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Part 2 of 2: Should I Hold Off Investing in a Solar System?

written by Greg Shaw, Managing Director, Hua Hin Solar Co., Ltd.

Continued from the Solar News article – Part 1 or 2: Solar Facts & Myth Busters @ Hua Hin, Thailand. Written by the same author. Go to https://solarshop-huahin.com/2017/11/15/part-1-of-2-solar-facts-myth-busters-hua-hin-thailand/

If folks at the cafes and pubs in Hua Hin were quoted as saying, ‘Solar systems are here to stay as they are readily available, reliable, efficient, add value to people’s lives and are cost-effective,’ they’d be speaking the truth. Solar technology has been clearly winning the renewable energy race and undoubtedly will continue to do so for the foreseeable future! There is clearly no better time than today to purchase a solar system.

We receive a lot of questions from our customers. All are important questions and many are similar. So we decided to write down our responses – honestly transparent, truthful & trustworthy – to several of those questions which, as we would say in “Land of Smiles” (=Thailand), are “Same, Same, but Different.”

So firstly please remember that it is our business to know everything (as much as possible) there is to know about the solar energy sector in Thailand and abroad. So let’s put on paper what we have found so you can better understand what you will be buying:

Question #8: How long can I expect for my solar system to last? What warrantees can I expect to get?

When building our solar investment calculator (https://solarshop-huahin.com/solar-payback-calculator/) we decided that we were not to include maintenance costs by design. This is due to the long life-expectancies of Hua Hin Solar Co., Ltd. systems (solar inverters over 14 years, European Standard solar PV panels between 25 and 30 years). Remember that our inverters come with a 5 year warrantee. Our solar PV panels have long-term workmanship warrantees for as long as 12 years in addition to performance warrantees of between 25 and 30 years – and not to forget product liability and insurance coverage.

Question #9: Should I hold off buying a solar system?

It really does make sense to switch to cleaner energy and allow your solar system to start paying itself off today. Plus you will love having your house powered by the sun and your energy savings. Our little family has ours in place at our home and we love it!

Question #10: Are solar panels a great investment? How long do they last?

Hua Hin Solar sells and utilises only European Standard panels. This means that the panels have TUV (=heavy load mechanical resistance against wind and snow) and IEC certifications from Germany and are produced in ISO Standard manufacturing facilities. The panels in turn are purchased and installed globally in places including the European Union, UK, USA and Australia.

Solar panels are a great investment. They will last for the better part of your life. In fact, the Grade A panels utilised by Hua Hin Solar have long-term workmanship warrantees of for as long as 12 years in addition to performance warrantees of between 25 and 30 years – and not to forget product liability and insurance coverage. Once you purchase our European Standard panels you can keep them mounted on your home or business or at a later date move the solar system to another property (when you move). Or you can sell the solar panels as they last for such a long time and retain great value.

Question #11: How do I clean my panels? What will my panel warrantees cover and not cover?

Solar panels that are sloped about 10 degrees or more typically self-clean in the rain. However, if a bird fouls your panels or if there is construction generating a lot of dust in your neck-of-the-woods a friendly worker can sent up a latter to gently clean the cells. This may be done ONLY with a soft sponge and water mixed with liquid-dish washing soap – straight from your kitchen. Once cleaned simply hose off the soap using water.

In general, the 12 year limited manufacturer warrantee does not cover negligence or misuse. The warrantees do not cover misuse including scratching panels by cleaning them with, for example, an abrasive pad. Your worker(s) should not walk on panels as, for example, a stone caught in the tread of his or her shoe can micro-fracture or break panel cells – and or the metallic contacts (busbars and collector fingers) which are fitted on the front and back of the solar cells. Check with the manufacturer before drilling holes in the frame for roof-mounting purposes. This act may or may not void your warrantee.

‘Acts of God’ on the other hand are not covered by manufacturer warrantees. Now if a bird was to fly into a European Standard solar panel – with a TUV (=heavy load mechanical resistance against wind and snow) certification – it would be a very rare occasion that the panel would be damaged. Having said this, if your residence is in Northern Thailand an ‘Act of God’ such as a hail storm could potentially damage panel cells. That damage would not be covered by a solar panel’s warrantee.

A 250W to 280W panel is typically made up of 60 solar silicon cells (arranged 6 cells wide and 10 cells long). A 300W to 360W panel is typically made up of 72 cells (arranged 6 cells wide and 12 cells long). Metallic contacts located on the front and back of the solar cells transfer the electrical current from the cells to the junction box and finally to the PV cables located on the back of the panel. The collective performance of these panel components are covered by the Linear performance warrantee pro-rated for 25 or 30 years – depending on the panel type.

Question #12: Is there warrantee coverage for cables and wiring used in solar installations?

PV cables, THW cables and MC4 connectors are covered by our 12 month limited guarantee for our solar systems (see also the How to Order section of solarshop-huahin.com for ‘Our Guarantee’ details). So are our electrician works including our solar system wiring and items such as the DC circuit breaker.

