Canadian Solar solar panels review
Overall Rating From 74 Reviews:
Canadian Solar is a producer of tier 1 panels. Despite their name, any panels you buy from them in Australia will not be made in Canada. At the time of writing in September 2016 perhaps 10% of their manufacturing capacity is in Canada, but those panels are for the North American market only. Canadian Solar panels we purchase are most likely to be made in China.
Their panels carry a 10 year product warranty which is standard for the industry. Most of their panels are certified as corrosion resistant and so are suitable for installation anywhere in Australia. Canadian Solar has an Australian office and unlike most panel manufacturers it is in Melbourne rather than Sydney.
Canadian Solar Panels
Canadian Solar produces a variety of panels. They describe their CS6P panels, which come in 260, 265, and 270 watts, as being their standard panels. They are over 16% efficient and, unlike some manufacturers, Canadian Solar does not exaggerate their panel's efficiency by not including the frame in the calculation. They are corrosion resistant and suitable for installation anywhere in Australia.
Higher Efficiency Panels
The highest efficiency panels produced by Canadian Solar are their Superpower panels which can be up to 18.3% efficient. Their higher than average efficiency can be useful when available roof space is limited. These panels are certified as corrosion resistant and so are suitable for installation anywhere.
Dymond Double Glass Panels
Most solar panels have glass on top and a plastic sheet on the underside. If instead your panels have a plastic sheet on top and glass on the underside then a rather basic mistake has been made in their installation.
Canadian Solar's Dymond panels are different from most as they as the plastic back sheet is replaced with another layer of glass. The solar cells are basically inside a glass sandwich. This apparently reduces the rate at which they deteriorate and so their performance warranty is 30 years rather than the normal 25. They have the drawback of being at least several kilograms heavier than most panels and this can complicate their installation.
The datasheet for these panels from the Canadian solar site does not say they are certified for corrosion resistance. But because they don't have a metal frame they should be very corrosion resistant. If you are going to install them within 200m of the sea I recommend checking they are corrosion resistant first.
Canadian Solar’s SmartDC modules have Solaredge DC optimisers integrated into the panels. A DC optimiser is bundle of electronics that can reduce losses from panel mismatch and shading. And Solaredge is a company that makes them. Solaredge claims they can increase solar panel output by up to 25% under the right circumstances but most people will not see nearly that much benefit and so are unlikely to find panels with DC optimisers economically worthwhile at this time, but people who are trying to get as much electricity production as possible from a limited amount of roof space or who have shade issues can find them useful.
The datasheet for Candian Solar’s SmartDC panels does not say they are certified for salt mist corrosion resistance, so either don't install them within 200m of the sea or check to see if Canadian Solar can give you a copy of their corrosion resistance certification first.
Canadian Solar Warranties
Canadian Solar panels have a 10 year product warranty which covers them if they fail to work in that time period due to a fault in manufacture. In addition they also have a performance warranty of 25 years or 30 years for their Dymond panels, but this is unlikely to be of benefit to most households. You can read more about solar panel warranties here.
In 1987 the founder of Canadian Solar, Shawn Qu, was earning around $5 a week in today's money teaching in China. That year he moved to Canada and began studying to obtain his masters degree in physics. In 2001 he founded Canadian Solar. In 2015 Canadian Solar became the second largest producer of solar panels in the world and they may be the largest in 2016.
If he still owns 27% of the company, as he did in 2014, then in September 2016 Shawn Qu’s share is worth around $270 million. For a while in 2014 it was worth around $870 million, but at the moment Canadian Solar and the share market aren't getting on as well as they used to.
Shawn Qu now spends most of his time in China and that is understandable, as in winter it is so cold in Canada it is possible to freeze to death in less time than it takes for a bear to find you and eat you.
By the end of 2016 Canadian Solar intends to have a total of around 6.5 gigawatts of panel manufacturing capacity. Around three quarters of this will be in China with 3 gigawatts in Changsu and 600 MW in Suzhou in Jiangsu Province, and 1.1 gigawatts in Luoyang in Henan Province. They will also have an additional 500MW capacity in China acquired from a recently bankrupt competitor.
Manufacturing capacity outside of China will consist of 500 megawatts in, strangely enough, Canada, 300 megawatts in Vietnam, 300 megawatts in Brazil, 30 Megawatts in Indonesia, and they say they will build another 600 megawatts in a mystery location in Southeast Asia which may be Myanmar or it may turn out to be We-are-not-actually-going-ahead-with-this-project-now-land.
If they meet their goals for 2016 it will mean about 8% of Canadian Solar's manufacturing capacity will be in Canada. This may not seem much, but it is 8 percentage points more manufacturing capacity than Hanover Solar has in Germany or “Australian Solar Panels” had in Australia.
Canadian Solar Is less Vertically Integrated Than Their Main Competition
While Canadian solar was the world's 2nd largest panel manufacturer in 2015 it was only the 10th largest cell manufacturer. Unlike other major panel manufacturers it only produces around half or less of its own solar cells and purchases the rest, mostly from Taiwan.
