Seraphim Solar Panel Review: The Unexpected Truth
I am writing this Seraphim solar panel review because I feel like I need to share honest information with Australian’s about these solar panels.
Coming from a high end solar energy company we tended not to sell that much Seraphim as we focused more on LG, SunPower and QCell.
It’s not because they were bad, It’s more because our customers were looking for more high end solar panels that had a good reputation in the industry.
However, around a year ago things started to change. Seraphim picked up and we started to get more quote requests. As the sales picked up I decided to take a dive into Seraphim and the performance they provide.
Being a Chinese company, like it or not, they’re already a big subject for controversial views from Australians. I’ll be honest, for a long time I tried to stay clear from budget solar panels made in China.
Well, let’s not waste any time and get stuck into this. I hope you enjoy this honest Seraphim solar panel review as it’s coming from a bunch of truthful, nerdy solar electricians.
By the way, this review may shock some of you…
Table Of Contents
The History Of Seraphim Solar Panels
Who are Seraphim solar?
In 2011 Seraphim solar was founded in China. Having the goal of providing some of the best solar solutions in the world, Seraphim solar quickly grew to over 100 members.
These solar experts combined their knowledge and research to start producing some of the best solar panels in the world.
By 2015 their solar panels were passing 3 DNV GL systematic tests and in 2017 and 2019 they were recognised as DNV GL top performers.
Where are Seraphim solar panels made?
As of 2020, Seraphim solar has manufacturing plants in China and South Africa. They have plans to expand in the next few years into Vietnam and Indonesia.
However, they do not have manufacturing plants in America, they are suing a company for using the same name as them and manufacturing their solar panels.
They have more facilities in China and only 1 in South Africa so they will be more accessible for us in Australia.
Do Seraphim have any Australian offices?
Yes. Seraphim solar has an office in Melbourne, Victoria. This is a sales/support office so its not a head office of such. In saying this it’s much better than having no support or sales office in Australia as they once did.
The reasons why this is important is down to any issues that may happen on your solar panels. Having to call another country and get stuck on support with them is frustrating.
By having support and sales offices in Australia you can reach out to Seraphim if you have any issues or questions within your working hours.
I would say that this is actually more important than most people think.
Will we be seeing more Seraphim solar panels in Australia?
Recently, in 2020 Seraphim actually signed a supply deal of 50MW of their S3 half cell series.
We are going to be seeing a lot more Seraphim solar panels over the next few years. These offer 370W in size and exceed 19.6% efficiency.
What Are The Solar Panel Models Seraphim Provides?
Seraphim S2 Series
Using half cut cell technology the S2 series solar panel can generate more power. This is because the cells are literally cut in half.
It results in less current through each cell and less resistive losses. Overall it means the cells can produce more power.
Not only this but Seraphims S2 Series offer less mismatch and shading impacts because the rows of cells are split up.
S2 Series key selling points are;
- Available sizes of 315W-440W
- Choice of Bi-Facial series
- Half Cut Cells
- Less mismatch to get more power
- Reduces hot spot effect
- Competitive low light performance
- Less power lost by panel shading
Overall the S2 series is great for both commercial and residential solar panel systems. Although Seraphim has suggested that these solar panels will also work well on solar farms I personally think the S3 would be better.
Also, Canadian solar panels work really well on solar farms, it’s actually what they specialise in. You can see my full canadian solar panel review here.
Seraphim S3 Series
I will have to admit it. I was pretty impressed by Seraphims S3 solar panel series.
They have buckled down to produce a seriously high quality solar panel here. Pretty much they have just combined their past solar panels to create the S3 series.
Using half cut cells and the latest technology these solar panels can produce more than 20% conversion efficiency. Additionally, Seraphim has extended the warranty on these to 15 year product warranty and 30 year power output warranty.
S3 Series key selling points are;
- Available sizes of 360W-445W
- Choice of Bi-Facial series
- Perform well on cloudy days
- Parallel design to reduce shading impact
- Lower risk of hotspot effect
- Module conversion efficiency of 20%
- Low temperature performance
- Less mismatch impact
- Extended warranty
Now these would be good for a solar farm. They are also suggested by Seraphim to be more of a commercial solar panel series.
In saying this, there is no harm getting them for your home however they are just bigger in size. Back to the point, these solar panels are actually really good.
I’m glad that Australia has secured a deal for 5MW of these.
Seraphim MX Series
The MX series is produced using technology similar to those of panel optimisers.
Essentially It uses a string level optimiser to improve the performance and reliability of the solar panel.
This means that shading will no longer be an issue with these, and they will continue to generate energy in shaded conditions.
Also it can allow for more flexible design, and really utilise any roof space similar to a solaredge system.
MX Smart Series key selling points are;
- Available in sizes of 285W-380W
- Flexible design
- 20-35% more modules per string
- Broad inverter compatibility
- High power desisity
- Greater energy harvest
- Lowered hotspot effect
These MX smart solar panels are pretty good as well.
They are using some of the very latest solar technology on the market. It would be really nice to see these with an extended warranty as well but I’m not sure that will happen.
I guess if you are looking for a smart system with really high efficiency and reduced shading effects these would be good.
Do Seraphim Have Any Awards?
Ok, so this is where things really started to spike my interest.
Has Seraphim solar panels ever been awarded for their performance?
Before we get started I just want to go over why I think awards are important, and why I also think they determine the quality of solar panels.
So essentially an award is proof that a product/service does what it is described to do. Not only this, an award actually suggests that this product is one of the best in the market.
It literally proves which companies in the industry are producing high quality products and which of those are not.
