Many components are used through the installation of a solar system. Solar panels are the many costly part of the system though and would take time to replace if there was ever an issue moving forward. The expected life span across the industry for a solar panel is around 25 years and offers the ability to repay your initial investment by at least 5 times, over the lifetime of the system.
Velocity Solar offers our clients a choice of different panels and we can source any panel on the market. We have however chosen a range of panels that we believe offer the best trade off between performance, value and quality.
Our approach to choosing the right solar panel
“Tier 1″ Solar manufacturers a must
There are way to many solar companies out there that do not specify the brand of panel to be supplied. You wouldn’t buy a car without knowing the manufacturer and the model, and solar is no different, If the solar company offers a panel however and you cant find any information of the panel when you do your research, reconsider the purchase. There’s a plethora of information available online about panels made by the world’s leading solar panel manufacturers. If you can not find the information there a good chance their not a tier 1 manufacturer.
Tier 1 solar panels are made by the top 2% of manufacturers who invest heavily in research and development. They also have the highest levels of quality assurance.
We at Velocity Solar take a similar view to those who install solar farms overseas, they wont by a untrusted panel manufacturer that are not a tier 1 manufacturer, so we will not either. This giving the best piece of mind possible to our customers.
Is the solar panel represented in the Australian market
Be wary of local solar retailers importing panels directly from overseas. In the case of a future malfunction, you’ll have very little warranty support if the retailer is not around anymore. Velocity Solar does not import panels from overseas, Our relationships with several solar wholesalers gives as the assurance that not only are we covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, but we have the facility to directly deal with suppliers to gain quick replacements if ever required.
DC Solar inverters
The Solar Inverter is the heart of any solar power system. It’s a sophisticated piece of electrical equipment that is works from the time the sun comes up to the trime the sun goes down every day. The inverter is responsible for
- Conversion of DC current from the solar panels to 240 Volt AC current which is used in your own household.
- Controlling the voltage of the system to extract the maximum power available (referred to as maximum power point tracking).
- Reporting on the solar system’s performance (either on screen, via bluetooth or online)
Velocity Solar by choice recommends only a limited amount of DC Solar inverters. Quality and reliability cannot be gained through companies that have only existed for around 10 years or less. At Velocity Solar we have seen many inverters come and go, two inverters in the Australian market stand tall above others though, these are the Aurora and the SMA inverter. I like to make the comparison between both inverters. “it’s like comparing a holden to a ford, you can pick which one is which”.
Unquestionably the world’s leader in solar inverters in terms of volume and quality. Fully designed and manufactured in Germany, SMA sets the benchmark for solar inverters in the residential, commercial and utility solar markets.
Velocity Solar is proud to supply and install SMA Sunny Boy inverters.
Manufactured in Italy and the USA, Power One – ABB Aurora are the second largest solar inverter manufacturer in the world. Velocity Solar offers both the “PVI” and the brand new “UNO” range of inverters. These models offer residential customers unrivalled design flexibility plus innovative reporting and communication options.
AC Micro Inverters
ENPHASE DEDICATION TO QUALITY AND RELIABILITY
HOW DO ENPHASE MICRO INVERTERS WORK
WHY ENPHASE MICRO INVERTERS ARE SAFER
Enphase’s proven microinverter technology maximizes production of each module, enabling flexible designs and cost-effective installations.
Generate more solar power with a system that’s easy to design, simple to install, and safer for both system installers and owners. Enphase’s microinverter technology delivers more kilowatt-hours daily, monthly and yearly—even through the partial shade of clouds, trees, or structural obstructions. Plus, it increases uptime by eliminating the single point of failure common to traditional inverters.
- Maximum energy production
- No single point of system failure
- Quick and simple design and installation
- Innovative cabling for fast and flexible installation
- Only low-voltage DC, standard AC
- World’s leading microinverter
- Safe all-AC electricity
- Smarter solar
Envoy Communications Gateway
The Enphase Envoy Communications Gateway connects every part of your solar array to the Internet, enabling greater intelligence, reporting, and even remote troubleshooting.
The Envoy uses advanced powerline communications technology to connect to each microinverter without additional wiring or wireless configuration. System owners can easily check the status of their solar system using the Envoy’s LCD display or get more detailed information through the Enlighten website.
- Plug and play setup
- 24/7 monitoring and analysis
- Advanced data management and storage
- Connection: Standard broadband via TCP/IP
- Interface: Powerline Communications (PLC)
- Metering accuracy: Qualified at ±5% or better
- Included at no additional cost
- Unprecedented insight and analysis
- Remote diagnostics and maintenance
- Web-based for mobile and desktop
A solar system is first and foremost an investment. It involves outlaying a sum of money which will then start to pay for itself over a number of years. Whilst the payback periods available with solar power can be short (as short as 3 to 4 years), any investment doesn’t truly make financial sense until it is still producing returns well after the payback period. This is why quality matters when selecting the components that make up the system.
The Biggest Mistake when buying a solar system
The biggest single mistake you can make when buying a solar power system is assuming all solar panels are created equal (or even anywhere close to being equal!). There is a huge disparity in terms of quality available on the Australian market.
But the Panel is on the Clean Energy Council Approved List
Unfortunately, the requirements to have a solar panel added to the Clean Energy Council (CEC) Approved Solar Panel list are very easy to fulfill. In fact there are literally thousands of panels on the list and this isn’t in any way a guarantee of quality. In fact a manufacturer can have a single solar panel tested in their home country and the CEC will accept this as a legitimate test.
This is part of the reason Australia is the largest consumer of low quality solar panels in the world.
“But my friend bought a cheap panel and it seems to be going ok”
Even low quality panels may perform well “out of the box” and for a year or two. But given time in the harsh Australian conditions, inferior quality panels will start to degrade. This can take the form of:
Significant degradation in performance (this is amplified by the fact a solar system only works as well as its weakest panel).
De-lamination (the peeling off of the back layer of the panel)
But I have a warranty so that’s ok
A warranty is only as good as the company backing it. If you’re buying a cheaper inferior panel, chances are the manufacturer does not have a presence in Australia. Remember the 25 year warranty on solar panels is provided by the manufacturer. If they don’t have an operation in Australia, you will have very little chance of getting any type of warranty resolution.