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Which is the best solar panel set up?

All areas related to solar panels and photovoltaic (PV) cells and related technology.

Which is the best solar panel set up?

Postby Bonnie » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:00 pm

I have doing a little research on costs etc of solar PV and they seem to vary to a large degree. I understand that you don't get much choice of the make etc with free solar panel deals but wondered what you guys would install on your own home.

We are looking at funding it ourselves, though still trying to work out the best way to do it.

I am trying to really find a good solar system and the makes and models then i will be able to compare prices/services a bit more easier. Is there a big difference in quality of the solar stuff or is all pretty much the same? Is there any i should avoid?
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Re: Which is the best solar panel set up?

Postby 1st 4 Solar » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:25 am

Hello Bonnie,

Crystalline silicon technology is the most commonly used in the UK and the most efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. It consists of thin slices of silicon cut from a single crystal (monocrystalline) or from a block of crystals (polycrystalline).

We find that many of our competitors install "poly" panels whereas we prefer to install "mono" panels.

More information can be found on our website.
We are national installers of pv solar sytems. We do not install free solar panels.

Call us for our best prices as we ALWAYS pass on price drops immediately to our customers

http://www.1st4solar.co.uk
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Re: Which is the best solar panel set up?

Postby MCS renewables » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:26 pm

There is a vast quality diference between products on the MCS approved list. All solar equipment is not the same. Your best advice is to use companies you have heard of and who are very likely to still be around in 25 years. Sharp, Sanyo, Mitsubishi from Japan , Schott and Sunny Boy from Germany , Fronius from Austria and Mastervolt from Holland are all high quality. Obviously this equipment is higher priced with Sanyo HIT240 twice the price of some of the modules on the market.

If you use some product just because it is cheaper, what will happen in ten years time when one module fails and the company is long gone ? There are a lot of Chinese start up module producers with billions of pounds of debt , common sense says they will not all make it. Lucky dip with a 25 year investment seems risky.

The current market leader for modules is Sanyo following independant tests in Japan, Germany and the US .
You can find the results here :-
http://us.sanyo.com/Consumer-Solar/Product-Comparison
or here :-
http://www.sanyo-solar.eu/en/products/h ... fficiency/
They have the best cell efficiency at 20%, and modules are smaller than most others whilst being amorph (best of Mono and Poly) manuafacturing.

The current market leader for inverters are sunny boy TL range (3000TL, 4000TL and 5000TL) which are transformerless, have two voltage trackers to deal with two strings independently and are 97% efficient.

As a guide I covered my property in Romag modules in April 2010 and the performance has been in line with the solar prediction, however customers with Sanyo/ TL systems fitted three months after mine have already way passed my generation figures. I have therefore removed and sold on the Romag and am installing the Sanyo HIT 240 modules over the next few days.
Having over forty customers with Sanyo , Moser Baer, Romag and Mitsubishi and Schott systems there is no doubt in the performance diferences.
The cheaper modules do work but the returns are far less, but so was the outlay.

If you were to transfer the same theme to four wheel drive cars ...
Tata make one ...........http://www.tatacarsworldwide.com/produc ... -dicor.asp
Range Rover make one .........http://www.landrover.com/gb/en/lr/discovery-4/.
They look similar and they both passed the minimum vehicle safety test. The outlay cost is diferent but
Which one would you prefer ?
Electrical and Renewables Contractors - http://www.ngps-ltd.co.uk/
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Re: Which is the best solar panel set up?

Postby Mattw » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:09 pm

If Tata actually sold cars in this country I would certainly take a look at them.

How many square metres of the Sanyo panels would it take for a 4kW peak system? My thinking is that generally I would have thought a 4kW system would give the best return on investment, due to receiving the higher FiT payment. It's just if I have room on my roof for sunny boys to have a 4kW system then why would I pay twice the cost for Sanyo because they cover less roof space?
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Re: Which is the best solar panel set up?

Postby MCS renewables » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:47 pm

The Sanyo outperforms all other modules on the market. Worldwide tests and our own customers generation figures prove that a 16 modules Sanyo Hit240 watt system at 3.84 kW outperforms a 21 module Sharp or Romag 185 watt system at 3.88 kW over the same period.

The fact that 16 modules takes less space than 21 modules and requires less rail, fixings and is easier to make aestically pleasing is an added bonus.
(21 modules is hard to arrange at 7 x 3 than 16 modules which can be 8 x 2 or 4 x 4 )

My former Romag system did 816 units and a customers Sanyo system did 1031 units over the same three month period (late Autumn) barely three miles apart with very similar orientation.

Both systems had a solar prediction of around 3400 units per year.

If you assume that Autumn and Spring will be similar, with the winter less and the summer far more the Romag system would have got to 3264 and the Sanyo would be at 4124. Thats a six hundred unit diference or 600 x .431 = £258 plus the bonus of 300 x .03 = £ 9 totalling £ 267.00 a year.

If you run these figures out over twenty five years you are getting an extra return of £6675.
If you then add in saving a further 600 units import a year at 10p a unit thats another £60 a year saving or £1500 over the 25 years. And the import cost will rise.
Thats a swing in finances amounting to an extra £ 8175

21 Romag 185 w modules at £350 is £ 7350 excl. 20%vat
16 Sanyo 240w modules at £550 is £8800 excl. 20%vat

Outlay diference £1450
If you calculate in the extra rails and brackets and fixings etc required there is only about £1200 additional total outlay against a minimum £8175 return.


