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Understanding the Price Difference of Solar Lighting Products

Posted by SEPCO on 5/17/12 9:07 AM

Solar light products are generally purchased through procurement where the lowest bidder gets awarded the project.  Generally, specifications are set to help guide the products to meet certain requirements.  In order for the procurement officer or purchasing agent to verify if the low bidder meets the guidelines they have to understand the technology.  Every industry has various levels of performance, longevity, and options which affect cost.  The difference with the solar industry is everyone is not familiar with the options or performance. 

With cars, everyone is familiar with the options and what they do.  A purchaser that is looking for a car with lowest cost, highest reliability knows to look at warranties and mpg.  The other customer might have a large family and prefers luxury over mpg. 

Over the years of being in the industry we hear from the purchasers who have systems that are not performing.  We have gathered some photos of various projects where there are some options that should have been specified that were left out.  Please look at the photos below and see if you can determine what these options might be. 

Bad Solar Panel Install

Photo 1 shows mounting material that is not holding the solar module up correctly. 

Too Small Solar Light

Photo 2 shows a large 15’ sign with two tiny flood lights on each side of the sign. 

Tape on Solar Light Fixture

Photo 3 & 4 shows that it is important to specify material of the pole, hardware, and fixture housing you can see corrosion of the various metals and the fixture is required to be held onto the bracket with tape and shows the extra cable run from the battery box to the panel is wrapped up and tie strapped to the panel mount.  

Rusty Solar Battery Box

What other lower cost items have you purchased that did not perform as the company originally stated? Let us know below.

Topics: Solar Lighting

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