Canadian Solar Panel - Review

Canadian Solar is a producer of tier 1 panels. Despite their name, any panels you buy in Australia will not be made in Canada. Canadian Solar panels we purchase are most likely to be made in China - not that there's anything wrong with that.

These days the company's panels carry a 12 year product warranty, which is a little better than the standard for the industry of 10 years. Canadian Solar has an Australian office and unlike most panel manufacturers it is in Melbourne rather than Sydney.

Canadian Solar Panels

Canadian Solar produces a variety of panels. Unlike some manufacturers, Canadian Solar does not exaggerate their panel's efficiency by not including the frame in the calculation. The company's modules are corrosion resistant and suitable for installation anywhere in Australia.

Higher Efficiency Panels

The highest efficiency panels produced by Canadian Solar are just over 20% efficient. Their higher than average efficiency can be useful when available roof space is limited.

Canadian Solar Warranties

Canadian Solar panels now have a 12 year product warranty, which covers them if they fail to work in that time period due to a fault in manufacture. You can read more about solar panel warranties here.

Company History

In 1987 the founder of Canadian Solar, Shawn Qu, was earning around $5 a week in today's money teaching in China. That year he moved to Canada and began studying to obtain his masters degree in physics. In 2001 he founded Canadian Solar. In 2019 Canadian Solar was the fifth largest producer of solar panels in terms of global shipments.

As at 2020, the company has shipped more than 46 gigawatts of modules.

Shawn Qu now spends most of his time in China and that is understandable, as in winter it is so cold in Canada it is possible to freeze to death in less time than it takes for a bear to find you and eat you.

Manufacturing Locations And Capacity

Canadian Solar has 17 manufacturing facilities spread across Asia and the Americas. Its current (2020) module production capacity is approximately 14 GW, while cell manufacturing capacity is around 10 GW.

2016 Jiangsu Tornado

The firm experienced a significant setback in June 2016 when a cell manufacturing plant they owned in Funing was hit by the worst tornado in China in 50 years, injuring employees and collapsing almost 4 hectares of factory buildings.

STVC Solar Scorecard

Each year the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) produces a report grading solar panel manufacturers on environmental and social responsibility. A low score on this report doesn't mean a company is awful, it can just mean that information wasn't available. So a high score is a good sign while a low score is not a good sign, but not necessarily a bad sign.

I don’t know why, but Canadian Solar was not included in reports covering recent years. Their score in 2014 was not good as they only came 27th out of 37 companies surveyed, receiving a score of 14 out of a possible 100. But this was better than the score of 7 out of 100 they received in 2013.

Canadian Solar Builds Solar Farms

While Canadian Solar doesn't make as many of their own cells as other large panel manufacturers, they do tend to be more heavily involved in the construction of solar farms than most - including large large scale PV power stations here in Australia.

Warranty Procedure For Orphaned Canadian Solar Customers

If you have purchased Canadian Solar panels from a solar installer who has since gone out of business, the responsibility for warranty claims shifts to Canadian Solar. Their customer service line in Australia is 03 8609 1844 - affected customers should contact this line for assistance and advice on how to arrange for panel replacement under warranty. Note that Canadian Solar's warranty does not cover labor costs involved in warranty replacement of panels.

I Am Fine With Recommending Canadian Solar Panels

Canadian Solar produces tier 1 panels, which means banks and other institutions consider both the panels and the company reliable enough to be a worthwhile investment. And so I have no problem recommending Canadian Solar panels. They are a generally reliable panel that provides good value for money. Just don’t expect them to come from Canada.

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