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 SunPower P3 panels 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 few years 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. If you are interested in Seraphim solar panels, don’t hesitate to request a solar proposal from one of my design engineers by clicking here.
Sorry, we don’t do quotes but we offer bespoke design proposals for a future proof solar system tailored around your home, budget and goals for going solar.
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?
What Are The Solar Panel Models Seraphim Provides?
Seraphim S2 Series
What I Think About These Panels...
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.
It means the cells can produce more power. Not only this but Seraphim’s S2 Series offer less mismatch and shading impacts because the rows of cells are split up.
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.
S2 Panel Specifications:
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
Seraphim S3 Series
What I Think About These Panels...
I will have to admit it. I was pretty impressed by Seraphim’s 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.
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.
S3 Panel Specifications:
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
Seraphim S4 (NEW*)
What I Think About These Panels...
This module was released back on the 1st December 2020 and comes with a strong 21.1% conversion efficiency. The modules are large in size ranging from 390w to 540w. The 405w-540w panels are around 40cm or 400mm bigger than the 390w panels and come with a higher efficiency.
Although, I’d still say they’ve compact these panels to fit nicely on a large residential roof. On the other hand, I’d say the panels above 405w would certainly suit commercial solar better. Either way this panel is a good representation of Seraphim being well designed, good efficiency and comes with a strong 15 year warranty.
S4 Panel Specifications:
Available in sizes of 490w-540w
Competitive low light performance
Minimise shading impact
15 year product warranty
25 year performance warranty
Less mismatch for more energy
Good for commercial scale projects
Seraphim MX Series
What I Think About These Panels...
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.
These 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. I will see how these compare to SolarEdge and Enphase systems.
MX Series Specifications:
Available in sizes of 285W-380W
20-35% more modules per string
Broad inverter compatibility
High power density
Greater energy harvest
Lowered hotspot effect
Seraphim Solar Panels Are Your Best Friend For Fast Return On Investment…
Look I’ll be honest, there are a lot of other panels in the market today that are better than Seraphims panels. I won’t deny that. For example, take Jinko’s N Type 370w panels that come with a 20 year warranty. This is affordable and backed by a strong warranty and company.
Another is Sunpower Performance 3 which is another really high efficiency panel backed by a whopping 25 year warranty. This is another affordable panel which smashes others in the industry out of the park.
However, I will tell you that Seraphim is the panel most likely to get you the fastest return on investment. Not the longest, but the fastest.
Therefore, if your goal is to move home in the near future but you’re looking for quick savings then I’d strongly recommend Seraphim panels to you. You will be able to pay off your system quickly and reap the profits of your investment.
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?
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’s solar modules 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.
Seraphim Has Been Recognised As A PVEL Top Performance 3 Years In A Row…
Back in 2020 marked the 3rd year Seraphim panels were awarded the famous PVEL award. This shows their consistency for quality in solar panels. Every year they have maintained a minimum standard of quality and now they are able to boast this.
Why is this important you ask? Well, these awards are only given to solar manufacturers who are providing a really high level of quality in the production and performance of their solar panels.
However, I must admit… Although this looks good for Seraphim, Jinko has won this award almost 7 years in a row. I also know Longi panels have also won this award along with others like Sunpower and QCell.
It’s good to just see that Seraphim are being noticed and still maintain quality even though they are much more affordable compared to other panels in the industry.
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.
It’s definitely up there with Jinko, Longi and Canadian solar panels don’t you think? The price is extremely affordable for all Australians. If you get the federal and state 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.
To be honest, the industry is moving very quickly into some very strong warranties. Most recently Canadian solar panels increased their warranty to 25 years on a 370w p type panel. Therefore, it does make Seraphims 15 years look pretty average.
This is better than the 12 year warranty on some other panels in the industry but it’s not giving Seraphim a competitive edge here as well. I’d have to say that it would be nice to see them increase their warranty or at least create a module that requires a larger investment but lasts longer and can give better returns.
Overall, Seraphim solar panels have a satisfactory warranty but there is still a lot of room for improvement and a lot of similar panel manufacturers offering better.
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.
Overall, as I mentioned above you will get a very fast return on investment from a Seraphim panel system. This means you can take advantage of quick pay back periods and see fast savings. However, I’m not sure how long it will last.
I think it’s fair to say you will get good performance from these panels, and that’s backed by a 30 year performance warranty which is great, however I’d argue without the product warranty if it’s better than QCell or Sunpower.
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. Seems to be growing as well.
To compare, Canadian solar panels are around 18-20% and the same with Jinko solar panels. Some really high end are reaching up to 23-24%. Jinko has even made this claim coming in at a whopping 24.79% conversion efficiency.
To be honest, now moving into 2022 you can see a lot of panels are hitting the 21% mark. Jinko Tiger series and 370w modules are reaching this. The same as Sunpower and some LG modules as well.
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, 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 be twice as good. Somehow I don’t believe that any of these solar panels are twice as good as what Seraphim can offer.
What are your thoughts on Seraphim? Share with us in the comments below.
Share With Your Friends!
Lightning Solar & Electrical