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Panasonic vs. Hanwha?

blueinsofla

Member
Jul 3, 2015
33
8
Palm Beach, FL
So, I've been in the process of receiving proposals from Tesla and a few local companies for solar/PW combo, and thought Tesla was offering Panasonic panels from Buffalo. When I recently asked my Tesla Energy adviser which panels my system would have, he told me it would be the Hanwha Q-cell. I asked if I could request a proposal with Panasonic panels and he mentioned that Tesla no longer offers these?? To say this comes as a surprise is an understatement, since Tesla has been talking up the Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo for awhile. What am I missing here?? Are the Hanwha panels comparable? Thanks in advance for any expert advice you can offer. It seems the only constant at Tesla is change, but this news has me scratching my head.
 

TheTalkingMule

Distributed Energy Enthusiast
Oct 20, 2012
7,227
27,697
Philadelphia, PA
Yeah that struck me as strange as well. I thought the whole plan was to sell their own panels, but I guess Qcell is just far cheaper?

I recently had the Panasonic Buffalo panels installed by a 3rd party installer.
 

Odiemac

Member
Apr 19, 2016
112
197
Hayward
I think they generally dropped Panasonic as a vendor a few months ago when they went to new cheaper set modules in 4/8/12kw sizes. They only buy Solar Roof tiles from GF2 now, and generally pretend that GF2 doesn’t exist.

Q-Cells are fine if Tesla Energy customer service isn’t bad in your area.
 

KSilver2000

Active Member
Dec 23, 2017
1,368
1,954
CA
At least in CA (haven’t even checked to see whether such data is available in other states), looking at the publicly available installation data, Tesla has gone predominantly with Hanhwa panels since some time now. There are some installs reported as having Panasonic cells, but trending lower. They also sometimes use other brands such as Canadian, Yingli, Trina, REC, etc.

If Tesla is trying to undercut the other big national installers such as Sunrun and Vivant by pricing it at $2.845/W (in CA) for sales and now the rental strategy, how else would they cut costs?
Use the cheapest panels on the market: Hanhwa 310-315 Q panels. Use cheap proprietary mounts. Not oversizing the inverters. Given how much my installer pays for his panels, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tesla was obtaining these Q’s for about a buck each and maybe less. They’re basically like panels from an outlet mall.

If you have enough roof space to cover it up, low-300W panels are fine. The 12-year warranty is kind of weak, though.
As a reference, know that the top of the line panels from likes of LG and SunPower these days have panels that are at 400+ Watts and 21-22% efficiency. And these panels carry 25 year warranties.

I would never recommend Tesla PV. Nor would I ever suggest to close family and friends, and clients, to get a PV in any way other than paying with cash; No lease, no PPA, no rental.
 

thr33xx

Member
May 10, 2019
16
13
Fort Worth
I purchased an 8kw system from Tesla, which was installed in August. My initial plans used Hanwha panels. I specifically requested Solarcity branded (Panasonic) panels SC315B2, which was easily accommodated within 2 business days. Interestingly enough the Solarcity/Panasinic system came out to be 50 cents cheaper than the Hanwha for the total cost o_O. So it can be done.
 

blueinsofla

Member
Jul 3, 2015
33
8
Palm Beach, FL
I think they generally dropped Panasonic as a vendor a few months ago when they went to new cheaper set modules in 4/8/12kw sizes. They only buy Solar Roof tiles from GF2 now, and generally pretend that GF2 doesn’t exist.

Q-Cells are fine if Tesla Energy customer service isn’t bad in your area.

That actually makes sense...Tesla Energy is still new in this area (South Florida), so the jury is still out on their customer service...
 

blueinsofla

Member
Jul 3, 2015
33
8
Palm Beach, FL
At least in CA (haven’t even checked to see whether such data is available in other states), looking at the publicly available installation data, Tesla has gone predominantly with Hanhwa panels since some time now. There are some installs reported as having Panasonic cells, but trending lower. They also sometimes use other brands such as Canadian, Yingli, Trina, REC, etc.

If Tesla is trying to undercut the other big national installers such as Sunrun and Vivant by pricing it at $2.845/W (in CA) for sales and now the rental strategy, how else would they cut costs?
Use the cheapest panels on the market: Hanhwa 310-315 Q panels. Use cheap proprietary mounts. Not oversizing the inverters. Given how much my installer pays for his panels, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tesla was obtaining these Q’s for about a buck each and maybe less. They’re basically like panels from an outlet mall.

If you have enough roof space to cover it up, low-300W panels are fine. The 12-year warranty is kind of weak, though.
As a reference, know that the top of the line panels from likes of LG and SunPower these days have panels that are at 400+ Watts and 21-22% efficiency. And these panels carry 25 year warranties.

