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How to distinguish the quality of photovoltaic modules and inverters?

April 03, 2023

To be honest, it's difficult for ordinary people to distinguish, even some installers are confused sometimes. Apart from choosing products from well-known brands and brand installers as a basic guarantee, there are always some tricks. Today, I will teach you some visual inspection methods for reference.

 

1. Solar panels. 

For ordinary people, we can only rely on our eyes to observe. Mainly look at several aspects: check the nameplate (stuck on the back of the panel), where many information can be found. In short, the higher the power of the panel, the higher the conversion rate. For example, a 72-cell panel with 335W is definitely better than a 320W one, and a 60-cell panel with 295W is better than a 265W one. At the same time, there will be a tolerance on the nameplate. If it is marked as ±3%, then this panel should not be used because this is an old national standard. The current panels do not allow negative tolerances, and generally write <+5W. Secondly, look at the frame, which should be flat and smooth without burrs. You can know it by just grabbing it. If the frame is not sealed properly, the panel will have problems within two years. Thirdly, look at the color difference. Good grade A panels must be of the same color. It is difficult to distinguish the color difference of each cell with the naked eye. If you feel a color difference at first glance, don't use it. Fourthly, look at the printed circuit of the panel, which is the silver fence line on the panel. It should be straight, beautiful, and without broken or point-like bonding. In addition, genuine panels will have a barcode on them. If you are not sure if it is genuine, you can scan the QR code and go to the manufacturer's website to check or call the customer service phone number for inquiries.

 

2. Solar inverter

Because customers cannot open the machine cover (otherwise the seal will be damaged, and the warranty will be invalid), it is difficult to judge the quality of the inverter by appearance alone. Therefore, apart from choosing a reputable brand, you can only see if the appearance is intact. Here are two methods. First, look at the heat sink on the back of the inverter. They should be arranged neatly and make a clear sound when you scratch them with your nails. For inverters with forced air cooling, you should listen to the noise of the fan if possible. Second, look at the wiring terminal below the inverter to see if it is complete and made of high-quality materials. These are the only two methods for ordinary users.

 

Finally, I would like to remind you that you get what you pay for. The price difference between good and bad panels even at the factory level is about 30-40 cents per watt, and the difference at the sales end can reach 50 cents to one dollar per panel. As for inverters, the price difference between well-known brands and second-tier brands is about 30% to 50%. The design and construction quality of the power station are also crucial!

 

The above-mentioned information is difficult for ordinary users to choose from. The simplest way is to choose a reliable installer and use the methods I mentioned for visual inspection.


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