on a tiled roof and a wireless home monitor. We are based in Tasmania.
    Look forward to hearing from you.,
    Louise

  68. HI Finn,
    I have had a Quote 26 x 265w canadian solar panels 6.89kw with 5kw ABB invertor $8200 does that sound fair
    In Perth

    Cheers Steve

    • Hi Steve,

      The hardware is good – the price is fair for a well installed system.

      But… The rules say that you are only allowed panels up to 133% of the inverter max AC output. So for a 5kW output that would suggest a max panel array of 6.65kW. They can be quite anal about this and if you go over refuse to pay out the STCs. So check with the installer.

      Finn

      • I have had email from Synergy saying my REBS application has been approved so it should be all good i guess

        • Hi Steve – it is the STC aggregator or clearing house that will decide if your system is eligible for STC’s. I’d remove 1 panel personally to be safe.

          • They assured me it would be ok but I took your advise and took a panel off down to 6.625kw got money ($350) back and now using Fronius invertor
            Thanks Steve

  69. Richard says:

    Hi Finn i have had a quote for this system Fronius Symo 7.0kW – Inverter & 30 – Winaico WST – 260W = 7.80kW panels Standard equipment warranties (10 – Inverter +10/25 – Panels) what are your thoughts

  70. hi finn
    got a quote
    system 5
    20 panels GCL 250w
    sungrow hybrid inverter
    $11000 CASH
    cant find much info ….appreciate your thoughts?
    thanks

  71. HI Finn,
    we have already 1.5kw system (with 1.5kw panels & 1.5kw inverter) & we would like to extend it to 4.5 or 5kw system.
    we have two quotes for a 3kw systems
    12 x 260W Hanwha Solar panels (Hanwha Solar HSL60S V1) with 3kwSolis 3000 (Solis – 3K-2G) for $3500 from AGL

    and
    15 x 250w solar panels (Seraphim) with 5.0kw goodwe inverter for $2825 from True Vale Solar

    What do you think which would be better?
    is it good to have a bigger inverter than the panels?

    Thanks for your help in advance.

    Angela

    • I’m really wary of True Value Solar based on some of the installs I’ve been shown pictures of – and their history. So if you do chooses them – I’d personally want an independent 3rd party to go over the install. Seraphim panels are Tier 1 and have a good reputation. GoodWe inverters are a budget option – and the jury is still out about their reliability.

      AGL have quoted the budget Hanwha panels (the best Hanwha panels are called Q-Cells) and Solis inverters are fairly a obscure brand – so hard to judge the longevity. With AGL at least they are likely to be around to honour warranties.

      I’m fairly sure neither mobs do a site inspection? That’s OK if you have a straightforward install – but you will get a better install with a site inspection to work out where everything goes before the contractors rock up.

      Also make sure they have a good look at your current energy profile and put your projected savings writing. I’m not sure that those 2 companies do that?

      Here’s why that’s important:

      http://www.solarquotes.com.au/do-i-get-paid-for-my-solar-energy.html

      • Hi Finn,

        Thank you very much for your help. It is very usefull invormation.

      • paul meeson says:

        Ive just had a TVS install done.. Bosch 4.6kw invertor and 20x hanwha 260w poly panels. (~5.2kw)

        They used a installer from wollongong, Who is an independant installer also. his business is called “off the grid Electrical” (look him up on facebook). What can i say>? Brilliant. I own another house and had solar done by an independant electrician 5 years ago. chalk and cheese. that company (FJ Electrical) did a fusebox upgrade, and never issued me any electrical certs, no after install support, just very hard to get anything from.

        Aaron was very professional, turned up in a ute, and his 2 lads (both fully qualified sparkies) in a brand new 20 foot flatbed truck, kitted out professionally with everything they needed to do the job.

        Aaron listened to what i wanted (Split array) and we ended up with 12 panels on the North roof, 8 panels on the west, both strings look well mounted, cable management great, roof penetrations done with proper glands, all in roof cables saddle mounted in 25mm conduit, they even pulled an extra cat5e for me to connect into my LAN.

        They were done in 6 hours, the job is professional, and works as advertised.

        Aaron is a L2 spark so did my meter also, and charged me $450. dont mind paying him direct as the margins with TVS are tight for him. Total cost for the TVS system was $5610, plus the $450 for the meter, and another $150 for cable, and labour as i wanted my meter on the south side wall of my garage, another 15M of cabling required (Both AC and DC cables)..

        TVS themselves were bloody great to deal with. So far, so good. if you need pics Finn, please email me, ill take some, i was on your list but did not choose your installers.

        If you are in canberra, i thoroughly recommend them.

  72. Hi Finn,
    Had a quote for 5kw using Yingli panels & Solax inverter, after reading comments I’m not sure about Yingli if in financial problems. Also believe the quote to be too high from other quotes I’m now receiving. Another suggested Trina panels & Sunnyboy inverter. Which would you chose? Also are any panels better than the other when living in a sea side town?

    • Finn Admin says:

      Hi Sue,

      Yingli are good panels by all accounts – but yes – they do appear to be in a spot of financial difficulty – although their latest results showed a profit.

      SMA Sunny Boy is a better inverter than a Solax in my humble opinion. Trina are great panels.

      If you live by the coast – your panels should be certified to IEC 61701 for salt mist corrosion. Get the data sheet for the panels and check they have this.

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

  73. What are your opinions about Bosch panels? Are they still made in Germany these days?

    PS: Please do not put me on a call-list so I get harassed by solar companies trying to flog me a system, not interested as I live on the 12th floor of a 41-storey surfers paradise beachfront high-rise, and cannot get solar, I am asking on behalf of some of my clients who are home owners.

    no spam please

  74. Hi Finn,

    What do you think about :

    About Solaire Connect company (Perth) and their offer of 5KW of Infinity Solar panels and Fronius symo around $5k more?

    And $600 more to upgrade to ET panles (is it 1st tiers?) , is it worth it?

  75. Hi Finn,

    Are Talesun-260 panels good? are they 1st Tier? How come I can’t find the reviews on those panels. Any negative issues of them? The company offer to substitute the ET 260 panels to Talesun 260.

    • The latest Bloomberg Tier 1 list includes Zhongli Talesun as Tier 1 panels. A couple of installers I know really like Talesun. The downside is that they don’t have an Australian office that I know of.

      ET Panels are also good Tier 1 panels – and are a better known brand. They also have an Australian office. ET would be my personal choice.

  76. Thanks Finn, great help.

  77. Hi Finn,

    Sorry to ask many questions:

    is the following offer, too good to be true?

    Premium Range: Qcell Panel and SMA inverter

    Option 1: 5kW 20 Qcell 260W panels with 5kW SMA Inverter (German Made) fully installed for $4,905

    Superior Range: Talesun Panel with Zeversolar or SMA inverter

    Option 2: 5kW 20 Talesun 260W panels with 5kW SMA Inverter (German Made) fully installed for $4,241
    Option 3: 5kW 20 Talesun 260W panels with 5kW Zeversolar Inverter (SMA owned) fully installed for $3,145

    Is Clean Technology Service in Perth a reliable company?

    Thanks.

  78. Hi Finn

    Could you please tell me your opinion on the following 2 systems we have been quoted on and what your preference between the 2 would be?

    Option 1. 4kw 16x Hanwha Solar HSL 60S 260W panels with Fronius Primo 5.0-15000W inverter

    Option 2. 4kw 16 Jinko 260P Eagle panels with Zeversolar Evershine TL 5000-11inverter.

    Thankyou in Advance

    • Jinko and Hanwha panels are both pretty good Tier 1 panels.

      Whilst the Zeversolar Evershine is one of the better budget inverters, the Fronius is a fantastic premium inverter, and should come with a valuable 10 year warranty. I’d go with the Fronius.

      I note you are only getting 4.16kW of panels with a 5kW inverter. The solar rebate is based on number of panels – and oversizing panel array size up to 133% relative to the inverter can give you a lot more energy through the year for minimal extra expanse. I’d get prices to drop a panel and get a 3kW inverter, or add more panels to the 5kW inverter – you can safely have 25 panels. If you do get the 5kW inverter – make sure you leave room on the roof for another 9 panels in the future. When you get batteries or an electric car (they are coming!) that will be a good option to have.

  79. Dhaval Patel says:

    Hi Finn,

    Great job with the site.

    I received a quote for Talesun panels and ABB inverters from a local solar company in Sydbey.

    They claimed Talesun to be tier-1 panels listed by the CEC. Although Talesun website claims to be Tier-1, there is not mention of this make on Clean Energy Council website.

    Am I missing something here.
    Please advise.

  80. KERRY MURRAY says:

    Beyond solar are offering a 3kw system with SMA inverter (warranty of 5yrs) and 16 Matrix solar panels. All paperwork certification and installation for $4990 in Newcastle. I am balking because they are stringed andI was not keen to lose all benefits if one fails.
    Sun crowd has an offer of 3Kw 12 Trina Panels, and Enphase (M215) micro inverter for$5875 but you cannot convert to battery storage.
    Their option 2 is Sola X hybrid inverter and the Trina panels for an extra $1000
    Since we use lots of our power in night time heating (and cooling) I wanted to consider the value of storage. Their Enphase is $7300 for3.6 KW
    Their LG Chem is $9000 for 6.4KW but with a better deal for the Trina panels it comes to $12800 compared to Enphases $12300

    Is it worth the cost for storage or better to wait and see how I go with solar? Should I go for string or micro inverters since I have no shade on a north facing roof?
    I am new to this game and have learned lots from your site.

