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What is the difference between entry level solar panels versus the slightly more expensive quality ones?

Arguably, the quality of your solar panels as well as the inverter are the most crucial factor in selecting a solar system. Over their 25 year expected lifespan solar panels will be subjected to more than 100,000 hours of relentless sunshine, extremes of heat and cold, wind, rain, hail and more.

It is an extraordinarily harsh climate for an electrical device. You have to be sure that the panel you buy will be able to deliver that performance during its lifetime. A good quality panel differs from a cheaper one in the sealing materials used such as backing sheets, the soldering and the efficiency of the solar cells. For example, whilst LG panels will cost slightly more they are designed to deliver year after year performance.

In Australia solar systems with inferior product are now failing after only relative short periods on the roof. Unfortunately in some cases the installation companies have closed shop and the consumer is left sorting the issues.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/failed-sa-firm-unleash-solar-shifted-millions-to-us-before-its-collapse/story-fni6uo1m-1226750169682

http://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/assets/medicomms/mrelease_unleash.pdf

We recommend to buy only from reputable installers and preferably high quality branded components.

Solar panels generate high volatage DC electricity and therefore have to be installed as per precise Australian Standards to ensure a safe system.

Here are some samples of lower quality solar panels failing in the Australian sun.

Cell damage due to hot spot

Hot spots destroy the panel

Cell damage due to hot spot

Hot spots destroy the panel

PV yellowing

Yellow and Corroding solar panel

PV Yellowing

Yellow and Corroding Solar Panel