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Solarworld, Suniva, and Sunpower In Trouble. What Companies Are Worth My Business?

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  • Solarworld, Suniva, and Sunpower In Trouble. What Companies Are Worth My Business?

    Hello,


    Which solar panel manufacturer(s) currently seem to be the most financially solvent and/or a sound choice for honoring warranties into the future? In other words, which company would you trust with your money in a purchase right now?

    I have been planning the installation of a 14 kWh solar array for the last few years and am finally ready to throw my money down. Along the way I have been watching the ups and downs of the industry. Just recently Solarworld and Suniva filed for insolvency/bankruptcy, not to mention them both pushing a USA trade petition that could cause a domino effect of problems for the average consumer. Sunpower has similar financial woes. Ugh, those three manufacturers have been my preferred choice all along. I am not opposed to going with a company like LG, but is 20% higher cost worth it?

    For what it is worth, I am primarily interested in 300 watt or larger panels.


    Peace,
    Dr. Z.

  • #2
    Kyocera is about as stable as they get. Been around forever and honor their warranties
    2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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    • #3
      You are attempting to correlate a company's financial health with the long term performance of your system. I doubt that such a correlation would be supported by any data. Hard to beat Canadian Solar or Hanwha Q-cells on price/value ranking these days.
      CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Zeigh View Post
        Hello,


        Which solar panel manufacturer(s) currently seem to be the most financially solvent and/or a sound choice for honoring warranties into the future? In other words, which company would you trust with your money in a purchase right now?

        I have been planning the installation of a 14 kWh solar array for the last few years and am finally ready to throw my money down. Along the way I have been watching the ups and downs of the industry. Just recently Solarworld and Suniva filed for insolvency/bankruptcy, not to mention them both pushing a USA trade petition that could cause a domino effect of problems for the average consumer. Sunpower has similar financial woes. Ugh, those three manufacturers have been my preferred choice all along. I am not opposed to going with a company like LG, but is 20% higher cost worth it?

        For what it is worth, I am primarily interested in 300 watt or larger panels.


        Peace,
        Dr. Z.
        I think if I owned an Oldsmobile or a Plymouth it would still be running after mfg. ceased (although maybe not a Yugo). Point is, since panels seem to not only be a commodity but also pretty reliable and also pretty familiar at this time and probably going into the future, it probably doesn't matter a whole lot which mfg. outfits remain and which go belly up. There's a lot of domestic water heater outfits, water softener outfits and garage door opener outfits, etc., that have gone belly up, yet finding service for such things doesn't seem to be a problem.

        So it will be for PV systems.

        Rather than worrying about future unknowns I can only speculate about, can't do anything about anyway, and that probably don't matter squat in a practical sense, I'd rather spend my time in making sure I understood what I was buying and why, and making sure my proposed system was well designed, cost effectively not oversized and installed by a reputable vendor. Once you choose quality equipment, the vendor, their experience, reputation, integrity and longevity in business all become much more the most important considerations. Spend as much time and effort in vendor selection as equipment selection.

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        • #5
          What area are you in? I'm from Charleston SC and I have solar panels with the company Sun Run. Unlike most companies I didn't have to buy the panels of take out a loan to get panels. The solar panels were free but my house had to qualify in order to get them for free. Sun Run owns the system so they handle the maintenance if anything happens to the panels. The only thing I have to pay is a cheaper utility bill. You should give Sun Run a try if other solar companies haven't been as good.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Maritime Media View Post
            What area are you in? I'm from Charleston SC and I have solar panels with the company Sun Run. Unlike most companies I didn't have to buy the panels of take out a loan to get panels. The solar panels were free but my house had to qualify in order to get them for free. Sun Run owns the system so they handle the maintenance if anything happens to the panels. The only thing I have to pay is a cheaper utility bill. You should give Sun Run a try if other solar companies haven't been as good.
            You either have a lease or a PPA. Around here Sunrun peddles PPA's. How much do you pay SunRun/kWh ?

            From what I've seen, SunRun is a bit better than the other national bottom feeding scam artists, but not much. Enjoy carrying the PPA albatross.