I would never recommend Tesla PV. Nor would I ever suggest to close family and friends, and clients, to get a PV in any way other than paying with cash; No lease, no PPA, no rental.

Thanks for your commentary - it definitely validates my concerns about the quality of the Hanwha panels and I agree that their 12 year warranty is below what Sunpower and LG offer for seemingly better quality panels. I will probably heed your advice about doing PV with another company, and definitely agree that paying cash makes the most sense.
 

blueinsofla

Member
Jul 3, 2015
33
8
Palm Beach, FL
I purchased an 8kw system from Tesla, which was installed in August. My initial plans used Hanwha panels. I specifically requested Solarcity branded (Panasonic) panels SC315B2, which was easily accommodated within 2 business days. Interestingly enough the Solarcity/Panasinic system came out to be 50 cents cheaper than the Hanwha for the total cost o_O. So it can be done.

Thanks for sharing your experience - this was my initial understanding, but just the other day was told by my Tesla Energy adviser that I can only get Hanwha panels for my project (29.5 kWh system) o_O
 

TheTalkingMule

Distributed Energy Enthusiast
Oct 20, 2012
7,227
27,697
Philadelphia, PA
If Tesla is trying to undercut the other big national installers such as Sunrun and Vivant by pricing it at $2.845/W (in CA) for sales and now the rental strategy, how else would they cut costs?
Panels don't cost anything. Sales cost at Sunrun is $.80/Watt(in reality probably more), that is where Tesla plans to win.
 

thr33xx

Member
May 10, 2019
16
13
Fort Worth
Thanks for sharing your experience - this was my initial understanding, but just the other day was told by my Tesla Energy adviser that I can only get Hanwha panels for my project (29.5 kWh system) o_O

Try escalating the issue. Unless they don't carry those panels in your geographic area, I can't see any reason why they wouldn't want your business considering the large system you are requesting.

That said... customer service in my area (Northern California) was horrendous. I literally did their job for them in terms of planning and pushing the job through. I was also lied to a few times regarding status of submission of approvals to my city. After install, I found a crushed soda can wedged in between one of the panel corners (as if one of the installers did that thinking it was funny). In addition to that, when it came time to final inspection it took Tesla 3 times to get approval from my city due to their install not matching the submitted and approved diagrams/plans. My biggest complaint is work they did on the main panel - they moved a few breakers which did not match to their actual marked description. E.g. kitchen breaker was labeled as great room, etc. Huge safety and liability issue here.

Unless you have the time to do their job for them and want the best price value (mine came out to be $1.94 per watt after fed credit), I honestly would not recommend Tesla for solar.
 

blueinsofla

Member
Jul 3, 2015
33
8
Palm Beach, FL
Try escalating the issue. Unless they don't carry those panels in your geographic area, I can't see any reason why they wouldn't want your business considering the large system you are requesting.

That said... customer service in my area (Northern California) was horrendous. I literally did their job for them in terms of planning and pushing the job through. I was also lied to a few times regarding status of submission of approvals to my city. After install, I found a crushed soda can wedged in between one of the panel corners (as if one of the installers did that thinking it was funny). In addition to that, when it came time to final inspection it took Tesla 3 times to get approval from my city due to their install not matching the submitted and approved diagrams/plans. My biggest complaint is work they did on the main panel - they moved a few breakers which did not match to their actual marked description. E.g. kitchen breaker was labeled as great room, etc. Huge safety and liability issue here.

Unless you have the time to do their job for them and want the best price value (mine came out to be $1.94 per watt after fed credit), I honestly would not recommend Tesla for solar.

Thanks for taking the time to detail your experience...I'm a bit concerned that Tesla Energy does not seem to have their act together, and that they are still getting acclimated to doing business in my area. With my goal being having this system installed and operational prior to 12/31 so that I can capture the 30% ITC, I'm not sure I have confidence that they will be able to do so. I'm leaning towards a local company with Sunpower panels and Tesla Powerwalls at the moment...
 

DrSmile

Member
Nov 7, 2018
231
138
Northern NJ
If you have enough roof space to cover it up, low-300W panels are fine. The 12-year warranty is kind of weak, though.
As a reference, know that the top of the line panels from likes of LG and SunPower these days have panels that are at 400+ Watts and 21-22% efficiency. And these panels carry 25 year warranties.

If the argument is roof space gain then it's important to note that the 400 watt panels are significantly larger than the 300 watt panels, meaning that there really isn't much or any gain per square foot or meter. For example the LG 400 watt panel measures 2024x1024 mm while a Panasonic 330 panel measures 1590x1053, which means the Panasonic panel is actually slightly more efficient per area. It usually depends on the price per panel to see which makes sense, and typically the newer bigger panels carry too large a premium. To a lesser extent the dimensions of your roof may impact how many smaller or bigger panels you can fit, meaning you may not be able to get that extra row of larger panels that you'd be able to fit with the smaller ones, leaving less of your roof covered. A 2:1 format panel has some disadvantages in terms of layout as the height is the same for a pair of panels width wise as one length wise so how exactly the panels are arranged can make a significant difference in terms of roof coverage.

