Akcome solar panels: An Independent Review by Solar Choice

AKCOME Solar panels banner kookaburra series with panel

Overview of Akcome Solar – Company History

Jiangsu Akcome Science and Technology Co., Ltd (Akcome) was founded in China in 2006 and employs over 6,000 people across more than 30 countries worldwide. The company manufactures solar panels (polysilicon and monosilicon) and the mounting structures uses to install panels onto roofs. Akcome have 2 production facilities in China.

The company has been publicly listed on the Chinese Stock Exchange (SZ 002610) since 2010. For the year ending 30th December 2020, Akcome reported a total revenue of 3 billion Chinese Yen and a Net Profit of 600 million after recording a loss of almost 1 billion in the prior year (Yahoo Finance).

Akcome Power Pty Ltd is the Australian subsidiary of the company and was originally registered in Queensland in 2014 with its head office based in Upper Mount Gravatt. They initially participated in the Australian market as an installer participating in a number of local government tenders. They are now looking to sell solar panel modules into the market as well.

 

Key Indicators

Akcome Solar
Bloomberg Tier 1 Ranking Yes
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 of the company. This should give you an idea if the company is a large, well-known manufacturer.

Akcome state that their solar panels are tier 1 listed on their website but Solar Choice has been unable to verify this information.

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 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. 

Akcome Solar currently has an Australian office located in Upper Mount Gravatt, QLD.

 

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Akcome Solar Panels Available in Australia

Currently, 77 Akcome solar panels are approved by the Clean Energy Council (listed under the name of Suzhou Akcome Optronics Science & Technology Co Ltd) for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme – Australia’s home solar rebate program.

Standard Solar Panels

Akcome solar panel SK6610P 265 to 275kWThe Akcome ‘Standard’ series includes older technology in their panels with the maximum efficiency of the best monosilicon panel in the series reaching 17.8%. The series has both monosilicon and polysilicon options and 60 cell and 72 cell options suitable for both residential or commercial installations.

The panels come with salt mist resistance making them suitable for coastal properties. The panels come with a standard 25 year performance warranty and 10 year product warranty.

  • SK6610M 280 to 290W
  • SK6610P 265 to 275W
  • SK6612M 335 to 345W
  • SK6612P 320 to 330W

High-Efficiency Solar Panels

Akcome solar panel SK6612M 355 to 365kWSimilar to the stand series the high-efficiency series comes in polysilicon and monosilicon options as well as 60 cell and 72 cell options. The efficiency of these solar panels ranges from 16.9% to 18.8%. The term high-efficiency is relative to their own panels as we are now seeing many of the cost-effective manufacturers reaching 19-20% efficiency.

The panels feature very similar characteristics to the standard series with a performance warranty of 25 years and and a product warranty of 10 years.

  • SK6610M 295 to 305W
  • SK6610P 275 to 285W
  • SK6612M 355 to 365W
  • SK6612P 335 to 345W

Double Glass Solar Panels

Akcome solar panel double glass SK6612MDG 335 to 345kWAkcome’s double glass series is a more durable panel where the back sheet is made from glass rather than a thin polymer material. This increases the durability of solar panel with greater resistance to ingress and corrosion.

The panels still feature a comparative low max efficiency rating of 16%-18%. Given the better durability of the product, Akcome have increased the performance warranty on these panels to 30 years with a slightly slower guaranteed degradation rate. However the product warranty for the panel remains at 1o years.

  • SK6610MDG 275 to 285W
  • SK6610PDG 265 to 275W
  • SK6612MDG 335 to 345W
  • SK6612PDG 315 to 325W

 

Kookaburra Series (HC-Chaser)

Akcome solar panel hc-chaser (kookaburra series)In hopes to engage better with the Australian market, Akcome have labelled their new HC-Chaser series after one of Australia’s iconic birds for the local market.

This series is a significant improvement on their earlier series of solar panels with their residentially sized 375W solar panel reaching 20.27% in max efficiency. This series features half cut, monosilicon PERC solar cells which represent the leading technologies in increasing solar panel efficiency.

The inclusion of 9 busbars and a high voltage (1500V) design gives solar designers greater flexibility when they are putting together an array on a roofspace. This is the only series of Akcome’s offering that competes well against the other options in the Australian market.

  • SK8610MC 355 to 375W
  • SK8611MC 390 to 410W
  • SK8612MC 430 to 450W

 

Akcome’s Warranty Offering

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. Akcome’s standard product warranty that is outlined on all their product datasheets is 10-years, however, they have updated the terms that 19 of their solar panels options purchased in Australia from 1 October 2020 will be covered for 15 years product warranty. This helps add some competitiveness to their solar panel offering.

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. Akcome Solar offers 25 years performance warranty for all ranges (excluding double glass) with a guaranteed output of 80.7% (for polycrystalline modules) and 80.68% (for monocrystalline modules) after 25 years which leaves them towards the minimum expectation of the market.

Akcome Solar has an Australian office and we anticipate this to be one of the easier companies to claim a warranty from even if your installer is no longer around.  You can contact via their official website or by calling 1300 553 188/email: info@akcome.com.au. Please read more about the warranty claim here.

 

Comparison of Akcome Solar Panel Specifications (common modules)

Akcome High-Efficiency 355W

SK6612M

Akcome Mono 5BB 340W

SK6612M

Akcome Double Glass 340W

SK6612MDG

Cell Number 72 Cells 72 Cells 72 Cells
Cell Type Monocrystalline Monocrystalline Monocrystalline
Power Output 355W 340W 340W
Max Power Voltage 38.5V 35.12V 38V
Panel Efficiency 18.3% 17.5% 17.4%
Dimensions 1957*992*45 mm 1957*992*40 mm 1968*992*25mm
Weight 21.5 kg 22.5 kg 27.5 kg
Product Warranty 15 years 15 years 15 years
Operational Temperature Range -40℃ to +85℃ -40℃ to +85℃ -40℃ to +85℃
Made in China China China

 

So, should I buy Akcome Solar Panels?

We would only consider the Kookaburra / HC-Chaser series solar panels from Akcome to be competitive with the options available on the Australian market. If you’ve been quoted Akcome solar panels, we recommend asking for the product data-sheet and make sure that it corresponds with one of the listed module numbers above or get in touch with us to confirm.

The company looks relatively stable despite a large loss-making year in 2019. The Australia arm of the business is comparatively small as they changing strategy from being an installer of systems to a product manufacturer and distributer to other installation companies. The positive is that they have experience in Australia and have a office place set up to handle any warranty issues.

At the time of writing, none of the 200+ pre-vetted solar installers in Solar Choice’s network is currently offering these panels so we may start to see more from Akcome in the future.

 

Example of an Akcome Commercial Solar Project – Tewantin Noosa RSL, QLD – 130kW

The Tewantin-Noosa RSL installed a 130kW solar PV system in 2016 utilising Akcome’s solar panels. The system was expected to pay for itself in 5-years at the time of installing.

Club CEO Phil Stephenson said “We are situated in the heart of the Noosa Biosphere so it makes sense for us to be environmentally sustainable”

 

Read more product reviews from Solar Choice
 

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