There is always so much confusion and differing opinions in the world of solar as to what products you should buy.
There are many good brands of solar panels and an easy way to assess their energy yield per kW and look at some history is to go to the desert knowledge australia centre website.
“The Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre (DKASC) is a demonstration facility for commercialised solar technologies operating in the arid solar conditions of Alice Springs, Central Australia.”
Springers use the Winaico brand solar panel and it is one of the best if not the best performing solar module at the DKASC. Some other notable performers at the test site is Q-Cells, REC, CSUN, Canadian Solar, Sunpower.
(just remember when looking at the graphs to normalise the outputs as some of the solar systems are different sizes)
A lot of salespeople put a great emphasis on Tier 1 modules, (Winaico are Tier 1) but the information below is reason enough to discount this.
Below is copied straight from Bloomberg New Energy Finance PV Module Maker Tiering System. Tier 1 is not necessarily a safe bet.
“TIER 1 Tier 1 module manufacturers are those which have provided own-brand, own-manufacture products to five different projects, which have been financed non-recourse by five different (nondevelopment) banks, in the past two years. This classification is purely a measure of industry acceptance, and there are many documented examples of quality issues or bankruptcy of tier 1 manufacturers.”
The next decision to research is the inverter. There are two main types of inverters, string and micro. When using a string inverter the panels are all linked together in series, these are generally run into one MPPT (maximum power point tracker) or dual MPPT to take advantage of different roofs and get the maximum yield from these different Azimuths. Some of the best string inverters on the market are Fronius, SMA & ABB. At Springers we prefer the inbuilt WIFI options on the Fronius inverter, the apps that are available, easily accessed house load consumption data via the smart meter and the 10 year warranty.
Micro inverters are the new way forward with solar. Micro inverters are installed behind every panel, so every panel is able to get the maximum energy yield possible. The systems are third party monitored down to a panel level and email alerts sent out if there are any issues (monitored at no cost). There are apps and cloud based data available to you to monitor your own system and house load data can also be added to these systems. The best micro inverter brand on the market is Enphase. Other brands include APsystems, ABB and steer clear of Enecsys who have gone into administration. Micro inverters are safe AC voltage off the roof, are able to achieve a higher energy yield over life of system and they are monitored. The only draw back is they are more expensive than string inverter systems however you will recover this extra outlay with larger reductions off your bill.
When choosing an installation company look at the Clean Energy Council approved retailer list and pick someone from there. These companies have been rigorously assessed by the Clean Energy Council. To create STC’s and provide solar installations you must have Clean Energy Council accreditation and the approved retailer program is a level above this.
And then there is storage…….Enphase, Tesla, Selectronic, Aquion, Fronius to name a few but I will leave this for another blog.