Customer complaints (2): A sobering diagnosis

4/1/17, 9:28 AM -

In case of damage, the operator of the installation can claim damages if the cause is known. Nobody goes and exchanges panels based on a hunch. The inspection should be left to the experts, even if the damage is obviously visible.

In 2014 the losses were small, almost invisible. But it started.

Read the first part: The curse of the soldering joints

Minetzke’s technician noticed hotspots at the solar panels. These were clearly due to suspected serious production faults in one of S-Energy’s factories, because installing companies all over Germany have been reporting similar occurrences. The soldering joints at the connectors of the cell strings are poorly executed, as is obvious from the soldering head. “That was where the discussions started,” Minetzke continues. He now knew what the cause of the loss in yield was, but a major odyssey followed. Donauer had gone insolvents, and nobody was left there to pick up the phone.

S-Energy products are still being sold by two distributors in Germany, but they are not responsible for past cases. The Korean manufacturer does not officially have a branch office in Germany or even Europe. After weeks of e-mails back and forth, Minetzke was directed towards the service provider Suncycle that operates a large-scale repair shop in Thuringia.

What is a warranty actually worth?

Normally, the manufacturer’s warranty that the output of the panels would not fall below a certain value within 10 or 20 years would take effect in such cases. Referring to their terms and conditions, S-Energy sent some replacement panels to the stricken customer. The cost of inspections, demounting the faulty panels and remounting the new ones was going to be left to the customer. “This has been going on for over a year now,” Minetzke states. “Suncycle delivered 20 repaired panels that I had to put up onto the roof at my own expense – including the scaffolding.” (Heiko Schwarzburger)

Read the third part: Serial number on the back

All new solar modules