Natural resources are a great source of energy; solar energy is one of them. Solar energy is a renewable energy resource that is environmentally friendly, helps save money, and has countless other benefits. As the need for electricity-dependent products grows day by day, the importance of solar-based products also increases. Solar energy companies such as Q Cells are helping millions of users by providing solar power in place of traditional celerity to lighten their lives.
One of the US’s most well-known solar product brands is Q Cells. You’ve seen at least one quote from a solar installation when you’re looking about solar and comparing deals, and you’ve probably wondered if Q Cells solar panels are any good. Because of this, we have organized all the crucial information for you to understand.
Q Cells History
About as old as the contemporary solar business is the history of Q Cells solar panels. Since its start, the business has gone through several branding and sale transitions as it rose from modest beginnings to become a major manufacturer.
The Q CELLS AG company, which was established in Thalheim, Germany, in 1999, quickly became one of the world’s leading producers of solar modules. Unfortunately, the global economic downturn of the late 2000s and fierce competition from Chinese Q Cells solar panel manufacturers who received government subsidies had a negative impact, and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2011. The Hanwha Group, a South Korean organization with a successful solar industry, acquired its assets, naming it Hanwha Q Cells.
Since then, Hanwha has revitalized the Q CELLS brand by combining its German engineering team with top-tier production capabilities, rising to become one of the world’s top 10 solar module producers. Hanwha made the decision to drop its name from the brand in 2018. Therefore, its products are now just referred to as “Q CELLS.” In 2022, the brand name was further reduced and changed to the less obnoxious “Q Cells.”
You might, however, use the brand name in any format. Even the Q Cells North America website uses the original all-caps name style in a few areas, indicating that Hanwha still owns the business.
With factories now located all over the world, Q Cells is especially well-known for its enormous U.S. facility in Barrow, Georgia, which, when it was finished in 2019, was the biggest solar production facility in the western hemisphere. The firm is presently the largest manufacturer of solar cells in North America, and by the end of 2023, it plans to roughly treble its Georgian production capacity. Any Q Cells panel you purchase in America was most likely produced by Georgian employees.
Although Q Cells make solar panels in the USA, Thailand, China, and South Korea, it does not make any in Germany.
Their panels are “Engineered in Germany,” according to the company. Even though they no longer produce solar panels there, they still have over 200 professionals working in their Germany-based research and development center to enhance Q Cell solar panel design and manufacturing.
Additionally, Q Cells has three additional R&D facilities located in Malaysia, South Korea, and China.
The technology of Q Cells
Since its founding in 1999, Q Cells has served as a pioneer in the development of solar cell technology. By wiring these cells into the photovoltaic panel discussed below, Q Cells have expanded its customer base. Although Q Cells have recently increased the range of their goods to include hybrid solar inverters and Q.HOME solar batteries, their mainstay remains solar modules.
The company has experimented with a variety of solar cell technologies, including polycrystalline silicon and CIGS thin-film, but it began concentrating on one in 2012 known as PERC, which stands for “passivated emitter and rear contact.”
PERC solar cells include an additional layer of electrical conductors on their backsides, which can be incorporated into a solar array with a reflecting back sheet to absorb a modest amount of added energy from rays that would otherwise be bounced back into the atmosphere.
Light-induced degradation (LID) and potential-induced deterioration are two issues that traditional PERC solar cells are prone to. Basically, exposure to light and electricity can hasten the rate at which cell aging occurs. These issues are minimized to the point that they are nearly nonexistent by Q Cells’ treatment of its PERC cells.
The Q.PEAK DUO BLK G10+ solar panel series is the only one the firm currently offers. These solar panels are all-black, as the name suggests, and they look fantastic on a rooftop.
This most recent module has two sizes, with 120 or 132 half-cut Q.ANTUM DUO Z solar cells, respectively. The “Z” in “Q.ANTUM DUO Z” refers to the module’s design, which leaves no gaps between both the cells, allowing for more of them to fit in a given amount of space while reducing resistance loss along the duration of wires in bus bars compared to prior modules.
Q Cells Modules
Installers in the United States can still purchase previous generations of Q Cells solar cells from wholesale providers, despite the company concentrating on its G10+ series. These panels are excellent, and installing these rather than the most recent models could help you save some money.
These solar modules come in six different series, ranging from Q.PEAK DUO G5 to G9, and they are all built using Q.ANTUM DUO technology. All the modules in the Q.PEAK DUO series are constructed with half-cut monocrystalline silicon PERC cells and wired in the previously mentioned split-panel format. In actuality, all Q.PEAK DUO modules utilize the same type of cells; the only variations between the series are minor adjustments to the design, amount of busbars (miniature wires that link cells together), cell count, or positioning in the module. Cell matching is more of a factor in why one module offers more watts than another.
