Updated: 15 Jan 2021
Winaico, based in Taiwan, emerged in 2007 from Win Win Precision Technology Co who specialised in the development of semiconductors for the solar industry since 2003. Winaico then grew to become Taiwan’s largest solar module manufacturer, although compared to the giant Chinese manufacturers which dominate much of the market Winaico is a small player with a single manufacturing facility of 180MW annual capacity.
Another unique characteristic of Winaico is they do not distribute solar panels through wholesalers but rather deliver directly to installers, solar technicians and project managers. This enables complete control over the handling of the products and builds a relationship with the end-users and installers. Winaico prides itself on being a quality orientated company and its panels are subject to very high-quality standards with in-house lab testing of each module to German TÜV standards to ensure quality and long-term reliability.
Panel and PV Cell Technology
Winaico manufacture panels using Monocrystalline cells and were an early adopter of the PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) technology which has now become the industry standard for high-efficiency cells. As the solar industry trends towards mono PERC cells, Winaico is focusing on higher efficiency monocrystalline panels with the release of the new 375W WSP-MG GEMINI series in early 2021.
The new range of GEMINI panels from Winaico features the next generation Mono PERC half-cut cells with 9 busbars which is the same technology now used by many of the other leading manufacturers to increase performance and boost solar panel efficiency above 20%.
A unique cell feature developed my Winaico’s parent company Win Win technology back in early 2014 is the patented HeatCap™ technology which reduces the likelihood of cell micro cracks forming. Micro cracking in cells is a common problem in the industry due to either high wind loads or more often installer handling errors such as walking on panels during installation or cleaning. The HeatCap™ technology won several industry awards and proved to reduce micro cracking by around 20% in real world testing conducted by Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). An added benefit of the Heatcap cells was the lower cell temperature and reduced likelihood of hotspot formation. Read more about the HeatCap Technology here
High strength frame design
Winaico’s focus has always been on extremely tough and durable panel design and was one of the first manufacturers to successfully pass the TÜV-Rheinland's hail test which is known as the toughest impact hail test. The Winaico panels are built with some of strongest frames on the market with very deep extruded aluminium channel sections made from high strength 6000 series aluminium plus tough corner insert sections to provide greater torsional stiffness than the common mitre cut-corner design used by most manufacturers. The corner inserts the WST series panels feature water drainage channels to help reduce dirt and dust build-up which can cause partial shading and lead to hotspot formation over a prolonged time.
Winaico have undergone a range of extreme static and dynamic stress testing to verify their panels can withstand the most extreme weather conditions including typhoons and high snow loads found in North America and Europe. Refer to attached report from Winaico
Range of Panels
The range of panels manufactured by Winaico are generally considered higher-end which is reflected in the pricing being that they are more expensive than the well known and more common Chinese made panels. Winaico offers a range of high-performance monocrystalline panels for residential and commercial applications utilising monocrystalline PERC cells.
WST-M6 PERC series
WST-MX black series
WST-MG Gemini series (NEW)
WST-M6 PERC series
The WST-M6 Mono PERC panels are the most popular and economical offering from Winaico built using a cost effective combination of quality PERC cells in a classic frame design, although without the corner inserts used on the premium WSP-MX panels below. The WST-M6 modules are available in 310W and 315W sizes with maximum panel efficiencies of 18.6% and 18.9% respectively.
See the full Winaico WST-M6 specification data sheet
The new WSP-MX series use high grade P-type mono PERC cells with 5 busbars to deliver up to 340W and operates at a peak efficiency of 19.4%. These are the most efficient panels ever released by Winaico and also incorporate the high strength frames with insert corner sections and water/dust drainage features. Warranty is the above average 15 year product warranty and 25 year performance warranty.
See the full Winaico WSP-MX specification data sheet
WSP-MX black series
The WSP-MX black series use high grade P-type monocrystalline PERC cells and 5 busbars to deliver up to 320W and operates at a peak efficiency of 18.3%. The all black panels also incorporate the same high strength frames with insert corner sections and water/dust drainage features. Warranty is the above average 15 year product warranty and 25 year performance warranty.
GEMINI Series - New for 2021
The latest offering from Winaico is the new GEMINI series available in two size formats. Both variants of the new WSP-MG panels feature monocrystalline half-cut cells with 9 busbars to boost efficiency up to 20.6% and increase power output up to 375W. The new range also features the unique L-key frame corner inserts to increase strength and improve water drainage.
See the Winaico GEMINI WSP-375MG specification datasheet.
Performance and Reliability
Winaico is one of only a few manufacturer’s who automatically send the customer a copy of the EL flash test photographs for every panel purchased. The EL testing is a electro-luminescence test using a special X-ray camera which can detect any faults, micro-cracks, soldering errors or other potential issues during manufacture. Winaico can ensure quality by examining all cells and finished laminates for issues not visible to the naked eye thus ensuring 100% quality control.
Winaico pride themselves on using a single state of the art production facility located in Taiwan using some of the highest level quality production controls with 100% optical, mechanical and electrical inspections throughout the manufacturing process. In addition Winaico also perform a reverse current test to identify any potential hot-spot cells which may form in the future.
Series Resistance Testing
Winaico perform series resistance testing on all panels to ensure all panels have a very low internal resistance which in turn results in higher performance. The series resistance must be below 0.48 Ω which is a very low and also ensures there are no bad solder points or connections within the panels which could become problematic in the future.
Real world Testing
Winaico panels were installed at the desert Knowledge testing facility in central Australia in 2012 and are some of the highest performing panels with the lowest recorded degradation rate out of the 30+ modules under testing.
Being located in one of the hottest climates in the world is a testament to the quality and performance of Winaico panels in real world conditions.
Warranty and service
Winaico now offer a longer 25 year manufacturer’s or product warranty which is 13 years longer than the 12 year industry average, along with the standard 25 performance warranty on all panels.
The 25-year linear performance warranty is on par with most other manufacturers and ensures an output of at least 97 % of rated performance in the first year and an annual power degradation no more than 0.7 % in the following 24 years.
Two years free Insurance
Winaico also offer a unique insurance policy which is free for 2 years on all solar panels sold in Australia. This insures the complete solar installation from any kind of material damage, interruption of service and possible reduction in yield. This covers such events as fire, natural disasters, storms and hail, theft, operational errors and even damage from rodents.
See the full details here - Winaico insurance cover
Winaico is an advocate for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and pushes to reduce energy and water usage throughout the manufacturing process. Environmental protection is also considering over the complete life-cycle of the solar panel and Winaico works with recycling partners such as take-e-way GmbH to help ensure the products are recycled in compliance with the WEEE directive (Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment).
The Winaico environmental management system is also certified to ISO 14001. Read the full WINAICO Corporate Social Responsibility report here.
Wrap Up - Summary
Winaico may not have the high production volumes and advertising force of the bigger brands, but they do have a very good reputation for quality and reliability, which is now backed by a longer 25-year product warranty. In the solar world with several big brands having quality control issues over the years, consistent performance is an important criterion, as is service and support in the event of a quality issue or panel failure.
Like all quality solar products, Winaico does come in at a higher price than much of the competition, but paying slightly more for quality is definitely worth it for the longer-term performance and peace of mind.