As with many things in life, a little extra spent on quality product will provide you with far better value. At Switched on Solar we are not looking to install the Rolls Royce of equipment with every installation but we are not willing to install “cheap junk”, it simply costs more in the long run, is often unreliable and leads to disappointment.
Why Quality ?
Quality panels are independently rated and guaranteed to provide 80% of their starting wattage after 20 or 25 years. Cheap panels lack quality glass, may use low grade silicon and usually have poor quality backings. Poor quality means that humidity creeps in over time and destroys panel performance. What you need to look at is the NOCT rating of a panel which is another international standard – it’s the performance under “Normal Operating Conditions and Temperature”. Even the best panels are often only delivering 70% of their claimed power, the poor ones are significantly worse and then deteriorate quickly.
Many batteries out there are not designed for our usage patterns. The majority of batteries – even solar branded ones, are essentially car batteries (or modified versions of them). These batteries are designed to give a short hard shunt to start an engine and not the kind of long, slow continuous discharge that solar / inverter systems require. Money spent on the wrong kind of batteries in most situations is simply a waste and they will not go the distance.
Not all inverters are created equal. Some are unreliable and vastly inefficient. There is little point in investing in good solar panels or batteries only to have an inverter which is only 70% efficient. Spend a little more on a quality one with guarantee. Good inverters have high quality chargers in them too, these care expertly for the attached batteries, ensuring that you obtain maximum life out of them.
Monitoring Equipment, Racking, Cabling and Linkages
The ability to monitor your system ensures that batteries and other equipment are operating within the limits that will ensure long life. Quality cabling and linkages will mean that energy (particularly the potentially lethal high voltage DC current) is safely transmitted to your inverter and without energy losses. Appropriate racking ensures good sun orientation as well as appropriate cooling for the panels (heat is as much an enemy to a panel as humidity).
Switched on Solar offers a carefully selected range of high quality product. These meet the demand of robust, good lifespan installations which come with enforceable guarantees.