What happens if California’s solar panels start to fail over the next few years?

Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels – NYTimes.com.I had not solar panel quality was becoming such an acute issue “so soon.” Judging by this NYT article, many Chinese-branded PV panels are not reliable.  This article sounds straight out of the book that Barry Naughton pointed me to, Poorly Made in China. The performance degradation  data on well-made panels is pretty encouraging: 0.5% per year is typical, but the key is well made. There are many manufacturing shortcuts and quality problems that will lead to failure of electrical connections after a few thousand temperature cycles, for example. (Think night/day in Colorado!)

testing solar panels

Power inverters, which are straight power semiconductor products, apparently may also be unreliable. https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/3-Reasons-Why-Chinese-Solar-Inverters-Cost-Half-of-American-Inverters

It will be interesting to see what this problem with Chinese panels leads to in trade/market share. California and other states that subsidize PV should only pay for systems that pass good certification – for both performance and safety. For obvious reasons, testing long-lifetime behavior of electronics is very tricky.I wonder if we will   see a repeat of the “solar water heating” fiasco of the 1980s, when lots of houses put pool heaters on their roof that started to leak and ended up getting ripped out. When the economics of a project are based on a 20 year life, and it only lasts 5 years, that is a colossal fail. If it catches on fire, as described in the NYT article, that is another situation entirely!  What is the typical guarantee for homeowners in California?

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One thought on “What happens if California’s solar panels start to fail over the next few years?

  1. I’d like to know why Jeremy Rifkin isn’t taking legal action by filing
    a ton of lawsuits against these solar panel companies and demanding an investigation as to why they’re letting this happen.
    After all,solar energy is vital to Rifkin’s Third Industrial Revolution
    You think Rifkin would let the Biotechnology industry get away
    with something like this?The problem is Rifkin’s playing favorites.
    Unlike his opposition to Biotechnology,Rifkin’s in favor of renewable energy.He’s not going to listen to any problems or
    complaints about solar panels failing.All he cares about is putting
    solar panels on every roof in the country so his Third Industrial
    Revolution becomes a reality at our expense.

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