How Can I Rest Assured the Solar Panel Manufacturer from Whom I'm Buying Modules is Financially Stable?
The best solar panel manufacturers operate at 100% manufacturing capacity, have sold out of their products, and have hired a substantial number of new employees in recent months, given the rate at which the solar industry is growing. It's also important to take a close look at the manufacturer's operating costs, to validate the manufacturer is competitive and doesn't waste money. The solar industry operates on very thin margins and the best solar panel manufacturers are frugal. For instance, companies that spend marketing money on sponsoring European football teams, hockey teams, the World Cup, and other such events are being careless. Keep in mind, the money for those events come from somewhere...which means they are passing those expenses on to you with higher prices. Also, make sure the solar panel manufacturer you buy from is managing its long term debt properly and doesn't have a huge chunk of change due any time soon.
How Do I Know the Working Conditions are Safe in the Factories Where the Solar Modules are Manufactured?
Ask to see the company's bankability report, which will give you a third party and neutral viewpoint on this topic. For instance, make sure the report indicates employees are wearing booties, hair nets, safety goggles, a clean-room smock. Ask about the company's safety record and whether there have been any incidents of employees being harmed or injured as a result of poor working conditions and environments. Some other things to check out...make sure the facilities are properly ventilated, proper warning signs and safety lines are in place, and rubber insulating gloves are worn by personnel working in testing stations. The best of the best solar panel manufacturers actually invite customers to tour their manufacturing facilites, with an open door policy. This is important, even if you don't take them up on the offer.
Inquire About Warranty Claims and Third Party Coverage
While it's not easy to find, the best solar panel manufacturers have vey few warranty claims. And, of those claims, most shouldn't be related to quality or performance, but rather such issues as breakage during shipping, barcode scanning failures, and aesthetics. You should also make sure the company offers third party power production insurance on the modules, above and beyond their own manufacturer's warranty, to protect your investment in case the panel manufacturer company becomes insolvent. This added insurance will typically come with a 25-year policy and cover lost production and module failures.