The SolarWorld history up until August 2017 has been well covered in many various publications. Considering its back to business for the world's longest standing solar manufacturer, we can now resume focus back to the product. PSW Energy technical support assesses the current product line of the recently revered world's best solar panel manufacturer.
SolarWorld 2017 and beyond.
Alike many solar panel manufacturers in previous years, 2017 was the year of the German giant and a new refocused opportunity. In August 2017 after a successful financial takeover SolarWorld announced:
"The new SolarWorld will focus exclusively on the production of highly efficient mono-PERC cells and modules, as well as on particularly high-quality bifacial glass-glass modules".
A bold declaration for the future of solar panel technology and the German manufacturers clear refocused intent. An intent which should allow the renowned manufacturer of high-quality solar products an opportunity to thrive in a less cluttered premium end of the solar market with distinguishable differences and superior efficiency advantages.
Related: Now privately owned SolarWorld Industries GmbH surges as one of the strongest financially backed solar panel manufacturers in the world. Read more >
Above: Old solar technology is being phased out in 2017/18 for solar 3.0 comprised of PERC and Bifacial solar panels.
Although SolarWorld Sunmodule Plus glass-laminate solar panels are still available worldwide. For the purpose of review, PSW Energy technical support unanimously agreed that the Sunmodule Protect range be assessed only in this post. Especially considering the recent announcement by SolarWorld, plus all available versions of the Sunmodule Plus now appear to be dwindling within Australia.
A result which in turn facilitates two major product lines. Glass-glass mono PERC and the revolutionary Glass-glass Bifacial solar modules. Both versions fall under the Sunmodule Protect range of SolarWorld solar panels. The simple differences between PERC & Bifacial are explained later.
As close to perfection as one will find. The glass-glass design, external framing, advanced self-cleaning properties and rear design are beautifully engineered and exceptionally precise.
The glass-glass properties are semi-transparent, with the PERC and BiFacial cells appearing black from the face. If mounting flat on a roof the shadow cast from the cell to the roof produces a largely full-black appearance from a distance (the street). The advantage, minimal heat retention as opposed to full-black backsheet versions and less resistance in the electrical circuit on warmer days.
SolarWorld Sunmodule protect modules are strengthened and sealed with a visually appealing low-profile 33mm aluminium frame with both silver and black frame options to complement the visual aesthetics for a variety of exterior surfaces.
Surprisingly, the self-cleaning properties are exceptional. When compared to other major brands tested utilising a combination dust and mud splatter, SolarWorld solar panels cleaned almost entirely with water.
VIDEO & RESULTS COMING SOON.
The key element where German-made solar products are renowned to surpass. SolarWorld solar panels are proven to be subjected scrupulous testing and rigorous quality control before arriving in Australia.
Testing and quality control before export is one thing though. Extreme durability is obtained through refined individual component product selection and precision assembly. Making such elements work together has proven to be an artform in recent years as more solar products, in general, suffer high failure rates under the Australian sun.
SolarWorld solar panels have proven the greatest test of time above all others in the field to reign superior as the world's most durable solar panel.
SolarWorld Sunmodule Protect solar panels, complemented by the glass-glass construction, provide the most stable environment ever created for a solar cell on a rooftop. Protect modules guarantee performance to not reduce at Standard Test Condition (STC) output by more than 10.25% over 30-years (see guarantee below). The average Tier-1 solar panel manufacturer guarantees no more than 20% degradation over 25-years.
As an additional performance boost and referred to a Positive Performance Tolerance, all SolarWorld Protect solar panels are produced with a +10W power sorting. A big factor to ensure SolarWorld solar panels perform at or above the nameplate value when subjected to Standard Test Conditions.
Factoring in conditions outside of Standard Test Conditions the glass-glass construction ensures performance inhibiting factors are mitigated through better management of environmental variables.
Efficiency is key when space is limited. The PERC cells and Bifacial solar cells behave differently in when factoring efficiency and serve two unique site-specific purposes.
PERC: In minimalist detail, Passive Emitter Rear Cell technology is basically a safety net for light which doesn't convert into energy in the first instance. It utilises the rear as an almost second chance option, equating to an additional 1-2% total efficiency increase. A figure which doesn't sound like much but considering the alternative perspective, its an increase of 6-12% from the older non-PERC technologies, A substantial increase when compounded over time.
SolarWorld solar panels with PERC cell technology are best suited when mounted directly to a rooftop or a nominated surface.
Bifacial: The recent release over the last few years of bifacial solar cell technologies by SolarWorld has seen a new lease of life when pushing the barriers of solar efficiency. SolarWorld state a maximum 25% increase in efficiency when subjected to ideal conditions. An exciting prospect which would see a 280W bifacial solar panel produces up to 350W. A conservative factor when considering the modules carry up to a +10W Positive Power Tolerance. Elements which make SolarWorld bifacial solar panels some of the most efficient available.
It is worth mentioning though that all solar panel manufacturers specify maximums which are of course subjective and the likelihood of achieving maximum efficiency in real-world conditions is often rare.
SolarWorld solar panels comprised of bifacial cell technology are best suited when mounted on a tilted mounting frame from a given surface.
Above: The future of surface mounted solar energy is glass-glass mono PERC technology for unrivalled performance.
Easily one of the most versatile solar modules available, no argument. Unlike many solar panels, SolarWorld modules are certified to endure by strict European testing institutions to qualify in the most diverse locations around Australia and around the world. The below are certified test results.
- Salt spray resistance: Not affected by salty air (maritime climates).
- Ammonia resistance: Not affected by excessive ammonia, cycled over 20-years (farming & agriculture).
- Suitable for desert conditions: No impact on functionality or reliability.
- Hail impact resistance: 70x greater than the Tier-1 average.
- UV light ageing resistance: 200x greater than the Tier-1 average.
- Extreme temperature resistance: 40x greater than the Tier-1 average.
The SolarWorld Protect solar panels are equipped with one of the best product and performance guarantees seen. All solar panels no matter who manufactures them, carry a two-pronged warranty. An element where one should always exercise caution.
Performance warranty: 30-years.
A performance warranty ensures your solar panel will still achieve a nominated value at Standard Test Conditions after a given amount of time. SolarWorld guarantees the Protect range of solar panels to be no less than 86.75% of the nameplate value after 30-years linear. The Tier-1 manufacturer average is 80% at 25-years stepped or linear (variable on selection).
Product warranty: 20-years.
A product warranty is a guarantee which upholds the structural integrity of the product in a varied array of conditions. Only a small handful of manufacturers have an exceptional product warranty beyond 10 & 12 years. SolarWorld is apart of that elite group. A big major condition though, providing the solar panel is installed in accordance with the manufacturers' guidelines. Always seek a SolarWorld Certified Partner to ensure your warranty is secure.
Above: The industry-leading linear performance guarantee for the SolarWorld Sunmodule Protect Range (Dark Yellow).
SolarWorld have produced an exceptional range of beautifully designed solar panels. Over engineered in a way that anyone with an ounce of respect for their home would truly appreciate such an addition of high calibre.
Although lacking the efficiency with the mono PERC solar panels when compared to alternative industry innovators, the German's have a knack for refinement before progression even if the technology is at their disposal, to ensure extreme lasting capabilities and performance in diverse environments around the world. The result, ultimate long-term customer satisfaction.
Superior performance and built to last, you won't be disappointed when selecting SolarWorld solar panels for your solar energy journey.