Seraphim Solar Panels – BLUETTI Solar Panel
Seraphim Solar is a solar panel manufacturer that has recently gained a lot of attention. On the bright side, they appear to produce high-quality panels that have impressed customers, with an average rating of nearly 4.9 out of 5 in our customer evaluations.
However, they receive a failing grade since, despite having been sold in Australia for some time, they do not have an Australian office. That feature may be a deal-breaker for some solar customers, given there are lots of nice solar panels for sale in Australia, all of which are backed up by fully functional Australian offices.
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Update 10 July May 2019: SAE Group is a Seraphim panel importer and is responsible for manufacturer warranties for panels they imported; however, they are not the only importer of panels and are not liable for manufacturer warranties for panels imported by other firms.
Seraphim is a Chinese firm that produces 1.8 gigawatts of solar panels every year. In just three years, that will be enough to create enough panels to cover Australia’s entire present rooftop solar capacity. They are a tier-one manufacturer that offers a standard 10-year product warranty on its panels.
Their panel quality is unquestionably good, but is it good enough to be deemed divine?
What Is A Seraphim, Anyway?
“What the hell is a Seraphim?” I wondered when I first heard of Seraphim Solar. And I can assure you that it has nothing to do with hell, thanks to my unwavering resolve to find answers to questions most people don’t even think to ask. A Seraphim is an angelic being.
So why is the name of a solar panel manufacturer called Seraphim? They had to give themselves a name, right? Perhaps Seraphim was just a strange word that hadn’t been used before. Alternatively, they could have been quite astute. Seraphim are six-winged angels with eyes that cover their entire body, including their wings, according to the book Apokalypsis. This means they’re covered in structures that make use of light, and since solar panels are structures that make use of light, it’s a fitting term.
Where Do They Come From?
The majority of Seraphim Solar’s production appears to take place in Jiangsu Province’s picturesque Changzhou city. Or, at the very least, I assume it is lovely. It’s difficult to see through all of the smog.
The Wu language is spoken in Changzhou. The rest of China refers to it as “Wu’s gentle words,” but I find this strange because my friend’s mother used to say it to me and she always sounded angry. However, now that I think about it, she could have been irritated simply because I was spending time with her daughter.
Seraphim Solar has a 300 megawatt-per-year capacity factory in the United States in addition to its Chinese manufacturing. It is located in Jackson, Mississippi, the triple-double letter state, and is reportedly capable of increasing its output to one gigawatt in the next three years.
The United States has imposed punitive tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports because it does not like China providing them with cheap goods. They can reach as high as 260 percent in extreme circumstances. One method to get around this is to build a solar panel plant in the United States.
Vertically Integrated Seraphim Solar
How can you be sure that the silicon ingots or wafers your company needs to make solar panels will arrive on time and in good condition? One option is to make all of them yourself. This way, no one else can decide the fate of your business.
Vertical integration, or the control of various stages of manufacturing, is the norm for all of China’s large solar panel manufacturers. Vertical integration is most common in growing new sectors that produce items that require inputs that no one makes or that aren’t created in large enough numbers. It also happens in companies that have a “laser” emphasis on quality and seeks to verify that all inputs fulfill their stringent requirements.
Another instance of vertical integration is when a company merges with another company. Businesses may be wary to rely on other enterprises in nations where contracts are not always enforced impartially. Now, I’m not suggesting that judges in China may be paid or that judicial decisions are sometimes decided based on the political clout of one’s father-in-law. I’m only pointing out that China has a high level of vertical integration. If Chinese companies begin to de-verticalize, I’ll see it as a sign that doing business in China is becoming more comparable to doing business in most developed countries.
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The Warranty of Seraphim Solar
According to Seraphim Solar’s website, their panels are “low priced and good.” “Make efforts to perfect details, just to achieve a high price-to-performance ratio for you,” they say below. And I’m confident they’ve put in a lot of effort to get their details absolutely right.
Seraphim offers a ten-year warranty on their products. As far as product warranties go, a ten-year warranty isn’t awful. The majority of tier one panels have a ten-year warranty. Nothing, however, impresses me more than a firm providing a product warranty that outperforms the competition. It demonstrates that they are confident in their work.
Because Seraphim Solar manufactures tier one panels, which are considered trustworthy, third-party insurance is available for them. Take, for example, PowerGuard. Whatever happens to Seraphim Solar, this will cover them for the next 25 years. The fact that such coverage is available is a sign of quality.
Seraphim also offers a 25-year performance warranty, which is standard for practically all solar panels. The performance guarantee, like other solar panels, covers the output of the solar cells but excludes workmanship and materials, making it more difficult to file a claim under this warranty than under the 10-year product warranty.
With one exception, every panel manufacturer maintains that their performance warranties work this way. SunPower is the one company that stands out from the rest. They totally avoid the issue by providing a product warranty that is equal to or longer than their performance warranty of 25 years.
