How to Identify Fake Solar Products
Indeed without doubt solar has become a talk of the town. And somehow, everybody has a keen interest in going solar – including me.
Of course there are many barriers to going solar and one of them has been the rise of fake solar products.
Customers are being scammed by fake and substandard solar installations. These two factors pose great security risks and lead to economic and other associated losses – including removing the trust for solar systems.
The challenge is that high quality and substandard solar products have virtually the same physical features and are pretty identical. However, there are simple ways to differentiate them. This article seeks to give some tips on how one can identify fake solar products.
Fake solar products are an imitation of original solar products and are intended to trick people into thinking that they are as valuable as or more valuable than the original solar products.
Simply put – fake solar products turn off the market as they remove customer confidence in these green products.
Fake solar products range from many solar components. It can be fake solar panels, fake solar inverters, fake solar batteries or in worse case a fake solar system.
Someone might say I am experienced in solar products and I do not need to care much about fake or counterfeit products. The truth is that you might be buying a brand imitation without knowing so better understand the tricks fly-by-night companies are using to push fake solar products in the market – so read through.
Of recent I was chatting with a friend of mine who was raising the issue of fake solar products in Latvia and in the United States of America. Within a few days I had two friends of mine, experienced in solar and based in two different countries raising the same issue saying fake solar products are killing the market confidence.
See some examples of people who have fallen victim to fake solar products and have lost huge amounts of money. See the examples here.
Furthermore, many people are looking for ways to save money through solar energy and are looking for solar products but without experiences in differentiating original products from counterfeit products. Hence they can easily get duped.
Hence I decided to write this article to help people out there on how to identify fake or counterfeit solar products. This article is specifically done for both those not well versed in the solar sector and for those experienced.
By the way are you planning to size your own solar system? Then wait a minute. You will need to buy solar components, and for this you can be a victim of fake solar products. Hence you definitely need to know how to spot fake solar products at a glance.
Methods of Identifying Fake Solar Products
The following points and explanations clearly elaborate how you can spot a fake solar product at a glance and avoid being a victim of counterfeit solar products.
1. Fake solar products are cheap
Fake solar products be it fake solar panels or fake solar batteries are not only cheap but rather very cheap that almost anyone can afford. This is a hook. Solar scammers know that in life everyone wants to bar gain and they use that human preference to introduce cheap counterfeit solar products – and guess what, many, and I mean thousands, fall for this.
If you suspect that a deal is too good to be true, it probably is a fake deal.
Before you by a very cheap solar product just ask yourself these questions: Is this price realistic? and are these the prices of similar products in the market? Most probably you will realize that the products are fake and you will run away and not become a victim of counterfeit solar products.
Perhaps another easiest way of avoiding being scammed with fake solar products is asking plenty of questions and consider the answers. Don’t give-in to high pressure sales tactics as fake product sellers can create a fictitious demand or promotion about their products just to trap you into making a rushed decision and commit.
On another hand due to the fact that solar products 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.SolarEyes International, 2023
2. Fake solar products are made of low quality material
What actually make fake solar products 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.
A good example is a fake lithium ion battery mechanism with 500 cycles at 80% capacity. Those who know solar batteries know that the reason why people prefer lithium ion batteries is because of their higher number of cycles which lead to a longer life span.
If indeed it is high grade lithium ion then the battery cycles should be higher unless the manufacturer is just using low grade lithium ion to wink those customers who are just looking for lithium ion batteries without really understanding what to look for in a lithium ion battery.
It has been proven obvious that fake solar product manufacturers never disappoint when it comes to use of low quality material.SolarEyes International, 2023
3. Fake solar products come in low quality packaging
Fake solar product suppliers provide their counterfeit solar products in low quality packaging.
This is a straight giveaway because reputable solar brands and companies put a lot of thought and money into their packaging. Consider it a symptom of counterfeiting if the batteries or solar inverters are carelessly packaged, don’t fit well inside a box, or are made of inferior materials like cheap plastic or drooping cardboard.
Similar to this, you can easily recognize phony goods if you receive them and they have no packing at all.
4. No or hidden product specifications for fake solar products
Manufacturers of fake solar products will either not provide you technical information and specifications of their product or selectively provide you with insufficient information that makes their fake product look promising in performance.
Even if you try searching online you will not find the information. This is because the manufacturer is not confident enough to publicly give such information as it will demote her or his product against competition. If you see this trait, then congratulations, you have identified a fake solar product, hope you had not committed.
For example if it is a solar panel then it has to have product specifications and certifications written at the back of the solar panel. You will not find this at the back of a fake solar panel. An easy way to check for a solar panel.
Another good way to verify hidden specifications is to always look for the product nameplate. It is a requirement by standard associations for any solar product, like any other product, to have a nameplate on it. This is to help and protect customers against fake products. Therefore, always look for the nameplate before buying a solar product.
5. No warranty or very limited warranty duration for fake solar products
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
Therefore always check and ask for the warranty of any product you are buying. Have the warranty policy or contract written and signed for future use.
If the supplier or solar company cannot offer you any warranty or is offering a few months as warranty for something you are buying for more than one thousand USD then its probably a fake product.
Even if the product is way cheaper still there has to be a warranty of some sort. If not then likely it is a fake solar product or counterfeit solar product.
Think of it this way – a manufacturer who is offering a warranty of 5 or 10 years on her solar product would be very happy to publicly market her solar product by mentioning the 5 or 10 year warranty for it is a clear performance win against similar products with less warranty years.
Again if warranty is not being given or is not written in any form – run!SolarEyes International, 2023
6. Product name mimicking an established brand
You should carefully examine the name and the logo before you by a solar product. You might be shocked to see that it is not the original and well-known brand you were thinking. Or sometimes it can have an almost similar name and brand colors but only to realize that there is a small difference in the spelling.
Previously this issue was not much seen in solar products but of recent there have been some fake solar product suppliers doing this so be careful.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Fake Solar Products
Question 1: How to spot fake solar panels?
Answer 1: Before you purchase any solar panels, make sure that they are legit. But, how do you identify FAKE Solar Panels?
Quick features for fake solar panels include:
- solar panels with body defects,
- cracked solar cells,
- color variations on solar panels,
- has no serial numbers and barcodes
- has absence of labels
- has damaged spec sheets
- has incorrect information on spec sheets
- no technical specifications and certifications at the back of the solar panels,
- misalignment of solar cell strings and being made using substandard materials
If any of the above is true, please do not buy the panels.
The best protection against buying fake solar products 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.
Question 2: How do you know if a solar company is legit?
Answer 2: In many countries energy regulatory boards provide a list of recommended solar companies that people can use for their solar needs. In some countries solar or renewable energy associations do provide the list of recommended solar companies which individuals can deal with.
Beware of anybody who pretend to be from the government or a utility company. Keep an eye out for inflated costs. Search for businesses that provide solid contractual warranties. Stay away from businesses that wish to begin without a contract or provide products without warranty.
Keep Following SolarEyes International
Keep following as we will explore other areas surrounding how to identify fake solar products.
In any case you might be interested in sizing solar systems, then you need to check HOW TO SIZE A SOLAR SYSTEM – 5 clear steps anyone can follow.
We Value Your Feedback
Did you ever came across fake solar products (fake solar panels, fake solar batteries or fake solar accessories) in you country? What has been your experience with fake solar products? Are you able to identify fake solar products?
We want to hear from your feedback and this will help others on fake solar products. Please comment and let us discuss on this issue that has risen to a level of difficult control.