2016 Jiangsu Tornado
Canadian Solar's goal to increase their own cell manufacturing capacity had a setback in June 2016 when a cell manufacturing plant they owned in Funing was hit by the worst tornado in China in 50 years, injuring employees and collapsing almost 4 hectares of factory buildings.
STVC Solar Scorecard
Each year the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) produces a report grading solar panel manufacturers on environmental and social responsibility. A low score on this report doesn't mean a company is awful, it can just mean that information wasn't available. So a high score is a good sign while a low score is not a good sign, but not necessarily a bad sign.
I don’t know why, but Canadian Solar was not included in the latest report which covers the year 2015. Their score in 2014 was not good as they only came 27th out of 37 companies surveyed, receiving a score of 14 out of a possible 100. But this was better than the score of 7 out of 100 they received in 2013.
Canadian Solar Builds Solar Farms
While Canadian Solar doesn't make as many of their own cells as other large panel manufacturers, they do tend to be more heavily involved in the construction of solar farms than most and have been selected to build two in Queensland. They will be small by international standards and consist of 35 megawatts near Oakey and 15 megawatts at Longreach.
I Am Fine With Recommending Canadian Solar Panels
Canadian Solar produces tier 1 panels which means banks and other institutions consider both the panels and the company reliable enough to be a worthwhile investment. And so I have no problem recommending Canadian Solar panels. They are a generally reliable panel that provides good value for money. Just don’t expect them to come from Canada.
Bought From: Goliath Electrical Review Date: 28 November 2015
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 17 March 2016
Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 3 December 2015
Bought From: Green Wiring Review Date: 2 December 2015
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 19 November 2015
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 23 October 2015
|My Canadian Solar PV Modules (CS6P-255P) generates the guaranteed daily energy of 14 kWH most of the days and on certain days it has generated double that amount.
Bought From: RK Solar And Consulting Review Date: 14 October 2015
Bought From: RK Solar And Consulting Review Date: 13 October 2015
|Reduction of capacity during autumn/winter because of shading. Not a fault of panels or installation.
Bought From: Solarblu Review Date: 2 October 2015
Bought From: More Solar Energy Review Date: 19 August 2015
Bought From: SolarMyHome Review Date: 30 August 2015
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 14 July 2015
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 20 January 2015
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 26 May 2015
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 20 May 2015
|The panels seem to perform really well. we have 6.25kW worth of panels and experience a constant Max of 5kW (which is our inverters limit) for over 2 hours in the middle of a cloudless day in summer. In such a day, our system reaches just over 40kWh in a day.
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 14 April 2015
|20 of our panels are on tilt-up trays on a flat roof and are visible. Our Canadian Solar panels have a slim profile so the installation looks complete.
Bought From: SolarMyHome Review Date: 6 April 2015
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 6 April 2015
|We have a 4KW system and the last few sunny days we have been getting over 20 KWh per day.
Bought From: SolarMyHome Review Date: 8 April 2015
Bought From: Sustainable Energy Management Solutions Pty Ltd Review Date: 5 March 2015
Bought From: Space Solar Review Date: 12 February 2015
Bought From: SolarMyHome Review Date: 2 February 2015
Bought From: Gryphon solar Review Date: 31 January 2015
Bought From: Gryphon solar Review Date: 7 February 2015
Bought From: Gryphon solar Review Date: 22 January 2015
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 27 December 2014
|N/A||I have nothing to compare them with.
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 8 December 2014
Bought From: Solar Dynamics Review Date: 5 December 2014
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 3 December 2014
|Though rated at 5.2 kW max output, they have never gone beyond 4.95kW, but that's OK as it was sold as a 5kW system
Bought From: More Solar Energy Review Date: 29 November 2014
|once they're up you don't have to touch them.
Extremely resilient in all types of weather
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 22 November 2014
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 5 October 2014
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 13 May 2014
|Seems to be excellent and performs well
Bought From: Solar Delight Review Date: 10 April 2014
|The system is split into two halves - one facing North East and the other facing North West.
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 8 February 2014
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 4 February 2014
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 22 January 2014
Bought From: Mark Group Review Date: 18 April 2012
Bought From: Green Powered Solutions Pty Ltd Review Date: 21 April 2012
Bought From: Solar Essence Review Date: 10 March 2012
|Love them. Hose them every 2 months to clean, that's it.
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 10 April 2012
Bought From: Green Powered Solutions Pty Ltd Review Date: 2 March 2012
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 13 May 2011
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 6 May 2011
|The panels have been working fine. We have not paid a bill since June 2011.
Bought From: Solar MegaMart Review Date: 30 June 2011
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 21 September 2010
|These panels appear to be functioning properly over the past 15 months.
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 28 May 2011
|No long term issues.
