Originally Posted by Good To Go
I contacted VicOffroad and was told by an employee that 8 x 100 watt flexible solar panels would be ideal for my 40 amps requirement. Paid $880 for an electrician, $80 for Velcro and over $1330 for the panels. After 12 months in use found battery bank flat. Up to the roof, panels peeled, cracked, brittle and completely unserviceable. When purchased in Dec 2016 no wiring warning in product description, (kind of strange you would purchase 8 x panels and wire them individually). After endless photos and correspondence, (sorry you cannot speak to owner Mr Fei Dai, he’s out of the country) told SORRY WE CANNOT HELP YOU. Next step, off to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
If this a valid issue and not a malicious, unwarranted attack on a vendor (perhaps a competitor) here are my thoughts:
1. Wiring generally has nothing to do with cracking and peeling semi-flex panels.
2. Poor installation
or product deficiency is the most likely cause of cracking and peeling.
Semi-flex panels should be installed such that they cannot flex beyond tolerance (especially in cold temps) and not over a hard corner (like a dodger
How to proceed:
1. Verify the "electrician" you hired is a "certified marine
If so, they should be more than willing to show you their certification
If not, you may have hired a "schmo" rather than a "pro".
Based on their charge of $880 to mount and wire 8 panels and a controller, with switches and over-current protection to a battery, my guess is that you you hired the latter.
2. Verify the "electrician" you hired is aptly experienced. If they are a "certified marine electrician" (they will have over 500 hours of appropriate field experience). I doubt it, or they would have known to charge more.
There is no law requiring the "electrician" to be either 1 or 2 above, to accept pay for performing work
requested to their skill and ability level.
3. Verify the "electrician" has commercial
. If they do, they should have a certificate with them to show you. If not, you should never have hired them, they could have destroyed your boat, boats around you, and the marina, and hurt or killed people.
4. Verify the panels were installed in accordance with manufactures instruction and standard industry practice.
a) If not (and I suspect this to be the case) go after the installer:
i) If not certified, you are probably out of luck.
ii) If certified, they should make right.
iii) If certified and they won't make right, contact their association.
b) If so go after the panel / supplier manufacturer.
How the panels are wired, should have nothing to do with physical damage, unless due somehow to over-heating from the wiring configuration. (I can't think how this could possibly be so, but request an explanation of the supplier how this could possibly have been the cause of the defect. Ask a certified professional if the supplier claim could be valid. If not, go after the supplier, if so, sorry for your loss.
5. Learn from this experience:
a) In future, consider the pro's and con's of hiring a "pro" vs a "schmo" for marine electrical installation
b) In future, consider the pro's and con's of purchasing
product from an unknown supplier vs a local retailer with a good reputation to uphold.