A diverse range of solar power exists boasting seemingly similar performance & warranties. The fact is many warranties within the 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, consider the below.

Beyond the usual base technology comparisons, Mono or Poly, 60 cell or 72 cell etc, always consider the following 6 key areas to ensure the ultimate in product assurance and longevity:

  • Industry presence.
  • Product warranty.
  • Material qualification.
  • Construction.
  • Testing.
  • Independent scrutiny.

Industry Presence.

German Average.
25-Yrs
Tier-1 Qualification
5-Yrs

Presence by time, not volume. Volume is temporary and short-term. It’s easy for manufacturers to produce large quantities of solar panels in a short period of time and then deem themselves as a world number 1 manufacturer. Such volume based statements are rarely reflective toward international distribution and therefore cannot possibly be perceived as a quality guideline if a product is restricted by geographical volume. 

The question which does arise though, 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.

Warranty.

Greatest German Product Warranty.
30-Yrs
Greatest Chinese Product Warranty.
12-Yrs

Don’t be fooled. A 25-Year performance warranty is not your product guarantee. All solar panels are equiped with two warranties, a performance warranty and a product warranty. 

In a nutshell, the performance warranty provides assurance that the solar panels output at Standard Test Conditions (STC) will not depreciate over a certain level during a nominated time period. You will hear the terms linear and tiered when referencing a performance guarantee. You want linear. As illustrated above, a linear warranty depreciates by only a small percentage each year. A non-tiered performance warranty depreciates in large chunks.

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

Material Qualification.

SolarWorld Modulfertigung 7867 Solar Review

Solar panel success is the sum of its components. All materials used in the production of solar modules should first undergo thorough testing to establish 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.

Construction.

SolarWorld Superior German Manufactuerd Solar Panels by Solar Review

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 demonstrated by SolarWatt and SolarWorld 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.

SolarWorld Advanced Manufacturing Techniques by Solar Review

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 between your choice of solar panels will ensure both short & long-term operational satisfaction. Search for greater insight from any solar panel manufacturer. German product testing vs IEC requirements:

Superior 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.

Overall.

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 (vast majority) are still as far apart as ever. As the majority of German manufacturers either closed their doors or moved to manufacture 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.

Got more insight?

Had experience seeing the differences of German vs Chinese solar panels being manufactured first hand? Then have your say below.

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