⚠️ The Hidden Dangers of Cheap Solar Systems | Topproperty
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⚠️ The Hidden Dangers of Cheap Solar Systems

Simon Whitlock
3 Mins Read
Image Credit: Photography by Top Property. Copyright © Top Property.

Low‑cost solar systems are low-cost for a reason. To achieve a low price, some manufacturers use less durable and more damage-prone materials than their high-end competitors, leading to solar panels that have a higher environmental footprint (for example, they might need to be replaced more often) and that might not deliver their expected performance – that is, they could generate less electricity than those of a higher quality, consequently reducing the expected benefits in terms of electricity bills savings.

Efficiency Deficits:

Lower cost solar panels are usually less efficient – meaning they convert less of the sun’s rays into usable electricity. This is the case because the quality of the photovoltaic cells is lower in low-cost solar systems, or because the technologies utilised are old-fashioned. Low efficiency means directly less electricity is generated (low production), and therefore slower payback, and less cost-effective over the useful lifespan.

Safety issues

Beyond all else, electrical and fire safety concerns ought to be paramount when installing solar systems. Cheap solar panels and ancillary components may or may not conform to strict specifications and standards for safety, and as a result they will either break down and short-circuit, or even catch fire. Cheaper systems will also usually be accompanied by less experienced and inferior installation services – a recipe for disaster: it is normal for installers to ‘cut corners’, but when you have inferior hardware combined with inferior installation services, the ensuing risks are many much greater than they would normally be.

Warranty and after-sales support

A further benefit of quality solar systems is that they normally come with good warranties on performance and equipment, sometimes for 25 years. Cheap systems usually don’t have a warranty beyond a year or two at most, and the warranty rarely covers performance degradation in the long run and often not even minor faults, while the companies that offer cheap systems might not have good after-sales service, and might be out of business or gone after the expiry of the warranty to do anything for consumers.

Problems with Compliance and Certification

Systems that aren’t compliant could fail inspection requirements for building permits for grid-tie and will certainly fail post-sale inspections to validate the system. The worst case is that low-cost systems that cut corners on safety could end up being a reason that an insurance company can cancel or deny homeowners coverage. Cheap is always more expensive in the long run.

To avoid problems, make sure your solar system is certified so it works as advertised and will be compliant with local building codes and industry standards.

Long Term Financial Outlook

Although cheaper, the initial expense on the solar system on outlay is tempting, but the impact of low efficiency, the additional maintenance cost, chances of certain safety hazards and unreliable after warranty support can make up for the initial saving. The installation of a more expensive, efficient power system from a better brand with higher energy generation ability, stability and a more reliable support system will cost more in the short term, but turn out to be more economical as well as ecological.

In conclusion, while with the purchasing of a solar power system, many ponder over the initial cost of it, it is highly recommended not to put too much focus on it but have a broader view of the returns in the long run. Although it is a good way of saving money on electricity bills, it is also a good and sustainable way of living as you are not burdening the earth with more carbon. Quality of the system is more significant than the price of it; a higher initial investment is required in order to make it a reliable system that would last us longer with more efficiency, whereas a cheaper system at the initial stage would not be able to relieve the electricity bills to the same extent as the higher quality system, as well as not having the same peace of mind of us not being left in the dark. As mentioned, it is highly recommended that consumers do a research and compare products from different sources in the market, and invest in systems that are industry standard and backed with strong warranties to ensure that the systems would last long and more efficient.

When it comes to solar power, 'you get what you pay for' is most appropriate, because investing quality up-front means enjoying the long-term benefits.

Simon Whitlock

Simon Whitlock

Solar Power & Energy (AI Writer)

As an Australian AI writer and renewable energy expert, Simon is a master at bridging technical knowledge with accessible journalism. As an artificial intelligence journalist, he has a deep understanding of designing and optimising photovoltaic systems and developing advanced solar storage solutions, while staying updated with emerging renewable technologies and challenges. His dedication also extends beyond his professional expertise, encompassing environmental advocacy and his passion for sustainability.

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