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  • Comparison of Panasonic, SunPower and LG

    I came across this Texas installer's comparison of several popular panels side by side using DC Optimizers. Scroll to the table near the bottom. It's a really great comparison because the data is taken from the same day on the same roof.
    ​​​​​​
    https://www.hesolarllc.com/panasonic-vs-sunpower-vs-lg/

    Was leaning towards SunPower but after reading this comparison, Panasonic is the best choice without a question.
    Last edited by wildta; 02-07-2019, 06:59 PM.

  • #2
    At $3.00/ STC W, the Panasonic does seem to have an advantage. Still, The value of this comparison to me looks like the pretty much singular non cost effectiveness of the Sunpower offering as well as the smaller differences among the other offerings. That is, panels are a commodity with Sunpower being the least cost effective. Local markets and conditions and application parameters like roof access/pitch/type and other things can also affect pricing as can some developed negotiating skills on both sides. I'd be careful about applying the pricing to other markets although the relative prices one panel to another might be valid in different markets.

    Overall, probably another good set of info even though it's a bit anecdotal in nature.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not sure what happened with that site (too much traffic / too many re-directs) but I ran across it a year or so ago. It's a good site, though it seems to smell a bit of an installer who just partnered with Panasonic and is now looking to promote their product. Disclaimer -- I have Panasonic panels myself.

      What I cannot understand in today's age of rampant product reviews (most of which are crap). Why are there no independent testing agencies or even consumer reports, etc. comparing solar panels, inverters, etc.

      Yes, there is the Fraunhofer.
      (www).ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/Photovoltaics-Report.pdf
      (www).ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/en/documents/publications/studies/recent-facts-about-photovoltaics-in-germany.pdf

      But their panel level performance and quality reports are not free, and manufacturer names are blinded to 3rd parties.

      I assume this is because of the capital investment cost, the difficulty of designing a scientifically rigorous study, the long time horizons, and the small differences between solutions.

      But from my perspective there are many relatively simple questions:

      1) Whose AR coating is most effective at different angles of illumination?
      2) Whose AR coating is the most durable over time
      3) Whose panels perform best under diffuse or filtered conditions (haze, diffuse clouds, smoke)
      4 Whose panels perform best under shallow/steep/oblique angles. whose panels perform best in the mornings and evenings?
      5) Whose panels are most efficient at capturing natural daylight -- not test lamp light
      6) Whose panels have the lowest internal resistence
      7) Are there any real advantages/disadvantages to:
      front contact
      back contact
      Cello
      Copper backplane
      60, 72, 96-cell
      white backsheet, black backsheet, clear backsheet, etc.
      SolarEdge vs. Enphase vs. Fronius/ABB/etc.

      Sure, many of these questions seem trivial and obvious. But there's little or no quantitative,semi-quantitative, or even useful anecdotal data on many of these points.

      Given the multi-million cost of large commercial solar fields, even small differences in productivity and their relationship to per panel cost, would have a huge impact on ROI.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JSchnee21 View Post
        I'm not sure what happened with that site (too much traffic / too many re-directs) but I ran across it a year or so ago. It's a good site, though it seems to smell a bit of an installer who just partnered with Panasonic and is now looking to promote their product. Disclaimer -- I have Panasonic panels myself.

        What I cannot understand in today's age of rampant product reviews (most of which are crap). Why are there no independent testing agencies or even consumer reports, etc. comparing solar panels, inverters, etc.

        Yes, there is the Fraunhofer.
        (www).ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/Photovoltaics-Report.pdf
        (www).ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/en/documents/publications/studies/recent-facts-about-photovoltaics-in-germany.pdf

        But their panel level performance and quality reports are not free, and manufacturer names are blinded to 3rd parties.

        I assume this is because of the capital investment cost, the difficulty of designing a scientifically rigorous study, the long time horizons, and the small differences between solutions.

        But from my perspective there are many relatively simple questions:

        1) Whose AR coating is most effective at different angles of illumination?
        2) Whose AR coating is the most durable over time
        3) Whose panels perform best under diffuse or filtered conditions (haze, diffuse clouds, smoke)
        4 Whose panels perform best under shallow/steep/oblique angles. whose panels perform best in the mornings and evenings?
        5) Whose panels are most efficient at capturing natural daylight -- not test lamp light
        6) Whose panels have the lowest internal resistence
        7) Are there any real advantages/disadvantages to:
        front contact
        back contact
        Cello
        Copper backplane
        60, 72, 96-cell
        white backsheet, black backsheet, clear backsheet, etc.
        SolarEdge vs. Enphase vs. Fronius/ABB/etc.