If you are really pressed for roof space then the maximum gain you can get is by buying Sunpower's 22.8% efficient panels, which nets about a 15% gain per area compared to other premium brands. In that case you probably also wouldn't want to overpanel your inverter to produce the maximum amount you can. The industry seems to be moving away from this concept as panels get cheaper, preferring to build in headroom in panel production to allow for performance degradation over time.

I honestly thought I knew a lot about solar when I made my decision to purchase, but I've learned a lot since I did (and I probably have plenty more to learn) so that makes me question some of the decisions that were made for me by the designers/installers, who are supposedly experts.
 

Dare

Chairs are underappreciated
Jan 10, 2020
179
1,304
Florida
So I initiated a solar purchase on the Tesla website two days ago. I uploaded the required documents and they had a proposal formulated and sent to me yesterday, which is a bit too fast since I want to get other bids and make some financial moves to foot the bill. Anyway, they’re on it.

What they’re proposing is the following: (I live in central Florida)

X-Large - 15.12 kW
Est. yearly production: 22,841 kWh

Hanwha 315W premium black panels

SolarEdge inverter

$34,400

I’m totally new to this and trying to figure it all out. I’ve read that the Panasonic panels are better quality but it appears that the Hanwha panels now come with a 25 year warranty? I haven’t had a chance to discuss it with Tesla yet but I wanted to see what the experience has been with this product.

edit: 12 year material warranty and 25 year output warranty.
 
Last edited:

Dare

Chairs are underappreciated
Jan 10, 2020
179
1,304
Florida
Also my electric bill is pretty high. Last month we used 2483 khw and paid $343. In the summer the bill is $500, usually. It’s crazy. I have an RV that’s plugged into the house, a model S, etc. I have two old water heaters that I’m replacing next week and an ac unit that needs to be updated as well. So in terms of energy efficiency I’m working on it but still have a long way to go.

Planning on a couple of Powerwalls initially and then more later.
 
Last edited:

Dare

Chairs are underappreciated
Jan 10, 2020
179
1,304
Florida
@TheTalkingMule , Can I get your take on this system? Hold out for Panasonic? It seems like a good price but I am seriously lacking in knowledge on this subject. I've been looking at different websites to fix this but any advice would be appreciated.
 

xasroma

Member
Apr 19, 2019
72
37
Miami
So I initiated a solar purchase on the Tesla website two days ago. I uploaded the required documents and they had a proposal formulated and sent to me yesterday, which is a bit too fast since I want to get other bids and make some financial moves to foot the bill. Anyway, they’re on it.

What they’re proposing is the following: (I live in central Florida)

X-Large - 15.12 kW
Est. yearly production: 22,841 kWh

Hanwha 315W premium black panels

SolarEdge inverter

$34,400

I’m totally new to this and trying to figure it all out. I’ve read that the Panasonic panels are better quality but it appears that the Hanwha panels now come with a 25 year warranty? I haven’t had a chance to discuss it with Tesla yet but I wanted to see what the experience has been with this product.

edit: 12 year material warranty and 25 year output warranty.

I am
On your exact same boat. Same in Florida and exact same size and cost as well as panels. I haven’t spoken to Tesla. Came here after noticing the panels of this unheard brand. Do Panasonic hace longer warranty on materials as well as output. I have 4 power Walls to install as well and I didn’t want to stay with Tesla. :(
 

Dan123

Member
Jun 19, 2018
451
298
Miami
@TheTalkingMule , Can I get your take on this system? Hold out for Panasonic? It seems like a good price but I am seriously lacking in knowledge on this subject. I've been looking at different websites to fix this but any advice would be appreciated.

Ok, a couple of points:

1. The price of $2.3 per watt is pretty good (if it is before the tax credit).

2. Hanwha panels are fine. There is no significant difference (that you will notice). I believe all that the Panasonic warranty promises, is that they will pay you for the pro-rated value of the panels. This will be a small amount, especially since labor to replace them is not covered. The price of each panel is about $300. So After 20 years, you may get $60 per defective panel, an after That's not that significant to worry about.


PANASONIC will refund the Customer the original Product purchase price. Any refund may be pro-rated by the number of months from the date of original purchase by the Customer and/or may be calculated based on the difference between actual power output (Product measured under STC) and minimal guaranteed output;



3. If you are going to replace water heaters, get a hybrid water heater. They are about 3-4 times more efficient. For an AC unit, go with a variable AC compressor.
 

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