The Importance of Quality in Solar PV systems
With solar panels, like any product on the market, you can buy high quality, low quality or anything in-between. And like any installation work, the quality of the workmanship can vary from high quality craftsmanship down to poor quality installations being installed as fast as possible without care or consideration.
Why is quality important?
Good solar panel installations are expected to last 30+ years. That is a long time to be working every day, sat out in the elements getting wet, hot, cold, etc. If you don’t make sure you invest in quality components to begin with you will end up paying more in the long run.
Cambridge Solar install only the highest quality components, installed with care and consideration.
We have been in the industry a long time, and we have seen lots of changes. We have seen international manufacturers appear and disappear, we have seen local installers start-up and cease trading, and through this we have learnt the importance of installing quality components and systems.
We are frequently repairing systems that other companies have installed who are no longer around to maintain them. Most of these systems would have still been working fine if they had originally used high quality products.
But what does quality mean in solar pv systems? How do you identify it?
It’s quite a tricky area and many people have their opinions but after our many years in the industry we would say quality is about 6 main things:
The quality of the installation company – more info
The quality of the system design – more info
The quality of the systems components– more info
The quality of the warranties– more info
The quality of the technical support– more info
The quality of the installation workmanship– more info
If you have all of these covered then your system will perform well, and if it doesn’t it will be repaired or replaced ASAP whether it is in or out of its warranty period.
At Cambridge Solar we take quality very seriously, and we think you should too.
The most important area to look at is the installation company. If they are a good quality installer everything else should fall into place. They will be ensuring that the components are top brands, that the warrantees and technical support are excellent, that the system design has been carried out properly, that the installation workmanship is second to none; and they will feel a sense of responsibility to your system for its lifetime over the decades ahead. This is Cambridge Solar’s approach. We have been involved in the solar industry since 1999, it’s our passion, and we are in this industry for the long haul. And we don’t want to be wasting time and money in future repairing peoples systems! That’s why we only use the best components from the offset and install to the highest standards.
You know that when you get a Cambridge Solar system you are always getting a high quality installation.
This aspect is crucial to the overall performance of the system and its future reliability. Panels and inverters have to be matched carefully and many variables can make a difference to the design:
The electrical characteristics of the panels & the inverter
The orientation & pitch of the array
Any shading issues, etc
Cambridge Solar carries out individual designs for every property we quote for. We don’t have set ‘kits’ or products that we try to promote. We look at each property and system individually and will specify components based on our conversations with the customer and the site specifics.
We design bespoke installations that ensure that the system will be perfectly matched for the property or site, guaranteeing maximum performance and reliability.
Secondly you want high quality components. You want them to perform well, meeting or exceeding performance expectations with maximum reliability. You want panels and inverters that have been manufactured to the highest international quality standards. Cambridge Solar’s main product range goes way beyond the required international standards in terms of their stress testing and quality checks. Most have gained recognition of this through positive results from independent studies eg LG Solar’s PID tests, Solar Edges Photon Review or UpSolar’s Module Manufacturing Innovation Award.
We spend a lot of time and take a lot of pride in choosing only what we believe to be the best quality components throughout our systems. This includes components beyond just the solar panels and inverters like the frame, generation meters, isolators, cable, connectors etc.
Warranties are not just about the number of years you are covered for, although that is important. Some product warranties will only be valid if the company is still around! A large number of solar manufacturers have unfortunately been going out of business recently. That is why we only use panels from companies that have strong balance sheets, have a range of business interests and will be able to deal with any warranty issues in years to come.
Also, in our experience repairing other installers systems, if the manufacturer does not have a support team in the UK, even if a product is within its warranty period you may still not manage to have the claim dealt with!
Cambridge Solar offer a minimum 10 year product warranty on all components – and many up to 20 or years. We also offer an insurance backed 10 year workmanship warranty.
We are realistic…unfortunately sometimes things fail. Through our careful design, component choice and high quality installation we keep this to a minimum. But, after time, sometimes even the best systems fail. When this happens, whether the system is in or out of the warranty period, you want to know that there is an experienced, specialised technical support team based in the UK that can help solve to problem immediately. This means a couple of main of things:
If Cambridge Solar can’t mend it straight away, e.g. if it is a complex electronics fault, there are technicians available who can mend the system ASAP
If the system can’t be mended but a new unit is required there are units (or equivalent units) available in the UK for immediate dispatch – so that your downtime is kept to a minimum.
We’ve tried dealing with warranty issues with technical teams based abroad before and it’s not much fun and it’s not very quick.
That’s why all of the manufacturers that supply Cambridge Solar have made long term commitments to the UK market and have established technical teams that can support us if required.
This is the last part of the jigsaw. The level of the actual installation workmanship has to be top-notch. And thankfully this is something we are obsessive about! Our installers are all extremely experienced roofers, electricians and solar panel installers who have been working in the industry for many years. They have hundreds of installations under their belt and they take great pride in their work. Panels are installed with real care and precision and the electrics are done in the most unobtrusive, neat and tidy way possible. This is something we take great pride in.
As an indication of the confidence we have in our installation quality we have a 10 year workmanship warranty – much longer than many of our competitors.
As you have seen Cambridge Solar takes detail seriously and take quality seriously, this is the case throughout the company from our design team to our surveyors, our installers and beyond. You can be assured that using Cambridge Solar for your installation will give you complete piece of mind and you can be confident that we will look after you, your installation and your property with the attention, care and consideration deserved. We try and go the extra mile with everything we do and our obsession with high quality is just one aspect of that.
Now that you have learned about the importance of quality why not get in touch and make an enquiry today - 01223 863 885.