Are JA Solar panels any good?
At GI Energy we can install any solar panel for your home or business. This means we are able to write honest reviews expressing our genuine opinion, without having to be biased due to holding stock of JA solar panels, or any other solar panel! This article details the opinion of our Business Development Director, who has worked in various roles from consultancy, business development and commercial project management in the PV industry since 2009.
Warranty and tech support today: 7
Warranty and tech support long-term: 7
Value for money: 7
Total Rating: 7/10
JA Solar panels review
Introducing yet another Chinese monster manufacturer – JA Solar. As a solar panel reviewer, I am used to writing about massive Chinese solar panel manufacturers, and if size excites you, then prepared to be impressed by JA Solar.
Second only to Jinko Solar panels for volume of solar panels shipped, they are a colossus of a company. Formed in 2005, JA Solar are a fairly new company in the grand scheme of things, but they have wasted no time in ramping up production to astronomical levels.
- 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
But, does that mean they are any good? And should you buy JA Solar panels for your home or business?
Well, as always, at GI Energy we like to look at the following criteria when choosing a solar panel:
- Who is the manufacturer and are they going to be able to help with long-term warranty support?
- How will the solar panel actually perform when its installed on my roof?
- How much will it cost me?
So, firstly, let’s take a look at the manufacturer.
As mentioned above, JA Solar have been trading since 2005, and they ship more solar panels than almost anyone else in the world. There have been no reports of any financial distress or troubles since they started trading, which is always a good sign in this industry, which is famous for being transient.
JA Solar are also a Tier One manufacturer, which means Bloomberg New Energy Finance have deemed them very credible. Please note here though, that the Tier One classification is not related to performance or reliability of solar panels in any way. The rating is based purely on the financial stability of a manufacturer and is usually used so that large banks will lend money for solar farms using panels like JA Solar. So, while this is a nice tick in the box, please do not confuse this with anything to do with performance.
There is one slight downside here with JA Solar. At GI Energy we like our solar panels to some from manufacturers who are diversified. Why? So they have multiple revenue streams and are likely to be a safer bet if solar panel demand drops. This is an inevitability in our industry. The solar demand globally has been booming for over a decade now, and this boom simply cannot last forever. When the more difficult times come, we like our chosen brands to be as diversified as possible, for maximum safety around long-term warranty support.
The top right of the image below shows the most credible manufacturers for length of trading and diversification. There are only really a handful of solar panel manufactures who can claim to be as credible as LG in terms of scale and bankability. These are Hanwha Q Cells, Sumec Phono Solar and Hyundai Green Energy. For more information about choosing the best solar panel for you, click here.
How will the solar panel actually perform?
There have been no wide-spread performance issues to report here. JA Solar actually make a fairly efficient solar panel. The pick of the bunch is the 340W PERC Half-Cell Module Mono JAM60S10 320-340 which has an efficiency rating of up to 20.2%.
JA Solar offer a 12-year product warranty and a 25-year efficiency warranty on their modules, which is fairly standard for the industry, especially in the the price point they are offered at.
It is worth nothing here that JA Solar are designed to be a cost-effective solar panel, and not aimed at the high-performance market. Which brings us to our next point…
How much will they cost?
JA Solar are certainly on the cheaper end of the market. They are quite often paired with inverters like Solis, Goodwe or Growatt, which are all cheaper Chinese brands. It is quite rare you will see a JA Solar panel packaged with a better-quality inverter like Fronius, Sungrow, SMA or FIMER. Be a bit careful here, as the cheaper packages often mean cheaper installs, so do your homework before purchasing a package with these cheaper brands coupled together. Click here is what to look for in your installation.
JA Solar are yet another massive Chinese manufacturer who dominate the volume and revenue in this industry. They are not a bad product either, as mentioned above the efficiency of their panels can be quite good. However, as a solar panel only manufacturer, they lack the diversification we like at GI Energy. We have installed them when customers have specifically requested them over the years, but this has usually been due to a neighbour or family member suggesting they install them, rather than advice from more reputable sources.
There is nothing wrong with JA Solar, but aside from the fact they manufacture more solar panels than nearly anyone else, there is not that much to recommend them for either. And you can probably do better for the same price. Here is a summary of all major solar panel brands if you want to check out some others.
Here are some links worth checking out: