Winaico Solar Panels Review
Warranty and tech support today: 8
Warranty and tech support long-term: 6
Value for money: 7
Total Rating: 7.1/10
Winaico are a Taiwanese manufacturer of solar panels who have been trading since 2008. They are the only manufacturer in Taiwan that sells into the Australian market and they have had a presence here since 2012.
Most solar panels are made in China these days, with only a handful made elsewhere. However, there are lots of really great solar panels made in China and just because Winaico are made in Taiwan, that doesn’t automatically make them a good panel!
So, let’s take a look at how we assess solar panels:
- Who is the manufacturer, and will they be around to help me if I need to claim under warranty?
- Are the panels any good in the real world?
- How much do they cost? Are they good value for money?
We cover how to decide which solar panel is best for you here.
Firstly then, let’s take a look at the manufacturer.
As mentioned above, Winaico solar panels are manufactured in Taiwan, in a city called Hsinchu which is located in North West Taiwan. They are a small manufacturer by global standards with an annual manufacturing capacity between 180MW – 200MW. To put this in perspective, this is enough to install a standard 6.6kW solar system on 30,303 homes every year. It sounds like a lot doesn’t it? If you compare it to the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, Jinko Solar, who manufacture nearly 15GW of solar panels every year, it seems less impressive. To put that number in perspective, 15GW of solar panels is enough to install a 6.6kW system on over 2 million homes a year 😳
The list below shows the largest 10 manufacturers in the world:
- Jinko Solar – 14.2GW
- JA Solar – 10.3GW
- Trina Solar – 9.7GW
- Longi Solar – 9.0GW
- Canadian Solar – 8.5GW
- Hanwha Q Cells – 7.3GW
- Risen Energy – 7.0GW
- First Solar – 5.5GW
- GCL – 4.8GW
- Shunfeng Photovoltaic – 4.0GW
The size of a manufacturer does not necessarily collate to how good they are, or whether you should buy them for your home or business though. The largest car manufacturing group in the world is now VW, but that doesn’t mean a VW is the best car for you. You may prefer a Toyota for the reliability or a BMW for the luxury. You may also prefer a Telsa for efficiency or find that Hyundai now offer the best warranties.
At GI Energy we do like to see some diversity in the company that manufactures solar panels. The solar industry has been booming for the last decade, but the boom will not last forever. When the volume starts to dip, not all manufacturers will be able keep trading and there will be a fight to see which will last and which will fold. Manufacturers will lots of divisions are like tables with lots of legs – Kick one away and the table will still stand. Solar panel only manufacturers are not as stable as this, so it stands to reason that diversified manufacturers are better placed to stand by long-term warranties.
Winaico is a family-owned business who produce fairly small numbers of solar panels. While this seems to have stood them in good stead with the quality of product they produce, they are not diversified at all. Because they are a smaller manufacturer, with limited diversity, this places them in the more vulnerable category for long-term warranty support.
Due to the size and structure of the manufacturer, Winaico are also not accredited as a Tier One solar panel by Bloomberg. Bloomberg is a financial organisation, and the Tier One status is given to solar panel manufacturers that are deemed credible financially based on their criteria. Being a Tier One solar panel manufacturer has no reflection on performance and is only an assessment of the financial bankability of the manufacturer.
Are the panel any good in the real world?
As mentioned above, Winaico are a small family-owned solar panel manufacturer and they do make very good quality solar panels. They are tested here in Australia at the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre. The results over the years have been consistent and impressive. In particular the degradation factor has been very notable, with Winaico panels experiencing less loss since inception of installation than any other panel installed.
When solar panels are tested here in Australia and they get good, consistent results it is a massive thumbs up from us. Winaico have a good track record at the most transparent testing facility in Australia so we are confident they will perform well on your roof.
As with all manufactures, Winaico manufacture a range of solar panels and the price does vary from one panel to another. The efficiency of these panels ranges from a fairly low 17.13% up to 20.62% for the Gemini series. For more information on the efficiency of solar panel, click here.
Winaico offer a customary 15-year product warranty and 25-year performance warranty, which is fairly standard these days. You can however upgrade to a 25-year product warranty if you are installed by a Winaico approved installer.
So, how much do they cost?
Being a high performing, small manufacturer that are not based in China, I am sure you can guess that Winaico are not a cheap panel? Winaico panels will range from the bottom of the premium price point, right up to nearly as much as panels like LG and Sunpower. At the lower end they are close to a Korean made Q-Cell price point. At the top end they are creeping up towards that of LG or Sunpower.
This is the issue we have with Winaico. If you are going to spend Q-Cell money, you may as well have Q-Cell who tick all the boxes Winaico do, including a 25-year product warranty with no need for registration, but they are also part of a massive Korean Fortune 500 company with all the diversity and stability you could ever ask for.
Winaico make a great solar panel. They test well in Australia and they offer good warranties. However, they are a small solar panel only manufacturer and the price point puts them in the same category as larger, safer brands with equal or better warranties and performance. For this reason, we rarely suggest Winaico solar panels but we are happy to install them if requested.
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