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CSUN solar panels review

Overall Rating From 18 Reviews:

CSUN solar panels review

Average Customer Rating:

CSUN is Chinese solar panel manufacturer that is also known as China Sunergy. It has historically produced tier one panels, although in 2016 they seemed to drop off most Tier 1 ranking lists. Their main line of panels has a 10 year product warranty and a 25 year performance warranty. They are corrosion resistant which makes them suitable for installation anywhere in Australia.

CSUN has suffered from severe financial troubles and so a dark cloud hangs over the company. The cloud is very dark and, financially speaking, I can’t see any silver lining to it, only the possibility that CSUN may be able to work its way out from under it if things go well. But things have not been going well lately for CSUN, as the price of solar panels has been falling rapidly.

The CSUN website states they have an office in Australia.  However, I have rung them multiple times and have only been able to leave a message.  They have yet to call me back and get in touch with me. 

There is an Australian company that imports CSUN panels and rebrands them as Matrix Australian Solar Panels. They provide a 12 year product and 30 year performance warranty. At the time of writing at the start of 2017 these panels are different from CSUN’s main line of panels and have lower efficiency.

CSUN Manufacturing Capacity

CSUN is a medium sized producer of solar panels and in 2016 claimed to have a production capacity of 1.3 gigawatts of solar panels per year and to have sold a total of over 3 gigawatts of panels. They also said they had sold over 4 gigawatts in total of solar products. By solar products, I assume they mean solar panels plus silicon wafers or solar cells sold to other companies.

In comparison, Jinko Solar, the world’s largest current producer of panels in 2016, produced an estimated 6.5 to 6.6 gigawatts of solar panels that year.

Company History

CSUN was founded in 2004 and started its first solar cell production line in 2005. They expanded rapidly and In 2007 they were listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. By 2012 their module production capacity hit 1.2 gigawatts. This figure does not appear to have increased significantly since then, as the company has experienced major financial problems. As a result, they were delisted from the NASDAQ stock market for having a total share value of less than $15 million US.

Despite their financial difficulties, they were recognized by Bloomberg as being a tier one manufacturer in 2014.

Manufacturing Locations

CSUN produces most of its solar panels in Nanjing and Shanghai in China, but is unusual in having a much larger portion of its production in other countries than most Chinese panel manufacturers.

In 2013 they opened a panel assembly plant that uses imported solar cells in the Tuzla free trade zone in Istanbul, Turkey. Its capacity is apparently 300 megawatts, but so far has mostly operated at well below that. This factory’s location allows it to avoid Europe’s punitive import tariffs on Chinese made panels.

In 2014 they opened a 200 megawatt solar cell manufacturing plant in South Korea.

In 2015 they opened a panel manufacturing plant in Vietnam which sells panels under the sub-brand SolarieViet. These panels apparently have a 12 year product warranty and 25 year performance warranty. As this is their newest and presumably most up to date production facility, it may explain why feel confident enough to offer a 12 year product warranty rather than their standard 10 year product warranty, despite the fact that it’s not heavily automated.

CSUN Panels

Currently CSUN only has a single line of standard sized, 60 cell panels on their website, which are the type most likely to be installed on Australian roofs. These panels are from 280 to 290 watts and their efficiencies are moderately high, ranging from 17.2% to 17.9%.

They are corrosion resistant so they are suitable for installation in coastal areas.

CSUN’S Future

CSUN’s financial position was likely to have been the second worst of all major panel manufacturers in 2016. This puts the company at considerable risk of going under as a result of the fall in solar panel prices that is currently occurring currently.

This article on its first quarter financial report in 2015, and this one written a month later correctly advising investors to get out, give an indication of the problems the company experienced and is still suffering from.

But while the Chinese government is happy for smaller solar panel producers to disappear or be absorbed by more successful companies, they appear happy to allow larger companies that make it to tier one status to continue on life support for a long time. This is far from a guarantee that CSUN will survive, but does probably mean it has a chance of still being around in 10 years time.

My Recommendation

CSUN's panels were tier one, which means large financial institutions trusted them to be reliable when used for large scale solar farms.  They should still be reliable now.  Because CSUN has demonstrated they can make durable panels, if my goal was to get low cost but reliable panels I would be fine with installing CSUN panels on my roof, provided the price was right.  This would be the case even if I suspected CSUN wouldn't be around in the future to honour their warranties, because the chance of my needing their warranty should be small.

Rating Comments Name State Postcode
Right in the middle of a heatwave at the moment and pretty much able to run my aircon and fans at no charge during the hot hours, and without the heatwave, dishwasher, drier fridge pretty much no cost during the daylight hours.
Bought From: Halcol Energy Review Date: 13 June 2016
Karl QLD 4550
Panels have been working consistently all year with equal power generation from each one, observable online via the APS monitoring system 24/7. Self-cleaning in rainy conditions (had plenty of those!) and they generate power from dawn to dusk despite being flush-fitted to a NW facing colourbond roof with a 10 degree slope. Even on cloudy days they are still producing power, albeit in noticeably smaller amounts.
Bought From: Sunny Afternoons Review Date: 31 March 2016
Alan NSW 2539

Bought From: Halcol Energy Review Date: 3 December 2015
Russell QLD 4563

Bought From: Halcol Energy Review Date: 17 November 2015
Kevin QLD 4031
Have performed over and above the figure that was initially projected
Bought From: Halcol Energy Review Date: 7 June 2015
Stuart QLD 4565
The panels preform very well. The only issue was just recently during heavy rain. Water had entered the DC isolation switch causing problems and fault in the system. The SolaX monitoring system was quick to sent me an email to tell me there was a fault. Contacted the repair agent and they where there that day to shut the system down to avoid any damage and che k an repaired the system in 3 days. They used a different type switch and repositioned it to keep it out of the weather. Apparently there quite a few system around town with the same issue with the DC isolation switch. System is all good and running normal.
Bought From: True North Solar Review Date: 19 August 2015
Michael QLD 4812

Bought From: Halcol Energy Review Date: 22 February 2015
Lars QLD 4556

Bought From: Halcol Energy Review Date: 18 November 2014
Neil QLD 4034
We have not had any problems. The panels seem to be performing OK.
Bought From: Green and Gold Solar Australia Review Date: 22 January 2015
Michael QLD 4506

Bought From: Halcol Energy Review Date: 4 April 2014
Brian QLD 4018

Bought From: True North Solar Review Date: 1 March 2012
Robert QLD 4815

Bought From: Halcol Energy Review Date: 10 March 2012
Neil QLD 4655

Bought From: Auzion Review Date: 4 March 2011
Barry QLD 4573

Bought From: True Value Solar Review Date: 8 March 2011
Ricky WA 6153

Bought From: Halcol Energy Review Date: 27 October 2011
Michael QLD 4575

Bought From: Solar Save Review Date: 31 May 2011
Pat QLD 4216

Bought From: BTS Energy Review Date: 9 July 2011
Lyn NSW 2082
no trouble so far
Bought From: Glen Clark and Co Review Date: 21 August 2010
George VIC 3135

CSUN has 67 solar panels in our database

Model Type Size PTC Performance Ratio Californian Approved
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