2021 Winaico Solar Panel Review: Are Winaico panels any good?

review Winaico solar panel

Although it currently makes up only 6.4% of the total energy generated in Australia, solar power is gradually becoming a considerable force in the energy market. A growing number of residents and businesses alike see going solar as a way to cut their energy bills and take a step away from fossil fuels towards a more sustainable future.

If you’re interested in buying a solar system but don’t know where to start, you’ve landed at the right place. In this Winaico solar panel review, we look into their top-rated solar modules, examine the company and its products, and briefly discuss their pros and cons below. 

Keep reading to find out more!

     PROS:

  • Highly efficient
  • Warranty up to 25 years
  • Impressive degradation rate
  • PERC technology
  • Patented water drainage system
  • Office in Australia

      CONS:

  • Costly
  • Low manufacturing volumes
  • Relatively short market presence

Efficiency4.5
Strength and durability5
Warranty4.5
Value for money4.5
Performance – temperature coefficient5

Winaico Company Overview

Winaico is a Taiwanese company founded in 2008, which quickly established a major presence in Europe. The first part of their name is homage to their parent company Win Win Precision Technology, while the second comes from “fotovoltaico,“ the Italian word for solar capture technology. Despite starting off as a small family business, Winaico has become Taiwan’s biggest solar module manufacturer. Compared to other solar giants, Winaico is a considerably smaller player with a single, albeit fully automated, manufacturing facility that produces panels with a combined capacity of 180 MW per year. But what the company may lack in size, it more than makes up in quality, technology, and philosophy.

Winaico’s core tenet is that the future is solar. Since its beginnings, the company has worked to raise awareness on the benefits of solar power and its own endeavours to create products that would contribute to the global efforts against climate change. Winaico is known to receive precise carbon and environmental reporting in order to make sure its products are completely sustainable and actually make a difference in tackling global warming.

The foundation of Winaico’s success is its quality management and continued pursuit of improvements. Having its own in-house laboratory allows Winaico to extensively test its products with reference to various standards and frequently exceed those set by the International Electrotechnical Commission.

Moreover, Winaico is known for exclusively delivering their modules directly to installers, solar technicians and project managers, without relying upon wholesalers. This lets the company enjoy complete control over the handling of their product, closely cooperating with installers so as to build trust-based relationships with end clients.

All this means that when you purchase Winaico, you receive premium quality solar modules by Taiwanese manufacturers with extensive experience and expertise in the semiconductor sector, paired with contemporary production technologies, carefully selected components, and strict quality control, leading to precise fabrication and an exceptional finished product. If any proof is needed, just have a look at the impressive results Winaico panels have shown at the Desert Knowledge testing facility in Alice Springs.

Winaico’s commitment to their remarkable principles has been proven multiple times, a recent notable achievement being the 2020 Taiwan Excellent PV Award, honouring their WSP-335M6 module as the best solar module. The company’s products were awarded the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series certification back in 2012, among the very first solar modules to receive it.

In 2012, Winaico opened offices in Australia, Japan, and the USA.

Winaico Panel Cell Technology 

Solar panel installation

Most solar panel installations are put in place in one to three days. Certainly, there can be exceptions, depending on the size and type of the project, whether it’s grid-connected (with or without batteries) or an off-grid system. Keep in mind that some solar providers, such as Solargain, don’t offer off-grid installations, but Winaico has you covered here.

The cost of installation will also vary depending on your exact location, as access to remote areas is sometimes a problem, so don’t count your watts before they hatch. Every solar panel installation is different, but Winaico has a policy of hand-picking the installers that end up setting up your solar panels and only works with those accredited by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) in order to avoid scams and inconveniences. Talk to the authorized installers – they will give you more insight into the nature of your particular situation and ease the installation process.

Winaico provides online installation manuals for all you DIYers out there, which should lower the chances of something going wrong. The company still recommends hiring experts to ensure the solar system is properly installed and set up.

Advances in cell technology

Winaico’s manufacturing process revolves around the use of monocrystalline cells and the company was one of the first adopters of the PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) technology, the current standard for high-efficient cells. Looking to always stay ahead of current industry trends, Winaico is now focusing on even higher efficiency monocrystalline panels, as signalled by their Winaico 375 WST-MG GEMINI series, made available in 2021.

