Winaico Solar Panels: An Independent Review by Solar Choice

Winaico Solar panels review

Overview of Winaico – Company History

Winaico was founded in 2008 and has expanded firstly into europe, and in 2012 opened offices in the US, Australian and Japanese markets.  Winaico is one of the few family-owned businesses in the solar panel manufacturing industry with a strong ethos of delivering premium quality solutions. Winaico’s sole manufacturing facility is located in Taiwan with a small annual production capacity of 180MW.

In contrast to most solar panel manufacturers, Winaico do not distribute their products via wholesalers. Winaico have established direct relationships with solar installation companies to lower intermediary costs. As a result the company has developed a list of ‘authorised installers’ across Australia who ensure that the panels are installed correctly and understand the benefits the panels have to offer.

Despite not featuring the PV Evolution Labs top performers list, Winaico panels were awarded with the “Top PV Brand” seal by EuPD Research in Germany in 2018.

 

Key Indicators

Winaico Group Solar Panels
Bloomberg Tier 1 Ranking No
PV Evolution Labs Top Performer No
Office location in Australia Yes


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 the company. This should give you an idea if the company is a large, well-known manufacturer. Despite Winaico’s absence from this tier 1 list, they are well-known in the industry as a high-quality performer. Bloomberg’s assessment criteria is not public, so we cannot comment on why Winaico has appeared on previous tier 1 lists but not in the latest Q2 2020 list.

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.

Winaico were not included on the most recent PV Evolution Labs report.

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. Winaico currently has an office located in Sydney.

 

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How Much Do Winaico 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 Winaico Solar Panels
  • Installation from a pre-vetted reputable installer from Solar Choice’s network
  • The STC rebate and GST
System Size Average Fully Installed Cost
6kW $7,000
8KW $9,500
10kW $11,000

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

Winaico Solar Panels – Points of Difference

winaico solar panel monocrystalline Winaico have 4 series of panels which they currently sell into the Australian market with efficiency rating from a fairly low 17.13% (WST-P6) to an impressive 20.62% for their latest Gemini Series.

With the exception of the older WST-P6 series, all Winaico’s Australian panels feature the aesthetically pleasing black aluminium frame. The frame also features patented drainage holes which help reduce dirt and water build up around the edges of the panel.

 

Quality Testing

Winaico strive to be ahead of the pack on the performance of their panels. One way they attempt to differentiate the production process is through the examination of all solar cells with a ‘electroluminescence test’. Effectively they take an X-ray image of the solar module which helps identify defects such as micro-cracks or hotspots that might not be visible to the naked eye. These practices are starting to be adopted by most of the tier 1 panel manufacturers.

Winaico also claim on the data sheets that their own testing demonstrates that their panels perform over the times the IEC standard for Thermal Cycling and Damp Heat tests. This is encouraging to see, but would be better to see these tests performed by an independent third party.

Winaico solar panel tests IEC standards

Winaico Solar Panels have also been installed at Desert Knowledge in Alice Spring in 2012. The electricity generation is published on their website for anyone to review. Although the project has received some criticism for its methodology, the Winaico panels are amost some of the top performers.

 

Two Years Free Insurance

Some customers are able to access two years of free insurance from Willis Towers Watson when purchasing Winaico solar panels. The insurance policy covers against losses due to material damage, interruption of service or reduced yield. This could offer good value for projects relying heavily on solar power such as off-grid projects.

To our knowledge no other solar panel manufacturer offers complimentary insurance.

 

Winaico Offers 25 Year Product and Performance Warranty

Winaico offer a longer 15-year manufacturer’s or product warranty which is extendable up to 25 years upon registration online (as of 1st of July 2020). This makes Winaico solar panels suitable for those customers who want to put a system on the roof with no concerns of the durability and reliability through an expected life of 25 years.

The 25-year linear performance warranty for most of their panels is on par with most other manufacturers and ensures an output of at least 97 % of rated performance in the first year and an annual power degradation no more than 0.7 % in the following 24 years. However the Gemini series features 98% in the first year and 0.53% p.a. for the subsequent 24 years offering some benefits towards the back end of the panels lifetime.

 The service record is where Winaico rises above the crowd to be considered one of the most trusted manufacturers on the market. The service in the event of a fault is very fast and Winaico claim to have had only 16 recorded panel failures out of the 250,000 panels distributed around Australia in the last 7 years.

 

 

Full Range of Solar Modules Available in Australia

The majority of Winaico’s solar panels are approved by the Clean Energy Council (under the parent company Win Win Precision Technology Co Ltd) for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which is Australia’s home solar rebate program.

These include the following models:

 

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Winaico Solar Panel Specifications

WSP-340MX, MONO WST-330M6
Cell Number 60 Cells 60 Cells
Cell Type Monocrystalline Silicon Cells, 161.7 mm x 161.7 mm Monocrystalline Silicon Cells, 158.75 mm x 158.75 mm
Power Output 340Wp 330Wp
Nominal Operating Voltage 32.85V 31.48V
Power Density 262 W/m² 237 W/m²
Panel Efficiency 19.4% 19.84%
Annual Power Degradation 0.7% 0.7%
Dimensions 1,705 mm x 1,028 mm x 35 mm 1,665 mm x 999 mm x 35 mm
Weight 20.6 kg 18.6 kg
Warranty 15 Years 15 Years
Operational Temperature Range -40°C to 85°C

 

-40°C to 85°C

 

Made in Taiwan Taiwan

  

Summary

Winaico may not be as famous as other high-quality brands but it does have a very solid reputation for quality and reliability which is backed by proven real world performance. Winaico has been very consistent as well with little or no failures or control issues. Like all quality solar products, Winaico do come at a higher price than much of the competition but paying slightly more is worth it for the longer-term gains and peace of mind.

 

Example of a Winaico Commercial Solar Project – Royal Dekker Roof Top System

  • Date: Q2, 2017
  • Winaico Model: WST‐260P6
  • Type of Application: Supplier
  • System Size: 9.3 MWp

 

WINAICO, a subsidiary of Taiwan’s biggest solar module manufacturer Win Win Precision Technology Co, Ltd., has – as already reported in July last year – received the order to provide Holland’s largest roof-top system with solar modules.

The photovoltaic system, consisting of more than 35.000 WINAICO solar modules WST-260P6, is spread over 26 roofs. With a total output of 9.3 MWp on a roof area of more than 155.000 square meters, the solar plant is Holland’s largest roof-top system. The project is carried out by the Dutch company Royal Dekker together with other system suppliers and installation partners.

9.3MW install in holland royal dekker
Read more product reviews from Solar Choice
 

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