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            • #7
              I've been paying .11 cents per KWh. I guess technically it would be ppa there is just no upfront cost

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Maritime Media View Post
                I've been paying .11 cents per KWh. I guess technically it would be ppa there is just no upfront cost
                Technically and every other way. It's a PPA.

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                • #9
                  IMO the best panel warranty money can buy is to purchase, on the front end, 2 or 3 extra panels and store them in your attic.

                  Then in a few years when one or more of those panels dies you will have a replacement part with the right operating and aesthetic characteristics.

                  Just look around this site and on the net for people trying to match older panels and finding no luck with either manufacturer, installer or the eBay search. Ignore the advice if you don't mind your array on your roof looking like a patchwork quilt. Some people don't mind but your spouse, neighbors or real estate broker may have other ideas.


                  p.s......+1 for the Kyocera organization and products

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Zeigh View Post
                    Hello,

                    Which solar panel manufacturer(s) currently seem to be the most financially solvent and/or a sound choice for honoring warranties into the future? In other words, which company would you trust with your money in a purchase right now? ...

                    ...Just recently Solarworld and Suniva filed for insolvency/bankruptcy, not to mention them both pushing a USA trade petition that could cause a domino effect of problems for the average consumer. Sunpower has similar financial woes.
                    For what it is worth, I am primarily interested in 300 watt or larger panels.
                    When I bought my array last month I was asking the same questions. The salesman was pushing Axitec and I more than ready to place the order until over the weekend I looked around and found they were removed from the Australian Clean Energy Council's Approved list for several reasons including not correctly stating their power rating among other things. He then tried to move me to Solarworld but I declined based on the same info you were seeing.

                    After some further research I found that REC (Renewable Energy Corp) founded in 1996 seemed to do well on the Altman Z Score for March of 2016, but I could not find them in other Z Scores in 2017. So ... I may be wrong. Your mileage may vary. I ended up with REC TwinPeak 2 285s.
                    285Wx9 / MNClassic 150 / SW4024 / Trojan L16H-ACx4

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Matrix View Post

                      When I bought my array last month I was asking the same questions. The salesman was pushing Axitec and I more than ready to place the order until over the weekend I looked around and found they were removed from the Australian Clean Energy Council's Approved list for several reasons including not correctly stating their power rating among other things. He then tried to move me to Solarworld but I declined based on the same info you were seeing.

                      After some further research I found that REC (Renewable Energy Corp) founded in 1996 seemed to do well on the Altman Z Score for March of 2016, but I could not find them in other Z Scores in 2017. So ... I may be wrong. Your mileage may vary. I ended up with REC TwinPeak 2 285s.
                      We're all orphans when our parents die. Life goes on. So it goes with solar equipment.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                        We're all orphans when our parents die. Life goes on. So it goes with solar equipment.
                        I guess that's one way to look at it. But not exactly what the OP was asking.
                        285Wx9 / MNClassic 150 / SW4024 / Trojan L16H-ACx4

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Matrix View Post
                          I guess that's one way to look at it. But not exactly what the OP was asking.
                          OP's question seemed related to a guess as to which mfgs. will be around in the future, implying that service might be a problem.

                          My point was meant as allegorical or a simile in the sense that it won't really matter much which mfgs. survive as most panels will still be functioning on their own long after their mfg. of origin craps the bed. And, if service is needed, it'll be available, not unlike children who survive their parents and get support and care as needed from others.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                            OP's question seemed related to a guess as to which mfgs. will be around in the future, implying that service might be a problem.

                            My point was meant as allegorical or a simile in the sense that it won't really matter much which mfgs. survive as most panels will still be functioning on their own long after their mfg. of origin craps the bed. And, if service is needed, it'll be available, not unlike children who survive their parents and get support and care as needed from others.
                            Good Point
                            285Wx9 / MNClassic 150 / SW4024 / Trojan L16H-ACx4

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                            • #15
                              Ditto on the Canadian Solar or Hanwha Q-cells for reliable panel manufacturers.
                              BSEE, R11, NABCEP, >1200kW installed

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