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Thread: Best Solar Panel Manufacturers

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaggedben View Post
    Relatively inefficient technology (i.e. take up more space for the same power), really not so suitable for residential. Kind of the next interesting thing from 10 years ago that hasn't changed much since. My impression is they are developing their own large projects these days, not trying much to sell to others. Also comparatively toxic materials make for a larger potential end-of-life issue.
    It is a shame that they cannot affordably retool their plant and produce a better solar panel.

    Also, after reading this article I am left with the impression that I need to stick with a Chinese solar panel manufacturer.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/08/b...ar-panels.html

    Then again if there are trade wars taking place then an American company may be the best bet. Do you perhaps know of a rock solid, amazing product, great customer service American solar panel manufacturer?

    Thank you for the guidance....
    Ravenvalor
    Electrical Contractor
    Piedmont Region of NC

    "Good day and good premises." (Ayn Rand)

  2. #12
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    Solarworld is the American manufacturer with a track record. They have been a bit under a cloud since the German parent company declared bankruptcy, but the American division claims they're fine. There are some other companies with American factories, including German Solar.

    If you want rock solid - or more precisely, a good bet that the company will be around to honor any warranty - then Koreans are a good bet. LG and Hyundai. LG just beefed up their warranty coverge, I think to compete with Sunpower. Hanwha Q-cells also has a track record.

    Since the tarriffs, it seems to me that people will be less inclined to go for bottom dollar no name Chinese panels; the price difference won't be as attractive. But there are still a lot of pre-tariff modules floating around, so it's a bit hard to predict right now.

    One other comment: you should be more concerned about picking the right inverters than the right modules.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaggedben View Post
    Solarworld is the American manufacturer with a track record. They have been a bit under a cloud since the German parent company declared bankruptcy, but the American division claims they're fine. There are some other companies with American factories, including German Solar.

    If you want rock solid - or more precisely, a good bet that the company will be around to honor any warranty - then Koreans are a good bet. LG and Hyundai. LG just beefed up their warranty coverge, I think to compete with Sunpower. Hanwha Q-cells also has a track record.

    Since the tarriffs, it seems to me that people will be less inclined to go for bottom dollar no name Chinese panels; the price difference won't be as attractive. But there are still a lot of pre-tariff modules floating around, so it's a bit hard to predict right now.

    One other comment: you should be more concerned about picking the right inverters than the right modules.
    Thank you ben, I will look up Solarworld, LG and Hyundai. Also, thanks for the heads up on the inverters. Will you please recommend a powerhouse of the industry?

    Best regards,
    Ravenvalor
    Electrical Contractor
    Piedmont Region of NC

    "Good day and good premises." (Ayn Rand)

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenvalor View Post
    Thank you ben, I will look up Solarworld, LG and Hyundai. Also, thanks for the heads up on the inverters. Will you please recommend a powerhouse of the industry?

    Best regards,
    There are a lot of inverters available and there's not a whole lot of difference in efficiency between them. I would focus on your specific needs (pricing, capacity, string length, rapid shutdown needs, optimizers or no, microinverters or no, etc.) rather than fixating on a brand which is "a powerhouse".

  5. #15
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    One of the claims SunPower makes is that they exceed production estimates because of performance in low irradiance conditions. Anyone know if this is true?

    There is a dearth of information about module reliability. It is possible to find sources of information on module specs including efficiency.

    One suggestion is to work with a trusted distributor. The experienced distributors tend to narrow down their module offerings to a few manufacturers and models that they have researched, to the best of their ability, and judged to be best values.

  6. #16
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    Fronius inverters, both single and three phase, do 1000v strings which is handy sometimes. IIRC they are the only 240 inverters out that that do 1kv.

    Another factor to consider is whether the inverter needs a neutral connection. There are a few that say you can use a reduced neutral and one says you can skip it all together. This can be a big time and money saver on larger projects.
    Ethan Brush - East West Electric. NY, WA. MA

    "You can't generalize"

  7. #17
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    Consider rapid shutdown when choosing inverter manufacturers. SolarEdge and microinverter systems don't require additional equipment for rapid shutdown like string inverters do. The extra cost of the module level power electronics is offset to some extent by the equipment, installation and trouble-shooting cost of string inverter rapid shutdown systems. When 2017 is adopted, string inverter systems may also need to have some type of module level electronics, at least capable of turning the module off.

    One of the differentiating factors between string inverter manufacturers is the reliability of their rapid shutdown equipment. Anyone have ideas about these?

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarAlternativesDesign View Post

    One suggestion is to work with a trusted distributor. The experienced distributors tend to narrow down their module offerings to a few manufacturers and models that they have researched, to the best of their ability, and judged to be best values.
    Nothing like a team player who is watching your back. That is the best way to go.....

    Thanks.
    Ravenvalor
    Electrical Contractor
    Piedmont Region of NC

    "Good day and good premises." (Ayn Rand)

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrofelon View Post

    Another factor to consider is whether the inverter needs a neutral connection. There are a few that say you can use a reduced neutral and one says you can skip it all together. This can be a big time and money saver on larger projects.
    I found the link to that thread on reducing or eliminating the neutral conductor:

    http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=188721
    Ethan Brush - East West Electric. NY, WA. MA

    "You can't generalize"

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrofelon View Post
    I found the link to that thread on reducing or eliminating the neutral conductor:

    http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=188721
    Reducing the neutral can be done on any inverter that only uses the neutral as a voltage reference. Sometimes it's in the installation manual but sometimes you need to ask the manufacturer.

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