All of the cells used by Q Cells are manufactured, then each half is meticulously examined for efficiency. The cells are next divided into batches that match, and each batch is used in a different module. For instance, if a module has to produce 330 watts, Q Cells choose 120 half-cells whose power outputs are evenly matched and will add up to 330 watts when connected to a module. The 144 half-cell modules are intended for large-scale commercial installations, whilst the standard modules are designed for residential rooftops. For those who like the aesthetics of all solar panels, there are BLK variants available. However, because they don’t reflect light back to the PERC layer, they have a 5% loss in power output.
How Do Q Cells Solar Panels Stack Up Against The Competition?
Looking at how a solar panel brand’s products stack up against those of competitors in the market can be useful in determining whether or not it is a good choice. Here is a comparison of the cost, warranties, performance, and efficiency of Q Cells panels.
Q Cells Efficiency
The majority of solar panels used in the industry have an efficiency of between 15 and 20 percent. However, commercially accessible devices can have a solar panel efficiency of up to 22.8%.
With a starting efficiency of roughly 20% for the Q.PEAK DUO-G5 and maximum efficiency of 20.9% for the Q.PEAK DUO XL-G9, Q Cells solar panels are solar insolation panels but not the highest.
Performance Of Q Cells
The operating temperature for solar panels is 25° C (77° F). However, because they are black, the area of the panels warms up more quickly than the air surrounding them, especially when exposed to the direct sunlight they require for maximum output. Average solar panel output drops by 0.3% to 0.5% for every degree of Celsius as the temperature rises. The temperature coefficient is a term used to describe this decrease in output.
With an average temperature coefficient of 0.35%, Q Cells solar panels are at the lower end of the spectrum of the normal category (lower is better). Since the same cells are used in all types of Q Cells solar panels, their temperature coefficients are very consistent.
Q Cells Battery Specification
Since the Q.HOME is a customizable battery, it is actually made up of multiple batteries. The Q.HOME is instead composed of tiny, separate rechargeable batteries that are connected together to function as a single storage system. Multiple battery sizes may be produced with Q Cells with ease because of the modular design.
The useable capacity, which is measured in kilowatt-hours, explains how much electricity you can consume and store in your battery (kWh). Usable capacity ratings for the separate battery packs range between 4.5 kWh and 6.3 kWh.
These separate power supplies can be stacked together to produce a larger battery since, as we already mentioned, the Q. HOME is a modular battery. As a result, a Q.HOME battery might be made to hold such little as 4.5 kWh or as many as 18.9 kWh.
The modular design is excellent because it enables homeowners to select the battery that best fits their way of life. Most homeowners’ needs can be satisfied with a 10 kWh battery. However, a larger battery can be more practical for you if you use a lot of energy or want to be able to use your equipment for longer periods of time. The Q.HOME provides you with a choice in either case.
Power Output Of Q Cells
The power output rating of a battery informs you, in kilowatts, how much energy the battery can discharge (kW). You can see from this how many and which equipment the battery can power.
The majority of household solar batteries available today have a 5 kW power output rating. The Q.HOME has a 7.5 kW power rating, which is above average. The Q.HOME can power your lights, freezer, outlets for charging gadgets, and a few minor appliances with a 7.5 kW output power rating.
Round Trip Efficiency
In order to store and release electricity, the solar rechargeable system needs to use part of the power produced by the solar panels. It tells you how effective that method is on a round-trip basis. The better a battery’s round-trip efficiency rating, the more the electricity generated by your solar panels may actually be utilized by your home.
With an average round-trip score of 96.7%, the Q.HOME uses just 3.3% of the power supplied to the battery to conserve and release energy. A satisfactory rating for round-trip efficiency is anything greater than 90%.
Depth Of Discharge
You can utilize up to a certain percentage of a battery’s capacity before it needs to be recharged, which is known as the suggested depth of discharge (DoD) of a battery. Any DoD rating over 90% is suitable for a lithium-ion battery, as a general rule.
The battery in the Q.HOME has a DoD value of 90%, which indicates that you can use up to 90% of its capacity before needing to recharge it. Over-discharged batteries face the danger of being harmed and having a shorter lifespan.
Many batteries available today, such as the Tesla Battery system and the Enphase Recharge, have a 100% DoD rating, allowing the full amount of stored energy to be used without resulting in battery deterioration. Even while this offers a lot, having a DoD below 100% is not necessarily a problem.
A/C And D/C Coupling
Both AC-coupled solar systems and DC-coupled solar systems can be used with the Q.HOME battery. That basically means that the Q.HOME can be readily coupled with a preexisting solar panel system, although we won’t go into all the specifics here. It is also quite simple to install it concurrently with the installation of a new solar panel system.
The Q.HOME has a fantastic hybrid inverter, which is one of its best features. Both the cell and the solar system are connected to hybrid inverters, allowing the two to function simultaneously even when the power is out.
In addition, hybrid inverters frequently include extra parts like power systems and monitoring apparatus. The amount of material you need to install and the amount of space the device will occupy are both reduced when all of these parts are contained in one tidy container.
A lithium-ion battery, more precisely a nickel manganese cobalt battery, powers the Q.HOME. The most prevalent kind of lithium-ion battery bank on the market are nickel manganese cobalt batteries or NMC batteries.