The new GEMINI panels include next-generation monocrystalline PERC half-cut cells with 9 busbars, the same technology used by leading manufacturers looking to take their efficiency above 20% and improve overall performance.

A feature unique to Winaico is the patented HeatCap, developed by parent company Win Win Technologies in 2014 and aimed at lowering the likelihood of micro-cracks forming in the cells. Micro-cracking is a common problem for all panels, usually caused by installation mistakes,  walking on panels or impacts by strong winds. The HeatCap technology is estimated to reduce micro-cracking by 20%, according to measurements conducted by the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), and has brought the company a number of industry awards.

The WST-375MG is the initial offering in the GEMINI series and the most powerful solar module the company has created. It compares favourably to other commercial options on the market with its 20.6% efficiency and is ideal for homes and businesses looking to maximise their system’s yield. To illustrate how far the GEMINI series has come, a recent premium panel by an industry leader, the REC N-Peak, tested at an efficiency rate of 19.8%.

Following on its heels is the WSP-333MG, featuring a toughened frame and Winaico’s patented drainage corners, typically only offered in their MX Range. The WSP-333MG provides the highest amount of grid constraint power certified in Australia.

Features and Differences Between Winaico Solar Modules in Australia

Let’s take a look at the key specifications across the company’s four series of solar modules, which should give you a definite picture as to what Winaico Australia can do for you.

The company recommends all of their solar modules for both residential and commercial purposes, catering to a wide range of needs. If you’re looking for a module for everyday domestic demands, then it is perhaps best to focus on the lower energy-generating solar modules in order to increase your cost efficiency. The novel GEMINI series is at the cutting-edge of contemporary efficiency rates at 20.6%, but the remaining Winaico product lines also offer respectable efficiency rates, as shown by win energy reviews. 

Degeneration Rate

The company provides excellent warranty packages, which may have something to do with the annual degeneration rate of their modules testing at only 0.7%, the lowest rate among solar modules currently on the market. For instance, LG solar modules estimate a degradation rate of 10% across a period of 25 years and SunPower solar modules are forecast to degrade 0.8% to 0.9% in the first 25 years, whereas REC Group solar modules will degrade by 2.5%.

Sustainability 

Winaico designs are primarily aimed at preserving module quality, with patented water drainage systems and slick, elegant designs. Moreover, all of their solar modules have received a number of certificates regarding their sustainability. The most recent was the carbon footprint verification by Bureau Veritas Certification, proving that the manufacturing process contributes less than 4% of the product’s total greenhouse gas emissions and honouring Winaico as one of the most sustainable solar producers on the market.

A Closer Look at Winaico Solar Modules

The specifications for each of the Winaico series are given below.

SeriesWST-M6 PERCWST-MXWST-MX black seriesWST-MG Gemini series (NEW)
Efficiency18.6%/18.9%19.4%18.8%20.6%
High energy output1000V / 1000V1000V / 1000V1000V / 1000V1000V / 1000V
Cell technologyMonocrystalline PERCMonocrystallinePERCHigh grade P-type monocrystalline PERC Monocrystalline silicon cells
Energy generationUp to 315WUp to 340WUp to 340WUp to 375W
Residential or commercial useSuitable for both purposesSuitable for both purposesSuitable for both purposesSuitable for both purposes
Weight18.6 kg (41.0 lbs20.6 kg (45.8 lbs)20.6 kg (45.8 lbs)20.6 kg (45.4 lbs)
Frame Black anodised aluminiumBlack anodised aluminiumBlack anodised aluminiumBlack anodised aluminium
DesignElegant designStrongest frame design, patented drainage cornersPatent water drainage designL-key frame corner inserts to increase strength and improve water drainage
Number of cells6060606 strings x 20 cells in series
SustainabilitiesIEC 61215-1:2016, IEC 61215-2:2016, IEC 61730-1:2016, IEC 61730-2:2016IEC 61215-1:2016, IEC 61215-2:2016, IEC 61730-1:2016, IEC 61730-2:2016IEC 61215-1:2016, IEC 61215-2:2016, IEC 61730-1:2016, IEC 61730-2:2016, UL1703IEC 61215-1:2016, IEC 61215-2:2016, IEC 61730-1:2016, IEC 61730-2:2016
Warranty15 year product warranty15 year product warranty / 25 year performance warranty15 year product warranty / 25 year performance warranty25 year product warranty
Annual degeneration rate0.7%0.7%0.7%0.7%

