Australian Premium Solar solar panels review
Overall Rating From 3 Reviews:
Australian Premium Solar | APS
I will begin by stating that I do not recommend using Australian Premium Solar panels. There are a number of reasons why and I will go into them in detail. But if you are just looking for solar panels that SolarQuotes regards as reliable, you can stop reading now, as these definitely aren’t in that category.
Australian Premium Solar Panels Are Not Made In Australia
There is only one manufacturer of solar panels in Australia. They are called Tindo Solar and definitely have nothing to do with Australian Premium Solar.
I am automatically suspicious of solar panels that are named after locations where they are not manufactured. For good reason. If the first thing a company does is try to mislead you about where their panels are made, then they probably won’t hesitate to lie to you about other things.
The only “false flag” panels that get a pass from me are made by Canadian Solar, as that company was started in Canada by a Canadian citizen and they have demonstrated they produce reliable panels (mostly in China).
Australian Premium Solar Says They Are A Solar Panel Manufacturer
If Australian Premium Solar was a company that just provided “premium” solar panels to Australians while making it clear they were not produced in Australia, then I would not have a problem with their name. But that does not seem to be the impression they are trying to create.
At the time of writing in early 2017, halfway down the Australian Premium Solar site homepage is a large heading saying, “SOLAR PANEL MANUFACTURER” with no supporting text.
This is interesting because I have never seen any evidence they own or operate solar panel production facilities. As far as I can tell they only import panels produced by other companies.
Beneath the heading are 4 pictures. The first is of a warehouse. The next shows hows people working on solar panels and is labeled, “Production Line”. Next is a picture of the Australian Premium Solar office in Australia labeled, “APS Office”. And finally there is a picture of a factory worker with solar cells in front of them labeled, “Dedicated Advanced R&D”.
While the office is in Australia and the warehouse definitely could be, there is no indication of where or when the other pictures were taken. If these pictures give you the impression their panels are manufactured in Australia, I can tell you that impression is not correct.
On their site under “milestones” they state they had a factory in Acacia Ridge in August 2014. What ever they may have done at that factory then, they are not producing solar panels there now.
They also state that in December 2013 they:
“Started work setting up assemble (sic) line overseas, which will be finished by the end of 2014.”
No further mention of this overseas “assemble line” is made.
While they don’t say where their “assemble line” is located, if you go to their products page, it does state the solar panels are made in China. But I would be very surprised if Australian Premium Solar actually does have an “assemble line” in China and does not simply purchase solar panels from Chinese manufacturers and rebrand them.
I would be very interested in any information from Australian Premium Solar on just what solar panel manufacturing capacity they currently own or operate in any location in the world.
Lying About Where Solar Panels Are Made Can Result In Serious Fines
It is a good thing that Australian Premium Solar does state where their panels are made on their products page, as misleading consumers about these things can result in hefty fines from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or ACCC. This kind of activity resulted in a total of $145,000 in fines for Eurosolar and its Director in 2014.
I don’t know how the ACCC feels about companies that state they are solar panel manufacturers but are not.
They Appear To Be Rebranded Panels
Australian Premium Solar Panels are, as far as I can tell, made in China and then rebranded. I do not know who produces the panels in China. From what I’ve gathered from installers who have had to replace them, more than one company’s panels appear to have been rebranded as Australian Premium Solar panels.
Rebranded Panels And Warranties
With rebranded panels the original manufacturer is not responsible for their product or performance warranties. Instead, the company that rebranded them is responsible. In this case, Australian Premium Solar.
If a manufacturer produces reliable panels then those panels will have a good reputation and that should mean there is no need to rebrand them, as their good reputation will help them to sell. Or if they were rebranded, there would be no reason to hide who the real manufacturer was.
But there is no indication of who actually made the panels anywhere on the Australian Premium Solar website. Apart from their site appearing to say they made them themselves, which in my opinion is extremely unlikely.
