Discuss Quick advice on panels, inverter etc in the Solar PV Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

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lovelldr

Hi guys.

So, been thinking about solar panels for a whole now, and haven't really gotten around to getting quotes etc in. But, with having a little more free time, I finally decided to look in to it a little more, and kicking myself for not looking inn to it when i first started back in feb. although I suppose the prices now are a little better, so a bit of give and take.

Anyway, had a few quotes come in, and wondered on your thoughts.

Firstly, one of the companies I spoke to offered a vphase. What do you think about these? Are they worth fitting? Prices seem to be around £400-£500 installed. Will they realistically save enough, and are they worth it?

Next, panels. Im looking at a 3kw system (12 x 250w) I've been offered quite a variety. One company only offered Polycrystalline, whereas the other mono crystalline. The mono crystalline said that the polycrystalline are fairly good nowadays, but they prefer to stick with mono crystalline. The panels offered by these were jetion 250w. They offered the aurora Pvi-3.0 inverter.

The polycrystalline company, offered the Stecagrid 3000 inverter, with a range of different panels, starting with jetion 245w, going to Canadian solar, Hyundai and sharp. Both companies were the same price for the jetion panels (£4800), but I was wondering what these panels were like? Would I be better to go with a different (which) brand panel? Or are jetion ok? The sharp went up to £5500.

Which inverter is best? Am I best looking at getting a different inter altogether?

Do these sounds like good prices? I think so, as others have ranged from £6500 - £9000. Am I best of staying with polycrystalline or monocryatalline?

All info greatly appreciated by a newby who's so overwhelmed with so much to look at..,
 
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L

lovelldr

Is this price just panels & inverter?? If not, it is good price.
Sorry, no. This is fully installed, with scaffold (on a 3-storey house) etc.

So, which would you go for out of the inverters, and panels etc?
 

yftam168

EF Member
Messages
17
Location
uk
Just the panels & inverter almost half of the price, scaffolding set up price around £300-£500.

Do you have any shading on your roof? If yes, Solar edge is a good choice, but a bit expensive with the optimisers.

I perfer mono crystalline panel.
 

jason121

Electrician's Arms
Solar Guru
Messages
1,228
Location
Lincolnshire
Steca is a good inverter striaght forward and simple should come with a 7year warranty
panels i would go for a good quality manufacture like sharp or hyundai
Look at the thread regarding Suntech
 

SolarCity

Electrician's Arms
Solar Guru
Messages
4,094
If the prices include VAT then they're not just good - they're eye-poppingly cheap.

All the panels you mention are pretty good. In all honesty there is not a lot to choose between the different panel manufacturers - although I'm not a fan of Sharp, neither in performance nor build quality.

With regards to poly vs mono - Our best performing panels (apart from Sanyo/Panasonic) appear to be Linuo 235w polycrystalline. I see no reason why other polycrystalline panels should be any different.
 

Jaycee

Regular EF Member
Messages
117
Linuo are a manufacture in their own right, make panels for different well known module suppliers also.

Run the 245w module through pv sol against any of the modules mentioned here, you will find that the Linuo will give highest yield(how much electricity they produce).....price is on par with jetion also.
 

SolarCity

Electrician's Arms
Solar Guru
Messages
4,094
The sharp panels install 2 years ago are producing well over our prediction
I don't know of a panel that hasn't hit predicited yield. Some panels appear to be stretching past predicted yield more than others though.

Our worst performing system, which incidentally still exceeds prediction, is a Sharp system.
 

moggy1968

Regular EF Member
Messages
1,836
If the prices include VAT then they're not just good - they're eye-poppingly cheap.
so ask yourself why. There are lots of posts on here covering the pitfalls of installing good kit badly.

Ask a few searching questions.
Who will actually do the installation?
What mounting kit will they use?
where will they put the isolators?
how do they intend to run the cable and how will they connect to the Distribution Board (DB)?
how do they preserve the integrity of your roof?
Do you need a structural survey (not all properties do, if the installer is experienced and confident of the roof structure)?
How long will the installtions take?
What size AC cable will they use?
Who does the PArt P registration?
What is the companies other line of business?

IN answer to the above:
When I use subbies, I am onsite monitoring their work, if it's not up to standard, it all comes off and they do it again. I've worked with my guys for a long long time.
Look up the mounting kit online or ask on here. If it's click fit walk away.
They should fit an AC islolator by the main DB and by the inverter. If these are in the same location they may use a single one. A DC isolator as well, anything less is cutting corners IMHO.
DC cable should be passed through the roof into the loft through a suitable system, not just tucked under tiles where it will wear through. DC outside the loft should be run externally in conduit or steel wire armoured cable, not through the house. If they say they will fit the AC to one of the RCDs in the DB which is used by other circuits, walk away, they don't know what they are talking about.
Tiles may need the nibs cutting out, not left sitting up, plain tiles will need replacing with lead. The cables should be passed through a natural join in the felt, a hole should not be punched through it. Anything else is a shortcut.
If you need a survey you need a survey, just make sure it has been considered, and who will pay.
The installation should take about a day. Anything less they're probably cutting corners. There should be a minimum of 3 guys on site. 2 on the roof and a sparky. I've seen this size of install done in 3 hours and it was a right mess.
If they say they will use 2.5mm cable and it's anythig less than a very short run (i.e. the inverter is next to the DB) walk away, they don't know what they are talking about. 2.5 is fine for the current but the volt drop on anything but the shortest of cable runs is too high for PV which has a lower tolerance than general electrical work. We always use a minimum of 4mm.
If they don't do the part P do they really have the knowledge within the company to be undertaking this type of work or checking the work of the sparks they may sub out to?
If it's just solar they do then will they still be here in a years time to service any warranty issues? Personally I would always go for an electrical contractor, but I'm biased! Don't go for a double glazing firm!

