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8 Critical Failure of Tier-1 Solar Panels


In the past 3-years of critically failed “Tier-1 solar panels” installed in Australia alone. The images below from deemed Tier-1 manufacturers are less than 1% of catastrophic solar panel failures system owners have endured from 2015 to 2018. Expel the myth that Tier-1 is a quality guideline. Exposed are the avoidable results of inferior product selection.

  1. Micro-Cracks

  2. Hot Spot

  3. Fire

  4. Delamination

  5. Shattering

  6. Ingress

  7. Deformation

  8. Discolouration

1. Micro-Cracks


Micro cracks are stress or pressure induced cracks in the silicon solar cells of solar panels. These cracks can’t often be seen by the naked eye, only with specific testing methods. Micro cracks are the route cause for so many solar panel malfunctions or inactive cells in solar modules. Below are some photos of micro-cracks:

2. Hot Spot


Hot spots are localized temperature rises within the solar panel causing devastating effects to the efficiency and degradation of a solar module. If you see these on your solar panel immediately get in touch with your installer. Hot spots are not stable and will eventually cause catastrophic failure.

3. Fire


An extreme potential hazard which exists with solar energy production, especially when on the roof of a family home. Solar panel fires are not as common as micro-cracks or hot spot, but are more of an evolved state from underlying defects, no matter how insignificant they may seem.

4. Delamination


Delamination is a serious issue as it allows moisture to penetrate the internal electrical components which in turn will cause a catastrophic failure, requiring replacement. As depicted manufacturer deemed Tier-1 solar panels are no stranger to this problem, comprised of low-quality materials and cheaper construction methods in order to achieve the mass volumes required for Tier-1 qualification. A result which Influences negative connotations towards solar energy when things go wrong.

5. Shattering


All solar panels must have a degree of resistance to elements which can influence shattering. This will however vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as the material qualification (glass selection) and construction processes vary dramatically. The main cause of shatter are varied between environment, construction and installation.

6. Ingress


When moisture penetrates the the protective layers of the solar module and makes contact within the internal electrical circuit. Severely expediting the degradation of the panel and eventually leading to catastrophic failure of the panel and entire solar system. Ingress is mainly caused by a low-quality production line and inferior material qualification.

7. Deformation


Deformation in it’s most severe form is likely to be caused by a combination of the detrimental effects listed within the previous 6 categories or as a result of inadequate strengthening properties within the solar panel. There are though, two main areas where the affects of solar panel deformation is prominent: The centre of the panel where slumping towards the roof is prominent and the outer frame region.


8. Discolouration


Discolouration will turn the diamonds or protective back sheet a yellow/brown colour. This is a chemical reaction between the poor quality materials and sunlight. More often than not appearing within the first few years of sunlight exposure. Poor or cheap material qualification is the source of such failure. Once discolouration commences the EVA is in a constant change from it’s original state which will inevitably lead to material breakdown.