What Solar Panels, and other components, do we Include in Our Kits and Why?
We currently include Canadian Solar 320w polysilicon panels in our kits. This is because Enphase recently added 72 cell panel support to their M250 micro-inverter. That makes this the most cost effective and simple to install option available.
The Micro-Inverter Story
All our panels are tier-1 suppliers, have a linear 25 yr warranty and each has a long history in this industry. All the panels are assembled in China, as most are these days.
Some people see a disadvantage to Chinese assembled panels. We see an advantage. China is the lowest cost country to assemble panels in. This means that companies assembling in China have lower production costs and the best chance to be profitable. This means they will most likely be in business in the future to service their warranty.
The solar panel industry has been going through radical changes in the last five years. The price per watt for solar panels has decreased more than 60% during that period. This is great for someone installing panels but it means that the weaker players will go out of business. For this reason we keep our eyes open to the financial health of manufacturers as well as finding the best prices for the best panels we can for our kits.
We've also seen Tier-1 manufacturers either leave the business or actually to bankrupt. So it's more that just Tier we look at. We look at the overall financial health of the company. We also look at their ability to deliver. Sometimes a company makes a good panel and makes money but is inconsistent in supply, we want to be able to get panels to you when you order so this is an important consideration.
We routinely review panels and companies and occasionally change our default panels due to competitive improvements, better prices and the manufacturer's financial health. We provide only bankable Tier-I panels as defined by the state of California (http://www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/equipment/pv_modules.php).
Equipment Specification Sheets
Hybrid/Off-Grid Inverters: (No longer offered)
Solar panels are a semiconductor product so their reliabilty and stability are very high. Manufacturing defects usually show up very quickly and after that point they seldom experience problems. The point is that if the initial quality is good then you should have a long and trouble-free experience.
We vet the panels and other equipment to keep things simple for you.
The panels we provide come from tier-1 manufacturers that carry a 25 yr linear warranty. This means they are guaranteed to generate 97.5% of rated power in year 1 and 80% in year 25. Our experience is that the panels exceed these warranty minimums.