30 January 2018 update: According to the Seraphim warranty paperwork, if panels fail to achieve the performance warranty’s minimum output, Seraphim has the following options:
Putting them back together
Changing them out
Providing additional panels to compensate for the loss
The first alternative is doubtful because panels are rarely fixed, but the third option is unacceptable in my opinion. If three panels in a rooftop system have an output that is 20% below the minimum specified by their performance warranty, Seraphim might simply offer one new panel and claim that this covers the difference under their written warranty. This is unacceptable since there is no need for the extra panel in a regular system, and poor performing panels should normally be removed to avoid lowering the performance of all the panels to which they are linked.
I’m not aware of any Seraphim warranty claims being handled in this manner, but it shouldn’t be a choice.
Regardless matter what written guarantees indicate, you are protected by Australian Consumer Guarantees.
The Thresher Test Has Been Passed By Seraphim Solar
Seraphim Solar is proud of the fact that their solar panels were the first to pass the Thresher Test, a rigorous test.
The Thresher Test was created by a group of solar panel producers who wanted a way to persuade bankers that their goods were trustworthy enough to invest in. The goal was to create a test that was so difficult that any panel that passed would be practically assured to withstand the 25+ years in the field.
TUV SUD conducts the Thresher test independently. TÜV SÜD, or TÜV SÜD for individuals who don’t understand English and need the small dots above the letters. That stands for Technischer Überwachungsverein Sud, which translates to four words in English: Technical Inspection Association South.
TÜV SÜD isn’t the only business that conducts solar panel testing. Atlas 25+ by Atlas Material Testing Solutions, PV+ by TÜV Rheinland, and tests conducted by Fraunhofer ISE and DNV GL are among the others.
On panels designed to simulate 25 or more years of exposure to the environment, the Thresher Tests execute a range of demanding procedures. The majority are identical to DNV GL’s panel tests, which I wrote about here.
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Seraphim Solar is pleased with how their panels did in the test, claiming that they were the first to pass. It’s a difficult test, and passing it is a significant accomplishment. Or, to be more precise, a certification on their solar panels, such as the one shown below.
High-Efficiency Eclipse Panels from Seraphim Solar
Seraphim Solar has “launched” a new line of high-efficiency panels called Eclipse, which is being imported into Australia by SAE Group.
What exactly is Eclipse? When the moon crosses in front of the sun, this occurs. So it’s a strange decision because solar panels are one thing that won’t work during an eclipse. But after some contemplation, perhaps far more than is healthy, I figured out why the name Eclipse is appropriate. And believe me when I say it’s a better cause than the Seraphims being covered with eyes.
The panels are built up of overlapping solar cells, with each solar cell’s bottom edge covering (or eclipsing) the top of the solar cell below it. As a result, the term is entirely appropriate. Or almost perfect because, unlike these solar cells, the sun, earth, and moon never actually come into physical touch during a solar eclipse.
Overlapping Solar Cells in Eclipse Panels
The majority of solar cells feature a tiny grid of wires on their surface that collect electrical current. Some high-performance cells do not, although they are more costly to manufacture. The disadvantage of these wires is that they partially shade the cell, lowering efficiency marginally. The Eclipse panels eliminate them by using overlapping solar cells with conductive paste in between to replace the wires.
Each of the panel’s individual cells is relatively small, as they are manufactured from a standard-sized solar cell that has been chopped into five parts using a “laser.” Their modest size aids in the effective collection of the electricity they create by the conductive paste.
Overlapping the cells boosts the effectiveness of the panel by allowing practically the full surface to be used for light capture. The disadvantage is that, save from the ones at the very top, a piece of each cell is covered by the one above it, requiring more cells overall. This would have been considered a terrible waste of valuable material in the past, but now that solar cells have dropped in price so much, it is a cost-effective technique to increase efficiency. This method is gaining popularity, and SunPower, a US company, will soon release its own overlapping solar cell panels.
There are two types of Eclipse panels. There is a polysilicon one that is 17.1% efficient and a mono silicon one that is 19.1% efficient.
You can view a minute-long movie on Eclipse panels here, which provides a surprising amount of information for such a short video. They took the time to animate the panels as if they were a flock of monoliths flying in formation in space, yet they just supplied the most basic of information.
There is no word on whether or not we will get an Australian office.
The lack of an Australian office, in my opinion, is the one main disadvantage of acquiring Seraphim panels. I emailed them three weeks ago, asking if they would open one, and they have yet to respond. It’s possible that they’re currently working on a team to answer my inquiry, and they’re taking their time because they want their response to be spot on. However, the delay could be due to them simply refusing to react, and if you have an issue with your panels, you don’t want to deal with an international company that is difficult to contact. On the plus side, their panels appear to be dependable, so maybe you won’t have a problem, to begin with.
Finally, Seraphim panels are tier one and have an excellent reputation. I’ll confess that all I’ve heard about them has been positive. While there are panels with longer product guarantees, they are almost always more expensive, thus Seraphim panels are a decent deal. I have no reservations in recommending them, but only to those who are willing to overlook their one significant flaw: Seraphim Solar has no office in Australia.
SAE Group now imports Seraphim solar panels directly into Australia. If you order your Seraphim panels through them, SAE will handle any Seraphim warranty and customer service issues. I strongly advise you to examine who is responsible for warranty claims in Australia if you are offered Seraphim solar panels that were not imported by SAE.