In Practice Australian Premium Solar Panels Have A One Year Warranty
Australian Premium Solar Panels state they come with a 12 year product warranty and a 30 year performance warranty. But in practice, if you treat your solar panels in the same way as the vast majority of Australian households do, Australian Premium Solar can declare their warranty to be void after one year.
They Can Declare The Warranty Void Without Yearly Maintenance
The Australian Premium Solar Warranty states:
“The warranties in PART B are subject to regular or periodic maintenance being carried out to achieve optimum performance of the PV Modules and parts. The minimum recommended maintenance required is set out in the APS Maintenance Schedule. Failure to conduct regular or periodic maintenance may void the warranties in PART B. Notwithstanding, APS may at its discretion apportion or allow all or part of any such warranty claim to proceed subject to an inspection of the PV Modules or the parts.”
The Australian Premium Solar maintenance schedule recommends yearly maintenance as a minimum. This yearly maintenance includes actions that could only realistically be performed by an electrician or solar installer. As a result, it would not take long for the cost of having your panels maintained each year to exceed what they are worth.
The warranty states:
“After a warranty claim has been lodged, APS may request that the Customer provide proof of all maintenance work done to the PV Modules as per the APS Maintenance Schedule. Failure to provide proof of the scheduled maintenance may void the warranties provided in PART B.”
So unless you have had your panels maintained each year and kept records of it being done, Australian Premium Solar can declare your warranty void.
You May Have To Pay Before They Send You A Replacement Panel
The Australian Premium Solar warranty states:
“The warranties provided exclude the transportation and handling costs or any other costs for the return of the defective item(s) or the shipment of the replacement item(s) to and from the ASP’s stores to the Customer’s or authorised distributor’ site unless the consumer is taking advantage of their statutory rights. All such costs including the cost of the removal and re-installation of the replacement item(s) must be fully borne and paid for by the authorised distributor or by the Customer before APS ships the replacement item(s).”
This leads me to believe any attempt to get Australian Premium Solar to honor their apparent commitment to replace or repair defective panels will result in them sending you a hefty bill.
Note the two typos in the passage quoted above are in the original, including where they call themselves ASP instead of APS.
Australian Consumer Law
Under Australian consumer law you have far more consumer protection than is given by the Australian Premium Solar warranty.
As they state they have a 30 year performance warranty I think it is very likely that if any of their panels fail while in normal use in that time, Australian consumer tribunals or small claims courts would require Australian Premium Solar to provide either a replacement, a repair, or a refund.
However, taking a case to a tribunal or court takes time and effort and so many people will not bother to do this. I am sure this is a fact that Australian Premium Solar knows well.
I have been told on a number of occasions about Australian Premium Solar panels that have failed not long after installation. This has led me to suspect they are of exceedingly low quality. This anecdotal information is not enough for me to prove they are low quality panels, but it certainly hasn’t given me a good opinion of them.
They Came Last Out Of 6 in MC Electrical’s Test
Euro Solar Installs Australian Premium Solar Panels
Australian Premium Solar panels are used by Euro Solar and they are not an installer we recommend. There are several reasons why and one of them is they were investigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and fined a total of $145,000 for creating fake customer testimonials and lying about where their solar panels were manufactured.
Hopefully, providing technical details of their panels is a waste of time as no one who has read this far will ever want to install them. But in case you are curious:
Australian Premium Solar panels range from 230 watts, which is something only panels produced on outdated production lines normally do these days, to 260 watts.
Their efficiencies range from a low 14.1% to a still low 16%.
Their power temperature coefficient is considerably worse than average at -0.48%. This means their efficiency will decrease more in high temperatures than most panels.
Their power tolerance is plus or minus 3%. This means their wattage will on average be slightly lower than panels with positive tolerance.
Do not use these panels.
Bought From: Euro Solar Review Date: 30 June 2016
|AS STATED BEFORE, WEATHER CONDITIONS
Bought From: Euro Solar Review Date: 4 January 2015
|I have not had any performance issues with them to date
Bought From: Euro Solar Review Date: 24 December 2014
Australian Premium Solar has 8 solar panels in our database
|Model||Type||Size||PTC||Performance Ratio||Californian Approved|