    • Hi Kerry,

      SMA is a very reliable inverter brand with great warranties – so reliability should not be an issue. You can also extend SMA warranties up to 15 years.

      Trina and Enphase are a good combination, and you absolutely can add any batteries you like to that system using AC Coupling. Whoever said you can’t doesn’t understand how electricity works!:

      http://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/micro-inverters-battery-backup-compatible/

      I don’t see any need to buy a hybrid inverter – and here’s why:

      http://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/truth-battery-ready-solar-systems/

      As the post above says – get whatever solar system you like – don’t worry about batteries they are easy to add to ANY grid connect system with AC coupling and a device like the sunny boy storage:

      http://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/sma-sunny-boy-storage/

      That’s a good reason to go SMA – it will easily work with the sunny boy storage when you get batteries.

      You don’t need micro inverters if you have an unshaded roof.

      In 3 or 4 years batteries should be half price – buy them then. Right now batteries will not pay for themselves – and will only make the payback of a solar system worse.

  81. Vignesh Nakrani says:

    Hello Finn,

    I am about to make decision for my house roof solar installation. I live in WA post code is 6062.

    Currently I have about 6 units daily consumption, and I would like to get 4 KW solar panel installed on my roof.

    Kindly suggest me best solar panel and invert er please.

    • If you only use 6kWh per day, you have one of the most efficient homes in WA. Nice one!

      A 4kW system will produce about 16kWh per day average, over the year. You’ll be exporting almost all of that, so bear that in mind.

      I would personally go for a premium inverter (SMA or Fronius) and a Tier 1 panel. If you want the best consider LG or Sunpower (although you’ll pay more for them). Otherwise a good Tier 1 panel is the way to go:

      http://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/tier-1-solar-panels-sold-pup/

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

  82. Hi there, any advice would be appreciated.
    I’ve been shopping around for a 5kw system with micro inverter.
    so far the options are…..
    1. 5.035 kW Enphase / 265w Q-Cells $8,550

    2. 4.95 kW Enphase / 330w Q-Cells $8,800

    3. 5.12kW JINKO ENPHASE SYSTEM
    16 X JINKO 320watt MODULES
    16 X S270 ENPHASE MICROINVERTER $7900

    I can use Enphase M250’s with Envoy-S which will knock $400 off the Enphase quotes.
    What sort of impact would there be going from S270 Enphase to M250
    Thanks

    • Hi Dave,

      I love Enphase – good choice.

      Q-Cells are generally regarded as a better panel than Jinko, although Jinko is a well supported Tier 1 panel that will certainly do the job. My personal preference would be Q-Cells, but I’d have either brand on my roof.

      Great question about the 270W vs 250W Micros.

      In terms of power output, even with 330W panels the 250s will hardly ever clip. I ran the numbers and, in Sydney, a 5kW system with 330W panels and 270W micros will produce only 60kWh per year more than 250W micros.

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

  83. Chris Moss says:

    i have an interview with Integra Solar who are offering Blackmax panels and Solax inverter for a 3kW system. After reading your forum I am concerned that they are not great quality. I have heard that they are high pressure. Should I cancel?

  84. Do you have any info on USG Polycrystalline panels. Grays online are auctioning these with Solax inverter at the minute.

  85. Hi Finn, stumbled across your website and think it’s great that you’re so open to help us out with our queries. Thank you.
    Could I get your help with info on these panels:
    8 Blackmax Solar Quad Busbar Panels-Solax Inverter through Integra for $5,000
    Thanks again,
    June Loong

    • I’m not familiar with the Blackmax brand. I would STRONGLY recommend a better known, Tier 1 brand. For example: Trina, Yingli, Jinko, Canadian, JA Solar, Suntech, Hanwha, Q-Cells, Sunpower, Renesola, ET Solar, LG.

      “Quad busbar” is sales BS.

      Solax are OK budget inverters.

      8 panels is probably only 2kW. That is a very small system, and very expensive at $5k.

      I’d seriously consider getting more quotes from alternative companies.

  86. Hi Finn,

    I’ve virtually had my brain scrambled with the process of investigating a solar set up for our home. I really appreciate the advice you’ve suggested to other readers and would like to ask for your recommendation:…

    Which installers in Victoria offer the best value for money to set up a battery ready solar system?

    I have taken on board that we should be looking for Q-cell/Canadian solar/Jinko or Yingli panels (but there’s a question mark around Yingli long-term) and that these should be coupled with sma sunny boy/solar edge/solar x hybrid or sungrow Sh 5k inverters (if we want to add a tesla powerwall or lg Chen battery in the future).

    Also, my family, unfortunately, are quite high consumers of electricity (esp in the early evening). Given that we may have to wait a couple of years to add a battery to our system what size and configuration would you recommend for us)?

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts! Cheers 🙂 Natasha

  87. Hi Finn

    Thanks for arranging some quotes. One company gave me two options, both with the Fronius inverter you rate well. Option one uses the Renesola panels you also rate but the other option, $600 cheaper, is for GCL panels. How do you rate those panels and is the price difference ($50 a panel) worth it when the warranties are the same?
    Thanks

    • Although GCL have been manufacturing solar cells for a long time they’ve been manufacturing their own panels for less than a year and the jury is still out on their longevity. I’d go Renesola.

  88. Finn,
    Thanks for your prompt response. And the informative website.

  89. Hi Finn,
    Sungrow Hybrid 5kW Inverters and GCL 250W Panels and are they both Tier 1 manufacturers? I’ve noted that the website link to Sungrow does appear to work either? Is this because they don’t have any support or presence in Australia any longer?
    A friend of mine is just about to purchase a 5kW system (the above) for $12,650 after STC on a finance package that is a substantially higher amount of $$$ than you are quoting on your website at between $6000 – $9000.
    Is this an outrageous amount to be paying for this quality of system in your opinion?
    I am researching the whole thing for him before he enters into something that he could regret later?
    Weekly that works out to be $60 per week over 50 months apparently?

    • There is no such thing as a “Tier 1” inverter. I would rank Sungrow as a good budget inverter. I’ve heard good things about their hybrid units, so I think you’d be fine with it.

      GCL panels are Tier 1 on some lists – but I’d urge caution. Although they are a huge cell manufacturer, they have not been making their own brand panels for very long at all, and the jury is still out on their quality.

      $12,650 sounds way too much. Much better to organise a low interest personal loan independently and then shop as a cash buyer, and pay $6-9k.

  90. Hi, Finn,
    What do you think of Sapphire panels?

    • I think Sapphire are one of the few ‘non-tier-1’ panels that are worth considering. I met with them a while ago and they convinced me that they are good quality panels backed by an Australian company that appear to be good guys.

  91. Brenton Eyre says:

    Hi Finn,
    I have 2 quotes so far:
    1. 20 x 260W Jinko panels and a Sungrow 5kw dual track inverter for $4,450.
    Warranties of 1 year on installation, 5 years for I inverter and 10 year product warranty with 30 years performance on panels

    2. 20 x 265W Q cell Pro G4 poly panels and Frionius Primo 5 KW inverter for $7,367. Warranties of 15 years installation, 10 years for inverter, 12 year product warranty and 25 years performance on panels.

    Best value for money please ? Cheers

    • Option #1 are good budget components. But the 1 year installation warranty gives me pause for concern. The standard is 5 years for good installers. It seems a bit too cheap to pass the sniff test.

      Also bear in mind that the performance warranty may be hard to claim:

      http://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/your-solar-panel-warranty-what-you-need-to-know/

      Option #2 is Top-of-the-range components, and great warranties, but $3k more, obviously.

      So it all depends on the quality of installation. Expect to have to replace the inverter on option #1 shortly after the warranty ends. Genuine Jinko panels should be hassle free for at least 20 years.

      Option #2 will give a bit more energy (perhaps 5-10%) and last a very long time.

  92. Hi Finn,
    Can I get your opinion on which is the better of the two quotes please ?

    5kw / Enphase s230 / 20 x Jinko jkm260pp-60 panels -$8.124.

    4.77kw / Enphase s230 / 18 x Phono Solar panels – $8,692.
    The second quote is from a very well established local company here in Newcastle and the first is on the Central Coast also with good reviews . So I’d be happy with either, but are they reasonable prices ?
    Which panels would you say are the better option ?
    Thanks for any advice you can give..

  93. Jeff Prothero says:

    Hi Finn,

    I love your site but unfortunately you weren’t able to quote me coz I live on the south coast of WA so I have come to you with my options.
    16 x Sunpower 327W panels with Fronius 5kW Primo inverter – $9,890
    20 x Q Cell 275W G4.1 panels with Fronius 5kW Primo inverter – $9,390
    or
    26 x Risen 250W panels with SMA Sunny Boy 5000 inverter – $9,193

    I wish I could get the price down to something around Brenton Eyre’s from Oct 13 …

    Thanks

    • Yes – it is a fairly expensive 5kW system, but reasonable for Sunpower. At that price I’d go Sunpower. They are awesome panels with the best warranty in Australia.

