Solar Energy

How to identify Fake Solar Panels – 5 things to check and never be scammed

Fake Solar Panels

Solar energy is one of the most renewable and cost-efficient sources of energy in the world. The ever-increasing demand for clean energy has led to the rise of solar panel production and installation.

However, just like any other industry, counterfeit products have flooded the market, including fake solar panels. These fake panels may appear tempting because of their lower price, but they can end up being a waste of money and even pose a safety hazard.

In this article, we will show you how to identify fake solar panels, so you can make informed decisions when purchasing solar panels for your home or business.

See some examples here of people who have fallen victim to fake solar products and have lost huge amounts of money.


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Fake Solar Panel – Definition

A fake solar panel or counterfeit solar panel is a solar panel that is flawed in its construction or contains faulty parts, resulting in it not being able to generate the power output as intended, or not generating any power at all.

Tips on How to identify Fake Solar Panels

This can rather be written as “How to check original solar panel”.

Recognizing a fake solar panel can be difficult, as they are often designed to look very similar to genuine panels. However, there are a few ways to spot a fake panel:

ALSO CHECK: The Effect of Fake Solar Components on the Global Uptake of Solar Energy as a Source of Electricity

1. Fake solar panels are cheap

Genuine solar panels are expensive to produce and will therefore have a higher price tag than fake panels. If a panel is being sold at a significantly lower price than others on the market, it is likely to be fake.

Fake solar panels are not just cheap but rather, they are very cheap. This on its own is tempting. Fake solar panel sellers know that generally people like cheap things and will feel as if they have bargained by buying cheap solar panels – even though they are fake and they will probably regret later. A lesson not worth trying. Don’t fall for fake solar panels!

On another hand due to the fact that solar panels are original, a solar company is not justified in significantly raising the prices, but they should achieve a balance. Lower prices could mean a great deal. Look for a balance of the two(original and affordable) when making decisions.

SolarEyes International, 2023

2. Look for certifications and product specifications

Solar panels should have certifications from organizations such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) or the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Other standard solar panel certifications include CE and RoHS certifications.

***ALSO READ: Causes of Fire on Solar Installations, How to Avoid it – don’t be a victim

All these certifications can be seen at the back of a solar panel where there is a name plate as shown in the image below. If a panel does not have any certifications, it is likely to be fake.

How to Choose Solar Panel Brands
How to Choose Solar Panel Brands

More so, fake solar panels usually do not have displayed product specifications on name plate or have hidden product specifications.

3. Fake solar panels are made of low quality material

Here is a fact. What actually make fake solar panes to be very cheap is because they are made of low quality material that resemble the original material. In some cases you might be lucky to just see the outside of the product and identify low quality material.

The difficult part is if the low quality material is in the chemical or technical mix of the products. This way it will be difficult to identify unless if you ask for the technical questions or specifications.

***ALSO READ: Causes of Fire on Solar Installations, How to Avoid it – don’t be a victim

Always look for defects on solar panels before you buy. Fake solar panels may have defects such as uneven spacing between cells, uneven cell coloration, or misaligned cells.

It has been proven obvious that fake solar panel manufacturers never disappoint when it comes to use of low quality material. Another own goal to them – but only for those customers who are vigilant enough

SolarEyes International, 2023

4. Check the warranty

Fake solar panels have no warranty all or very have very limited warranty duration. This is a scam. Normally solar panels should have a long warranty in the range of 20 – 30 years for genuine solar panels. Bottom line is genuine solar panels will come with a long warranty duration, while fake panels will not come with a warranty or come with a very limited warranty.

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As SolarEyes International, we always say there is always a reason why a manufacturer gives a certain duration as warranty. And this is definitely based on the product performance tests conducted by the manufacturer.

If a manufacturer himself does not have confidence in his product and cannot be sure that his product will function for at least a certain number of years or months then who are you to believe in the very same product more than its manufacturer?

SolarEyes International, 2023

Again if warranty is not being given or is not written in any form – RUN!

SolarEyes International

5. Look for a known brands

Fake solar panels are often sold under a brand name that is not known in the market. Always look out for brand imitations as you can be scammed through an imitation of a well known brand of solar panels. This has been happening in many countries and is increasing at an alarming rate, so be aware.

Check here on How to Ensure Your Solar Panels Last Longer: A Comprehensive Guide.

Check the packaging: Fake solar panels may have packaging that is different from that of the genuine panels.

It is also a good idea to purchase solar panels from a reputable supplier or installer, as they are less likely to sell fake panels.

Quick features for fake solar panels include:

  1. solar panels with body defects,
  2. cracked solar cells,
  3. color variations on solar panels,
  4. has no serial numbers and barcodes
  5. has absence of labels
  6. has damaged spec sheets
  7. has incorrect information on spec sheets
  8. no technical specifications and certifications at the back of the solar panels,
  9. misalignment of solar cell strings and being made using substandard materials

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The best protection against buying fake solar panels is to buy them from renowned, reputable and authorized dealers. A reputable brand will have verifiable contact information or operating an office in a known location, properly handle stored products, return policy and warranty covers defective, among others.


Identifying fake solar panels is crucial to ensure that you make an investment that will serve you for decades. The market is flooded with counterfeit products, and it’s up to you to know the tell-tale signs of fake solar panels. Remember, the cheaper option isn’t always the best option and always buy from reputable dealers and manufacturers.

Don’t let scammers take advantage of your hard-earned money; use the tips we have shared here to make an informed purchase decision. In the end, the benefits of using solar energy are enormous, and a little research goes a long way in ensuring you reap these benefits.



*** ALSO CHECK: HOW TO SIZE A SOLAR SYSTEM – 5 clear steps anyone can follow


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Simon Tyrus Caine

Simon Tyrus Caine is a solar energy expert with more than 10 years experience in the solar sector. Simon has worked and lived in more than 5 countries. Simon has been involved in solar installations, solar project development, solar financing as well as business development in the solar sector. At SolarEyes International, Simon manages content development and day to day operations of the organisation.

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