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JA Solar solar panels review

Overall Rating From 51 Reviews:

JA Solar solar panels review

Average Customer Rating:
( 4.35 / 5 )

Tier 1

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

JA Solar states it has shipped 29 gigawatts of solar panels (cumulative). In early 2018, it was named the fourth largest manufacturer in the world, behind JinkoSolar, Trina Solar and Canadian Solar respectively.

JA Solar Production Facilities

The bulk of JA solar's manufacturing capacity consists of 9 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 Vietnam.

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.

JA Solar Is No Longer Being Sued By Hemlock

Hemlock, an oddly named US silicon producer, was attempting to sue JA Solar for close to one billion US dollars, but the two companies have arrived at a settlement.  It is not known how much JA Solar will have to shell out as a result, but it is sure to be less than one billion dollars. 

The dispute arose after JA Solar had agreed to purchase $103.5 million US worth of silicon from Hemlock and decided not to do that after silicon prices fell and they could get it more cheaply elsewhere.  Rather than sue them for US $103.5 million for breaking their promise and screwing them over, Hemlock decided to sue for almost one billion US dollars instead, because of optimism, I guess. 

JA Solar Goes Private

In July 2018, the company announced the completion of its merger with JASO Acquisition Limited and that it had ceased to be a publicly traded company.

JA's Robot Mascot Gives Me The Creeps

ja solar's mascotIn 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.

* Update: It appears the creepy little robot mascot is no more.

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?.

However, in the 2016-17 scorecard, the company's score dived again, to 37.

I Am Fine With Recommending JA Solar Panels

JA Solar panels are reliable and cost effective. While they had dropped  a little on bankability scores in the past, 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.

Rating Comments Name State Postcode

Bought From: LG Energy Review Date: 19 August 2018
Gary NSW 2566

Bought From: Technaus Solar Review Date: 12 July 2018
Steven WA 6225
Works great
Bought From: Essential Solar Review Date: 8 July 2018
James VIC 3431

Bought From: Energy Assist Group Pty Ltd Review Date: 10 June 2018
Clive VIC 3175

Bought From: Power Saving Centre Canberra Review Date: 6 June 2018
Martin NSW 2620

Bought From: Solar Wholesalers Review Date: 7 May 2018
Neil SA 5353
Hard to evaluate, but given the results (below) they must be pretty good.
Bought From: Technaus Solar Review Date: 1 May 2018
Steve WA 6210

Bought From: Living Energy Solutions Review Date: 19 April 2018
Ashley SA 5070

Bought From: Class A Energy Solutions Review Date: 9 April 2018
Phillip SA 5042
We have the JA Solar 290W smart panels. They seem really good though I think the highest number I've seen on them right in the middle of summer was about 270W. Maybe that's to be expected. There have been a few errors where 1 panel or sections of panels seem to fritz out on really hot days but I am not sure if these are related to the above mentioned High AC voltage error restarts. Once I get that fully resolved I hope I will be in a better position to gauge if there is an actual issue with the panels or cabling.
Bought From: Energy Assist Group Pty Ltd Review Date: 19 March 2018
Martin VIC 3131

Bought From: Energy Assist Group Pty Ltd Review Date: 5 March 2018
Brian VIC 3793

Bought From: Kozco Energy Group Review Date: 12 February 2018
Anon SA 5163

Bought From: Energus Pty Ltd Review Date: 6 February 2018
Peter NSW 2758
Again, have nothing to compare them with.
Bought From: Essential Solar Review Date: 29 December 2017
Graham VIC 3757

Bought From: Energy Assist Group Pty Ltd Review Date: 28 December 2017
Wee Liam VIC 3150
Small but consistent lower peak output on hotter days - ~3.9 vs 4+ kW
Bought From: Class A Energy Solutions Review Date: 24 December 2017
Ken SA 5093

Bought From: Solar WA Review Date: 7 December 2017
Helen WA 6052
As above - I'm not really competent to assess the performance of the panels - they work.
Bought From: Essential Solar Review Date: 4 December 2017
Gary VIC 3071
Panels installed North and West sides of roof
Bought From: Essential Solar Review Date: 12 November 2017
Brigitte VIC 3044