      More details here:
      http://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/sunpower-solar-panels/

      • Jeffery Prothero says:

        Thanks Finn, that was my thinking too until another quote came in.

        20 x Risen 310W panels
        Fronius Primo 5000 inverter
        $5,590 fully installed

        That is over-clocking the inverter to 124% which should be alright. My question is however around the installer. Do you have any feedback on Sunterra in WA?

      • Jeff Prothero says:

        Does $2,000 sound like a reasonable installation cost for 20 panels and inverter? 5 year warranty offered on the installation.

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          Jeff, Ronald here. If that $2,000 includes the hardware it is far too low to be quality components or a quality install. It’s not always true that you get what you pay for, but it is true that you don’t get what you don’t pay for. In this case you won’t be getting a reliable system. I’d stay well away.

          • Jeff Prothero says:

            Hi Ronald,
            The whole 6.5kW system is $5599 with the installation component being $2k. We are looking at Risen panels (255w or 310w) with a Fronius inverter.

          • Ronald Brakels says:

            Thanks, Jeff, I understand what you mean now. Risen are decent panels and Fronius is a good inverter, so the hardware is good. As for the installation cost, really you can only look at the total and go by that because there are a lot of variables and different people will calculate it differently. If you feel confident they will do a good installation, then the price you have been offered is very competitive.

  94. Interested in your feedback on the following:

    20 x Opal solar panels (5.2 kW) (are they Tier 1?)

    SolaX 5000e hybrid inverter with battery backup (reviews seem to be ‘so-so’)

    3.3kW LG Chem battery

    for home with 2 retired people wanting to step into the battery space for spread of usage and outage backup (just outside metropolitan area so mains supply a bit less reliable)

    • Hi MP,

      Opal are not Tier 1 by the strict definition, as they are subcontracted to a Tier 1 company (Risen) by an Aussie company (Solar Juice). But they are very good mid-range panels with a good warranty backed by a big Aussie company.

      SolaX are good budget hybrid inverters.

      The LG Chem batteries are excellent.

      If well installed – that system should be good, assuming it is sized well for your consumption.

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

      • Thanks Finn. The sizing is hard to assess as it is a new build (with things like decent insulation and double glazing) and our requirements will change quite a bit, but we think it should be about right. The battery option was originally going to be a later addition, but the suggestion of a small battery made sense for us. We will be in an area that has more than average blackouts (country town just out of metropolitan limits that lost power for a couple of days in the recent SA-wide blackout) and has other dependencies such as aerobic waste system needing power.

        At not much over $10,000 this is attractive.

  95. Hi finn, wow what an exellent site for info I’ve spent hours going through all the comments and your advice and after several quotes for solar using this info I’ve decided to go with one of these systems.What one would be your choice. 6.0kw 24 x BYD 250w modules with Fronius 5kw inverter with built in wifi the, 2nd choice is using the exact same inverter but with 25 x 260w risen modules for a 6.5 kw system and the 3rd choice is a 6kw 22 x 270w csun modules with the same inverter as the first two choices. I have been told that there are 2 types of fronius inverters one is the australian model the other the international which are both available here, would that be correct and if so what would be the difference. I would like to thankyou for your help and knowledge that helped me with my quotes

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Bill, Ronald here. Last I checked, CSUN panels had a 10 year product warranty, while BYD and Risen have 12 years. Risen has an Australian office while BYD does not, so I would lean towards them.

      I’m afraid I don’t know what the difference between the two Fronius inverters could be, but any Fronius inverter sold in Australia should be of excellent quality. They are one of the better inverters out there.

  96. Can you advise if a Mass Energy Inverter is a good quality inverter. The model I’m looking at is a 5000TLM for a 5Kw system

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hi Steve, Ronald here. I’ve never heard of a Mass Energy Inverter before, so I’m afraid I can’t say what they’re like. My advice is to go with something better known that has built up a (good) reputation.

  97. Hi Finn. Fantastic site.

    I’ve been quoted $6,200 to instal 20 Jinko 250W panels on a tile roof in Brisbane coupled with a Sungrow 5kW inverter. From reading your forum I understand that the Jinko panels are Tier 1 and the inverter is a reasonable quality. An alternative offer is for CSun 260W panels with a Zeversolar TL5000-10 inverter, unpriced at this stage. I would appreciate your comments on:
    1. Does price seem OK?
    2. Which of the hardware combinations would you favour?
    3. With either inverter, are you aware of any difficulties obtaining repair or replacement under warranty?
    4. Would there be any problems if I want to add battery backup in the future?

    Thank you.
    Keith

    • Hi Keith,

      Price seems good for, assuming a well installed 5kW system. Depending on your budget, oversizing your array may be worth considering too:

      http://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/oversizing-solar-arrays/

      I’d definitely choose Jinko over CSun.

      I’m hearing that that both Zeversolar and Sungrow are well supported inverters in Australia.

      You can extend the Sungrow’s warranty to 10 years for about $300 last time I checked. That would be my choice.

      Adding batteries in the future will be no problem. You have 2 options:

      1) Get the regular inverter and when ready for batteries, “AC couple” the new batteries in using a battery inverter.

      2) Spend approx $1,000 more on a hybrid inverter (e.g. Sungrow SGSHK5+ hybrid inverter) now, and then you can add batteries later, directly without an additional battery inverter.

      The advantage of (1) is you pay no extra for hardware now that you may or may not use in the future, and you can use almost any battery on the market with a compatible battery inverter.
      The disadvantage of (1) is that adding batteries will incur an additional hardware cost (a battery inverter) and it is harder and more expensive to have backup functionality.

      The advantage of (2) is you can add compatible batteries directly to the inverter in the future, which should be cheaper. And, with Sungrow at least, you can add a box (STB5K Emergency Power Supply switching box) for about $500 that provides backup functionality too. The disadvantage is that you pay an extra $1000 up front.

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

  98. Hi Finn, great site. Appreciate your advice on following quote. Original quote was for Infinity solar panels, Installer just advised Infinity now unavailable in Australia. We’re not familiar with Telesun panels and pricing. Being installed today!
    TELESUN TP660P TIER 1 brand 260 watt solar panels x 23 to 6kw capacity.
    SOLAX SKTL5000E HYBRID BATTERY READY 5kw inverter with built in Emergency Power Supply feature (once batteries are installed).
    The panels will be installed on your tin roof using a lock iron fixing system.
    Supply and Install a 250L electric Hot water tank
    Allowance has been made to include a timer on the electric hot water circuit
    Remove and cap off existing Gas Hot water system.
    The panels come with 10/25 year performance warranty.
    The inverter comes with a 5 year warranty.
    The equipment we are offering exceeds all industry standards.
    CEC accredited installers that are fully insured under the solar act and we give an Installation warranty of 5 years
    Fully installed $7,990.00 Inc. GST. Thanks.

    • Hi Elle,
      I have the same quote today. Are they any good? I can’t see Flynn reply.
      Thanks

      • Ronald Brakels says:

        Hell Pat, Ronald here.

        I am afraid Elle’s comment was overlooked. I’ll repeat the (very late) answer I gave her:

        “I presume the panels are Talesun and not Telesun.

        Talesun is a producer of tier one panels with a 10 year product warranty. Solax inverters have a 5 year warranty. While they are generally not considered as reliable as the best inverters on the market, they are less expensive and so hopefully will offer value for money.”

        If you have any specific questions about what you have been offered, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Elle.

      I’m sorry your comment was overlooked. I’ll answer anyway, although it is no doubt too late to be of any use to you:

      I presume the panels are Talesun and not Telesun.

      Talesun is a producer of tier one panels with a 10 year product warranty. Solax inverters have a 5 year warranty. While they are generally not considered as reliable as the best inverters on the market, they are less expensive and so hopefully will offer value for money.

  99. Great getting this feedback!
    Ive just seen an offer for free battery from Tindor Solar with a 5kw minimum system with Enphase micro inverters. I realise nothing is for free & the battery price will most likely be incorporated in the total cost.
    Would you recommend this set up? Originally I was going with Jinko or Trina panels & Fronius inverter but battery back up idea is looking good with the power outages we have had recently. Thanks

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      I just looked up that offer and its an Enphase AC battery which has 1.14 kilowatt-hours of usable storage. As far as the solar panels are concerned, I consider Tindo panels to be high quality and they are the only Australian made panels. (Using imported silicon wafers.) Enphase microinverters are also very reliable.

  100. Colin Downing says:

    Hi Finn

    Just wondering if you can assist in telling me how you would list the following panels and Inverters please:-

    Panels
    BYD 260P6F-30
    Jinko 270WJKM270PP
    Ameri Solar AS-6P30

    Inverters
    Boch BPT-S4.6
    Solax 5.0Kw Dual MPPT (X1-5.0-T-N)
    Fronius Primo 4.6-1

    Have obtained quotes from Euro Solar, Evergreen Solar Power and Victorian Solar Light and fully installed prices range from $4,100 to $4,500 all giving combinations of the above Panels and Inverters. Whilst I understand you would prefer not to comment on these companies as to who I should use your guidance would be appreciated.

    All up I am looking at a 5 Kw system with 20 Panels so your advice would be appreciated regards the most suitable combination of Panels and Inverter as all can supply any combination of the above – I think.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Colin, BYD and Jinko are tier one manufacturers and they both produce reliable solar panels.