Performance Warranties and Service

For the Australian market, the Winaico solar panel warranty is offered as a special package, with the first 2 years free of charge for all solar modules. The insurance includes the solar panel installation as well as interruption of service, potential reduction in yield,  and material damage of any kind – a formulation that covers storms, fires, natural disasters, operational errors, theft, and damage from rodents. 

Winaico offers a 25-year product warranty and a 25-year linear performance warranty, the only solar manufacturer to provide customers with extensive, long-term assurance and support. The insurance is automatically activated for each of their solar modules. It can also be extended for up to 5 years for a small fee.

Comparing warranties to other manufacturers, Winaico is up there with the elite. For example, REC provides a 20-year product warranty extendable by 5 years, whereas SunPower offers a full 25-year product warranty.

When it comes to servicing, Winaico recommends maintenance service every 2-3 years in order to make sure that all the components of the solar system, such as wiring, isolators, breakers, racking, roof and wall mounting are functioning well. These components are expected to degrade over time and it’s necessary to perform regular system checks to validate the integrity of the system and extend its safe operation.

Winaico doesn’t offer servicing directly – as mentioned above, the company works closely with trusted partners which offer servicing for each of Winaico’s solar module types. Winaico has over 100 hand-picked partners across all Australian states and territories. It also offers direct support for its customers via a contact form on its website, allowing you to communicate with one of the company’s representatives about any type of inquiry.

Winaico Pricing

Everybody loves a cutting-edge company until it’s time to cut them a check. The Winaico solar panel cost can range from $5,000 for a home system to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a large commercial system. Below you’ll find the average costs for Winaico solar systems of various yields.

System SizeAverage Fully Installed Cost
6 kW$7,000
8 kW$9,500
10 kW$11,000

According to information from the official Winaico website, a few different factors need to be taken into account when looking at the company’s solar panels price range. Certainly, the primary factor is the quality of the solar module itself. While their modules appear to be a bit costly at first glance, a cheaper panel might function for a decade, whereas Winaico guarantees you will still be reaching at least 80% of the advertised yield of their panels even after 25 years. 

Your exact location is also a key factor. Although remote areas can benefit from larger systems due to wide open spaces, they are often less accessible compared to urban zones, which contributes to the cost. In this respect, you can lean on Winaico’s carefully chosen solar installers – the company only works with trusted, CEC accredited installers.

Based on your power needs, the installer will examine your power bill and calculate how much of your power is used during the day in order to decide if you need a battery or not. A battery will definitely increase the total cost of the system, but then you benefit by using the sun’s power at night.

Compared to other top-of-the-line manufacturers, Winaico comes off somewhere in the middle price-wise. An average SunPower solar system of 7.9 kW costs $36,300, a price of $4.60 per watt. An average 6 kW REC solar system would command a price between $14,640 and $20,280, whereas the average 6.3 kW LG system costs about $13,260. 

There are certainly cheaper variants as well, with the average national price for a 3 kW solar system amounting to $4,070, around $5,300 for 5 kW, and almost $7,200 for a 7kW setup. The quality of the cheaper modules on the market is debatable, however.

Similarly to LG, as part of their warranty Winaico will offer refunds for products that have experienced a major failure and for other reasonably foreseeable losses or damages. 

As far as rebates and discounts are concerned, Winaico doesn’t offer any special deals. However, if you live in a certain Australian state, you could be enjoying a government-subsidised solar panel, which should make the plunge more palatable.

Customer Reviews

According to solar panel reviews in Australia, Winaico has an average rating of 4.8 out of 5, meaning that most people expressed strongly positive opinions after buying the product. Specifically, out of 133 reviews, 100 people left a 5-star review and 33 people gave it 4 stars, making Winaico an especially high rated solar module brand.

