Target: David Danielson, U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Goal: Hold solar panel manufacturers accountable for sacrifices in quality and resulting defects
In the race to find renewable energy sources for our planet, solar energy and solar panels have been a front runner for many years. For businesses, solar panels offer massive savings on energy costs – solar energy provider Brite Idea Energy reported business owners saving between 50% and 90% simply by installing solar panels and watching the energy bills drop. The same applies on a smaller scale for homeowners, and both can enjoy the benefits of the tax-free added value to a physical building. One thing seems to be sure: solar panels have an established place in the future of energy production. But amidst all this excitement, a serious flaw has been discovered in solar panels – reliability.
The New York Times recently published a story revealing that businesses around the world are experiencing problems with their solar panels. Homeowners, testing labs, and solar panel insurers are reporting the same thing. The Times reported that solar panels covering a large warehouse roof in Los Angeles began to fail just two years into their expected 25-year life span. Solar monitoring firm Meteocontrol recently conducted a review of 30,000 installations in Europe finding that 80% were underperforming. And a Spanish power plant using panels from six manufacturers experienced defect rates as high as 34.5%, according to testing by Enertis Solar in 2010.
Apparently, all these failures stem from poor-quality manufacturing. In the heated rise of the solar industry, manufacturers have started cutting corners to gain a competitive edge on price. Fingers point especially to Chinese companies making big sacrifices in order to offer cheap product.
While this is very bad news for the solar industry, there is a silver lining: Solar panels – if built with good materials – work for years and years. For instance, Yingli Solar, the world’s largest solar panel maker since 2012, has been providing excellent products since its establishment in 1998. In fact, Yingli Americas has only had 15 defective models returned out of 2.8 million shipped to the United States since 2009, and that’s a quality control record few businesses in any industry can beat.
The lesson learned is that in order for solar power to continue brightening our world, manufacturers must be held accountable for their production standards. This movement must start with the U.S. Department of Energy. Urge David Danielson, leader of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, to make this move.
Dear David Danielson,
In recent months, it has become painfully obvious that quality sacrifices in solar panel production are causing widespread degradation and defects in solar panel installations. Solar power provides hope for our world’s sustainable future, but not if the technology is being badly built.
In order to avoid collapse of the solar power industry, panel manufacturers must be held accountable for quality control and performance of their products after sale. It is on behalf of both consumers and the worldwide environment that I urge you to enforce standards on solar panel manufacturers.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Mike Baker via Flickr