Reliability of solar panels matter
I’ve just finished a technical and commercial review of a solar plant in Spain that was suffering from reliability issues.
The plant has had a long period of under-performance, reducing investor returns and culminating in replacement of 75% of the panels due to manufacturing defects.
Financial difficulties of the original panel supplier retarded prompt replacement of the faulty product. Although they eventually came through with like-for-like panels, the value of my client’s asset has significant impairment:
- will the remaining original panels fail? (probably)
- can we be sure that the manufacturing process has been improved so that the replacement panels will have a long productive life? (no)
- can we rely on the manufacturer to be solvent enough to continue to stand by their warranty? (not really!)
Although the output is back up to expected levels, the value of the plant is significantly less due to doubts over long term performance. Any future purchaser will devalue their offer commensurate with the risk.
This project has underlined that using quality components makes a difference, and that a warranty is only as good as the company standing behind it. While we all know these things, sometimes a real-life example reinforces the impact of failure.
Cheap doesn’t equal good value.