Solar panel manufacturers: read those data-sheets
Here is a list of solar panel manufacturers, together with solar inverter manufacturers.
All of these companies sell their products in the UK, usually via wholesalers.
If you decide to go ahead with a solar panel system, your installer will buy the panels and the inverter from wholesalers they work with.
If you have any questions about panels or inverters and feel you can’t get enough information from the installer, contact the manufacturer direct.
Solar panels are now mature technology, having been around and developed for decades.
This is good news. They are robust and very unlikely to fail on your roof. They are weather-proof and resilient.
Nonetheless, they do gradually degrade over time. The sunshine affects the solar cells to a very small extent every year. Most manufacturers guarantee this degradation will be no more than 15-20% or so over a 25-year period. Some warranties are even longer.
So a solar panel that starts out at 300W, will be the equivalent of a 240W panel after 25 years, if the degradation is at 20%. This is known as the Performance warranty.
Panels also have a Product warranty. This is the same as any other warranty for electronic goods. If it fails within the product warranty period, you are entitled to a replacement, free of charge. Some product warranties on solar panels are 10-12 years. Other manufacturers offer 25-40 year product warranties, through the panels can be more expensive.
Below is a list of popular solar panel manufacturers, with panels available in the UK. Click on the links to go to the manufacturers’ websites. There you can learn all about specific panels, and get a feeling for whether you want to buy that company’s panels or not.
Solar inverters do all the electrical heavy-lifting.
Your solar panels produce ‘DC electricity’, but your home can only run on ‘AC electricity’.
This is where the inverter comes in. It converts DC to AC electricity and sends it to your fuse box. From there, it powers any electric devices that are plugged in or turned on, such as lights, computers, ovens, and electric cars.
Unlike solar panels, inverters do fail. They have a tough job providing grid-compatible electricity at the right voltage and frequency. As they are working so hard, day in and day out, they have a tendency to fail more often that you would expect.
They don’t come with performance warranties, but they do have product warranties. That product warranty is a very important piece of paper. We would advise strongly to have an inverter product warranty of at least 10 years. Your inverter will almost certainly fail before 10 years are up. Under warranty, it will be replaced or fixed free of charge.
Some inverter product warranties can be extended to 15, 20, or even 25 years. Ask your installation company what the extended warranties would cost. If the price seems reasonable, go for it.
Below is a list of common solar inverters available in the UK.