      AmeriSolar panels are not tier one. Despite their name the panels are produced in China. According to the Australian newspaper they are produced in same Chinese factory that made Australian Solar Panel:

      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/business-spectator/the-murky-side-of-australian-solar-panels/news-story/6d96b74b135db71939677ed8407a2002

      Australian Solar Panel are Chinese panels that Euro Solar claimed were made in Australia. This resulted in them being fined by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission:

      https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/145000-penalty-for-fake-testimonials-and-false-solar-energy-country-of-origin-representations

      I definitely do not recommend using AmeriSolar panels nor do I recommend using Euro Solar as an installer.

      Fronius inverters are very high quality and one of the best on the market. Solax appears to be an acceptable budget brand. Bosch stopped making residential solar inverters about seven months ago. While this does not mean they are a bad inverter, any still being installed now would have been part of a very large bulk buy made last year.

      My recommendation is to stay away from Euro Solar, and if you haven’t already, get yourself 3 quotes:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/

      And choose from among them so you can be confident you are getting a quality system from a reliable installer.

      • Colin Downing says:

        Thanks Ronald for your summation most interesting I have obtained Quotes via your Website from Evergreen Solar Power in Ravenhill Victoria (Deer Park) who quoted $4,300 on 20 X 270W Jinko Panels and a Solax X1 Boost Inverter and Victorian Solar Light (who are just down the highway in Campbellfield I reside in Craigieburn) quoted $4,500 on Bosch Inverter BPT-S4.6 and 20 X 260 Watt Ameri Solar High Efficiency Panels. During our long discussion yesterday it came to pass that he had the Ameri Panels left over from another install so was willing to give me a discounted price with the Bosch Inverter. I indicated that I believed from my readings that Bosch had ceased manufacture of all Solar products he then said that was true but they (Bosch) have a facility here in Melbourne (Clayton) that provides both Service and Spare Parts for their products.

        Think after your comments will stay clear of Euro Solar even though they are the cheapest Quote, $4,100 for 20 X BYD P6C-30 260W and Solax Inverter, received to date. Of the other two seems I would be better going with Evergreen than Victorian Solar Light unless they can come up with a better selection of Panel and Inverter.

        Or should I get a few more quotes?

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          Finn vets all installers recommended by SolarQuotes, so you can be sure you’ll get a quality installation if you go with one of them.

  101. Has anyone had anything to do with Redback Inverters? On paper they look really impressive but I haven’t seen any reference to anyone using them.

    Interesting looking unit, bit more “industrial” looking than many inverters these days and they appear to have all the switchgear/ Circuit breakers necessary internal in the inverter itself.

  102. Hi Finn,
    Excellent website and advice.

    I’m needing to make a call and stuck which way to go with some late advice from a mate.
    Decided on a 5 kw
    Inverter, Foronious -vs SMA ___had read alll the reports re SMA, seemed to be glowing feedback. So set my mind to pick SMA based on this. Foronious then popped up with feedback also very good, told same quality, right now they offer + 5 years warranty so 10 years …SMA 5 years. Same price, key for me is knowing which is technically better and reliable. Also do I have to put it in the garage or can it be outside with a sunshade over it. What’s your advice Buddy.

    Panels, I’m lost in the woods of quotes and different feedbacks total cost includes foronious or sma with
    ET 300 solar….highest quote 6.2 k 6..6 kw 300’kw x 22
    JA solar… 5 k 6.3 kw 260 kw x 24
    Trina…5.5 k for 6.3kw 270 kw x 23
    QCell… 5.3k $ for 6.3 kw 260’x 24
    My mate said LG the best ones I don’t have a quote for these.

    To be honest I’m interested in the best quality but only if get value difference, I believe JA solar are very good from reading your feedback, then I see you also make very good reports, better? for QCell, and Trina also good. The quote I have for both JA and QCell is from the same company with 300 bucks delta. Is it worth paying the extra 300 for QCell over JA solar panels.? Or is Trina better and I should go with this and pay extra 500 bucks. Feedback I got for ET is not as good as the others, the company offering JA solar can be more competitive for this panel as they had negotiated an optimised buying price with JA due to turnover purchase etc. Or should I request another quote for LG panesl, is LG better than JA solar or qcell, Trina and if so marked difference and what that offers.

    Sorry I’ve got myself tied in decision knots over solar panels …please help me see the road out…

    Many thanks

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Rod, Ronald here.

      Both Fronius and SMA are excellent inverters. But Fronius’s current offer of a 10 year warranty does make them very attractive. SMA has no problem at all with offering an extended 10 year warranty, but charge for the extra coverage. You can expect either of them to operate for a long time without problems.

      Inverters don’t have to go in a garage, although that is a good place for them. It is a good idea to keep them out of direct sunlight, as they operate less efficiently if they get too hot and they’ll probably last longer.

      All those panels you were quoted on, ET, JA, Trina, and QCELL are tier one panels which means banks trust them to last for decades when used for huge solar farm projects. While not all the solar panels used will last the full 25 year planned life of a solar farm, the large majority of them will and so the chances of having problems with any properly installed on a household roof is very small. I would say QCELLS is probably be the best, but the difference between them is not going to be large.

      LG panels are excellent, but they do charge a premium. If you are concerned about saving money, any tier one panel should meet your needs.

  103. Hi Finn. Firstly thank you so much for providing all this information. Despite reading all of the information I am still unsure as to which of the systems below is better and I am wondering if you can give me some direction please. I believe both options have solar panels which are Tier 1.

    Option 1:
    System Size 1 x 6.21kw Premium
    Inverter 1 x JFY Dual MPPT
    Panels 23 x 270w Seraphim Solar Panels
    This option is $1,300 more expensive than Option 2.

    Option 2:
    System Size 1 x 5,8kw
    ZeverSolar Evershine TL 5000 – Dual MPPT

    Many thanks again.
    20 x Jinko 290W Solar Panels

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Ellen, Ronald here. Both Seraphim and Jinko panels are tier one panels. Zeversolar is considered to be a good budget brand inverter and JFY is a very cheap budget brand inverter. We don’t recommend JFY.

      • Hi Ronald. Thank you for your response. Is JFY also a good budget brand inverter? If I am reading between the lines, either system is good??? Thank you again. Ellen

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          If I had to choose between the two I would go for a Zeversolar inverter over a JFY inverter.

          • Thank you Ronald. I have asked questions of both companies and the company offering the 5.8 kw system have offered to come out and visit me and answer all my questions and check out the roof. Cheers. Ellen

  104. Good afternoon Sir,

    My wife and I have recently built our first home on a small acreage and would like to reduce our running costs by installing a solar system. We have researched different products and spent a lot of time scrolling through your website. Would you mind providing a expert opinion on a quotation that we have received? Your opinion on both the products included as well as the pricing structure would be greatly appreciated. We are a family of five with moderate energy useage.

    6.48kW Solar Power System
    System Components
    24 x Jinco 270W JKM270PP-60
    Warranty: 10yr Product + 25yr linear Performance
    1x Fronius Primo 5.0-1-I
    Warranty: 5yr

    The quoted price is:
    Full purchase price-$10890.00
    Less Assignment of STCS-$4500.00
    Discounted purchased price-$6390.00

    Your opinion would greatly appreciated as this is our first experience.

    Truely grateful

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Matt. Jinko panels are tier one and reliable while Fronius inverters are one of the best brands on the market. If you get your Fronius inverter installed before the end of March and register it, you can its warranty extended out to 10 years:

      http://www.fronius.com/cps/rde/xchg/SID-5175A2B5-8A36A21D/fronius_australia/hs.xsl/25_9043.htm#.WKVgon91l0w

      The price you have been quoted is definitely competitive for a 6.48 kilowatt system.

      • Thank you so much for your prompt reply with excellent feedback. I did forget to mention if you don’t mind; do you feel that a 6.48kW system would reduce our power bill significantly noting that we are a family of two adults and three young children or should we be looking at something larger?
        Thank you once again for your time

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          Matt, I don’t know your location, but the rule of thumb in Australia for north facing solar is you can expect an average of around 4 kilowatt-hours of electricity a day per kilowatt of solar panels. Less in Melbourne or Tasmania, more in central or north Australia. East or west facing solar will produce about 14% less. So with 6.48 kilowatts of north facing panels you can expect to produce around 26 kilowatt-hours a day. That’s around 9,500 kilowatt-hours a year which is more than the average family of five uses. How much of that electricity you use yourself will depend on whether or not people are home during the day and your electricity consumption habits, but even if you sent it all into the grid for a 7 cent feed-in tariff you would still make around $665 which is not a bad return.

          So 6.48 kilowatts of panels is likely to be more than adequate for your needs unless your electricity consumption is unusually high. Also, unless you are in South Australia, 6.48 kilowatts is almost as high as you can go without getting special permission or installing an export limiting inverter or export limiting equipment that restricts the maximum amount of electricity you can feed into the grid to 5 kilowatts.

