Suntech Solar Panels- Independent Review

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Overview of Suntech Solar – Company History

Suntech Power was founded in 2001 by Dr Zhengrong Shi who is widely recognised as a pioneer of solar module manufacturing and dubbed as the “sun king” as he became the world’s first solar billionaire in 2006. Since commencing operations in 2001, Suntech has manufactured over 24GW of photovoltaic modules which have been distributed to over 100 countries.

Suntech has developed a strong connection to the Australian market, with research and development projects being run at UNSW, ANU, and Monash University. These connections were enabled as founder and former CEO, Dr Shi obtained his doctorate degree of solar power technology at UNSW prior to founding Suntech.

In 2014 Suntech was acquired by Shunfeng International Clean Energy Limited, a renewable energy investment and independent power company. Suntech has received international recognition, being awarded Top PV Brand by the EuPD Research Institute. This is an illustrious award as EuPD is considered the solar industry’s leading research institute. Suntech has also received rewards from branches of the United Nations for its contribution to environmental protection.

Key Panel Indicators

Suntech Solar Panel
Bloomberg Tier 1 RankingYes
DNV GL Top PerformerYes (2/4)
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.

In the 2020 report, one of Suntech’s modules was ranked as a top performer in heat and humidity tests and thermal cycling.

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 we’ve seen many residential solar installers (including the large ones) go out of business well within the lifetime of the systems they are installing.

Suntech’s Australian head office is located in Chatswood, NSW.

How much do Suntech 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 Suntech Solar Panels
  • Installation from a pre-vetted reputable installer from Solar Choice’s network
  • The STC rebate and GST
System SizeAverage Fully Installed Cost
6kW$5,048
8kW$7,182
10kW$9,339

 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.

 

Model Range Available in Australia

Suntech has 27 different solar panel models listed on their Australian website. The majority of these panel sizes are approved by the Clean Energy Council for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which is Australia’s home solar rebate program.

The below 5 panels are some of the latest Suntech solar panels that are popular in the Australian market.

Residential:

Commerical and Industrial:

 

Suntech Solar Panel Warranties

Typically solar panels in Australia come with a 25 year performance warranty and a minimum 10 year product warranty.

The performance warranty guarantees the amount of energy that a solar panel will provide in certain conditions. These warranties decline over the 25 year period in line with the degradation of the silicon in the panel. Suntech’s HiPro and Superpoly solar panel series output is guaranteed to decline no more than 2.5% in the first year and 0.7% each year thereafter resulting in a minimum of 80.7% after the 25th year. We would consider this to be meeting the industry standard.

Some of Suntech’s newer solar panels such as the HiPower series come with guaranteed slower degradation rate of 2% in the first year and 0.55% thereafter resulting in a minimum of 84.8% after the 25th year. This would be considered higher performing than the majority of solar panels on the market.

The product warranty is more valuable and claimed on more often. It is rare to see a solar panel with less than a minimum of 10 years full replacement warranty. Suntech’s panels range between 12-year to 15-year product warranty depending on model selected which leaves them ahead of most of the cost-effective solar panel range.

Suntech’s warranty policy is also bolstered by the fact the have an Australian office and team where you can make a warranty claim. If your installer doesn’t last the next 15 years then you will be glad you have this option to go to them directly.

Comparison of popular Suntech Solar Panel specs

Suntech Superpoly 300W

STP300-60/Wfh

Suntech HiPro Black Frame 330W

STP330S-A60/Wfhm

Suntech HIPower Mono 450W 

STP450S-B72/Vnh

Cell Number120 Half Cells120 Half Cells144 Half Cells
Cell TypePolycrystallineMono PERCMonocrystalline
Power Output300 Wp330 Wp450 Wp
Nominal Power Voltage32.7 V34.7 V41.4 V
Power Density179.64 W/m²195.27 W/m²206.42 W/m²
Panel Efficiency18.1%19.5%20.7%
Annual Power Degradation0.7%0.7%0.55%
Dimensions1681 x 992 x 35mm

(1.67m²)

1684 x 1002 x 35mm

(1.69m²)

2095 x 1039 x 35mm

(2.18m²)

Weight19.6kg19.0kg24.5kg
Product Warranty 15 years15 years12 years
Performance Warranty25 years25 years25 years
Operational Temperature Range-40°C to 85°C-40°C to 85°C-40°C to 85°C
Made inChinaChinaChina

Example of a Suntech Solar Commercial Solar Project

In 2019, Suntech supplied photovoltaic modules to a floating solar power plant. The plant located in Achern, Germany is currently the largest floating solar power plant in the country with the system totaling 750 kWp. The surface area of the solar power plant covers 2% of a man-made lake, producing an estimated 800,000 kWh of clean renewable energy annually. The solar power plant utilises Suntech’s high-efficiency polycrystalline photovoltaic modules with an IP68 waterproof rating.

Suntech Solar Power Plant Germany

 

 

Jack Boutchard

Writer at Solar Choice
Jack Boutchard

Comments

  1. I’ve been a solar design engineer for almost 2 decades and have been monitoring peak power performance of thousands of PV systems. I have recently purchased 8x Suntech panels for a grid connected system coupled with solaredge hardware.
    The system reaches peak power (STC) more frequently than any other small array I have ever monitored. It holds at peak power +/-10% for relatively long durations.
    Now reaching the array rated capacity o a daily basis is a true win!

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