GERMAN SOLAR VS CHINESE

COMPARE | German vs Chinese Solar Panels

PSW Team Assurance, Knowledge Base 0 Comments

A diverse range of solar power exists boasting seemingly similar performance & warranties. The fact is many warranties within the fluctuating solar industry are worthless, and if your system isn’t working, then any initial return on investment calculations are redundant. Distinguish the difference, be guided by proven products. If you find yourself questioning, German vs Chinese solar panels and which is best for you? Always consider the following key areas in your preferred order:

  • Industry presence.
  • Product warranty.
  • Performance.
  • Material qualification.
  • Construction.
  • Testing.
  • Independent awards.
SolarWorld Freiburg, German vs Chinese Solar

Picture: View of the SolarWorld quality site in Freiberg / Saxony (Germany).

INDUSTRY PRESENCE.


Industry presence by time and not by volume. It’s easy for certain manufacturers to produce large quantities in a short period of time. The question that does arise is, at what cost? A cost which may not be known for a timeframe within a few years as warranty and reputation are held to account. An Industry presence which is justified by both time and quantity ensures the end product with an exceptional warranty period is proven to live up to the task.

SOLARWORLD AG (MADE IN GERMANY)
42 years
Tier 1 Chinese Qualification
5 years

PRODUCT WARRANTY.


There is a difference between product warranty and performance warranty, don’t be misled. In a nutshell, the performance warranty provides assurance that the solar panels output at Standard Test Conditions will not depreciate over a certain level during a nominated time period. You will here the terms linear and tiered when referencing a performance guarantee. You want linear. As illustrated below a linear warranty depreciates by only a small percentage each year. A non-tiered performance warranty depreciates in large chunks.

SolarWorld Linear Performance Guarantee

The big note, all performance warranties are worthless if the product itself is has degraded or is broken outside of its product warranty. A product warranty guarantees the solar panels structural integrity.

SOLARWORLD AG (MADE IN GERMANY)
20 years
Tier 1 Chinese AVERAGE
10 years

MATERIAL QUALIFICATION.


All materials used in the production of solar modules should first undergo thorough testing to establish their suitability as a production material. Through subjecting all key protective components such as the solar safety glass, the rear backsheet film and electrical junction boxes to intense testing, individually and in combination with other materials, then expose them to stress repeatedly, is the only way to gain genuine insight into lasting materials right for qualification. A manufacturer needs to ensure: materials are tested mechanically, electrically, thermally and visually. This way, only the very best materials for solar modules are utilised.

Testing - German vs Chinese Solar

An often forgotten and vital component is the solar modules protective backsheet/ film which must withstand extreme weather conditions and UV radiation. These films need to endure harsh environmental factors and protect the solar cell for many years. Ensuring the backsheet perfectly matches the materials of the other components is the best possible way to guarantee the durability of any given module. Protective backsheet qualification based on available information:


CONSTRUCTION.


Autonomous construction processes combined with staged visual and robotic scanning processes have proven to produce the best solar panels for visual appeal, quality, and durability. The moment select materials and componentry come together with microscopic accuracy. So how do German vs Chinese solar panels compete at this level? I many cases as opposites.

The German manufacturing process is defined by pinpoint accurate robotic ingenuity to eliminate human error. The Chinese manufacturing process does incorporate a decent level of automation. However, as a majority, at critical points where lower wages surpass the need for expensive machinery people fill the void.


TESTING.


Manufactured products in any form with greater research, development and strong quality control will undoubtedly cost more to the end user. The process of development will no doubt be recovered within the product price. However, it’s the well-researched end user that will always benefit from a quality manufacturing process avoiding premature degradation and exceeding with high-end performance. An actual basis of real value for money.

Identifying rigorous testing from any solar panel manufacturer will ensure short & long-term operational satisfaction. Always seek supporting documents to a product data sheet with references to trusted independent industry bodies.
Identifying rigorous testing between your choice of solar panels will ensure both short & long-term operational satisfaction. Search for greater insight from any solar panel manufacturer. Product testing against vs IEC requirements:


INTERNATIONAL AWARDS AND ADVANCED CERTIFICATIONS.


Why is this important? The simple answer is the rated information on the product data sheet and on the specification plate of the solar panel is accurate or better, in a diverse array of environments and conditions. In most cases, the product exceeds the expected performance. Always remember, no two solar installations are the same, neither should the choice of the solar panel be the same.

Always consider the following, how does a company justify a performance warranty when their existence has not even existed the performance period? Just because an individual or brand states a certain level of output, doesn’t guarantee 25 years or greater performance is possible.


THE VERDICT.


Without a doubt, Tier 1 is not a measure of quality, it is merely a measure of bankability based on a few base qualifying factors. The beneficial differences between German vs Chinese solar panels (majority) are still as far apart as ever if not greater. As the majority of German manufacturers either closed their doors or moved manufacturing overseas in order to compete with a consumer demand for cheaper, the final produced product from mass production, cheap labour, bare minimum standard qualification is reflected in its performance and lasting capabilities.

We want to believe that cheaper is just as good, however replacing components in many cases up to or in excess of three times within 5-years is just not good value for money. Spend your money wisely, do your research and enjoy the hassle-free benefits of solar.

View German vs Chinese solar in extra detail here: Side by Side, German vs Chinese.

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