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Workmanship warranty, Seraphim SIII modules, and installer experience/ thoughts?

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  • Workmanship warranty, Seraphim SIII modules, and installer experience/ thoughts?

    I have obtained 5 quotes from solar installers in my area, all with at least 10 years of experience in the field. All work on commercial, agricultural, and residential projects. Two national companies Pure Light and SunPro were $43k and $41k for a 10.5 kW system, that should fully offset my home power use (14,100 kW/yr). These two went out the window right away.

    The three local guys were:

    $33k from Energy Consultants Group, for Panasonic modules and Enphase microinverters, 25 year warranty on everything. Roughly $3.10/w (10.4kW system). Unirack mounting.

    $30k from Eagle Point Solar for VSUN modules and SolarEdge power optimizers, 25 year production guarantee but 15 years on the rest, and 5 years workmanship. Roughly $2.80/w, (10.5 kW system). IronRidge mounting.

    $26k from CB Solar for Seraphim SIII All Black (I required all black for the aesthetic from all installers) modules, and SolarEdge power optimizers. 25 year productions guarantee, 15 years on the rest, 5 on the workmanship. Roughly $2.15/w. (11.88 kW system). Unknown mounting.

    I am leaning towards the lowest bid, as it is the largest system for the lowest price, and the ownership of the company are all graduates of the nearby engineering college, with a focus in renewable energy. They explained to me how the production ratio is different for Iowa than what most other companies quote, and explained why I needed this larger system.

    My biggest concern is the module quality, and the workmanship warranty. My roof is traditional shingles, and is only 3 years old. How often does something go wrong in the installation process that a workmanship concern would come up? I would prefer the piece of mind from a longer warranty, but at the same time, to save $4k, I could just put that in the bank, and use it to pay out of pocket if something goes wrong.

    I would like to hear thoughts on if the benefit of a longer warranty is worth the additional cost, if there really is any value to a "workmanship" warranty anyway, and if there is any experience with these panels.

    I have listed the companies by name and linked to their websites in case anyone recognizes them or has thoughts on them.

    MOD NOTE: Please do not include links to other solar companies.
    Last edited by SunEagle; 11-23-2021, 10:39 PM. Reason: Removed links

  • #2
    Have you read the Dummies book yet ?

    With respect to warranties: Chances are no company you'll hire will be around down the road if/when you'll need them.
    If that's not a fact, then it's at least a safe and conservation assumption.

    The best warranty you'll ever get is being in all the nooks and crannies of a job while it's being done and while there, taking a lot of pictures. Stay out of the way, but don't be shy if you think you see someting isn't right. I've seen a lot of shoddy antics pulled on homeowners in my HOA by installers that most folks would never have known about if I'd have kept my mouth shut.

    Most likely, or more often than not, if things are done professionally, problems occur early in an array's lifecycle (and also when an outfit has a higher probablilty of at least still being in business to answer the phone). Being on site while not inhibiting the work may make everyone a bit more conscientious, but that'll be a waste if you don't educate yourself about the basics.
    Besides the idea that owners or anyone with "college degrees" doesn't tell me squat about someone's ability to produce good work or be honest, or much of anything other than they got a tuition receipt (a degree) and passed tests while their ass warmed a chair in some classroom, it's actually the working pros, the folks on site doing the work that give you quality. Watch what's being done if you want quality work.

    BTW: why are you still buying the idea of optimizers or micros ? Built in potential problem that violate the KISS principle.

    One other point: All well designed systems in the same location, orientation and shading will produce, within probably a couple % or so, about the same annual output per installed STC W. Anyone who tells you or implies otherwise is dancing with your leg.

    Get/Do your own estimate of annual ouput by proper and informed use of PVWatts. If your input matches that of the proposed array, the model will be pretty close to what you can expect.

    Then, reread the first sentence of this post.

    Take what you want of the above. Scrap the rest.
    Last edited by J.P.M.; 11-24-2021, 11:39 AM. Reason: corrected spelling.


    • #3
      Thanks for the info. Book will be here Saturday.


      • #4
        Originally posted by k-man21 View Post
        Thanks for the info. Book will be here Saturday.
        You're welcome. To my experience, educated and informed buyers are most often the ones who wind up with the most fit for purpose systems.