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 26 April 2011
Bought From: Origin Solar Review Date: 1 June 2011
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 13 April 2011
|N/A||They are mounted on the roof facing north and I asume they are responsible for making the numbers change on the inverter, are they efficient?,is it a good system?
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 22 October 2010
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 20 March 2011
|Canadian Solar panels are good, they are poly.
Bought From: Origin Solar Review Date: 14 April 2011
|Solar Panel Positioning doesn't give me the performance, I was expecting.
Bought From: Solar Dynamics Review Date: 14 June 2011
|Golf Ball size Hailstorm on Aug 27th 2012 hit our home
One side of our 2yr old Caravan written off!
3 house widows & fly screens smashed!
Our 16 Solar Panels were undamaged,yet the storm hit the side of the house where our Solar panels are installed
Bought From: All-Safe Energy Review Date: 20 October 2011
|I have been surprised that the performance has been much better in winter than expected. The system is rated at 3.04KW, and it sometimes goes to 3.3 or 3.4 KW in the middle of the day, but even in August I have seen it go over 2.6 KW.
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 1 April 2011
|Check very carefully about the location of the panels. The suppliers diagram indicated that the panels would fit on one section of the roof. The reality discovered on installation was that this was not the case. In our circumstance it was not a problem as there were other roof sections with the same orientation available. But i have noticed other installations where the panels are in multiple orientations
Bought From: Allied Energy Pty Ltd Review Date: 28 June 2011
Bought From: Phazer Review Date: 9 May 2011
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 29 March 2011
Bought From: Ecopower Review Date: 9 July 2011
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 2 May 2011
Bought From: Origin Solar Review Date: 28 July 2011
Bought From: Allied Energy Pty Ltd Review Date: 19 July 2011
Bought From: Origin Solar Review Date: 6 October 2011
Bought From: CSA Services Review Date: 30 January 2011
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 4 October 2010
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 13 November 2010
Bought From: Origin Solar Review Date: 1 June 2010
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 13 December 2010
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 26 October 2010
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 21 September 2010
|Extremely happy with our solar panels.
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 10 February 2011
Bought From: Pritchett Electrical Review Date: 26 September 2010
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 19 October 2010
Canadian Solar has 115 solar panels in our database
|Model||Type||Size||PTC||Performance Ratio||Californian Approved|
|CS5A-185M (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||185||169||91.19||Yes|
|CS5A-190M (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||190||173||91.26||Yes|
|CS5A-195M (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||195||178||91.33||Yes|
|CS5A-200M (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||200||183||91.35||Yes|
|CS6A-185P (48 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||185||162||87.62||Yes|
|CS6A-190P (48 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||190||167||87.68||Yes|
|CS6P-235P (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||235||214||90.89||Yes|
|CS6P-235PM (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||235||209||89.11||Yes|
|CS6P-240M (60 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||240||217||90.42||Yes|
|CS6P-240P (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||240||218||90.96||Yes|
|CS6P-240PM (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||240||214||89.17||Yes|
|CS6P-245M (60 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||245||223||91.14||Yes|
|CS6P-245MM (60 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||245||220||89.80||Yes|
|CS6P-245P (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||245||225||91.80||Yes|
|CS6P-245PM (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||245||219||89.22||Yes|
|CS6P-250M (60 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||250||228||91.20||Yes|
|CS6P-250MM (60 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||250||225||89.84||Yes|
|CS6P-250P (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||250||230||91.84||Yes|
|CS6P-250PM (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||250||223||89.28||Yes|
|CS6P-255M (60 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||255||233||91.25||Yes|
|CS6P-255MM (60 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||255||229||89.88||Yes|
|CS6P-255P (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||255||234||91.88||Yes|
|CS6P-255PM (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||255||228||89.33||Yes|
|CS6P-260M (60 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||260||237||91.31||Yes|
|CS6P-260MM (60 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||260||234||89.92||Yes|
|CS6P-260P (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||260||239||91.96||Yes|
|CS6P-265MM (60 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||265||237||89.25||Yes|
|CS6P-265P (60 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||265||244||92.00||Yes|
|CS6X-285P (72 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||285||262||91.75||Yes|
|CS6X-290M (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||290||264||91.14||Yes|
|CS6X-290P (72 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||290||266||91.79||Yes|
|CS6X-295M (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||295||269||91.15||Yes|
|CS6X-295P (72 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||295||271||91.83||Yes|
|CS6X-300M (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||300||274||91.20||Yes|
|CS6X-300P (72 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||300||276||91.87||Yes|
|CS6X-305M (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||305||278||91.25||Yes|
|CS6X-305P (72 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||305||280||91.90||Yes|
|CS6X-310M (72 Mono cells)||Monocrystalline||310||283||91.29||Yes|
|CS6X-310P (72 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||310||285||91.94||Yes|
|CS6X-315P (72 Poly cells)||Polycrystalline||315||290||91.97||Yes|