        Sure, many of these questions seem trivial and obvious. But there's little or no quantitative,semi-quantitative, or even useful anecdotal data on many of these points.

        Given the multi-million cost of large commercial solar fields, even small differences in productivity and their relationship to per panel cost, would have a huge impact on ROI.
        Mostly agree. On the questions you pose, a lot of such information is reported in the journals such as "Solar Energy", "Journal of Applied Physics", or the engineering journals etc, and has been for some time. However, a lot of the information on practical methods is still of an unresolved nature - at least unresolved enough so that discussion continues. Hence, the stuff of white collar welfare, and more than a few mostly useless master's theses that rehash the same information and add little to the body of knowledge.

        One example: At this time ARC tech./science is at a point where the best improvement in reduction of reflection loss over the solar spectrum useful for silicon devices (that is, for wavelengths < 1.15 micrometers) is obtained in one of two ways. One, by applying a film with low refractive index using vac. deposition or nanotechnology or other means at an optical thickness of pi/4 of the of the dominant wavelength. The incoming and reflected wavelengths have a phase difference of pi and cancel. The other is to apply one (or more) coatings using similar methods at a refractive index that is the geometric mean between the medium (usually air) and the glazing (usually glass). That lowers the refractive index of the glazing system (the 2 layers) with reflection and hence reflection losses reduced and that can be calc'ed and an integrated value over wavelengths and angles of incidence can be obtained. Most of the literature (and research by companies) is currently about finding the most cost effective way to produce a durable and effective coating using the second method.

        The methods principles are well understood. It's now mostly an application/production and durability situation.

        Also, as you write some questions are trivial and amount to skunk spoor. But those are the types of questions that marketing slugs love to use to prey on solar ignorance and increase profits. IMO, the cons and deception and how to effectively call them out are what needs to be addressed. But that's always been the case.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi, I saw a link to our test array posted here and wanted to provide a little insight.

          For the first few years we kept nearly all data private and used the data internally when deciding what panels we wanted to add to our product line. So the comment above that the page is anecdotal is fair because at the surface level we were really just showing consumers what we (as a company) do on our end to choose a panel.

          However, we have been making a lot of updates over the past few weeks that just went live:
          -Panel Addition: QCells 325W Qpeak Duo
          -Panel Addition: Solaria 340 and 350W
          -Panel Addition: LG NeON2 335W
          - Added Cost / kWh ranking: This uses actual kWh data from the HESOLAR test array compared to our pricing for the panels and ranks them in a spreadsheet using standard deviation.
          - Added kWh / sqft ranking (Efficiency): This uses kWh data to quantify efficiency. Before we just listed them according to their data sheets efficiency rating.
          - Added kWh / Watt (nameplate) ranking: This quantifies performance against the solar panels advertised wattage and also uses recorded data from our test array.
          - Removed subjective text about Panasonic being the winner:When we first built the test array in early 2017 we were getting Panasonic at a great price point and it was the clear winner. An update was long overdue and we don't want to devalue our research here by picking a favorite.

          I hope the information above and the updated page (https://www.hesolarllc.com/panasonic-vs-sunpower-vs-lg/) helps future solar customers decide which panel is right for them. I urge you to put more value in the companies design and installation team, opposed to specified material.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Eric,

            Welcome! Thanks so much for joining. I will definitely check this out. I think you will find this board is a lot of fun. There are a number of installers, several enthusiasts, and lots of new folks just trying to get started with the "hobby."

            Just a word of caution as one friend to another. We don't try to sell anything here and shills are very quickly run out of town. I'm sure you wouldn't do that, but the moderators (which I am not) are pretty aggressive (as they should be). That said, many of us do try to make practical recommendations about system designs, reliable hardware solutions (from our collective experiences), the pros and cons of different products, and when asked, recommendations for reputable local vendors to new members who are often overwhelmed just trying to get started.

            The solar community is definitely in need or more real world data from folks like yourself to help us make pragmatic cost effective decisions. Many of us maintain accounts on PVOutput.org as well, and have configured our inverters to post system data there in real time for extended graphing and reporting.

            For example my system:
            pvoutput.org/list.jsp?userid=58372

            If you're not familiar with the site, do check it out.

            All the best,
            Jonathan

            Comment

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