Which solar panels are the best?

Choosing between a top quality product and a dodgy solar panel can be confusing especially if you’re not familiar with the brands on the market or the products your solar installer has included in their ‘solar deal’. Let’s face it, to the untrained eye most solar panels look the same.

More often than not if a solar system is priced significantly lower than competitor systems there are corners being cut somewhere, and often it’s with the solar panels. Good quality solar panels will be long lasting, resistant to issues like hot spots or micro-cracks which can affect the panel efficiency, and maintain a high level of performance for as long as 25 years.

So how do you know which solar panels are best?

Use the Blue Chip Solar Company test

Buying from a low risk Blue Chip solar panel manufacturer provides assurances that the company has been around for longer than their offered performance warranty. Which, although it’s not a guarantee that they will still be around if anything goes wrong with your solar panel within the warranty period, they have a proven solid business history.

In fact, to qualify as a Blue Chip solar company they must have been trading for at least 30 years and have an annual turnover of over $30 million, demonstrating a reliable track record of trade and service.

These solar panel company must also be able to offer local servicing so if something goes wrong, a panel develops a fault, or productivity falls during the warranty period you can get professional help in your area (or at least your country).

The last requirement of a Blue Chip solar manufacturer is that they offer a diverse range of products, not just solar panels.

Ask your solar installer about using panels from a Blue Chip Solar Panel Manufacturer.

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Solar Panel Validation initiative

The Clean Energy Regulator Solar Panel Validation initiative aims to provide consumers with a straightforward way to confirm that the solar panels used in their solar power system are backed by manufacturer warranties, meet Australian standards for quality and performance, and are eligible for STCs (Small-scale technology certificates).

CER Solar Panel ValidationCER Solar Panel Validation initiative – image CER

How the CEC solar panel validation system works

  • Your solar installer scans the serial numbers on your solar panels using an app on their phone which is checked against a database of solar panel serial numbers which are verified and approved by the Clean Energy Council.
  • The installer receives confirmation of validation and completes the solar panel installation.
  • You (the customer) receive a confirmation that the panels were verified as well as a record of the time and date of installation, and the make, model and serial numbers on the panels installed. This info can help with any warranty claims if needed.
  • These details can be used to apply for your Small scale technology certificates.

Find out more about the Clean Energy Council Solar Panel Validation initiative including a list of participating solar panel brands here – cleanenergyregulator.gov.au

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Points to consider when choosing the best solar panels for your home or business

Look for solar panels backed by:

  • 10 year product warranty – this covers faults in the actual panel and usually offers repair or replacement depending on the issue. Some solar companies will offer a longer warranty of 12, 15 or 25 years. Usually the longer the warranty the better quality of the solar panel.
  • 25 year performance warranty – this offers assurance that the solar panel will be providing at least 80% of its claimed power rating after 25 years of use.

Check that the solar panel company has a presence in Australia or better still your nearest city. This enables easier access to servicing and a more straightforward warranty claims process if something goes wrong. Having a local office in the country can also show that they’re committed to the Australian market and customers.

Don’t just choose the cheapest panel you can find. Investing a bit more into your solar panels will ensure they are of better quality and will offer reliable green energy production for many years to come.

Remember that solar panels are only one part of the whole solar power system. To ensure your solar PV system provides your property with consistent electricity ensure you also:

  • Enlist a Clean Energy Council-approved solar installer.
  • Choose a quality solar inverter and mounting system.
  • Carry out routine maintenance to check everything is operating as efficiently as possible and address any issues promptly.
  • Regularly clean the solar panels to remove bird droppings or a build-up of dust or dirt.
  • Trim back any shading trees or bushes wherever possible.

For advice on the best solar panels for your particular home or business, we recommend getting professional advice from a local solar specialist.