Quality more significant than cost in Solar Industry

When choosing PV modules, consumers believe the most vital factors are reliability and quality, which were discovered to be more important than low prices, as stated by a new survey for solar panel purchases administered by IHS Technology.

In the survey, respondents were asked to rank differing PV module features by importance, ranging from efficiency to weight and size. The leading factor by a momentous amount was module reliability, with 99% of respondents rating the aspect as either ‘very important’ or ‘important’.

The second most important characteristic was ‘high quality’, with ‘low price’ unveiled as third. Respondents who took the survey in the United States believed low pricing was more important and in Germany high efficiency was set at a higher premium.

The survey was organized among photovoltaic system installers; integrators; engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) entities; and dealers of PV elements, who all purchase modules from the creators.

Principal Solar Analyst at IHS, Stefan de Haan, said:

“While price is still a highly important factor when selecting PV modules, purchasers believe that performance-related factors are of greater value, particularly in European markets.

“This is a reflection of the growing awareness and focus on the total cost of ownership of a PV plant in Europe. As incentive levels and internal rates of return (IRR) for all types of PV systems become lower and lower, the cost of every kilowatt-hour becomes increasingly important. In other markets, such as the U.S., incentives more commonly take the form of grants and tax breaks—meaning that there is a slightly stronger focus on upfront cost.”

In deciding the favoured brands and purchasing choice of consumers, the survey additionally revealed that less than 10% of companies use a single module provider for their whole business, with EPCs and integrators less likely to use one brand in contrast to smaller installers.

The Principal Solar Analyst added:

“PV module purchasers demonstrate a clear preference for maintaining business relationships with more than one module supplier, as this allows them to ensure they are receiving competitive pricing and provides them with access to as wide a range of products as possible, Importantly, many also express a reluctance to rely on a single company for their total module supply, reflecting clear concerns about the survival of module suppliers and suppliers’ capability to provide sufficient and flexible stockpiles.”


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