  105. Hi Finn I’m another yank jus got a price on a 6kw system it has blue sun 330wat panels (BSM 330m-72) and NEP micro inverters model DBM-300
    Any advice would be great, Thanks, K

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hi Kurt. Ronald here. I am guessing you are in the United States and not a Yank in Australia. Blue Sun is a small Chinese manufacturer of solar panels that are not tier one, which is what I usually recommend. According to the Blue Sun Installation manual I found online, a qualified person should perform maintenance on them every six months. If their warranty requires this maintenance then it will cost a lot of money to get them serviced twice a year, so it’s a good idea to check this. Based on the little I know, I cannot recommend these panels.

      I don’t really know anything about NEP microinverters. I think they may only be sold in the United States.

  106. Keiran Price says:

    Hi Ronald,
    I’d be interested if you still think “Tier One” is so important. It seems to me to not mean much anymore. Bloomberg just removed LG from their list of tier one panels, but LG panels are better quality than a lot of manufacturers still on their list…
    Cheers,
    Keiran

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hi Keiran. Tier one lists are still useful in that they are still a list of reliable solar panels. They are just less useful than it was before they started removing manufacturers for reasons that don’t make a scrap of difference for residential solar. So it becomes a case of, “Tier one panels are reliable, as well as an expanding group of other panels that have proven themselves to be high quality and reliable.”

  107. John-walter says:

    Hi I have been offed 260W Winaico (Tier 1) Polycrystalline Panels
    model: WST260P to boost up what I have already which are Trina panels 250W are the Winaico going to be compatible with the Trina’s and are they Tier one

    Thanks

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Winaico panels are definitely tier one and, from the start of this year, have a 15 year product warranty which is well above the standard 10 or 12 years. If the 260W Winaico panels to the same string (electrical cabling) that the Trina 250W Trina panels are on, because the Winaco panels have higher wattage their performance will be dragged down to that of the worst performing Trina Panel. But this slight drop in performance is not a big deal as it is less than 4% of the panels’ output, provided the Trina panels are still operating at 250 watts. I would call Winaico panels higher quality than Trina panels and by adding higher quality panels to a system you can be confident they won’t drag down the performance of the original panels. So they will be compatible, they will just perform a little worse than they would by themselves.

      If the new panels are on an independent string on a two MPPT inverter, then the two different types of panels won’t affect each others’ output.

  108. Hi guys

    I live in WA

    I have 2 options at present for a 4kw panel system

    15 Trina panels and Fronious primo 3 kw inverter $4200

    Or

    15 Canadian solar panels and solar edge 3kw inverter $4500

    Fronious central inverter, solar edge inverter with optimisers at panels?

    Is the 3 kw inverter a good choice?

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      A three kilowatt inverter with 4 kilowatts of panels is fine and its output will be almost identical to having a 4 kilowatt inverter with 4 kilowatts of panels. I wrote about this here:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/oversizing-solar-arrays/

      Solaredge is a reliable inverter, but Fronius probably comes out ahead on this and comes with a 10 year warranty.

      The optimisers may increase output by around 5% if the system isn’t shaded and perhaps 15% over what it would be if it suffers from significant shading.

      All else equal, I would probably take Canadian panels over Trina, but they are both tier one panels with 10 year product warranties and should be very similar.

      Personally, I find the Fronius 10 year warranty very attractive, but if your roof is shady or you want to get as much output form the 4 kilowatts of panels as you can, you may prefer Solaredge with optimisers.

      • Hi Ronald

        The info I have on solaredge inverters is that they have a 12 year warranty.

        I am using 2 different roof directions for the system also, does this bear any significance for panel and inverter combinations. There is no shade on my roof at all.

        Just having a read on solar panel quality through this website faq’s has Trina panels ahead of Canadian.

        Cheers Matt

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          A 12 year warranty for Solaredge is excellent, and I now see it says that at the top of its datasheet. Clearly I should pay more attention.

          As long as the inverter can handle two independent strings of panels, having them face in two different directions is no problem and both Fronius and Solaredge can handle two separate strings.

          If there is no shade on your roof then you can expect a small gain in output from optimisers.

          Trina panels may definitely be ahead of Canadian panels on quality. I don’t have enough information to say which is better. In the last test of Trina panels I read about they didn’t perform well compared to other tier one panels, but the sample size was small so no firm conclusions can be drawn from it:

          http://mcelectrical.com.au/blog/solar-panel-test-results/

          So when I wrote I would take one over the other, that’s just my personal opinion.

  109. Hi,
    I’ve just been quoted for JA Solar, Risen and Rec panels all with a Fronier inverter. Which out of those 3 brands would be better? The JA solar are a 320 watt panel. Thanks

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Tania. All those panels are tier one, so they should all be reliable and operate for many years without problem. JA and REC have 10 year product warranties, while Risen has 12. All else equal I would probably go for Risen, but in practice there is not likely to be much difference between the three.

      Fronius inverters are very widely regarded as reliable.

      • Thankyou for that.

        I nearly bought Growatt inverter with Hanover panels for nearly double the price I have been quoted for the Fronius and Tier 1 panels.

        Thankfully I did my research and stumbled across your site. Thank you for all your informative information!!

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          Ow! That was a close call! I’m very glad to hear we were of help. It’s made my day.

          (If you want to let me know who tried to sell you rubbish I’ll take a note of it. You can email me at [email protected] if you’d rather not say in a comment.)

          • It was Solar Harness. I had read some good reviews so thought they were ok until I did some research on the products they were trying to sell me. Budget products with a premium price. Over $10k for a 5 kw system.

          • Ronald Brakels says:

            Thanks.

  110. Hi Finn.

    I’m currently being quoted on the following panels and were wondering how there efficiency and rating are:

    * Perlight PLM-260P-60
    * Csun 260-60P

    Both are 260W.

    I read recently that CSUN are having financial difficulty and am concerned over warranty.

    Also the inverter is a triple inverter board from Giant Power.

    Lastly, I’m offgrid and batteries being quoted are 1800AH 2V Carbon Lead Batteries. I’m wondering if they are a good option.

    We are hoping to change over to Lithium batteries in the future and not sure if this system will be easily adapted.

    Thanks.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Tommy, Ronald here. As they are both 260 watts the Perlight and CSUN panels will have about the same efficiency. Perlight is not a tier one manufacturer, which is what I normally recommend, but the Solar Council considers them to be one of three panels that have positive quality:

      http://www.positivequality.com.au/pq-companies/

      They have a 12 year product warranty and a 25 year performance warranty compared to CSUN’s 10 and 25 years.

      Because of their financial difficulties, CSUN has fallen off the tier one lists. But, provided they haven’t cut corners, they should still be of good quality.

      If CSUN has an office in Australia then they will be responsible for their warranty. If they don’t have an office then whoever imports them is responsible for their warranty. Whether or not CSUN has an Australian office is not clear. I rang them 3 times earlier this year and only got an answering machine and they did not respond to my messages. I rang them today and their number is out of service.

      The good news is, provided CSUN haven’t been cutting corners, their panels should be reliable and there should only be a small chance of you needing to use the warranty.

      Looking up the Giant Power Battery System Manual I only find information on lead-acid batteries, so I don’t see any sign that it is compatible with lithium batteries, but you could check with the installer.

      Hope this helps.

  111. Hi – just down to making my decision​and having some trouble – what would you recommend.
    Option 1 – 21 x Jinko 290w Eagle PERC mono – JKM290M-60 (6.1kw) + 5kw SMA Tripower Inverter for $6290
    Option 2 – 21 x Q Cell 270w Q Pro G4.1 for an extra $170 – this I believe is a poly panel and system size would be 5.67kw where as with Jinko 290w mono would be 6.1kw.
    Also been offered Trina Honey with another installer.
    What would you choose?

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Neither the Jinko nor the QCELLS panels are likely to give you problems. QCELLS give their panels a 12 year product warranty as opposed to Jinko’s 10. While this suggests QCELLS is a little more confident about the quality of their panels, it’s unlikely to make a significant difference to you. Because the Jinko system is 7.4% larger I would expect it to generate more electricity over the next 20 years even if the QCELLS panels eventually prove themselves to be significantly more durable.

      I would say Trina panels are more or less comparable with Jinko panels. (I lean towards Jinko over Trina at the moment, but I don’t have enough solid information to state one is better than the other.)

      • Thanks so much.

        Do you know much about mounting systems? The installer I am planning on going ahead with uses a brand called Grace Solar – seems to be a chinese company which concerns me.
        Is Grace Solar mounting ok or should I find a installer that uses something like Clenergy?

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          Hi Mark

          Clenergy is a Chinese company. They are headquartered in Xiamen, a city on the Taiwan Strait that is famous for its puppet shows.

          But Clenergy do a very good job in Australia of never mentioning they are Chinese, so I’m not surprised you didn’t know that.

          While an installer could probably give you their opinion of different mounting systems, I’m afraid I don’t know much about them. But I think it is unlikely any major manufacturer would be supplying components that don’t meet Australian Standards.

  112. Charlotte shields says:

    Hi there,

    Ive been quoted $7500 for a 6.48kw system with Jinko panels and a Sungrow inverter.

    Another company is offering to match it but they have GCL panels and a sungrow inverter.

    Is this a good quote and which panels are better?

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Charlotte. The price isn’t too far off $1,000 per installed kilowatt of panels and so certainly isn’t bad. Both Jinko and GCL are tier one manufacturers. GCL has only recently gained tier one status, so personally I’d lean towards Jinko which are more of a known quality, but there’s probably not a lot of difference between the two.

      Just so you know, Sungrow are one of the lower cost major inverter manufacturers. This doesn’t mean their inverters aren’t necessarily value for money, but it is probably not realistic to expect one to last as long as a more expensive inverter such as SMA, SolarEdge, or Fronius.

  113. Hi, how would you rate Jinko, QCells and Trina panels in comparison with each other and what tier would each one be?

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hi Peter. Jinko, QCELLS, and Trina are all tier one, which means large financial organizations trust them for use in large scale solar farms with an operating life of 25 or more years. QCELLS have a 12 year product warranty while Jinko and Trina have 10. This is evidence that QCELLS are a better product and not actually proof, but all else equal I would take QCELLS over the other two. Jinko and Trina are comparable products. I don’t have enough information to say one is better than the other. Currently, I lean towards Jinko, but it would only take a small amount of information in Trina’s favor to change my mind.

  114. hi there,
    what are the diffrances between QCELLS panels and hanwha HSL panels? and does it worth the extra cost to go for QCELLS panels?

    thanks

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello moh. QCELLS and Hanwha used to be separate companies, but they are now both owned by the Korean Hanwha group and have been for around 5 years. Currently there does not appear to be much difference between the QCELLS and Hanwha panels according to their datasheets and their product warranties are of equal length at 12 years. They are both reliable panels and I doubt there would be much difference between them in terms of reliability.

      • thanks for your fast reply, i means if there is any diffreances between HSL 72 s poly panels and Q-plus panals? and does it worth the extra cost to go for the Q-plus panels?
        thanks

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          Well, Q.Plus panels are 60 cells and HSL 72S panels are 72 cells which is an important consideration when designing a system, but assuming that is not an issue for you, then the Q.Plus panels are slightly more efficient with a maximum efficiency of around 16.8% versus a maximum of around 16.1% for the HSL 72S poly panels. If space is limited then higher efficiency is useful. The temperature coefficient of Pmax for the Q.Plus at -0.4% is just better than that of the HSL 72S at -0.41%. This means the Q.Plus panels efficiency is reduced just a little less by heat than the HSL 72S panels. Because of their higher efficiency the Q.Plus panels cost more per watt, but if space for panels is not a problem then I would say it definitely could make sense to go for the HSL 72S panels and save some money – assuming of course you are as happy with 72 cell panels as you are with 60 cell panels.

  115. Mick P says:

    Hi Solar Quotes,

    Awesome website – very informative. Thank you. I’m going round in circles deciding between following systems:

    1) 6.6kW Trina 270-295 Mono, ABB 6kW inverter, SMA Sunny Island 8.0, LG Chem Resu 10LV,
    2) 6.6kW Winaico WST275, Fronious Primo 6kW, Selectronic SP PRO SMPC481, LG CHEM RESU 10LV
    3) 9.9kW Jinko JKM270PP, Fronius Primo 8.2kW, Tesla Powerwall 2
    4) 6.6 kW Q-cells Pro G4.1, Redback Smart Hybrid, LG CHEM RESU 10LV

    My head is full of tech specs. I find it like comparing apples and oranges
    Maybe I should look at features.

    Any comments/advice appreciated

    Mick

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Mick, Ronald here.

      My first recommendation about the systems you are considering is, be sure you are happy to lose money on your battery installation. Because unless your electricity consumption is extremely unusual, you will lose money on it. But if you have non-economic reasons for installing a battery and you are happy with it, it’s no problem.

      I wrote about the LG Chem RESU batteries here:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/new-lg-chem-resu-batteries-smaller-powerful-cheaper-powerwall/

      They are quite popular and are one of the most commonly installed battery systems in Australia.

      UPDATE (10/5/17): I have just heard of someone having a problem with the installation of an LG RESU, but I don’t know if the fault is with the RESU. Hopefully the problems they are experiencing are not common.

      The Tesla Powerwall 2 has a larger capacity, but Tesla has been incredibly slow making them available for installation and it is not yet clear just how much they cost fully installed or exactly how they operate. But don’t worry, Finn is looking into that. And if you’ve been quoted a price for full installation, then I guess that question has been settled for you. I’d just be very clear on when it is going to be installed and what happens if that date passes without a Powerwall 2 becoming available.

      With regard to the panels, they are all tier one and should definitely be reliable. That said, Trina and Jinko are more of a budget option while QCELLS and Winaco are considered higher quality. QCELLS have a 12 year product warranty while Winaco have 15 compared to 10 years for Trina and Jinko.

      Hope this helps.

  116. Hi solar quotes,
    I need advice on quotes

    Quote 1

    5.28kw system
    16 x 330w LG neon 2 high efficiency solar panels
    5kw fronius primo inverter

    $6500.00

    Quote 2:

    15 x 335w mono canadian solar panels
    5kw delta grid inverter

    $6258.00

    Quote 3:
    20 x 315w lg tier 1 photovoltaic solar panel
    5kw fronius primo wifi inverter

    $6700.00

    Quote 4:
    20 x 270w jinko tier 1 photovoltaic solar panel
    5kw fronius primo wifi inverter

    $6000.00

    Quote 5:
    15 x 300w lg mono x2 plus
    5kw fronius primo

    $6906

    Any advice on what other cheaper panel options do ihave but are good in quality as well. Since lg is a bit pricey. Lastly if you can recommend a good company in melbourne.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      UPDATE: I have just been reminded that there are scammers who are currently pretending to be LG, presumably so they can steal people’s deposits. So I would be extremely cautious of any offers of LG systems that seem too good to be true. I recommend using SolarQuotes so you can be sure you are getting a honest, reliable installer who has been personally vetted by Finn and you can certain will do high quality work. If you don’t do that, you should definitely contact LG to ensure they are legitimate.

      My original reply was:

      Hello Joe, Ronald here. Just going by the information given, quote 3 gives the lowest cost per watt and has LG panels, which are extremely reliable. Fronius is also considered to be one of the best brands of inverters available. The total panel capacity of the quotes ranges from 4.5 to 6.3 kilowatts and with both grid electricity prices and feed-in tariffs rising, I recommend going for a large system as it is extremely likely to pay for itself.

      To be put in touch with 3 vetted installers in Melbourne who can be relied upon to do good work, just go to the SolarQuotes home page, enter your postcode in the top left corner, fill out the form that will appear, and you will have three quotes sent to you.

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/

    • Hey joe…
      That No 3 quote appears to be an awesome option.
      I’m in the hunt for exactly that.
      If you could email me the details of your quote I’ll buy you a beer…
      Regards
      Mick..😎

      • Ronald Brakels says:

        I have just been reminded there is currently a scam company going around pretending to be LG and apparently stealing deposits, so it is very important to make sure you are dealing with a real company and not thieves.

        So I really recommend using SolarQuotes so you will get an installer who has been personally vetted by Finn and be certain they will do a high quality professional job, or if you don’t do that, at least contact LG to check if they are legitimate.

  117. Hi Fin,

    I’ve been offered these deals, can you please let me know what you think

    Option 1

    Taelsun 275 x 20 Panel 5.5 kw system with Solax inverter 5 kw (including Net Meter & Wifi monitoring system) Fully install with fittings @ 3500

    Option 2

    TELSUN 275 x19 with SUNGROW HYBRID INVERTER 5 KW (doesn’t include Meter) Fully install with fittings @ 3500

    Option 3

    20 x 260 Watt BYD Polycrystalline with SolaX 5kW single phase Hybrid Inverter including Meter Fully install with fittings @ 6950

    Option 4

    20 xBYD 260P6F-30 260 Watt with Sungrow SG-5KTL-D inverter ( no meter)
    fully installed @ 3370

    • Forgot to mention

      Option 4 comes with Carbontrack device

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Adel, Ronald here.

      Per watt those offers are:
      1. 64 cents with meter
      2. 67 cents without meter
      3. $1.34 with meter and hybrid inverter.
      4. 65 cents without meter

      Three of those are very cheap and would be good deals provided the systems are competently installed. The third offer includes a hybrid inverter that will only likely to be useful if you are intending to get batteries. I would check that the installers have a reputation for doing good work.

      I just checked and Talesun no longer has an office in Australia. BYD does not have one either. This means the importer of the panels will be responsible for their warranties. As they are both tier one panels they should be reliable. Both Sungrow and Solax are decent low cost options for inverters, but you can’t expect the same reliability higher end inverters provide.

      • Thank you Ronald.
        All the offers are given by the companies recommended by Fin. I assume they are vetted and they use reliable installers.

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          As Finn has vetted them you can be very confident they’ll do a good job and aren’t cutting corners to give those prices.

  118. Dear Finn,

    Which one is better: Jinko 290w or REC TwinPeak 285w panels? Thank you

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Jimmy, Ronald here.

      If your roof suffers from shade, the REC TwinPeak panels can give better output. On an unshaded roof neither has a clear advantage but the REC TwinPeak panels should be slightly less affected by dirt, although that’s not likely to make much of a difference. Both have 10 year product warranties and both did well in some recent tests. For an unshaded roof there probably isn’t a lot of difference between them. All else equal I’d probably go for the TwinPeak panels, but prices may not be equal.

