This question is part of the Super Big Solar Panel FAQ from Solar Mango, where expert answers to over 100 important questions on solar panels are provided.


Well, a heck of a lot

The quality of solar panels, made of a number of critical components in addition to the semiconductor cells, can vary significantly from one to another. Even for the same company and brand, the quality of panels could differ from one model to another. The same company and brand for instance could offer a panel that returns a high efficiency even at low sunlight conditions, while another model from the same company could return a much lower efficiency for low sunlight conditions. Now, having this beneficial characteristic alone could enhance your electricity generation by 5% – that would be close to an increase of 2 million units of power over a 25 year lifetime for a 1 MW solar power plant. .

While a 5% loss could result even from pretty good quality panels but with lower performances on relatively minor aspects such as low light performance, really poor quality solar panels could hurt you a lot, lot more.


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A poor quality panel might cost only 20% less than a good or a very good quality panel, but it might degrade in just 5 years – thus generating 80% less than a high quality panel.

For a 1 MW solar power plant, that would mean a loss of 25 million units compared to a 1 MW solar power plant that works well over 25 years. Just imagine, 25 million units, even at Rs 5/unit (8 US cents) will mean you are losing Rs 12.5 crores ($2 million).

Does that sound dramatic and unbelievable? Are you feeling that I am exaggerating the potential loss from low quality panels?

I would suggest that you talk to those who have put up solar power plants in Rajasthan in the initial phases (2010-12 period). As it was not well known how to evaluate the quality of solar panels, some of the power plant developers went for poor quality panels, and by 2015, a good number of those panels had to be replaced.

Source: Solar Panels are a 25 Year Relationship – Don’t Screw Up

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