A Review of Suntech Solar Panels

Updated: Feb 15

SolarKobo Score: 3/5


Company Profile

Suntech Power is a Chinese company that was founded in 2001 by the Chinese-Australian tycoon and solar electricity scientist, Dr Zhengrong Shi. In 2006, Shi became the world's first solar billionaire and was crowned the 'sun king' by the industry. Since commencing operations in 2001, Suntech has shipped over 24GW of photovoltaic solar modules to more than 100 countries worldwide. Suntech is headquartered in Jiangsu, China with branches in Japan, Germany, UAE, South Africa and Australia. Suntech has been recognized globally and has received the industry's most illustrious awards. Suntech has also received rewards from branches of the United Nations for its contribution to environmental protection.


After peaking in 2008 to become the world's biggest solar module manufacturers, Suntech's fortunes began to decline. The company was eventually forced into bankruptcy in March 2013 after it was found that it had defaulted on half a billion dollars worth of US bonds. A year earlier, Suntech had reported they had been sold fraudulent bonds worth over €560 million after haven held them for two years. In 2014, Suntech was acquired by Shunfeng International Clean Energy Limited, another Chinese renewable energy investment and Independent Power Producer company.


A now-rejuvenated brand, Suntech is now on a new path to its former glory with focus on research, development and manufacture of high-performance solar panels. Like most Chinese brands, Suntech offers panels with low-range pricing options making them cost-effective options for high-performance solar modules. The reason is obviously because like most Chinese manufacturers like Trina, Jinko, Yingli and JA Solar, they are driven towards the mass market rather than the high-end, premium market.


Suntech Range of Panels

Suntech offers a considerably wide range of panels of the traditional polycrystalline and monocrystalline cell technology alongside panels made from the latest solar cell technology, half-cut solar cell and MBB cell technologies, with improved efficiency. (Read about the different types of solar panel technology here.)


SuperPoly

Suntech's original module offerings, panels in this series are made from the traditional polycrystalline technology with PERC cells. Suntech offers it in 60 and 72-cell solar modules. SuperPoly Series modules include a 12-year product warranty and a 25-year power warranty.


Ultra S

Panels in this range come in large format PERC cells, combining MBB, all-black and bifacial double-glass technologies and transparent backsheet designs to give modules with efficiency ratings up to 20.6% and power ratings from 350W to 455W. They utilize large format 166 mm silicon wafers, 78 cells and can go up to 450W helping reduce the installation area and costs.


Suntech offers a 12-year product warranty on its Ultra S panels and and a 30-year linear warranty on its double-glass panels. Suntech guarantees that the performance of its Ultra S panels will decay by 2% after the first year and 0.45% from the second year till the end of the 12 year or 30 years warranty period for the double-glass panels.

suntech ultra s series panels
Source: Suntech

The Ultra V, Ultra X and HiSpec were announced in August, 2020.


Ultra V

Suntech Ultra V modules adopt the new multi-busbar technology and a half-cut design that maximises the reliability of the modules. Suntech uses a ‘flexible special ribbon and a highly reflective backsheet’. It also comes in a bifacial layout. Panels in this range come in power ratings from 390W to 590W and module efficiency up to 21.3%.

Ultra X

Introduced in 2020, the Ultra X come in modules with power ratings from 580 to 600W, the Ultra X Plus monofacial panels come with power ratings from 580W to 660W. They are both manufactured with MBB and designed into half-cut cells to give an efficiency rating of up to 21.1% and 21.2% respectively.

Suntech Ultra X

HiSpec

Suntech’s HiSpec panels come in all-black non-busbar and shingled designs. Suntech uses conducting resin to replace the traditional metal welding tape, which greatly reduces the electrical resistivity and increases the efficiency of the panels.


They also incorporate a smart TIGO junction box.

Warranty

Suntech modules come with a standard warranty of 12-15 year product and 25 year linear performance. The product warranty is 2 years longer than most other mid-range panels (10 years), but less than LG, SunPower/Maxeon and Panasonic, which come with 25 year product and performance warranties.


Suntech modules are high-performance modules offered at mid- and low-range pricing options. By the best standards, an investment in Suntech's panels is to be considered wise. Suntech is expected to regain its top-ten position in the years to come as it expands its research and development capacities.


As always, SolarKobo helps its clients make the best possible choice of solar panels in Lagos and anywhere in Nigeria. We also have university-trained engineers who provide the best installations services on order.

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