  119. Hey Finn,

    Thanks heaps for your reviews and blogs this is great! We’re in Darwin NT and looking to get a 9-10kw system on a 3 phase 5 acre property. We’ve had recommendations for a 8.7kw REC TP2 with Enphase S230 ($18k) or 8.7kw Fronius Simo 7.0 inverter ($14.5k); and another provider recommend 9.24kw LG NeON ($19k) or 9.10kw Sunpower ($19.5k) with SolarEdge Inverter for both. We would prefer a micro-inverter to protect us from shade and debris from higher trees. Ultimately price isn’t an issue for us, we just want to make sure we get the best value particularly with warranty and output as we have our little family in our house, and the elderly parents living in a granny flat, so its about being able to save on bills and have reliability over the long term.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello James, Ronald here.

      Those are all good panels. The LG panels come with a 12 year replacement warranty and the SunPower ones come with a 25 year replacement warranty. That means if a panel fails someone will come around and replace it with a new one with no charge for the panel or for labour.

      SunPower panels are very good at dealing with the effects of shade. Combined with a SolarEdge inverter and the DC optimizers they are made to operate with will probably be the most effective way to cope with the effects of shade. The REC TwinPeak panels with enphase microinverters will also cope with the effects of shade very well and the LG panels with the SolarEdge inverter and DC optimisers should be next best.

      On thing you may want to look into which may be a lower cost way of dealing with the effects of shade is to use panels that have panel string optimization, such as that produced by Maxim Integrated. One example is the Jinko Maxim panel. I wrote about Maxim Integrated’s technology here:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/maxim-just-killed-microinverter-dc-optimiser/

      One drawback is some people have had interference with their TV reception, but generally only if the signal was already weak.

  120. Bob Jewell says:

    Hello Finn,
    I have a 1500 W solar system which needs total replacement.
    It has a Clenergy inverter and Suntech panels..
    I am looking to buy a system that will last longer than the 6 years this one has done.
    I am getting quotes for the following panels.
    Canadian
    Seraphim
    Jinks
    HTC
    Talesun
    Quotes for Inverters ( it seems only a few make low output inverters )
    Solax
    Growatt
    SMASB
    Also I was advised to upgrade my solar panels to 2200 W so that the inverter would deliver a closer to the 1500W output for most of the day ?
    I am an electrician with limited solar experience but woul this not cause problems with the inverter?
    Can you please rate the panels & inverters,and comment on installing the oversized panel string.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Bob, Ronald here.

      It looks like you are replacing your old system with one of similar size. If that is all you are interested in, that’s fine. But I will suggest replacing your old system with something larger. The cost per watt of solar panel capacity is likely to be considerably lower and now that both electricity prices and feed-in tariffs have increased so it could definitely be worth your while.

      But if you have a high feed-in tariff and want to replace your old system with something of same capacity in order to keep it, then ignore what I just wrote.

      All the panels you have listed are tier one and should be reliable. I believe they all have a 10 year product warranty, which is now the minimum for tier one panels. Except for HTC. I don’t know what that is. If it means HT-SAAE, then that is also a tier one panel.

      If you go to our solar 101 page:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/solar101.html

      And scroll down to inverters you will see Solax, Growatt, and SMA listed roughly where they stand from budget model to premium. A budget model can’t be expected to last as long or have as many features as a premium model, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be good value for money. But if reliability is very important to you then you’ll probably want to pay extra and go with something on the right hand side of that chart.

      Your solar panel capacity can be up to one-third larger than your inverter capacity. So if you have a 1.5 kilowatt inverter you can install a maximum of 2 kilowatts of solar panels. It is a good idea to get as close to the maximum as possible and I wrote about why this is the case here:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/oversizing-solar-arrays/

      • Thanks Ronald,
        I am a recently retired Electrician with a little knowledge on solar systems.
        Your advice has helped me greatly to sort the B.S. from the truth I am getting from different suppliers.
        Kind Regards
        Bob

  121. Hi Finn and Bob and others
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    We have been quoted a 5.5 Kw system.
    we live in a yurt (8 sides) the installer originally suggested 5×4 lots of panels on different roof aspects of the building. He now says only x3 is possible. The inverter is a Fronius primo 5.0-1 AUS . some say this inverter can only be connected to x2 aspects (2×10). Can you enlighten me please.
    Thanking you in advance.
    Kind Regards
    Mike

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Mike, Ronald here.

      Because a Fronius Primo only has 2 MPPTs (Multiple Power Point Trackers) it normally will normally only have panels facing a maximum of 2 different directions attached to it.

      In the past I wrote about how an east/west split of solar panels can be put on one MPPT, but I think it is unlikely this is what is being done here.

      It is possible that DC optimizers or panels that have panel string optimization are being used to allow 3 different orientations of panels.

      Those are the only options I can think of at the moment to allow a Fronius Primo to have panels facing in 3 different directions.

      I would suggest asking your installer how he is going to install panels facing in 3 different orientations on an inverter that has 2 MPPTs and how he will avoid mismatch losses if 2 of the orientations are one one MPPT.

  122. Hi Finn.

    I am planning to instal a 5Kw system. I have been quoted for LG $9,215 (16 x 330w panels) and $7,000 for Trina (18 x 300w panels), both with a Fronius 5kw Primo inverter.

    Do you think the LG panels are worth $2,215 more than the Trina panels?

    And do these prices sound reasonable?

    Thanks,

    Ron.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Ron, Ronald here.

      The LG panel system comes to $1.75 a watt while the Trina panel system, which is slightly larger, comes to $1.30 a watt.

      The LG panels come with a 12 year year parts and labour repacement warranty, so if a panel fails they will send someone around to replace it free of charge. But their panels are extremely unlikely to fail.

      Trina panels have a 10 year product warranty that doesn’t include labour. They are reliable, tier one panels, and you are unlikely to have problems with them.

      Economically speaking, you would be better off with the Trina panels. You can either save the money or spend it on getting a larger solar system. If you have the roof space, with a 5 kilowatt inverter you can install up to 6.66 kilowatts of panels. But with the LG panels you will get a premium product, a little more peace of mind, and they may produce slightly more electricity per watt than the Trina panels.

      The prices are definitely reasonable for professionally done installations using Fronius inverters.

  123. Michael Hoskin says:

    Hi Finn,

    Can you please let me know if my 6.38KW solar package is a good deal?

    Solar Panels are: 22 x 290w ET Mono Solar Panels (ET-M660290WB)
    Inverter: Fronius Primo 5KW.

    The price installed is costing me $5200

    Cheers,
    Mick

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Michael, Ronald here.

      ET solar panels are tier one and have a 10 year product warranty and you should be very unlikely to have a problem with them. However, they don’t have an office in Australia, so their importer will be responsible for their warranties.

      Fronius inverters have a very good reputation and have a 5 year full replacement warranty including labour and then they have another 5 years warranty after that which only covers a new inverter if one is required and not the cost of labour to install it.

      The cost of the system comes to 82 cents a watt, which is a very competitive price for one that includes a Fronius inverter and so it is a good deal, provided it is professionally installed.

  124. Linda Larkins says:

    Hi Finn,

    Thank you so much for all this information, I never thought I would ever need to know so much about purchasing Solar. We are looking at a 30kw system and am tossing up between two qutoes. One is using 340watt Canadian Solar panels with a Fronius inverter. The other system is using Winaico WST285W panels and a Delta inverter. From what i have read from this site the Winaico/Delta combo seems the way to go but I like to get your opinion.

    • Winaico would be my choice of panels (although both good).

      Fronius would be my choice of inverter (although both good!).

      The Fronius comes with a 10 year warranty which is very valuable.

  125. Hi
    I’ve had a quote for 8 Sapphire panels and Fronius inverter for 3700 (in WA). I can’t find much information on Sapphire and I would appreciate your opinion. How good would they be near the sea – corrosion-wise.

    Thanks

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Trina, Ronald here.

      I recommend getting solar panels that are either tier one or from a manufacturer that has a good reputation for quality. Sapphire panels are not on any tier one list I am aware of and I don’t know enough about them to say whether their quality is good or bad. Looking at their datasheet, I can’t see any information certifying that they are corrosion resistant.

      I will mention that 8 panels is a very small system. That may be all you want or all you can fit on your roof, but if you get some more quotes you may find you can install a slightly larger system for a similar price.

  126. Hi,

    Firstly, thanks for the website. Great resource.

    I have two quotes via your quote service. Both recommend an optimised system with the same inverter (SolarEdge HD Wave). I understand the benefits and am happy with this recommendation. It’s the panels that confuse me.

    One is offering Jinko 275w panels, the other Sunpower 327w. Of course, both are “the best”, Sunpower are used by NASA on the Mars Rover (which was built 13 years ago… …can’t type well with my tongue in my cheek…), and Choice recommend the LG 300w panel, followed by the Jinko 250w panel. And so far both quote companies tell me they “don’t do LG”.

    One quote is 40% higher than the other and so to try to unravel the BS I’m seeking some help.

    Any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Guy, Ronald here.

      I don’t know if SunPower panels are the best that are available, but they are definitely up there. They have a full replacement 25 year warranty which means if one ever fails in that time SunPower will send someone around to replace it free of charge.

      Jinko panels aren’t bad, but they are lower cost tier one panels. You are unlikely to have any problems with them, but they are not a premium panel like SunPower.

