Suntech solar panels review 2023: Once the brightest star
- 10 Feb 2023
- 7 min
What happened to the companies that dominated the solar market 10-15 years ago? Yes, Suntech, we’re looking at you. In our Suntech solar panels review, let’s discover what the biggest solar brand from the 2000s is up to today.
Suntech: Sunrise, sunset
Suntech was founded in 2001 in Wuxi, China by Dr. Shi Zhengrong. A graduate of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, he remained the chairman of Suntech until 2013.
The company quickly rose to become the biggest player in the solar industry. Dr. Shi was named a Hero of the Environment by Time magazine in 2007 and referred to as the world's first 'green billionaire'. By 2011 Suntech held the most market shares in the PV industry.
We previously talked about how the market oversaturation made the beginning of the 2010s difficult for PV companies with Yingli Solar being an example. Suntech was also hit hard. First the company closed the plant in Arizona In 2013 and later announced a default on $541 million of debt. Dr Shi was dismissed from his post of chairman.
It was not the end though. The factories kept pumping out panels and little by little the company has seemingly recovered. It’s far from its former leading positions on the market but it stabilized and makes a fine product. Let’s look at it.
Suntech: Nice price, good efficiency, weak warranties
Suntech makes monocrystalline panels for all kinds of applications. The models often come with monofacial and bifacial variations. Chinese engineers utilize the most modern developments such as half-cut cells, PERCs, and multi busbar design but the panels seemingly lack something unique to them.
$0.7-$0.9 per watt
One of the strengths of Chinese-made panels is their cost. In 2023 you can find Suntech solar panels for $0.7 to $0.9 per watt in the US, before installation services. This is much lower than the cost of panels from North American manufacturers.
Suntech panels go up to 22.5% efficiency rate. This is much higher than the average numbers on the market and shows that engineers make use of the most modern technologies available to them. The more efficient panels are the less space your system needs.
12-year product warranty, 25-year performance warranty
Suntech panels have a 12-year product warranty, which is nothing but standard for Chinese manufacturers. Monofacial modules get a 25-year output warranty, bifacial modules have a 30-year guarantee.
What stands out about Suntech panels the most? Here are the advantages of their product:
• Low cost. Suntech solar panels prices are relatively low, as is often the case with Chinese-made PV modules.
• High efficiency. Suntech panels go over 22.5% efficiency rate. This is much higher than the average number on the market which hovers around 19-20%.
• Good reputation among customers and employees. Despite the early history of Suntech, the Suntech solar panel reviews are mostly positive and employees more or less speak well of their experience in the company.
Suntech panels aren’t perfect by any means Here are some of their disadvantages:
• Suntech is a Chinese company. Sometimes their panels can be hard to come by in the US.
• Warranties are only standard. Suntech panels come with only 12 years of product warranty which is fine but not great.
Suntech solar panels overview: for home and business
Let’s look at the actual panels that Suntech makes. Our engineer will share his opinion about a few models with us.
Suntech 370 W Ultra S mini — For a small system
This line of Suntech 370W solar panels is a good choice for a home system. Half-cut cell technology increases shading tolerance and power output. The efficiency of this model reaches 20.3%. The panel is only 1.4" thick and features an all-black design with a smooth surface. Suntech Power offers 12 years of product warranty and guarantees 84.8% of original performance after 25 years of operation.
Suntech 555 W Ultra V — For a big system
Here is a monofacial panel for commercial and industrial installations. Ultra V provides up to 555 watts of output with a 21.5% efficiency. It shows improved production on cloudy days and doesn’t heat up as much while operating. After 25 years this panel retains over 84.8% of its initial power. There is also a bifacial variation of this model.
Suntech 670 W Ultra X Plus — For a very big system
Bifacial panel Ultra X Plus from Suntech is designed for projects of a large scope. The active rear side increases production by up to 25%. The panel shows excellent weak light performance. It is rated to work well even in harsh environments like deserts, farms and coastlines. There is also a monofacial variation of this model.
A1SolarStore recommends Suntech 435 W Ultra V Pro Mini
Ultra V Pro Mini is a great panel for home. It looks cool and it shows an efficiency of up to 22.3% — much higher than the average on the market. The module is certified to withstand extreme wind (3800 Pascal) and snow loads (6000 Pascal). It performs well in low-light conditions. The panel comes with a 12-year warranty for the product and a 25-year warranty for performance. It retains over 89% of power after 25 years.
A1SolarStore verdict: Suntech rises from the ashes
We’ve looked at the qualities of Suntech panels, talked about their pros and cons and even looked at a few models. It’s time to summarize all that we’ve learned:
• Suntech is a Chinese company founded in 2001.
It was one of the biggest brands in the industry by the end of the 2000s but faced default. It has stabilized by now but it is nowhere near being the top brand on the market again.
• Suntech makes panels for all kinds of applications. The models often come with monofacial and bifacial variations.
• Suntech prices are relatively low. At the beginning of 2023, they come at $0.7-$0.9 per watt before installation.
• The panels are efficient: the most modern models in the Suntech product line reach up to 22.5% efficiency.
• Despite the early history of Suntech, the Suntech Solar reviews are mostly positive and employees speak well about their time in the company.
• Suntech panels have a 12-year product warranty. Monofacial modules get a 25-year output warranty, and bifacial modules have a 30-year guarantee.
Even though the past of Suntech is much brighter than its current days, the company has recovered well. Yes, the panels lack a unique design and the warranty could be better, but PV modules from Suntech are modern and competitive. On that, we end our Suntech solar panel review 2023 and we’ll be back with more.
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