Opal Solar solar panels review
Overall Rating From 3 Reviews:
Opal Solar Panels
Opal is a popular brand of solar panel in Australia. They are manufactured in China and supplied by the Australian company Solarjuice. They come with a 12 year product warranty, which is above the current industry standard of 10 years, and have a 25 year performance warranty. They are very competitively priced for panels with an above average product warranty.
Technically they are not tier one panels, but they are almost certainly tier one panels in Australian clothing. That is, they are quality panels produced by the Chinese tier one manufacturer, Risen, and rebranded as Opal panels.
The Australian Solar Council States Opal Panels Are Positive Quality
The Australian Solar Council tests solar panels for quality at their point of manufacture and Opal panels are one of the few they class as having Positive Quality. The others are Jinko, Perlight, and of course Risen.
In My Opinion Opal Panels Are As Reliable As Tier One Panels
Normally my advice to people buying rooftop solar is to go with a tier one panel to be confident of getting a product that has proven itself to be reliable. At today’s low prices it is simply not worth going with an unknown quality to save a paltry amount of money.
But Opal panels are not an unknown quality. As far as I am aware, they have overall performed very well and are supported by an established and reliable Australian based company. I don’t believe Opal panels differ in quality from the tier one panels Risen produces and I regard them as good an investment. I guess I could say I give them honorary tier one status.
Because Solarjuice is the importer of Opal panels, they are responsible for the warranty that is offered and not Risen. As far as Australian households are concerned, the buck stops with Solarjuice.
The Solarjuice Company
Solarjuice is a large Australian solar hardware distributor that was founded in 2009. They supply solar panels, inverters, LG Chem Resu battery systems, and other equipment to solar installers. Their head office is in Wetherill Park in Sydney.
So Why Not Just Buy Risen Panels?
If they are produced by Risen and appear to be of similar quality to their other panels, then why not just buy Risen panels? Well, it basically comes down to who you would prefer to be on the hook for the warranty. A Chinese owned company that’s all the way off in China or a Chinese owned company based in Australia that, so far, has demonstrated a commitment to providing customer service.
Solarjuice Is A Little Confused Over What Tier One Means
One their website, Solarjuice states:
“OPAL Solar is a premium Tier 1 product on the basis of the local support, independent quality control, independent factory acceptance testing and technical support in Australia.”
Well, that’s nice, but that’s not actually what determines if a panel is tier one. It is determined by whether or not large banks regard a brand of panels as being reliable enough to lend money to large projects that use them. If Solarjuice wants to convince me they’re tier one they should include some financial information.
Opal Panel Details
Opal panels are up to 16.3% efficient and are corrosion resistant, which makes them suitable for installation near the sea. When used with Antaisolar racking they are suitable for installation in cyclone areas.
One drawback of Opal panels is they don’t tolerate heat as well as the average panel. Their Temperature Coefficient of Pmax is -0.45% while the average is around is around -0.4%. This means their efficiency will be reduced by around 0.45% for each degree Celsius the panel is above 25 degrees. So on a hot day when panels might be 65 degrees the average panel would have its efficiency reduced by around 16% while Opal panels will have theirs reduced by around 18%. This is not a major problem and can be compensated for by installing a panel capacity that is greater than the solar inverter capacity.
The datasheet for Opal solar panels can be downloaded here.
Opal Panel Prices Are Competitive
Currently in November 2016 Opal panels are selling a cost per watt that is not much higher than those of Jinko Solar, which is usually the price leader for tier one panels. But Opal has the advantage of having a 12 year product warranty that is backed by a company based in Australia rather than a 10 year product warranty backed by a company based in China.
Of course, just which company is most likely to still be around in 10 years time is something you’ll have to decide for yourself. I suspect they’ll both be around. But sometimes companies I think will exist for decades crash and burn and not even people who are paid large amounts of money to do nothing but check company finances always spot these things in time.
Opal panels are produced by the tier one manufacturer Risen and I regard them to be as reliable as any of their other panels. For this reason I would have no problem installing them on my roof. If you would prefer the manufacturer’s warranty to be backed by an Australian based company rather than an overseas one, then Opal panels should be an excellent choice for you.
Opal Solar has 1 solar panel in our database
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