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Solar Star Power Limited by Nickharri - 06/01/16

Technology: Solar electricity

Product Make: Phono + SolarEdge

Product Name: Phono + SolarEdge

General review of your supplier

Having had a Solar Star PV system installed for about 6 months I thought it was time to provide a review. My 4KW system comprises of 16 Phono polycrystalline panels with the Solaredge inverter/optimiser. Initially we had 3 quotes, each offering had different pros and cons.  It was quite a close-run thing but in the end the Solar Star Power sales pitch was the most convincing, particularly because David is hands-on and really knows his stuff unlike the others who were purely sales people. I was also intrigued by Solaredge and its ability to show me how each panel performs. My thinking was that with other systems, if a problem develops with a specific panel I may not know about it or may not be able to get it fixed under warranty if the overall performance is still above the guaranteed level. With Solaredge I would know if the performance of a particular panel had degrading beyond acceptable levels and would presumably be able to make a claim. Installation of the system was very straightforward and took just a morning. Roger sat down with me at the end and explained the system very clearly. There seemed no big rush to pay the money and I was able to run the system for a day or two just to make sure everything was OK before handing over any money. I had a few questions following the installation which Craig dealt with very efficiently. The entire team is very knowledgeable and helpful. I have only one very small criticism of the installation process. The Solaredge system requires an ethernet port to be available on my router and dataplugs are used to make the necessary link from the inverter to the router. This was not mentioned in the survey and caused some issues as firstly I didn’t have a spare 13amp socket for the data plug which goes near the router and secondly I already use dataplugs and was not particularly happy with the idea of yet another set being added. I’ve since reconfigured my network and removed all the dataplugs, replacing them with hardwired cat6 cable. However I wish I’d been given some warning of the impact on my network. This is a very minor point though. In use, the system has been very good. During July and August it exceeded the expected generation for those months by about 17%. During the winter months the system is struggling to make the expected figures but since they are low anyway, it is still performing overall at about 13% above expectations based on Solar Stars predictions. Incidentally, Solar Stars predictions were a bit lower than the other companies who provided quotes. I quite liked this at the time as it gave me some confidence that Solar Star were not making unrealistic claims. However it is worth considering that the warranty is based on the figures given in the quote therefore my yield would have to be lower than with the other suppliers before I could make a claim. Again this is a minor point because I believe the system is actually performing very well. The solaredge system is very good and as mentioned previously it allows me to see the performance of each panel unlike most competitor systems. However this has revealed that there is a large percentage difference between the best and worst performing panels (nearly 18%) with nothing to account for this (obstacles in the way, orientation etc.) I fretted about this quite a lot at first but have to content myself with the fact that a) the overall system performance is greater than Solar Star predicted and b) with any other system I would be blissfully unaware of this variation. Indeed I believe that with other non-optimised systems the overall performance would be limited by the performance of the weakest panel. It is however a little irritating to see that if all the panels performed as well as the best, the generation difference would be equivalent to adding one extra panel. Despite the very minor issues I’ve mentioned I would go with Solar Star Power again without hesitation as the system and its installation has more than met my expectations and I am content that there is a very skilled and knowledgeable team behind it in the unlikely event that I have any problems.

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