Bought From: Technaus Solar Review Date: 6 November 2017
Caleb WA 6147

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 23 October 2017
Sue ACT 2611

Bought From: Class A Energy Solutions Review Date: 19 October 2017
Tony SA 5049
Panels just sitting on the roof as you would expect. No problems and output as expected.
Bought From: Hawking Electrical Energy Solutions Pty Ltd Review Date: 12 October 2017
Malcolm QLD 4209
As far as I can tell they are working correctly.
Bought From: Energy Assist Group Pty Ltd Review Date: 25 September 2017
Peter VIC 3132
I have 22 panels on the roof designed to get sun at all times in the day. These 290w panels have worked flawlessly. Even in winter we are self-sufficient during much of the day (assuming there is enough sun!)
Bought From: Essential Solar Review Date: 6 September 2017
Stephen VIC 3036

Bought From: Goliath Electrical Review Date: 21 June 2017
Ryan SA 5095

Bought From: Green Energy Options Review Date: 31 March 2017
Michael VIC 3216

Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 6 January 2017
Iain NT 850

Bought From: Green Energy Options Review Date: 9 June 2016
Carol VIC 3231

Bought From: Clean NRG Pty Ltd Review Date: 4 February 2016
Paul WA 6150

Bought From: Solaray Energy Pty Ltd Review Date: 4 February 2016
Stephanie NSW 2081

Bought From: Clean NRG Pty Ltd Review Date: 2 February 2016
Ian WA 6061
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: 8 January 2016
Steven NSW 2430
We make sure that we keep them clean
Bought From: Solar Australia Review Date: 22 December 2015
Robert NSW 2330

Bought From: Clean NRG Pty Ltd Review Date: 30 November 2015
Anon WA 6057
Very low profile, can barely see them on my shed roof.
Bought From: Country Solar NT Review Date: 24 November 2015
Shani NT 812

Bought From: Metro Solar Review Date: 15 November 2015
Trevor VIC 3202

Bought From: Griffin Solar Review Date: 8 November 2015
Anon SA 5098

Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 13 October 2015
Max NSW 2586
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: 8 October 2015
Patrick WA 6162

Bought From: Metro Solar Review Date: 24 September 2015
John NSW 2466

Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 7 September 2015
Lester SA 5280

Bought From: Metro Solar Review Date: 5 March 2015
Lynne NSW 2539
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 January 2015
Nerida NSW 2315

Bought From: AGL Solar Review Date: 24 June 2014
Gwyn VIC 3146
They are working very well and cutting our power bill down considerably each year we have had it..
Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 21 May 2014
Thomas WA 6149
22 J A panels @ 225w per panel 5 kw in total
Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 20 May 2014
Dawson WA 6112

Bought From: Country Solar Review Date: 12 September 2012
Linda QLD 4817
Difficult to assess performance over last 12 months as we have had a lot of cloud cover.
Bought From: Solar Australia Review Date: 11 September 2012
Wal NSW 2323
No apparent problems. Production seems good and reliable.
Bought From: Solar Australia Review Date: 7 September 2012
Basil NSW 2320