Thats just off the top of my head and all IMHO of course.

lastly but most importantly, ask to see some of their previous work and speak to some of their previous customers. Trawl through this forum to find examples aplenty of how it should not be done so you are aware of the pitfalls. In essence, educate yourself.

PS, personally I wouldn't touch sharp with someone elses bargepole, never mind my own!!
 
Last edited:

LightGEN

Regular EF Member
Messages
144
Location
Cheshire
What Moggy said above, for the most part, though, in my view, there should always be a structural report from a structural engineer - unless you're a structural engineer, you're not qualified to make a judgement on the suitablity of the roof structure and, in any case, a time will eventually come where, when houses are sold with a PV installation on the roof, the buyers solicitor will ask for a copy of that structural report. A structural report isn't expensive.

I'm not sure why there should be a minimum of three folks to install - two is a practical minimum, sure it'll take a little longer but there are fewer people to pay, so it won't cost any more.

There are hundreds of solar panel manufacturers, not all sell their products in the UK, a good number do. Polycrysteline and monocrysteline technologies both have their pros and cons and individual panels, of the same model, from the same manufacturer, vary in performance by plus/minus a few percent from their rated output. It's my view that there are too many variables to get a meaningful comparison between the performance of most panels. Panasonic (formerly Sanyo) employs some unique technology, which seems to provide a genuine performance boost, however, there's a cost premium to that technology, which in some cases makes sense, in others it doesn't.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for and goods are built to the price you pay for them - your solar installation should have a useful life of 30 to 40 years, maybe more, given that expectation, personally, I'd be inclined to head mid-market or better for panels - Hyundai or Panasonic are my own favourites. In terms of inverters we tend to stick with SMA.
 

wstevew

Regular EF Member
Messages
277
Location
Essex
Hi guys.

So, been thinking about solar panels for a whole now, and haven't really gotten around to getting quotes etc in. But, with having a little more free time, I finally decided to look in to it a little more, and kicking myself for not looking inn to it when i first started back in feb. although I suppose the prices now are a little better, so a bit of give and take.

Anyway, had a few quotes come in, and wondered on your thoughts.

Firstly, one of the companies I spoke to offered a vphase. What do you think about these? Are they worth fitting? Prices seem to be around £400-£500 installed. Will they realistically save enough, and are they worth it?

Next, panels. Im looking at a 3kw system (12 x 250w) I've been offered quite a variety. One company only offered Polycrystalline, whereas the other mono crystalline. The mono crystalline said that the polycrystalline are fairly good nowadays, but they prefer to stick with mono crystalline. The panels offered by these were jetion 250w. They offered the aurora Pvi-3.0 inverter.

The polycrystalline company, offered the Stecagrid 3000 inverter, with a range of different panels, starting with jetion 245w, going to Canadian solar, Hyundai and sharp. Both companies were the same price for the jetion panels (£4800), but I was wondering what these panels were like? Would I be better to go with a different (which) brand panel? Or are jetion ok? The sharp went up to £5500.

Which inverter is best? Am I best looking at getting a different inter altogether?

Do these sounds like good prices? I think so, as others have ranged from £6500 - £9000. Am I best of staying with polycrystalline or monocryatalline?

All info greatly appreciated by a newby who's so overwhelmed with so much to look at..,

More Important than the panels and Inverter is the quality of the Install. Choose a good local installer and knowing what i know now I would have gone with one of the guys on here.

Inverter wise I would stick with something like a power one, or SMA. (or any manufacturer with good service backup).

Panels seem to be much the same, but as above you should trust your installer to find the perfect combination for your install.
 

moggy1968

Regular EF Member
Messages
1,836
you need a minimum of 2 on the roof to safely get the panels up. Carrying them up on your back, as I have seen done, is playing russian roulette and contravenes every piece of H&S in the book (manual handling, working at height, ladder safety etc etc). As well as the safety issue the companies I have seen trying to get panels up on roofs using a single person invariably damage panels, but fit them anyway.

The Aurora OUTd is a good inverter, make sure it's this one, not the less efficient indoor model. Stecagrid I know nothing about.
SMA are more expensive but always my prefered option because of the excellent bluetooth availability, which can be linked to any computer using free software. Regardless of what people say, they will become anal about monitoring their output!!!

I've always said, there are only three types of panel Good (panasonic) bad (well....) and the rest, like hyundi, yingli, Bosch etc
 

jason121

Electrician's Arms
Solar Guru
Messages
1,228
Location
Lincolnshire
PS, personally I wouldn't touch sharp with someone elses bargepole, never mind my own!![/QUOTE]

Last time a used them, when they were mono design, they looked good what has happened to them
and were can a find a supplier for the Linuo Module
 

SRE

Solar Guru
Messages
2,947
Location
North West
and please don't pump the best, most knowledgeable installer for information then shaft him for another installer who is a bit cheaper but who you had to give all the knowledge gleaned from the slightly more expensive but knowledgeable installer. It takes a long time to keep up with changes in the market place and to learn how to install properly, that's why they are a bit more expensive but are also more likely to be there if you need after sales service in years to come because their business model is sustainable.
 
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