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Are German Solar Panels the Best?

 

 

Germany is one of the top 10 manufacturing countries in the world! So, it should be no surprise that they have a reputation for producing some of the most high-quality solar panels on the market. When it comes to solar, German brands are known to have a strong presence in the industry (some companies have been around for 25 years or more!). So, with this consistent presence in the industry, partnered with the country’s insistence on using top grade materials and manufacturing methods, our mates in Germany are ranked highly in areas like quality and reliability.

Why is this so important to know?

When choosing which solar panels to buy, finding a reliable and high-quality manufacturer is important. You’d be extremely unlucky to be let down by solar panels that are made in Germany. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get great panels elsewhere too!

Solar manufacturing and productionThe chances are you’ve seen the phrase ‘Tier 1’ manufacturer pop up along your solar journey. These tiers are not a reflection of the quality of solar panels being produced by the manufacturer, but rather the financial stability of the manufacturer itself. If you want to read more on the different tiers and exactly what they mean, you can check out this blog… but to give you a quick understanding, Tier 1 manufacturers are usually veterans in solar panel production and are generally the ‘big players’ with huge reputations.

Tier 2 and Tier 3 manufacturers are usually smaller manufacturers that are less known. With this in mind, we have an important note to share. Just because a manufacturer isn’t listed as Tier 1, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a worse product. The lower tiers can still have good manufacturing processes and quality control… it’s just that Tier 1 manufacturers are likely to have a stronger reputation, a bunch more reviews and be more well-known (and yes, at times be the best option).

Are German solar panels better than panels from other countries?

Solar is becoming more popular around the world.As the popularity of switching to solar grows, so does the number of solar panel manufacturers worldwide. While you can’t really fault the German manufacturing and production process when it comes to solar panels, there are other countries from which you can get just as great a product.

Chinese Solar Panels and Manufacturing

China is one that has established itself in the solar industry, with its government providing some generous financial incentives to companies in the industry. While this is fantastic and has led to some very reliable Tier 1 companies out of China, there are a number of poorer manufacturers too. These manufacturers take advantage of these incentives by producing a lesser-quality product. Some international companies are even manufacturing in China to reduce the costs of production… there’s even a few German companies manufacturing in China.

So, if you’re looking at Chinese solar panels but you’re not sure, just do some research on the specific manufacturer you’re looking at. Hopefully that can help give you some confidence in your decision!

Let’s keep digging! According to Clean Energy Reviews (CER), there are five manufacturers that make it onto the ‘Best Overall Solar Manufacturers’ list for quality and reliability. These are:

  • LG Energy who produce their solar panels in South Korea.
  • Maxeon Solar who produce their solar panels in France, Mexico, Malaysia and the Philippines.
  • REC who produce their solar panels in Singapore.
  • Q Cells who produce their solar panels in China, Malaysia and South Korea.
  • Winaico who produce their solar panels in Taiwan.

As you can see, some of the top-rated manufacturers listed by Clean Energy Reviews do not produce solar panels in Germany. We also looked at Australia for those of you who are keen to support local. Currently, we only have one solar panel manufacturer in Australia, Tindo Solar. Tindo Solar is based in Adelaide, South Australia. You may also be interested to know that it is not actually a Tier 1 manufacturer, though the company is held in high esteem by customers and installers country-wide.

So… you’re still keen on German solar panels?

That is absolutely fine and we don’t blame you! As we told you at the beginning, you’d be super unlucky to be let down by German solar panels. To help you out, we’ve found some German manufacturers with panels that have been made available here in Australia!

  • SolarWattSolar panel installation
    Headquartered in Dresden, Germany with branches in Australia.

  • Aleo Solar
    Headquartered in Prenzlau, Germany and export solar panels to Australia.

  • Bosch
    Headquartered in Erfurt, Germany and export solar panels to Australia.

Got more questions about your future solar power system?

Check out our ultimate guide to solar in Australia! In it we cover:

  • Must know questions to ask your installer
  • How to choose the right system for you
  • Learn how to claim your rebates
  • Heaps of money-saving tips

Download Your Free Copy Now

 

 

 

 

 

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.
 

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