Bought From: Solar Australia Review Date: 6 September 2012
Michael NSW 2425

JA Solar has 138 solar panels in our database

Model Type Size PTC Performance Ratio Californian Approved
JAM5(L)-72-180/SIMonocrystalline18016289.89Yes
JAM5(L)-72-185/SIMonocrystalline18516689.95Yes
JAM5(L)-72-190/SIMonocrystalline19017190.00Yes
JAM5(L)-72-195/SIMonocrystalline19517690.05Yes
JAM5(R)-72-195Monocrystalline19517690.05Yes
JAM6(R)-60-255Monocrystalline25522788.86Yes
JAM6(R)-60-260Monocrystalline26023188.92Yes
JAM6(R)-72-295Monocrystalline29526589.80Yes
JAM6(R)-72-300Monocrystalline30027089.83Yes
JAM6(R)-72-305Monocrystalline30527188.92Yes
JAM6(R)-72-310Monocrystalline31027688.97Yes
JAM6(R)-72-315Monocrystalline31528088.98Yes
JAM6(SE)-60-235/SIMonocrystalline23521189.66Yes
JAM6(SE)-60-240/SIMonocrystalline24021589.71Yes
JAM6(SE)-60-245/SIMonocrystalline24521888.78Yes
JAM6(SE)-60-250/SIMonocrystalline25022288.84Yes
JAM6(SE)-60-255/SIMonocrystalline25522788.86Yes
JAM6(SE)-60-260/SIMonocrystalline26023188.92Yes
JAM6(SE)-72-285/SIMonocrystalline28525689.72Yes
JAM6(SE)-72-290/SIMonocrystalline29026089.76Yes
JAM6(SE)-72-295/SIMonocrystalline29526589.80Yes
JAM6(SE)-72-300/SIMonocrystalline30027089.83Yes
JAM6(SE)-72-305/SIMonocrystalline30527188.92Yes
JAM6(SE)-72-310/SIMonocrystalline31027688.97Yes
JAM6(SE)-72-315/SIMonocrystalline31528088.98Yes
JAM6-60-200Monocrystalline20017989.30Yes
JAM6-60-200/3BBMonocrystalline20017989.30Yes
JAM6-60-205Monocrystalline20518389.37Yes
JAM6-60-205/3BBMonocrystalline20518389.37Yes
JAM6-60-210Monocrystalline21018889.43Yes
JAM6-60-210/3BBMonocrystalline21018889.43Yes
JAM6-60-215Monocrystalline21519289.49Yes
JAM6-60-215/3BBMonocrystalline21519289.49Yes
JAM6-60-220Monocrystalline22019789.55Yes
JAM6-60-220/3BBMonocrystalline22019789.55Yes
JAM6-60-225Monocrystalline22520289.56Yes
JAM6-60-225/3BBMonocrystalline22520289.56Yes
JAM6-60-230Monocrystalline23020689.61Yes
JAM6-60-230/3BBMonocrystalline23020689.61Yes
JAM6-60-235Monocrystalline23521189.66Yes
JAM6-60-235/3BBMonocrystalline23521189.66Yes
JAM6-60-235/SIMonocrystalline23521189.66Yes
JAM6-60-240Monocrystalline24021589.71Yes
JAM6-60-240/3BBMonocrystalline24021589.71Yes
JAM6-60-240/SIMonocrystalline24021589.71Yes
JAM6-60-245Monocrystalline24521888.78Yes
JAM6-60-245/3BBMonocrystalline24521888.78Yes
JAM6-60-245/SIMonocrystalline24521888.78Yes
JAM6-60-250Monocrystalline25022288.84Yes
JAM6-60-250/3BBMonocrystalline25022288.84Yes
JAM6-60-250/SIMonocrystalline25022288.84Yes
JAM6-60-255/SIMonocrystalline25522788.86Yes
JAM6-60-260/SIMonocrystalline26023188.92Yes
JAM6-72-255Monocrystalline25522889.45Yes
JAM6-72-260Monocrystalline26023389.50Yes
JAM6-72-265Monocrystalline26523789.55Yes
JAM6-72-270Monocrystalline27024289.59Yes
JAM6-72-275Monocrystalline27524789.64Yes
JAM6-72-280Monocrystalline28025189.68Yes
JAM6-72-285Monocrystalline28525689.72Yes
JAM6-72-285/SIMonocrystalline28525689.72Yes
JAM6-72-290Monocrystalline29026089.76Yes
JAM6-72-290/SIMonocrystalline29026089.76Yes
JAM6-72-295Monocrystalline29526589.80Yes
JAM6-72-295/SIMonocrystalline29526589.80Yes
JAM6-72-300Monocrystalline30027089.83Yes
JAM6-72-300/SIMonocrystalline30027089.83Yes
