What is a PV Green Card?


The PV GreenCard is a comprehensive document that qualified installers provide to their clients on the completion of a project. The PV GreenCard contains details of the installation such as, what sort of PV modules and PV inverters were used, as well a checklist of all of the necessary installation steps that were completed. This document can be used as proof of compliance for warranty, insurance, finance, and regulatory purposes.

Why should I choose a PV GreenCard Certified Installer?


International solar PV experts have worked together with SAPVIA for over a year to develop the PV GreenCard training outline and material in line with the national Solar PV Technician Qualification. Successful candidates are issued with an Occupational Certificate as a Solar Photovoltaic Service Technician. 

What are the benefits of my Solar System having a PV Greencard certification?


The most important aspect of the PV GreenCard is peace of mind that your Solar PV installation complies with industry and international best practice and installers meet minimum internationally bench-marked quality and safety standards.

The objective of the PV GreenCard is to provide assurance that the installer is following the latest industry guidelines, using quality components, specifying the system correctly.

It ought to also provide comfort to financiers and insurers that the system will perform to specification.

The added benefit is that should the client wish to sell the establishment with the PV system installed, it should command a better valuation if it carries a PV GreenCard.

How do the different warranties work?

 


Solar panel warranties can be a bit of a headache to understand. They’re split into two categories (performance and workmanship), each with different warranty lengths and areas of coverage. 

If your system stops producing the way that it should, it’s not always clear whether you’re covered. Since solar is a big purchase, it’s important to understand how solar warranties work to protect your investment.

For your peace of mind, here’s everything you need to know about how warranties work in the solar industry.

How Solar Panel Warranties Work
What is a “workmanship warranty?”

The workmanship warranty on your solar panels covers any physical defects that stem from manufacturing errors. Some examples might be:

  • Imperfections in the frame or glass
  • Loose junction boxes
  • Faulty connectors
  • Bad cells or damaged cell connections
  • Defective back sheet

If the panel malfunctions due to a manufacturing defect, that is covered under the workmanship warranty.

What is a “performance warranty?”

The performance warranty guarantees your panels will produce near their rated output over the life of ownership. 

Our Solar Panels have a 10 year workmanship warranty and a 25 year linear performance warranty.

The warranties on Inverters vary from one to another, normally from 2 to 10 years. More expensive inverters generally have a longer warranty.

Please note that the warranties on the Inverters become nil and void if theywere installed wronglyand/or against manufacturer’s instructions by non-authorized installers.Not all Batteries are suitable for all Inverters either.

Solar Battery Warranties

Battery warranties are a bit trickier. Flooded lead-acid batteries cost less up front, but have regular maintenance requirements to keep them in working order. These batteries have the shortest warranties, and if you fail to perform regular upkeep, the warranty will be voided.

LITHIUM BATTERY INFORMATION

Our Lithium Batteries, with 20 years design life, are the recommended battery for your solar energy storage. Developed with their own lithium iron phosphate cell to ensure the highest safety and cycle life, the built in BMS protects the cell from abnormal temperature, current, voltage, SoC and SoH.

10 year warranty and giving 6000 cycles @ 80% DOD this battery offers the best value for money.

  1. Vertical industry integration ensures more than 6000 cycles with 80% DoD
  2. The modular design gives the customers the flexibility to expand the storage capacity over time
  3. Compatible with most of the available Hybrid inverters
  4. Simple buckle fixing minimize the installation time and cost
  5. Compact design ideal for compact installations.
  6. Safety Cert.TÜV CE UN38.3 TLC
KEY FEATURES
  • The whole module is non-toxic, non-polluting and environmentally friendly. Perfect for residential applications
  • Cathode material is made from LiFePO4 with high safety performance the result of extremely stable chemistry; they won’t explode or catch fire. Perfect for residential applications
  • Battery Management System (BMS) has protection functions including over-discharge, over-charge, over-current and high/low temperature.
  • The system can automatically manage charge and discharge state and balance current and voltage of each cell
  • Flexible configuration, multiple battery modules can be in parallel for expanding capacity and power.
  • Adopted self-cooling mode rapidly reduced system noise.
  • The module has low self-discharge, up to 6 months without charging, no memory effect, excellent performance of shallow charge and discharge.
  • Working temperature range is from -10℃ to 50℃, (Charging 0~50℃; discharging -10~50℃) with excellent discharge performance and cycle life.
  • Small size and light weight.

