JA Solar solar panels review
Overall Rating From 24 Reviews:
JA Solar is a Chinese company that that is one of the largest manufacturers of solar panels in the world. They produce tier 1 solar panels that carry a 10 year product warranty, which is standard for the industry. They have an Australian office located in Newcastle which means there are people in the country you can contact in case you have a problem. As their panels are salt mist corrosion resistant they are suitable for installation anywhere in Australia.
JA Solar Is Pushing For Position Of Planet's Most Prolific PV Panel Producer
In 2015 JA Solar produced 3.7 gigawatts of solar panels, which made them the 4th largest manufacturer in the world, behind Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, and Jinko Solar. In 2016 they claim they will ship around 5.4 gigawatts of solar panels. This is likely to put them in 4th place again.
JA Solar Production Facilities
The bulk of JA solar's manufacturing capacity consists of 6 factories in China. Four near the giant metropolis of Shanghai and 2 in the vast Beijing conurbation. They also have a 400 megawatt facility in Malaysia, which is handy for avoiding US tariffs on Chinese made panels, and they have a 200 megawatt assembly plant in Port Elizabeth in South Africa to comply with that country's domestic content rules.
JA Solar Panels
JA claims their JAM6 panels are the best selling monocrystalline panels in the world. This may or may not be true, but they have a picture of a little smiling robot as tall as the panel giving them the thumbs up and if a grinning metal homunculus doesn't fill you with confidence, I don't know what will.
Their 270 watt JAM6 panels have an efficiency of 16.5% and, unlike some solar panel manufacturers, they don't cheat by not including the frame in the efficiency calculation.
48 Cell Modules - Smaller Than The Average Panel
Some people have difficulty arranging normal sized solar panels on their roofs and so JA Solar's 48 cell panels may be of use to them. They are up to 17.9% efficient, which is considerably above the average in 2016 of around 16%, while being at least 33cm shorter than most panels. This smaller size may allow some people to better arrange their solar panels and potentially let them fit a greater total capacity of solar PV on their roofs.
JA Solar's Bankability
As we saw back in 2008, independent surveys of companies’ financial health are a vital part of completely failing to prevent economic disasters.
In order to further improve our ability to fail to avoid economic disasters, each year Bloomberg News Energy Finance performs a survey to estimate the financial health of solar manufacturers. This is done by basically determining how likely lenders would be to accept a solar farm using a particular manufacturer's modules as collateral for a loan.
In 2014 JA Solar came 3rd out of 11 companies on this measure of bankability. And in 2016 they came 6th out of 15 countries putting them into the top 40% of all those surveyed, which was better than the company immediately behind them that was only in the top 47%.
JA Solar claims their debt to asset ratio is 64%. This means their company is worth more than they own, which is always a good sign in a business where it is basically impossible to get a long term advantage over the competition.
Hemlock's Poison Chalice
JA Solar has a liability in the form of Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation, the largest producer of polysilicon in the the USA, attempting to sue them for over $1 billion for allegedly not fulfilling an agreement to buy silicon from them. They have been trying to sue them since 2011 but apparently JA Solar hasn't been making it easy. The amount they are being sued for is very roughly equal to JA Solar’s net value.
JA's Robot Mascot Gives Me The Creeps
In general, I have nothing against robots. Some of my best friends are 'bots. I regard them as hard working members of society just the same as the chair that is supporting me, my microwave oven, my automatic enchilada maker, or my ninth grade Geography teacher.
JA Solar's robot is just wrong. It has solar cells in its face. That makes no sense at all. Yes, my energy enters my body through my face, but that's because I'm a human and 600 million years ago some worm decided to split the tasks of eating and excreting between two different holes. And thank god for that.
But robots are designed. They didn't come about through random worms deciding to no longer poop out of their faces. We made that robot and we made it so the only way it can get full power from its solar cells is to stare at the sun. And that is just stupid.
STVC Solar Scorecard
Each year the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (STVC) 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.
But regardless of how good or bad they were, JA Solar's score in 2013 stank with a total of 8 out of a possible 100. In 2014 their score was marginally less smelly with 10 out of 100. But in 2015 they hurled themselves up the scoreboard and nabbed a score of 77 out of 100.
I don’t know how they managed that. Maybe JA Solar hired one of those coaches from a Disney sports movie who somehow manages to turn everything around despite being a doofus?.
I Am Fine With Recommending JA Solar Panels
JA Solar panels are reliable and cost effective. They have slipped a little on bankability scores, but it is not really possible to draw any firm conclusions from that about how likely they are to remain in existence as a company. The fact they are tier 1 indicates they are considered to be a reliable manufacturer that will probably stick around.
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 7 May 2016
Bought From: Green Energy Options Review Date: 10 October 2015
Bought From: Clean NRG Pty Ltd Review Date: 7 June 2015
Bought From: Solaray Energy Pty Ltd Review Date: 3 June 2015
Bought From: Clean NRG Pty Ltd Review Date: 3 June 2015
|Panels are 8x265watt and look nice enough on the roof. However this 2.1kilowatt installation never generates any more than 1.8Kw.
Bought From: Energy Australia Review Date: 19 March 2015
|We make sure that we keep them clean
Bought From: Solar Australia Review Date: 22 April 2015
Bought From: Clean NRG Pty Ltd Review Date: 31 March 2015
|Very low profile, can barely see them on my shed roof.
Bought From: Country Solar NT Review Date: 25 March 2015
Bought From: Metro Solar Review Date: 13 March 2015
Bought From: Griffin Solar Review Date: 8 March 2015
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 8 February 2015
|I think it's still a bit too early to make an informed judgement. I think a survey at two or three years would be better; but so far so good!
Bought From: Clean NRG Pty Ltd Review Date: 7 February 2015
Bought From: Metro Solar Review Date: 6 March 2015
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 2 January 2015
Bought From: Metro Solar Review Date: 29 June 2014
|I purchased a 5kW system and it has performed well to date.
The summer heat sees production max out around 36kW per day.
Bought From: Solar Australia Review Date: 16 June 2014
Bought From: AGL Solar Review Date: 25 February 2012
|They are working very well and cutting our power bill down considerably each year we have had it..
Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 6 April 2012
|22 J A panels @ 225w per panel 5 kw in total
Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 16 April 2012
Bought From: Country Solar Review Date: 11 August 2011
|Difficult to assess performance over last 12 months as we have had a lot of cloud cover.
Bought From: Solar Newcastle Review Date: 2 September 2011
|No apparent problems. Production seems good and reliable.
Bought From: Solar Newcastle Review Date: 19 October 2010
Bought From: Solar Newcastle Review Date: 11 November 2010
JA Solar has 138 solar panels in our database
|Model||Type||Size||PTC||Performance Ratio||Californian Approved|