Some well known tests we have in the solar industry are the Thresher test and DNV/GL (PVEL) test.
Seraphim solar panels pass the Thresher test ☝️
Basically, the Thresher test is set out to prove if the solar panel can last 25+ years or more. And yes, Seraphim did pass it.
Believe it or not Seraphim solar panels were actually the first ever solar brand to pass the famous Thresher test.
The Thresher test was essentially created to measure the long term performance of solar panels. The test is to prove that these solar panels can perform even beyond the minimum industry requirements making them more reliable.
For me, this says something pretty big. The fact that Seraphim were the first to pass the test, and actually did pass it well suggests their solar panels are built to last.
Having always thought that most solar panels made in China are short lived, this came as a nice surprise to me.
How does this compare to other solar panels?
Like I mentioned before, these tests are in place to highlight the good solar panels in the industry. Seraphim have taken full advantage of this. They’ve come out on top.
What if I also said the Thresher test has around an 80% failure rate?
So does this mean that Seraphim is up there with the likes of LG or SunPower? As they both passed these tests too?
Solar panels like QCell, SunPower and LG are all so much more expensive than Seraphim. Almost double the price. Does this mean that they are double the performance as well?
For what you are paying you would expect a lot better performance from these high end solar panels.
I can now say, Seraphim have not made this easy. Logically, would it make more sense to go for Seraphim if it is guaranteed a performance of 25+ years?
Seraphim solar panels pass the DNV GL/PVEL test
Seraphim solar panels also have a history with the well known DNV GL/PVEL test. They were able to pass 3 tests in 2015 and were announced a top performer by DNV GL in 2017.
However, probably the most noticeable award was given in 2019, when they were announced the 2019 top performer by PVEL. According to the testers, this was also the hardest one to pass in history.
Jinko solar panels have also passed this test as well.
The test is set out to show the performance and durability of the solar panels. It will suggest how long they will last, how good they can perform and really the overall reliability of the solar panel.
Again, this took me by surprise. Considering they haven’t just passed this test once but several times. It definitely suggests that Seraphim are doing something right.
What Makes Seraphim Solar Panels Any Good?
Tier 1 solar panels
Seraphim solar panels are branded as Tier 1 solar panels. This means that the solar panels have to meet certain criteria to be given this status. Within Australia, we would not recommend going for anything less than Tier 1.
Long lasting warranties
They actually extended their warranties because they smashed the Thresher test. Having long lasting warranties suggest the Seraphim solar panels will perform for a long time. It also gives peace of mind for those buying because they are covered for 15-30 years.
Good value for money
Ofcourse, Seraphim solar is affordable. As shown above, Seraphim have created some super performing solar panels. Although they are good, they haven’t raised the price high. They have stuck to their aim if making solar affordable for the world.
The Seraphim Solar Panel Review
Now that we have covered most of the history, let’s get down to the full Seraphim solar panel review.
Here I am going to be focusing on the 4 main points that we feel count when buying solar panels. I will be giving them scores out of 10.
The price is extremely affordable for all Australians. If you get the federal and state solar rebates you can reduce this even further.
Given the performance of these solar panels you would have expected a much higher price. I have to give this a high score because regardless of being a top performer, Seraphim solar panels are low in cost.
This also means you will see quicker return on investments when compared to more expensive solar panels. I know that this will be a big factor for a lot of homeowners.
With a product warranty of 15 years for the S3 series, it’s actually one of the highest in the industry.
The only solar panel warranty to beat this is SunPower Vs LG’s 25 year product warranty which is the best in the market by a lot.
When it comes to performance warranty, Seraphim are again pushing really high. They offer a 30 year performance warranty for their solar panels.
As before, this is up there with QCell, SolarEdge, Enphase, LG, SunPower and all of the high end solar systems.
I’m sure you can see why we’ve given Seraphim such a high rating. I myself was extremely impressed to see them backing up their solar panels with such confidence.
Ok, so put it this way. In 2012 Seraphim solar panels were tested for the performance ratio of their panel and came out as 93.6%. This was 0.3% higher than QCell performance ratio.
I am beginning to see a pattern… Outperforming QCell, but QCell is double the price?
Again and again Seraphim solar panels seem to be proving themselves again the big high end giants in the industry. The only brand that outperformed Seraphim was SunPower.
They also offer a long warranty to ensure that the performance of the solar panel is guaranteed.
Seraphim solar panels are averaging around a 20% conversion efficiency. This is pretty average for the industry right now.
With the latest technology most solar panel suppliers are keeping their efficiency pretty high.
Overall Rating 9.2/10
I am more than happy to give this a 9.2/10 rating. Wouldn’t you agree?
When you combine the price and the performance with the long lasting warranties you are left with one of the best solar panels in the industry.
Yes, I did just say that.
Seraphim in my opinion is one of the best solar panels you can buy in Australia.
I would say this mainly because of the value. You can get pretty close to the performance, warranty and efficiency of LG or SunPower for the price of Jinko or Longi solar panels.
This is exactly why I believe them to be so good.
And I did say, this review may shock some of you.
To completely summarise this whole review I will say a few things.
Seraphim has proven itself to be one of the leading solar panel manufacturers in the world. If you are looking into SunPower or LG I would definitely advise you to consider Seraphim.
Simply because of the price. These tests that were conducted are signs of Seraphim keeping up with these high end panels.
Given they now also have offices in Australia it makes it much easier for support and sales. This is another massive bonus.
For me personally, if I’m going to be paying double the price for a product I expect it to bet twice as good.
Somehow I don’t believe that any of these solar panels are twice and good as what Seraphim can offer.
What are your thoughts on Seraphim?
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