JAM6-72-305Monocrystalline30527188.92Yes
JAM6-72-305/SIMonocrystalline30527188.92Yes
JAM6-72-310/SIMonocrystalline31027688.97Yes
JAM6-72-315/SIMonocrystalline31528088.98Yes
JAP6-60-200Polycrystalline20017889.05Yes
JAP6-60-200/3BBPolycrystalline20017889.05Yes
JAP6-60-205Polycrystalline20518389.07Yes
JAP6-60-205/3BBPolycrystalline20518389.07Yes
JAP6-60-210Polycrystalline21018789.14Yes
JAP6-60-210/3BBPolycrystalline21018789.14Yes
JAP6-60-215Polycrystalline21519289.21Yes
JAP6-60-215/3BBPolycrystalline21519289.21Yes
JAP6-60-220Polycrystalline22019689.23Yes
JAP6-60-220/3BBPolycrystalline22019689.23Yes
JAP6-60-220/MPPolycrystalline22019689.23Yes
JAP6-60-225Polycrystalline22520189.29Yes
JAP6-60-225/3BBPolycrystalline22520189.29Yes
JAP6-60-225/MPPolycrystalline22520189.29Yes
JAP6-60-230Polycrystalline23020689.35Yes
JAP6-60-230/3BBPolycrystalline23020689.35Yes
JAP6-60-230/MPPolycrystalline23020689.35Yes
JAP6-60-235Polycrystalline23521089.40Yes
JAP6-60-235/3BBPolycrystalline23521089.40Yes
JAP6-60-240Polycrystalline24021589.46Yes
JAP6-60-240/3BBPolycrystalline24021589.46Yes
JAP6-60-245Polycrystalline24521889.10Yes
JAP6-60-245/3BBPolycrystalline24521889.10Yes
JAP6-60-245/MPPolycrystalline24521889.10Yes
JAP6-60-250Polycrystalline25022389.16Yes
JAP6-60-250/3BBPolycrystalline25022389.16Yes
JAP6-60-250/MPPolycrystalline25022389.16Yes
JAP6-60-255Polycrystalline25522889.22Yes
JAP6-60-255/3BBPolycrystalline25522889.22Yes
JAP6-60-260Polycrystalline26023289.27Yes
JAP6-60-260/3BBPolycrystalline26023289.27Yes
JAP6-60-265/3BBPolycrystalline26523789.32Yes
JAP6-72-250Polycrystalline25022389.12Yes
JAP6-72-250/3BBPolycrystalline25022389.12Yes
JAP6-72-255Polycrystalline25522789.18Yes
JAP6-72-255/3BBPolycrystalline25522789.18Yes
JAP6-72-260Polycrystalline26023289.23Yes
JAP6-72-260/3BBPolycrystalline26023289.23Yes
JAP6-72-265Polycrystalline26523789.25Yes
JAP6-72-265/3BBPolycrystalline26523789.25Yes
JAP6-72-270Polycrystalline27024189.30Yes
JAP6-72-270/3BBPolycrystalline27024189.30Yes
JAP6-72-275Polycrystalline27524689.35Yes
JAP6-72-275/3BBPolycrystalline27524689.35Yes
JAP6-72-280Polycrystalline28025089.39Yes
JAP6-72-280/3BBPolycrystalline28025089.39Yes
JAP6-72-280/MPPolycrystalline28025089.39Yes
JAP6-72-285Polycrystalline28525589.44Yes
JAP6-72-285/3BBPolycrystalline28525589.44Yes
JAP6-72-285/MPPolycrystalline28525589.44Yes
JAP6-72-290Polycrystalline29026089.48Yes
JAP6-72-290/3BBPolycrystalline29026089.48Yes
JAP6-72-290/MPPolycrystalline29026089.48Yes
JAP6-72-295Polycrystalline29526489.53Yes
JAP6-72-295/3BBPolycrystalline29526489.53Yes
JAP6-72-295/MPPolycrystalline29526489.53Yes
JAP6-72-300Polycrystalline30027290.57Yes
JAP6-72-300/3BBPolycrystalline30027290.57Yes
JAP6-72-300/MPPolycrystalline30027290.57Yes
JAP6-72-305Polycrystalline30527690.59Yes
JAP6-72-305/3BBPolycrystalline30527690.59Yes
JAP6-72-305/MPPolycrystalline30527690.59Yes
JAP6-72-310Polycrystalline31028190.65Yes
JAP6-72-310/3BBPolycrystalline31028190.65Yes
JAP6-72-310/MPPolycrystalline31028190.65Yes
JAP6-72-315/3BBPolycrystalline31528690.67Yes
JAP6-72-315/MPPolycrystalline31528690.67Yes
JA Solar
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