Solarwatt Solar Panels: An Independent Review by Solar Choice

solarwatt logo

Overview of Solarwatt – Company History

Solarwatt Head office in dresdenSolarwatt is a German company founded originally in 1993 and is still headquarted in Dresden. The business has expanded over the last 25 years now employing over 460 people globally across offices in Germany, France, Australia, Netherlands, Italy and Spain. The majority of the shares in the group are owned by Stefan Quandt who also owns a majority stake in BMW.

Solarwatt are known for their innovations with glass on glass Solar Panels introducing the world’s first in 1998. They also released the first 300W glass on glass panel to the marketing 2016.

In 2016 Solarwatt acquired e-Wolf and extended their product range into the battery storage systems. Solarwatt have won the EES Award in 2015 and 2017 for their MyReserve battery storage system.

Key Indicators

Solarwatt Solar Panels
Bloomberg Tier 1 RankingNo
PV Evolution Labs Top PerformerNo
Office location in AustraliaYes

What is a Bloomberg Tier 1 Solar Panel?

Bloomberg’s infamous tier 1 ranking is NOT a measure of Solar Panel quality in any way. It is simply an indication of the bankability of the manufacturer based on publicly released information on the financial health of the company. This should give you an idea if the company is a large, well-known manufacturer.

See full list of Bloomberg Tier 1 Solar Panels

What is PV Evolution Labs Top Performer?

PV Evolution Labs with support from DNV GL independently test solar panel reliability. The tests are voluntary, with solar panel manufacturers paying to participate in the testing. This testing process is internationally renowned and is an accurate reflection of the solar panel’s performance.

See full list of PV Evolution Labs Top Performing Solar Panels

Why is office location in Australia Important?

Most solar panel manufacturers entering the Australian market first set up their distribution channels and worry about customer service later. This has led to many unhappy customers who are left trying to contact Chinese head offices to claim on their 10-year product warranty.

Relying on your solar installer is not always an option as since 2011 we’ve seen over 700 residential solar installers (including the large ones) go out of business well within the lifetime of the systems they are installing. 

Solarwatt currently has an office located in Riverwood, NSW.

How much do Solarwatt Solar Panels cost?

Based on Solar Choice’s database we have provided the below-average costs as an indicative guide. These prices include:

  • Full turnkey Solar System with Solarwatt Solar Panels
  • Installation from a pre-vetted reputable installer from Solar Choice’s network
  • The STC rebate and GST
System SizeAverage Fully Installed Cost
10kW$12,950
8KW$10,480
6kW$7,602

 Important Note: Prices will vary depending on location, inverter brand and which installer is used

 

Compare quotes from up to 7 installers in your area now.

 

Solarwatt Solar Panel Technologies

Solarwatt Vision 60M solar panelAll the panels they currently sell in Australia are salt mist corrosion-resistant and suitable for installation in any location.
Currently, Solarwatt offers the most popular panels are from the collection of Vision 60M in Australia, with one of the highest efficiency and longest warranty periods in the industry.

Solar Panels available in Australia:

Vision 60M Mono 60 cells 315-320W

Vision 60M style Mono 60 cells 300-320W

Solarwatt efficiency

Solar panel efficiency is the ability of cells to convert solar energy into electricity. The higher the panel’s efficiency, the more power output generated by the solar panel. So a higher panel efficiency will be one of the main features to rate the quality.

Solarwatt’s product line in Australia have efficiencies varying from 19% to 20% matching some of the top-of-the-range solar panel modules available in Australia.

Solarwatt’s Industry Leading 30/30 Warranty

Solar panels come with a product and performance warranty. The product warranty is designed to cover manufacturing faults in the panel that leads to damage or malfunction and is typically 10 years for most solar panel manufacturers. Solarwatt’s product warranty is 30 years and is the longest product warranty currently on offer in Australia.

The performance warranty guarantees a certain level of output for the lifetime of the panel – typically guaranteeing 80-82% of the nameplate output after 25 years. The Solarwatt solar panels come with a maximum degradation rate of 3% in the first year and 0.345% per year thereafter, leading to a 30 year guarantee of 87% of the nameplate Watt rating. This is an impressive lead over most of their competition.

Read more about Solarwatt’s warranty terms and conditions.

 

Comparison of Solarwatt Solar Panel Specifications (common modules)

Vision 60M 320W

AZ-TDB-PMS-1707

Vision 60M Style 315W

AZ-TDB-PMS-1581

Cell Number60 Cells60 Cells
Cell TypeMonocrystallineMonocrystalline
Power Output320315
Nominal Power Voltage32.7V33.0V
Panel Efficiency19.4%19.1%
Annual Power Degradation0.345% 0.345%
Dimensions1680 × 990 × 40 mm1680 × 990 × 40 mm
Weight22.8kg22.8kg
Product Warranty30 Years30 Years
Operational Temperature Range−40 °C to 85 °C−40 °C to 85 °C
Made inGermanyGermany

So, Should I Buy Solarwatt Solar Panels?

Solarwatt’s solar panels are one of the highest quality solar panels on the Australian market. A fair case could be made that they are the best. In particular, their market-leading 30-year product and performance warranty is a significant leap beyond most tier 1 panels.

Solarwatt are not as big as some of the other Solar Panel manufacturers and have not made it onto Bloomberg’s tier 1 list for bankability. As a boutique high-end solar panel manufacturer, they look to be stable as they are majority owned by Stefan Quandt who is said to be worth $18billion as one of Germany’s richest persons.

In Solar Choice’s opinion, you can’t go wrong with Solarwatt panels.

 

Example of a Solarwatt Commercial Project – BMW World (Munich, Germany)

  • Completion: 2007
  • Type of Application: Commercial
  • System Size: 823 MWp

Solarwatt solar panels were used on a giant installation on a BMW building in Germany over 12 years ago. The installation features 3,660 solar panels, which were integrated directly into the roof structure instead of conventional installation using aluminium racking. The surface has a slight three-dimensional curve and the unframed modules have mono cells and black background foil.

The plant has been in operation since 2007 and produces approximately 800MWh per year offsetting around 500 tons of CO2.

solarwatt project