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Thread: Which Panel to go with? Mage/Schott/Canadian Solar

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    Default Which Panel to go with? Mage/Schott/Canadian Solar

    Hello all, first post. I'm about to sign a contract for a 3.22 kW system. I just don't know which. I've gotten three different quotes. The cheapest is for 14 230 Canadian Solar panels. roughly about 1500 dollars cheaper than the 14 230 Schott and 14 230 Mage panels...Interestingly enough the Schott and Mage quotes are roughly the same...which one should I go for?

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    If you want to make the right decision for a PV system, do not look for the panels only. What inverter is used? Design of the PV System?

    For 14pcs of 230W panels the retail cost for the panel only should be in the area of $1.00 per Watt to $1.15 per Watt at the moment, so about $3,220 to $3,703. So if your quotes are different by $1,500, it can not come from the panel price only. Is everything else really the same??? The installed cost for such a 3.22kW system should be no more then $5.00 per Watt (only if you are from CA it might be higher), so in total not more then $16,100.

    Schott and Canadian Solar are not top notch, but good companies with many installed systems. For your size they are OK. You only should be careful with Mage. They are pretty good with their marketing, but at the end you get cheap china panels. They claim to be German Engineered, but at the end they are only importing medium quality modules from China and label them as mage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by solarsolar View Post
    If you want to make the right decision for a PV system, do not look for the panels only. What inverter is used? Design of the PV System?

    For 14pcs of 230W panels the retail cost for the panel only should be in the area of $1.00 per Watt to $1.15 per Watt at the moment, so about $3,220 to $3,703. So if your quotes are different by $1,500, it can not come from the panel price only. Is everything else really the same??? The installed cost for such a 3.22kW system should be no more then $5.00 per Watt (only if you are from CA it might be higher), so in total not more then $16,100.

    Schott and Canadian Solar are not top notch, but good companies with many installed systems. For your size they are OK. You only should be careful with Mage. They are pretty good with their marketing, but at the end you get cheap china panels. They claim to be German Engineered, but at the end they are only importing medium quality modules from China and label them as mage.
    What planet are you from
    Wholesale pricing for top quality modules are more than that. I should know, it's what I do for a living.
    I agree that Schott and Canadian Solar are good modules. Most Schott are US made modules. I believe Mage has a plant in the US. Canadian Solar is Incorporated in Canada but 100% of the modules are manufactured in China. ( They also Manufacture for Schuco) I have no experience with Mage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown View Post
    What planet are you from
    Wholesale pricing for top quality modules are more than that. I should know, it's what I do for a living.
    I agree, sorry for not using correct wording!

    I am a Financial/Business Analyst and work mainly in the Tier 2 and 3 area from China. But in this area I can give you the following feedback. Let's take a company that is a very good tier 3, from business pointy of view maybe even a tier 2 company: Jinko Solar. They just published their financial data for the third quarter 2011. In the Q3/2011 they shipped modules worth of 257.7 MW, generating a revenue of US$279.2. So they sold the modules in average of $1.08 per Watt to Distributors and EPC's worldwide. Now, about at the end of Q4/2011, they sell the modules even cheaper, in the tier 2/3 area we are now below $1.00/W (purchasing cost for Distributors in US).

    You will find this average (not Tier 1) sales prices also in the spot market information like PVinsights (Average is $0.98/Watt, with Low/High of $0.75/$1.45) or in one of the last Mercom Reports: avg-price.jpg.

    That is what I see at the moment on my desk, for a good Tier 3 and average Tier 2 purchasing cost for Distributors of less then $1.00/Watt. After they put their margin on top we have for this type of products sales prices from Distributors of $1.00 - $1.15/W. Check with your Distributors like Ontility, Mage, SolarDepot, ... For some of them I have already the sales prices on my desk, and they are in this range.

    But again, I was not talking about Tier 1 high quality products, sorry for the confusion!

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    What inverter is used? Design of the PV System?
    You are correct about MAGE panels. They are purchased from mid level China suppliers (like most panels) and they are NOT German engineered. MAGE does have a facility in the US however it is mostly for warehouse purposes.
    Regarding your decision; do your homework on the inverters, design and PV system. Make sure your installers know what they are doing and are certified.

    Naptown, With all due respect, you are getting ripped off if you are paying more for your panels. The present market price is below 1.00 for small orders.

    Good Luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bliss21 View Post
    What inverter is used? Design of the PV System?
    You are correct about MAGE panels. They are purchased from mid level China suppliers (like most panels) and they are NOT German engineered. MAGE does have a facility in the US however it is mostly for warehouse purposes.
    Regarding your decision; do your homework on the inverters, design and PV system. Make sure your installers know what they are doing and are certified.

    Naptown, With all due respect, you are getting ripped off if you are paying more for your panels. The present market price is below 1.00 for small orders.

    Good Luck.
    from whom?
    PM me if you like

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    Back on subject... I recommend the Canadian Solar modules. The CS6P-230P has been a workhorse for us. It's a solid panel, great frame. Nothing sexy about this one - just a solid performer.

    Jason Szumlanski

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    Default Re.Panels.

    Quote Originally Posted by whoa_now View Post
    Hello all, first post. I'm about to sign a contract for a 3.22 kW system. I just don't know which. I've gotten three different quotes. The cheapest is for 14 230 Canadian Solar panels. roughly about 1500 dollars cheaper than the 14 230 Schott and 14 230 Mage panels...Interestingly enough the Schott and Mage quotes are roughly the same...which one should I go for?
    In fact, all of the three brands mainly are produced in China. Schott has cooperation with a Chinese manufacturer. Mage is OEM cooperation with Chinese manufacturer. CSI is producing in China. Only names are different.

    Carol Yan-Q-trade

  9. #9

    Default Your Panels and my experiences with them.

    Here is some feedback from us. We have installed Canadian Solar and MAGE before. We did a 10kW Canadian Solar install and the panels have been performing OK. They are performing just above their warranty specs so we cant take action. The system is a ground mount in an open field with a due south orientation and two SunnyBoys on the back end. I think its mediocre performance.

    Our experiences with MAGE was OK.However, we installed about 125kW at 4 sites under the same job order. We have now had two warranty calls the last 18 months. The glass is delaminating from the cells and moisture is building up. Some of the frames are showing early signs of corrosion and the glass is fogging on some panels. I have never had this happen and I am not happy about it. MAGE has been good at replacing the panels , but we are losing face with the customer. I also was unsuccessful at receiving any reimbursement from MAGE for the labor charges we have now incurred to replace the panels they manufactured incorrectly. My only concern is that this problem will worsen with age and MAGE will cost us more lost revenues.

    I really like SolarWorld's 245 and 250 monos. I am putting those on my own home now. Their frames are a bit of a pain to get used to. However, they have been producing lots of power for us in the field. I have about 100kW of SolarWorld out there now and its cranking. I would suggest you shop them next time. I found that some distributors bend you over on SolarWorld while others are reasonable. The premiums you pay on SolarWorld versus another tier 1 chinese product are worth it. The fact that SolarWorld also has a 3rd party insurance on their panel warranty is a nice selling point with customers in addition to the fact that they are made here.

  10. #10

    Default Distributors

    And stay away from Ontility in Texas. We are in the middle of a horrendous transaction with that company. They have now held up a job for us for over three months and have not shipped product for a residential lease project with NRG. They are now trying to pull a bait and switch on the panels that we ordered and are trying to substitute a tier 2 panel for a tier 1 as we had originally specified. Ontility has literally cost us thousands of dollars, wiped our profits out on the job and are making us look bad in the eyes of the state and local permitting offices. Its a nightmare.

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