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So how can they all make such a statement and expect you to believe it. Well quite simply the information required to justify this statement is open to a great deal of misinterpretation and false representation. Because solar energy is such a new topic the general public has a limited amount of exposure to or knowledge about it.
So who produces the Mazda 3 of the solar world, i. This is a term used in Solar to describe the size of the company. Tier 1 companies are your larger companies that spend more than a few dollars on Research and Development, have an Automated Production System and are vertically integrated i.
Tier 1 companies also have to have been around for more than 5 years, which is a good indication that they have a sustainable business model in the fast changing world of Solar Power.
This also means they are likely to still be around to service that year warranty they provide on their products. Tier 2 companies are considered to have only spent a small amount of money on Research and Development. Will only have a partially automated manufacturing process, and therefore an element of manual labour will be used.
Usually they will have been operational for only years. Tier 3 Companies are not considered to be spending any money on Research and Development, have manual production lines, and only assemble the panels they sell after buying all the components from other companies.
In my opinion, the whole idea of the Tier system is okay as far as eliminating Tier 3 companies from the equation. There are plenty of Tier 2 companies about to qualify for the Tier 1 stage that are in a considerably more stable financial situation than some of the big Tier 1 companies struggling with massive debt, product quality issues and falling sales.
The whole broad ruling of the Tier system detracts from the main issue of how well the panel performs and how long it will last, which is what the consumer needs to be assured of. The only measurable system the public has access to in doing their independent research is that provided by Photon International.
The test site for the panels is in Germany a country with a temperate climate which has extremes of cold and relative warmth. We here in Australia have a far different climate and particularly in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales where I am based we get no snow and maybe only a little frost, but high Summer temperatures.
So immediately we have a difference to be considered in the data presented by the Photon report. In general terms Mono-crystalline panels are considered to perform better than Poly-crystalline panels, however, the latest Photon report for shows only a 0.
Also as I stated above the conditions here in Australia are different to those in Germany. All my reading and research seems to agree, that in higher temperature conditions like those in Australia, it is Poly-crystalline that performs better than Mono-crystalline.
This would result in removing 8 of the top 15 panels from the test as an appropriate choice for my location. On taking a closer look at the only panel with a two year history of being tested from Seraphim several key points emerge;- They were installed in Octoberwhich means they were subjected to environmental degrading for 3 months before testing and recording began, this is important to consider as panels are generally thought to degrade most in their first year around The first years Test Results Performance ratio of these panels was They were the top performing Multi for with only Sunpower Thin Film Panels out-performing them in this test.
Again thin film panels are not deemed suitable for the harsh Australian conditions and Photon are currently reviewing the testing procedures for these types of panels which has resulted in their removal from the test results posted in If the test was adjusted to show initial performance ratios and then subsequent annual results, then instead of 12th place on the chart Seraphim would come in at number 3.
This is a test designed to be 3 times more stringent than the current IEC tests towards the consistency of output and longevity of the panel. The partnership with FUJIFILM on developing a new more stable backing plate for their panels has been a key factor in the attainment of this new award.
No other panel currently in production has a proven test history that can match that of Seraphim panels. The Renesola panel at number 8 on the chart is listed as a Quasi-Mono panel which according to the company product literature, supposedly means it is a Multi that performs like a Mono.
While the Photon International test is a great indication of the performance on the panels it does have its flaws. To do this Photon would have to accurately measure the available sunlight on sight and work out a conversion between each year of the test to allow for the difference in yield available each year.
Also stated in the report is the fact that the panels were not cleared of snow during the winter season. Having looked at the accompanying picture of this I would have to point out that those panels mounted on the upper tier of the test racking were presented with a slightly higher temperature and exposure to sunlight causing the snow to melt and clear from them at a faster rate than those below and that this has therefore allowed those panels a very slight advantage over those placed on the lower racking.
I believe that Photon should address this matter by mounting all panels at the same height above the ground and also ensure the snow and any other physical barriers e.
The test authors have stated that they consider there to be little difference between panels scoring within 0.You may have arrived at this page because you followed a link to one of our old platforms that cannot be redirected.
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