      I don’t think I am likely to be wrong if I guess it is the system with SunPower panels that is 40% more expensive. If you want great panels go with that, but it won’t produce 40% more electricity. It might produce a few percent more per watt of panel capacity. If you go with Jinko you should get decent panels that should do the job without a problem.

      LG makes very good panels. Most LG panels have a 12 year full replacement warranty, but they now have one panel with a 25 year full replacement warranty. Both LG and SunPower are generally considered to be premium panels.

  127. Hi Guys,
    Looking at approx 6kw system.

    Jinko 23x 270w or Trina panels 24x250w
    The difference between polycrystalline & monocrystalline panels.
    For Invertor either a Fronius Symo 6.0-3M or Zeversolar TL5000
    We were quoted single phase but we have 3phase power so syatem would be approx. $500 extra.
    What would be your preference thanks

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Sue

      Jinko and Trina are lower cost tier one panels. While inexpensive, they have done well on tests and you will be unlikely to have problems with them:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/jinko-trina-torture-test/

      The Jinko system’s solar panel capacity is 3% larger. (You could add one more Jinko panel and still be within your capacity limit with a 5 kilowatt solar inverter. You could add two more Trina panels and remain within this limit — but it will only be possible if you have space on your roof.)

      Fronius inverters are considered a premium brand while Zever is more mid-range. Fronius comes with a 5 year warranty and then they offer an additional 5 years where they only offer to provide a new inverter if required but not pay for the cost of installation. Zeversolar normally comes with a 5 year warranty.

      For a homeowner, there is no real difference between polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels, besides efficiency. Monocrystalline tends to be more efficient, which means a higher capacity can fit in a given amount of roof space.

      There are good arguments in favor of getting a three phase inveter:

      https://support.solarquotes.com.au/hc/en-us/articles/115001462573-I-have-3-phase-power-Should-I-use-a-3-phase-inverter-or-a-single-phase-inverter-

      If people in your area often have their solar systems shut down due to grid conditions, then I would definitely recommend it.

      Note that with 3 phase power you have the option of installing a much larger solar system, provided that is what you want and you have room on your roof for the panels.

      • Hi Ronald,
        If I am charged $580 extra for 3 phase on original 23 panel system (considerably more than your estimate of $300-$500) Should this amount increase if I add the additional panel as you suggested but the same 5kw inverter is used? Also the SCT certificate rate I have been quoted is $35 but read somewhere is $37.

        • Ronald Brakels says:

          Hi Sue

          Adding extra panels won’t increase the cost of your inverter. You will have to pay for the extra panels, but because the STCs you receive are based on panel capacity, hopefully it will be very cheap to add the extra panels.

          The price for STCs is currently around $36.50 but because of administrative charges it is common for households to receive around $35 for them.

          • Thanks for confirming that. Just a friend got a quote for single phase & our quote was the $580 extra for 3 phase. The friend added the extra panel like we have & our quote is now $800 extra than his!

  128. roger blattenberger says:

    I am in need of an honest comparison between csun panels and Hanwha panels. my co. just purchased a 3 meg system. the co. who sold the system switched panels from Hanwha to csun and we caught the switch. please compare the panels for me.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Roger

      That is a very serious thing to do, changing panel brands like that. Regardless of their respective quality, CSUN panels are lower cost than Hanwha so switching them is very dodgy behavior. Personally, I’d probably tell the installer to go stick their head in a pig. You are in a particularly dangerous situation because your system is so huge it won’t be covered by Australian Consumer Law. (If you’re not in Australia it definitely won’t be.) Which will make dealing with a dodgy company even more dangerous.

      That said, CSUN used to be a tier one manufacturer but they lost that status because they ran into financial trouble. Despite this, their panels should still be of good quality and you can get third party insurance from Powerguard to cover them. (This would be harder to get if they weren’t of decent quality.)

      CSUN panels have a 10 year product warranty and Hanwha have a 12 year product warranty, so even if you were certain they were of identical reliability you would still definitely want the Hanwha panels.

      If you are looking up information on them, note that Hanwha and QCELLS are now the same company.

  129. Alf Allen says:

    Hi Finn
    I need to replace an inverter, and it needs to be of the same capacity as I am still in receipt of a generous feed in tariff.
    One of your recommended installers has suggested a Zeversolar product, but I note they are not on the Clean Energy Council list of approved inverters suitable for installation under the REC scheme.
    My concern is that I may lose my feed in tariff if this inverter is installed.
    Are there concerns valid?

  130. Hi Finn,

    In process of getting quotes for large residential system in Brisbane QLD.

    Probably going with 8.1 KW Fronius Inverter, fed by 30 x 275w panels.

    Currently being quoted GCL panels, but the feedback on the internet about this brand appears mixed. How do you rate them?

    I am located near salt water, and I have a curved north facing roof, so 3 strings of panels will all be at different angles to the northern horizon.

    Will this affect panel selection criteria at all?

    I would prefer better quality product given the installation location.

    Any thoughts, greatly appreciated.

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Wayne, Ronald here.

      Lucky for you I’ve pinched a nerve in my leg so I’m available to give you a 4:00 am Adelaide time answer.

      If you are looking to get 30 x 275w panels that comes to 8.25 kilowatts. As panel capacity can be one third larger than inverter capacity a Fronius Symo 7.0-3-M will suffice. This is assuming you have 3 phase power. If you have single phase power the largest inverter you can install is 5 kilowatts with up to 6.66 kilowatts of panels unless you export limit it. This is possible but will cost extra.

      Generally string inverters can only handle two sets of panels facing different directions and not the three have planned. It is possible to get around this using microinverters, optimizers, or cell string optimized panels. Having just two rows but using higher efficiency, but more expensive, panels is an option.

      When GCL first arrived in Australia I heard some negative anecdotal reports about them, but they seem to have pulled up their socks and I would expect them to be about as reliable as other panels in their price range.

  131. Kristina says:

    6kw system with 20 x Jinko PERC 300W panels and SolarEdge SE5000H inverter

    or
    6.5kw system with 24 X 270 Watts Trina Solar panels and Fronius Inverter 5KW Three Phase Inverter

    which one would you pick and why?

    Thanks

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hello Kristina, Ronald here.

      As far as I am aware, Trina and Jinko panels are as good as each other. Because it has optimizers the SolarEdge system will provide more output if the system suffers from shading. It also has a superior warranty. If shade is not a problem the Fronius system will produce more because it has more panel capacity. Without knowing anything about the installation I would take the SolarEdge system. If there was no shade I would be tempted to take the Fronius system because producing as much clean power as possible right now is important to me.

  132. Hi,

    I live in Ipswich Qld. So, is it worth to go with optimiser or that can be avoided.

    Thanks
    Vineet

    • Ronald Brakels says:

      Hi Vineet

      If your solar panels suffer from little or no shade through the day then optimizers will likely only provide a small benefit and might increase output by a couple of percent. If the panels suffer from major shade problems then it is possible they may increase output by over 20%. So most installations can probably do without them. But note if only a few panels will suffer from shade it is possible to put optimisers on just them so they won’t drag down the performance of other solar panels on the same string. (A string is the electrical cable solar panels are attached to.)

  133. I have found this website and forum so helpful in narrowing down my selections for what I perceive to be the best solution for my situation, so thanks.

    I am buying a system of around 9kw-10kw and I have narrowed it down to 2 quotes that I am deciding between. The quotes work out to be $1.08 and $1.16 per watt, with the cheaper one a bigger system by about 1kw. I can’t decide the best option and both installers get great reviews on this website. I think both will be good, however I am unsure which to choose as they use different panels and Inverter sizers, also if the Suntech Panels trump the additional size of the Twin Peaks Panels at a higher cost per watt.

    I will get shade on my West roof due to a 2 story house next door starting about 2 hours before sunset at the bottom of the roof and moving up. The 2 quotes use

    1) REC 290 watts Twin Peak Solar Panels with a 3 phase Fronius 8.2 Symo Inverter ($1.08 per watt and 1 kw bigger – however they have said possibly 2 panels may not fit, but the rest definitely will)

    2) Suntech MAXIM 270 watt Solar Panels with a 3 phase Fronius 7-3-M Inverter

    Any advice would be appreciated thanks.

  134. Ronald Brakels says:

    Hello John

    The good news is, no matter what kind of system you install you shouldn’t lose too much power due to shade falling on panels starting two hours from sunset. Firstly, I am guessing you will have panels split between facing west and facing north or east, since it’s such a large system. But even if all the panels face west, even if they were unshaded their output would fall off in the last two hours of the day as the light from the sun comes in at a low angle and passes through a greater amount of atmosphere before reaching your roof.

    REC Twin Peak panels are better at tolerating shade than standard panels, but the Suntech Maxim panels are likely to do even better. But because the REC Twin Peak system is around 10% or more bigger, it is likely to produce more solar electricity overall thanks to its greater size.

    If your roof gets particularly dirty, for example, you can see bird droppings or tree sap stains on it now, then that would be a plus for the Suntech Maxim panels, as their output should be less affected by dirt. But most roofs don’t get very dirty.

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  1. […] Use crappy panels but claim they are the absolute cream of the crop! Some companies claim their panels are Tier 1, but they are nothing of the sort. Cheap panels do not last in the Aussie sun. Good panels should […]

  2. […] and other cost cutting measures will help bring the price of high quality, high efficiency, tier one solar panels down even […]

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