You can buy a Tata car here :-
http://www.desperateseller.co.uk/findac ... nshire.asp ;)
Electrical and Renewables Contractors - http://www.ngps-ltd.co.uk/
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Re: Which is the best solar panel set up?

Postby Mattw » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:58 pm

Cheers for that.
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Re: Which is the best solar panel set up?

Postby JBrown » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:12 pm

MCS renewables wrote:The Sanyo outperforms all other modules on the market. Worldwide tests and our own customers generation figures prove that a 16 modules Sanyo Hit240 watt system at 3.84 kW outperforms a 21 module Sharp or Romag 185 watt system at 3.88 kW over the same period.

The fact that 16 modules takes less space than 21 modules and requires less rail, fixings and is easier to make aestically pleasing is an added bonus.
(21 modules is hard to arrange at 7 x 3 than 16 modules which can be 8 x 2 or 4 x 4 )

My former Romag system did 816 units and a customers Sanyo system did 1031 units over the same three month period (late Autumn) barely three miles apart with very similar orientation.

Both systems had a solar prediction of around 3400 units per year.

If you assume that Autumn and Spring will be similar, with the winter less and the summer far more the Romag system would have got to 3264 and the Sanyo would be at 4124. Thats a six hundred unit diference or 600 x .431 = £258 plus the bonus of 300 x .03 = £ 9 totalling £ 267.00 a year.

If you run these figures out over twenty five years you are getting an extra return of £6675.
If you then add in saving a further 600 units import a year at 10p a unit thats another £60 a year saving or £1500 over the 25 years. And the import cost will rise.
Thats a swing in finances amounting to an extra £ 8175

21 Romag 185 w modules at £350 is £ 7350 excl. 20%vat
16 Sanyo 240w modules at £550 is £8800 excl. 20%vat

Outlay diference £1450
If you calculate in the extra rails and brackets and fixings etc required there is only about £1200 additional total outlay against a minimum £8175 return.


You can buy a Tata car here :-
http://www.desperateseller.co.uk/findac ... nshire.asp ;)


Been a member on the forum for sometime now, though been a bit busy recently. This has got to be one the best post i have read to date.

Its good to see that a quality product brings returns on all levels. On a 25yr investment, i would like to hear argument that counters above and reccommends a cheaper option

If the Tata was lower emisions, id have one, am not proud
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Re: Which is the best solar panel set up?

Postby Justin » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:48 am

Ok sanyo solar panels maybe the best at present, but what about in 5 years time. Would it not make financial sense, to go cheap now and reinstall, better panels in 5 years time when the performance has increased and the price come down.

I predict we will see panels drop by 50% in prices 5 years and performance increase by similar amounts, certainly the more expensive ones.
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Re: Which is the best solar panel set up?

Postby Mattw » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:18 pm

Not sure about your logic there. If you buy the best you can now, then you will be getting the best feed in tariff now. In five years time if prices drop and efficiencies rise as you predict. There won't be a need for feed in tariffs on new installations (or will be very low) and so while systems will be cheaper to install, they won't have the financial returns that we see now.
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Re: Which is the best solar panel set up?

Postby Mattw » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:33 pm

MCS renewables wrote:The Sanyo outperforms all other modules on the market. Worldwide tests and our own customers generation figures prove that a 16 modules Sanyo Hit240 watt system at 3.84 kW outperforms a 21 module Sharp or Romag 185 watt system at 3.88 kW over the same period.

The fact that 16 modules takes less space than 21 modules and requires less rail, fixings and is easier to make aestically pleasing is an added bonus.
(21 modules is hard to arrange at 7 x 3 than 16 modules which can be 8 x 2 or 4 x 4 )

My former Romag system did 816 units and a customers Sanyo system did 1031 units over the same three month period (late Autumn) barely three miles apart with very similar orientation.

Both systems had a solar prediction of around 3400 units per year.

If you assume that Autumn and Spring will be similar, with the winter less and the summer far more the Romag system would have got to 3264 and the Sanyo would be at 4124. Thats a six hundred unit diference or 600 x .431 = £258 plus the bonus of 300 x .03 = £ 9 totalling £ 267.00 a year.

If you run these figures out over twenty five years you are getting an extra return of £6675.
If you then add in saving a further 600 units import a year at 10p a unit thats another £60 a year saving or £1500 over the 25 years. And the import cost will rise.
Thats a swing in finances amounting to an extra £ 8175

21 Romag 185 w modules at £350 is £ 7350 excl. 20%vat
16 Sanyo 240w modules at £550 is £8800 excl. 20%vat

Outlay diference £1450
If you calculate in the extra rails and brackets and fixings etc required there is only about £1200 additional total outlay against a minimum £8175 return.


You can buy a Tata car here :-
http://www.desperateseller.co.uk/findac ... nshire.asp ;)



Just nit picking a little here but you have some double counting in that calculation. You can't include the 3p export tariff in the first part and then offset the 10p import savings. It's one or the other isn't it? Doesn't make much different if you take of the £9 from export, but has a slightly bigger impact if you take the 10p import savings out of the equation.

What are the predicted production rates per square metre and what are you actually finding then?

I ask because at SWEA we don't sell or install solar PV, but we do preliminary PV cost benefit surveys and on our calculator we use a Sanyo Hit panel. I'm just wondering if we are using older panels and the calculator can be up dated. Solar PV is not really my specialist area, but always happy to learn.

The extra £1,200 outlay does make sense. Even if it brought in just an extra £6,500 (or £260 a year). That is still a return on investment of over 20% for the extra cost.
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Senior Business Energy Advisor and Green Deal Trainer at Severn Wye Energy Agency
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