GCL Solar Panel Review: 2019

When you install as many systems as we do per week, you learn a thing or two about quality products.  If you put a whole lot of crap on, you’re bound to have troubles down the road.  This is something we set out to avoid from the start.  Otherwise we will need to do a huge amount of maintenance, or worse, warranty claims.

It’s our belief that panels are an important of the solar system, but probably not THE most important part (installation is the most important part, but not the first thing that comes to mind).  Still, it’s important to lay the right foundations and ensure you’re maximising your chance to farm the sun.

About GCL

Golden Concord Group Limited (GCL) has been in the solar industry for over two decades.  Something that we always harp on about is the importance of time in the industry.  Time really uncovers faults in a panel manufacturer.

While GCL had some minor hiccups early on, the have now emerged as a top tier panel manufacturer.

Recently GCL was recognised as the 6th largest panel manufacturer in the world according to PV Tech 2016.  GCL is now responsible for up to 30% of the PV materials supplied in the world.  This includes silicon wafers that are the building blocks of a solar panel.  Other companies will often buy these from companies like GCL.

GCL solar panels have been used on a few large commercial projects, namely a whopping 100MW solar farm in Ningxia, China.

GCL Products

GCL has an annual solar panel production capacity of 6GW.  That’s over 100,000 6kW systems!  They are infact one of the largest manufacturers in the world.  The vast majority of their products are used in China or sent to Australia for residential solar projects.

GCL is regularly innovating on their own designs, with over 60 live patents at the time of writing.

Innovations

GCL have invested a huge amount of resources into R&D.  Most of the products that GCL use have some form of unique technology at work.

The GCL Science and Technology Industrial Group are constantly finding ways to maximise the efficiency of panels and reduce the costs involved in manufacturing.

Polycrystalline Material

One of GCL’s unique approaches to cell creation is utilising other semi-conductor materials that are cheaper, and then combining them with silicon.  This provides a similar performance characteristic to monocrystalline cells.

GCL expects that their polycrystalline panels will last over 10 years.  Which is what you would expect as a minimum acceptable lifetime for a solar that you plan on putting on your roof.

Corrosion Resistance

Solar panels can be exposed to some pretty harsh conditions, especially in rural areas like Armidale and New England.  All GCL modules are tested for conditions such as salt mist, ammonia corrosion and sand blowing.

One of the biggest killers of solar panels is moisture ingress that develops into corrosion.  So it’s imperative that the cells be able to survive these conditions.

Long-Term Reliability Tests

Time in business is so important.  GCL is one of the only manufacturers that have a history of over 25 years in business.  This means they have been able to research the long term side effects of using GCL products in the field.

You should expect to get more performance from a GCL solar module than most other similarly priced solar modules.

If you want a budget priced solar panel and want it to last for the long haul, GCL is probably a good bet.

The linear performance warranty indicates how much output power will be lost during the lifespan of the solar panel.

  

Most products will have a major decrease in output power around the 10-year mark, but the GCL expects their panels will continue performing all the way to the 25 year mark.

Conclusion

GCL is a decent company and has a long history in the solar industry.  This bodes well for consumers that are considering GCL’s products.

 

The company is not as well rated as more common brands like LG, QCells, Trina, Phono or Canadian Solar, but certainly shouldn’t be written off because of this.  GCL presents a great entry level solar product that is sure to get a decent result for a long period of time.

The module is designed to be an affordable option that is durable and ideal in Australian conditions.

We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend GCL, however we would suggest looking at other alternatives too, such as Canadian Solar or even CSUN.

 

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