Compared to lead acid batteries or even other varieties of lithium-ion batteries, such as lithium ferrous phosphate (LFP) batteries, NMC batteries can store more energy in a smaller volume. However, compared to LFP batteries, NMC batteries often have poorer safety records and are more difficult to recycle.
Compared to the 10 years other panels now being offered in Australia still have, the Q Cells 12 – 25 year purchases are made more extensive. Previously, the most costly brands were the only ones to offer 25-year product warranties, but more and more other manufacturers are starting to do the same.
I have no issue suggesting Q Cells because they produce high-quality, dependable panels. Read the reviews of Q Cells solar panels below to learn what other Australians think of them. I also urge you to post your own review if you own these modules.
Yes! Thanks to their high output and efficiency, you won’t need as many solar panels, and their all-black design goes nicely with your roof.
Additionally, Q Cells has made sure that their solar cells are appropriate for the environment in Australia. The Q.Maxx series panels are excellent for use even in coastal residences because they are inexpensive and salt and corrosion-resistant.
Q Cells Residential Panel
The G9 series from Q Cells comes in capacities from 375W to 395W, while the more current, larger G10 range, which comes in sizes from 400W to 415W, is the most widely used panel. With 12 transmission lines on half-cut cells and the most recent high-density Zcell technology, these next-generation panels can operate at their highest efficiency of 21.4%.
The high-density multi-busbars (12BB) cell technology is used in both the Q Cells G9+ and G10+ (plus) variant panels, which also have a longer 25-year product and performance warranty. Additionally, Q Cells panels include a cutting-edge aluminum alloy structure that is approved for heavy wind and snow loads (5400 Pa) (4000 Pa).
Q Cells Commercial Panel
The most recent Q.Peak DUO XL (extra-large) G9, G10, and G11 series panels utilize the same latest-generation mono PERC half-cut cells with multiple busbars (12BB) in the larger 132-cell and 156-cell configurations intended for commercial and utility-scale systems. The additional (2.4m long) G11 series panels achieve an astonishing 590W, while the bigger size panels increase efficiency by up to 21.7% and are accessible in voltage ratings up to 490W in the G10 range.
The product guarantee covers the defects in the quality of workmanship that materially impair the product. Q Cells will decide whether to repair, replace, or pay the consumer for the malfunctioning battery.
A performance warranty is also described in the warranty paperwork. The battery’s energy throughput must equal 11.838 MWh for every 4 kWh for the performance warranty to expire after 10 years or on that occasion. According to our calculations, the energy throughput would be around 11.838 MWh if the battery was cycled once a day for 10 years, taking into account the depth of drain and degradation. Additionally, the battery will always have a power of 65% of its initial value, according to the warranty.
The Q Cells can operate in temperatures between 0°C and 40°C. The performance warranty will be impacted if the battery is used outside of specified ranges. They offer a formula to alter the performance warranty for temperature ranges outside of these limits. According to Q Cells, the guarantee will be void if the average temperature is greater than 50 °C or lower than -5 °C.
Final Opinion – Q Cells Is A Good Choice
Solar professionals that have given homeowners quotations can be confident that Q Cells solar cells are a high-quality option with a solid warranty at an affordable price. Q Cells offers affordable solar battery systems for homes, making them a solid case of usage.
They don’t have the best performance or guarantee, but they meet the benchmark set by the other Tier 1 solar producers and cost roughly the market average. Products from Q Cells are just as excellent as or better than those from Silfab and Project Solar for customers looking for solar panels built in the United States. You can rely on Hanwha to uphold the guarantee if you ever require repair because the Q Cells product is well-known, and the company has a history of success.
The Q.HOME battery isn’t the most remarkable on the market now, but it’s also not terrible. It will generally function the same as most batteries do. It has respectable specs and performs the same fundamental functions as other batteries. The Q.HOME’s modular architecture allows you more options when deciding what size cell will work best for you. This is its main advantage. Additionally, the Q.HOME is available in AC and DC types, making it simple to install even if you currently have solar panels. After ten years, the operating capacity is 60%, which is much below the industry average of 70%. Additionally, the throughput level specified in the warranty essentially ensures that you’ll be using 60% of your battery’s capability before the battery has a chance to complete its ten-year lifespan.
Overall, the Q Cells Q.HOME is a reliable battery that will adequately meet your energy needs and is reasonably priced. Some batteries last longer and perform better, but since Q Cells is a known brand, you can at least count on a high-quality product and helpful customer service. The most recent G9 panel series ensures that Q Cells, one of the solar industry’s pioneers in PV cell innovation and technology, is still at the forefront. The extended product guarantee and service provided by Q Cells are now the primary factors that set them apart from most Chinese competitors because other market leaders like Implication Solar and Trina Solar are now comparable to them in many areas.
Q Cells has an advantage over many rivals thanks to the 25-year product warranty and extended functionality warranty on the G9+ panels, demonstrating the firm’s faith in its development and quality management. Additionally, the Quality Controlled PV accreditation from TÜV Rheinland supports this.