 

We also use other ranges of Lithium Batteries, with up to 100% depth of discharge. 

Case study 1

Mike got a price from an Installer on an Inverter and batteries. He however managed to find cheap batteries at a flea market, and only bought the Inverter and the rest from the Installer. After 4 months the Inverter started tripping. They phoned the Installer, who came out, but couldn’t pin point the problem. He eventually sent the Inverter in to the manufacturer, only to get it back with a note saying that there is nothing wrong with it

As a desperate measure, the Installer put a new Lithium battery in, and that was the end of the problem. 

Although the battery with the 6 month guarantee comes cheaper, the battery with the 10 year guarantee is better. 

That is why we don’ take any responsibility if a client mix and match components himself. 

Case study 2

Gary contacted us for a quotation on a Mecer Axpert Inverter. He then managed to get it cheaper somewhere else, only to discover later that the one he got, although it looked exactly the same, did not have a build in  charge controller like the one we quoted on, and after he bought the charge controller separately, it worked out to be more expensive.  

Case study 3

Doreen got a quote on a 5kva system, and after showing it to a friend, he said that his son, who didn’t have a job at the time, could install it for much cheaper than the quote she got from professional installers. 

From day one she realised that her batteries runs flat quite quick, but thought that maybe the batteries are not big enough. 

She decide to put her system on her home owners insurance, but was informed after inspection that they will not be able to cover her system, as it didn’t have the required lightning protection. She would also need a Certificate of Compliance (COC).  If lightning would have to strike her Solar Panels, it could cost her a lot of money to replace the Solar Panels, inverter and other components, and her insurance will not pay for the damage! She never thought of that, or the financial impact something like that could have. 

She made up her mind to get the necessary protection installed. She phoned her friends son, but he informed her that he got a job in the meantime, and would not be able to help her.  Besides, he said he wasn’t sure what type of protection they were talking about or how to install it.

She then got the company that have quoted her to do the job in the first place to help. They installed the right lightning protection, but also showed her that her system needed a communication unit and cable between the Inverter and Battery to make accurate communication possible between the two, which is the reason her inverter switched off so quickly, because the Inverter “thinks” that the Battery is empty. Because of inaccurate communication the Inverter gets the wrong reading from the Batteries.  She was ready to buy more batteries, which she now knows is not necessary, because she now hardly uses half of her battery capacity. 

They also showed her that the wrong size cable was used, thinner cable is cheaper, but it brings its own set of problems.

After she paid the qualified installer to rectify everything on the system, he issued her with a COC certificate. 

She worked out that if she had the system installed correctly by an accredited installer right from the start, she would have saved about R7000, as the system cost her now R7000 more than what she was quoted originally!

Doreen gets cold shivers if she just thinks about how she could have had serious damage to all her Solar Panels and how much that would have cost her…

If the wrong ( usually cheaper)  brackets are used, it might render the 10 year warranty on your solar panels nil & void.

IN SUMMARY

Solar Energy Systems are an investment, do it right the first time, because you cannot afford to cut corners or take short cuts. It makes sense to do it right from the start.

For peace of mind, we can provide a COC, which means that the installation is fully compliant to the law and safety regulations. When we install your system, we send the details of the installation such as serial numbers of the Batteries and pictures of the installation to the manufacturer overseas, which in turn issue us with a warranty certificate, which we will pass onto you. If this is not done, you will not have a 10 year warranty on your batteries for example.  

If your system is not correctly installed, with the correct safety & protection devices, your Insurance will not pay out if your solar panels are damaged by lightning, for example. 

Even your Inverter will not have a warranty if installed incorrectly, too close to other components, or with other components that it might work with, but that it is not designed to be coupled with. Certain Inverter manufacturers will take no responsibility if their Inverters are coupled with Gel or Lead Acid Batteries for example.  Other Inverters again were originally manufactured to work with Lead Acid and Gel Batteries, and not with Lithium Batteries, and incorrect coupling with the wrong Batteries might lead to malfunction, miscommunication between Batteries and Inverter, and warranties that won’t be honored. 

If the wrong ( usually cheaper)  brackets are used, it might render the 10 year warranty on your solar panels nil & void.

Conclusion: Out of 10 companies, 7 will be more expensive than us. One or two might be in the same price range, and the other one or two will be cheaper, at least in the beginning…

The most expensive Solar System is a cheap one!