For obvious reasons it is important that installations be performed by a qualified and highly experienced electrician / supervisor. To this end, Charlerm Jinatun, our Senior engineer has worked as a certified electrician and solar energy & electrical engineer for over 20 years. He and his team have provided electrical services in many neighbourhoods in Hua Hin, Cha Am and Pranburi. You can rest assured that his team will select, size and install cables and wiring correctly the first time with long-term durability, safety and performance in mind.

Question #13: Is ‘Made in China’ a bad thing?

It should be noted that we sell equipment made in Europe, USA, Japan and S. Korea so customers have options. Having said this:

Let’s face the facts: The vast majority of equipment utilised in building solar systems in SE Asia is ‘Made in China’ and that especially applies for the vast majority of installation companies operating in Thailand. Many manufacturers including European and North American solar companies have manufacturing plants in China. And, as you know already, so does Apple – the most valuable company ever! But these Hi-Tech companies also have production facilities across the globe. Each facility has the same high standards and certifications irregardless of where it is located.

Our team have spend 100’s of hours sifting through available technologies and equipment to choose the very best – that is, in terms of performance, durability, ease of use, efficiency, reviews and ability to deliver on promised outcomes or energy-saving solutions. We are vigilant with what we use and do not substitute equipment with lower-quality gear to reduce our customer quotes. If a product has proven itself exceptional (looking in particular at the 10’s of 1000’s of solar systems installed in Europe, The UK, America and Australia), and the company is well managed, communicates-effectively with our staff, we will give serious consideration to make the items available in our sales and installation services. There are Chinese companies which have made incredible strides over the past decades. They are real gems and until proven-wrong have earned the right to be treated fairly in the market place.

So times have already changed. ‘Made in China’ can be a good thing.

Question #14: Will technologies like hydrogen and marine energy will make solar power a thing of the past?

We have been to many renewable energy conferences and exhibition shows and are excited to see the up-and-coming prototype technologies. However, at least in Thailand, many remain out of reach in terms of availability, efficiency or price for the average household or business. One amazing system in Thailand (owned by a super nice European fellow) uses electrolyzers to convert additional excess power provided by solar panels and batteries into hydrogen gas by applying an electrical current to water. The hydrogen is then stored until it is needed, at night or in cloudy conditions, at which point it will be changed back into electricity using fuel cells. The system features cutting-edge science and technology and is also under study and application globally. However, whereas it shows great promise the cost, shear size and availability of the technology remains out of reach for the average person Wind energy has not taken off as was once expected in Thailand. Consistently-reliable strong winds are uncommon in Thailand making wind technology not as viable as we all had hoped. We’d love to be proven wrong as the renewable energy sectors in France, Canada, The UK, Spain, India, Germany, the USA and China are successfully generating massive power outputs using impressive cumulative installed wind energy capacities.

And what about other technologies like marine energy? Wikipedia notes, “Marine energy or marine power (also sometimes referred to as ocean energy, ocean power, or marine and hydrokinetic energy) refers to the energy carried by ocean waves, tides, salinity, and oceantemperature differences.” While these technologies are fascinating they are not readily available nor affordable for residents in Thailand nor will they be so for a considerable amount of time.
For more Q’s and A’s please also go to the FAQ section of the Hua Hin Solar website (https://solarshop-huahin.com/faq/).

Closing Summary

Putting our money where our mouth is, our little family has a solar system generating electricity at our home in Hua Hin. It took Chalerm (Senior Engineer, Hua Hin Solar) and his team of electricians 1.5 days to install it. Adding the system to our family’s household was straight-forward and was hassle-free. We had the system installed because we wanted to reduce our electricity bills and we wanted to do that by generating our own clean energy. We have no doubt in our mind that it has raised the perceived value of our house on the market by more than the cost of the solar system. The panels we added to our roof are aesthetically beautiful (European Standard black mono-crystalline featuring “Anti-Reflective Coating”) and make our house look modern. They are the talk of the neighborhood. The panels absorb or reflect incident solar radiation and thereby passively cool our roof and house – further reducing our electricity bills. Our monthly electricity bills dropped by the amount we expected them too and our electricity bills have thereby become more predictable. The solar panels have encouraged our family to become more economical with our consumption of electricity. We are using 3W and 5W LED light bulbs throughout the house and use the timers on our ACs, outdoor lights and pool pump. We turn lights and appliances off when they are not required. And finally the calculated payback period will be less than 6 years which gives us a great rate-of-return on our investment.

Understanding all written above, we as a family did not hesitate to buy into solar energy. So! We have to ask.… “What are you waiting for?”

Hua Hin Solar Co., Ltd., is Hua Hin’s largest and most dependable solar energy company. We provide exceptional products and services at affordable prices and we offer long-term customer care. Our Team is committed to using green solar and wind energy to help our retail customers and residential/business partners make the necessary transition towards energy independence. “We design and install affordable solar systems with the highest yields and fastest payback periods. For your free, no commitment consultation contact us today at huahinsolar@gmail.com. If you have anything less than a great experience with Solar Shop Hua Hin please call my cell.” Greg, Solar Energy Consultant and Managing Director, +66(0)89 824 1963.