This puts the company in the same brackets as other reputable makers, such as REC, SunPower, and LG. The last two share the same average rating as Winaico at 4.8 out of 5.

Winaico Solar Panels Alternatives

Winaico is considered to be a quality PV product provider. Their products guarantee a yield of at least 25 years and satisfactory efficiency rates created with superior photovoltaic cells. What is more, all of it is available at a decent price. However, to get a better look at Winaico’s position in the market, we took the time to examine some of its competitors. Let’s take a closer look at some of the products offered by LG and SunPower.

Alternative modules

We’ll start by looking at panels similar to Winaico’s WST-M6 Full Black, considered the crown of Winaico solar panels of 325W. It has an efficiency rate of 19.5% and is available for $240 per panel. The LG NeON 2 (365-370 W) offers similar features at a slightly higher power output and efficiency of 21.1%. Its slick, modern design comes with a 25-year warranty. The only significant point of divergence is that while Winaico’s modules can only be bought from a few authorized installers, you can find LG’s solar systems in most dealerships.

Winaico vs SunPower 

Another similar solar module is the SunPower P3 (370-390 W). This is a powerful 390 W module with 19.9% efficiency, 25-year product warranty and a price of $320 per panel. The SunPower Maxeon 2 is another alternative, with 104 photovoltaic cells working at an efficiency rate of 20.4%. SunPower incorporates P-type of N-type silicon grids into its design and excludes the front-mounted busbars which can potentially shade the cells and decrease the efficiency of the panel, thus bringing you the full potential of solar power.

Winaico vs SunPower 

Another similar solar module is the SunPower P3 (370-390 W). This is a powerful 390 W module with 19.9% efficiency, 25-year product warranty and a price of $320 per panel. The SunPower Maxeon 2 is another alternative, with 104 photovoltaic cells working at an efficiency rate of 20.4%. SunPower incorporates P-type of N-type silicon grids into its design and excludes the front-mounted busbars which can potentially shade the cells and decrease the efficiency of the panel, thus bringing you the full potential of solar power.

For more information regarding Winaico’s competitors, make sure to check out our reviews of LG, REC, and SunPower solar panels on our website.

Is Winaico Worth It?

It might not be the world’s most expensive brand, but Winaico solar panels are still quite an investment. Do keep in mind that the initial savings from buying low-cost modules will quickly be exhausted by the additional costs due to faster degradation of the components and decline in yield, which is not the case with quality solar modules. On the other hand, like other companies in its class, Winaico guarantees that their panels will maintain at least 80% yield even after 25 years of continued use. 

Winaico maintains the ethos of a small family business and while it doesn’t have the high production volumes of other competing brands, the company has been building a very positive reputation in terms of quality and reliability.

All in all, Winaico solar panels may require a sizable initial investment, but a quick cost-benefit analysis will prove that you actually save money by investing in superior quality. It may take a few more years to get even and start turning a profit, but it’s a definite Win-Winaico!

FAQs

1. What are the 2 main disadvantages to solar energy?

One of the main disadvantages is that solar energy is generated only when the sun is shining, so if you live in a location with few sunny days, you are not likely to enjoy the benefits of solar power. Another key disadvantage is the high initial cost, as expenses include various components such as panels, wiring, inverters, batteries, as well as permits, installation, operational costs, monitoring, etc. These can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000 for an average-sized system producing 4 kW to 8 kW of power.

2. Where are Winaico solar panels made?

Winaico solar panels are produced in a small manufacturing facility in Taiwan with an annual capacity of 180 MW. The production of the modules is fully automated, in a pristine, state-of-the-art facility.

3. Are Winaico solar panels any good?

Winaico solar modules have been tested at the Desert Knowledge testing facility in Australia and shown impressive results through the years, with their solar modules coming out on top in 2012. All in all, more than one Winaico solar panel review and test indicate they are quite efficient and offer great value for money.

4. What is the best brand of solar panels in Australia?

As of 2021, the best solar panels in Australia include LG, SunPower, and REC. The best solar panels in Australia for 2019 were Trina Solar Panels, LG, and Hanwha’s Q Cells.

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