Can We Trust Solar Energy Panels From China?

With China being in the news for toy’s being coated with lead paint and other controversial issues with quality control it is quite normal to have concerns with their products and whether their solar panels will work for as long as they say it will or will there be any unexpected defects? So how do you know whether you’re buying the right product or not?

The typical factors apply:
1) Have they been around for more than 10 years?
Answer: Yes
2) Do they have warranties on the performance of their products?
Answer: Yes
3) Are they certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) /International Electrochemical Commission (IEC)?
Answer: Yes

Table of a few Solar Energy Panel brands that are available in Australia:

QSETRINACONERGY PP220MBP SOLARSUNPOWER-SPRCEEGSUNTECH
Country of OriginChinaChinaGermanyChinaPhilippinesChinaChina
Performance Warranty25252525252525
Manufacturers Warranty7551075
Production Capacity*36MW/year700MW/year50MW/year300 MW/year90 MW/year380 MW/year2GW/year

*The production capacity of these companies has been gathered from their individual websites.

As mentioned above most of these companies have been in business for over 10 years and have developed high standards of quality control and have been accredited by the respective ISO and IEC standards, the same organization that creates the quality control standards for almost all the other products in our homes.

Furthermore, to ease the fears of the consumers the manufacturers have decided to stand by their products with warranties that, if compared to other products that require the same amount of capital investment, should communicate clearly that these companies are putting in the effort upfront to make sure things don’t go wrong down the road.

Unfortunately there will be incidents similar to other industries where due to unexpected and unforeseeable circumstances things will go wrong, in which case the only form of protection left for the consumer is to thoroughly understand the terms and the conditions of the warranty when choosing a respective company to install a solar panel on your roof.

Another crucial element of installing solar panels on your property is the inverter/storage mechanism you purchase. Why this part of the system is critical, shall be answered in an article soon to come to the SolarChoice blog-site. If you have any specific questions regarding the choice of inverter/storage, or regarding the warranties, feel free to post them here and we will get back to you about them and/or include them in the next article.

Below, is a link to the IEC/ISO Photovoltaic Standards:

http://www.pvresources.com/en/standards.php

Written by Prateek Chourdia

MEngSc – Photovoltaics and Solar Energy, UNSW

Solar Energy Analyst

Solar Choice

© 2010 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Comments

  1. Has anyone had any bad reports about 250w Hareon panels , i am looking at a 20 panel system with SMA inverter and Hareon panels

  2. Have you any experience with the Tianhua brand of 190W solar panel?
    I’m looking at a system from Queensland Solar Systems that has 10 X 190W panels with a 2KW inverter for $3,597 (installed), and just wanted some advice on the product and the relative value of the deal.
    Cheers

    1. Hello Peter,
      You can find a list of solar panels that are currently approved by the Clean Energy Council of Australia here. You can also find a similar list of approved inverters.

  3. I am looking at 12 panel grid connect system at 170 watts per panel. The total system rating is 2040watts and the inverter recommended is PVI-2000-OUTD. The spec indicated the “High Overload capacity is 2000watts under most ambient conditions” The inverter is total solid state with heat sink (no fan). Will this inverter cope or should I go for a higher rate inverter with in fan cooling?

    1. Yes, you should go for a higher rated inverter. It should come with fan cooling, if it doesn’t it would be ideal to find a model with one because you don’t want to loose on system efficiencies when you are generating at peak capacity.

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