Second Class Solar Panels?
September 14, 2009
New Orleans, LA
Sun-soaked New Orleans should be a great place for solar power. Yet, according to TUV Rheinland PTL , a testing lab, up to 30% of photovoltaic panels installed in such steamy areas of the U.S. are likely to fail in less time than the 25 years manufacturers typically specify in their warranties. Homeowners will be covered , of course, but will still be a hassle. Even in hot, dry areas of failure rates could hit 12%. The same producers' panels probably won't fail as quickly in Europe, where vendors agreed to performance and quality standards back in 1999. In the U.S. , only the state of Florida has followed suit. As a result, “manufacturers make two grades of panels: one for the U.S. and another for Europe,” says Mani Tamizhmani,TUV's president. Panels do have to pass federal tests for safety in the U.S. but “consumers here don't yet know how to ask for quality certifications,” he says. Below is a cut away of the Schuco low flow serpentine copper tubing inside the solar thermal panel. There are numerous major differences this panel provides to most other manufacturers in the market.
Click here to link to the Businessweek online article.