Are Autarco modules bankable?

Yes, Autarco modules are bankable. ABN Amro, Triodos, ASN and most major banks in The Netherlands are willing to finance projects using Autarco’s products. If this isn’t the meaning of bankable, then what is?

We could end there and have the shortest blog post ever. However, we are aware that our proposition is different to other component brands and are happy to explain more. Autarco handles product risks and product quality better than any component brand and we can back that claim up with reports from independent and well recognized companies in the industry as well as historical system performance data.

We are very proud of our approach to manufacturing high quality and reliable products and have nothing to hide.

What is our manufacturing approach?


Autarco does not own any factories ourselves. We have our own designs and specifications that are tighter than the industry standard and then contract the best factories in the market to manufacture these products on our behalf. This is a modern approach to manufacturing that is the standard in many industries more mature than the relatively young solar PV industry. Good examples are the electronics and automobile industries where brands work with a variety of specialized component manufacturers and themselves focus on design, assembly and service.

This approach not only allows us to deliver exceptional levels of quality and reliability, but also gives greater flexibility in rapidly changing markets, such as the solar market we are in.

Where do we produce our products?


Our MHE Series modules are produced by Chint, a global electronics giant with annual revenues greater than US$10bn. Founded in 1984, Chint has developed a business network in over 140 countries and regions with more than 30,000 employees. Chint’s solar brand Astronergy is one of the most recognized brands in the market and is regularly featured in:

  • DNV GL Top Performer in all tests (Thermal Cycling / Damp Heat / PID).
  • Bloomberg Tier 1 lists.

How does solar panel production actually work?


Typically products are defined and produced as follows:

  • A single certified product code relates to a set of endorsed components (cells, backsheet, glass, etc.) called a Constructional Data Form (CDF) or simply a Bill of Materials (BOM).
  • For each component in the solar panel there is a range of certified suppliers of higher and lower quality, meaning it is possible to have different levels of quality within the same product code. Without proper control, buyers should assume they will get the most convenient (cheapest) option.
  • The certificate will also list a number of allowed factories. Many of the other “OEM” factories are smaller locations with poorer quality equipment, lower automation and looser quality control than the main factory. Even within the main factory, different production lines will often have different levels of automation and equipment age.
  • The module will have a production process with criteria for each step with regards to tolerances that are acceptable. This defines among other things the number and length of micro-cracks that are allowed before a module is deemed to be defective.

So when you buy a solar panel from a factory or third party without knowing the exact BOM, production location and quality specifications you may be receiving an inferior product to one that the same brand would use in their own projects. Component brands know they can get away with delivering cheaper versions to the rooftop/distribution market and as long as there are no massive failures, lower performance will have no consequence for them.

How does Autarco manage quality


Autarco has a stake in the performance of all of our systems so we do everything possible to control quality:

  • We restrict the components used to a specified BOM of only the best components.
  • We only allow production on the most advanced production lines.
  • We enforce higher quality specifications than industry standard.

In this manner, an Autarco module is not just identical to any other module produced by Astronergy, it is in actual fact likely to be of superior quality. To give two concrete examples with the MHE series (without going into nerdy quality assurance details):

  • We only use the superior original Staubli MC4 on our modules, while Astronergy normally uses an MC4-like connector.
  • We have tighter dimension tolerances than Astronergy normally applies, to remove inconvenient gaps in the middle of the modules and issues during installation.
  • We apply stricter cell sorting to ensure a more aesthetic module.

We have third party audit and quality reports available on request if required.

What about warranties and guarantees?


At Autarco we believe intensely in the benefits of our total solution approach with insured performance guarantees. A performance guarantee that financially compensates when the system is underperforming is far more meaningful to rooftop solar owners than the solar panel component warranties, but any system performance guarantee we offer is always in addition to all the industry standard solar panel warranties, including:

  • 10 year product warranty
  • 25 or 30 year power output guarantee

Our agreements with Chint have the following statements;

“Chint declares hereby that all PV modules produced for Autarco Group BV or any of its subsidiaries are covered by the Chint “Limited Product Warranty” and 25 year “Limited Peak Power Warranty” terms on which you find enclosed.

The above means that, in case Autarco Group BV is no longer actively trading, any warranty claim against a faulty PV module manufactured by Chint for Autarco Group BV or any of its subsidiaries will be honoured by Chint as per the “Limited Product Warranty” and 25 year “Limited Peak Power Warranty” terms provided that it is a proven product defect.”

The solar panel Warranties are also fully insured by Munich Re or Lloyd’s of London.

The Dealer and end customer in effect receive four different levels of security on the warranties:

  1. Autarco: Primary and EU based cover
  2. Chint: Underwrite Autarco product warranty
  3. Product Warranty Insurer: Underwrite Chint product warranty
  4. kWh Guarantee Insurer: Underwrite Autarco kWh Guarantee

Conclusion


Our manufacturing approach means Autarco will never be listed in the Bloomberg Module Tier 1 list ourselves as one of the requirements is to own the factory. However, the Autarco MHE Series module is at least as good as the Astronergy modules on the list. Bankability is a measure of a banks willingness to finance a project and we have never experienced a bank unwilling to finance an Autarco project, conversely, our partners have typically been able to lend at lower rates thanks to the security provided by our insured performance guarantees.

In short, yes, Autarco modules are bankable.


Important details regarding Tigo optimizers

Solar panels can’t always be installed with the ideal layout, sometimes shading of buildings and trees in the near vicinity can cause lower yield than expected. We supply optimizers from Tigo to reduce yield loss thanks to shade. This solution allows you to install an optimizer on either one or more solar panels per string. Visit the Tigo website for important recommendations regarding which combinations are possible and what to look out for when designing a PV layout.

More details on the Tigo website

Pig farm chooses solar for sustainability and certainty

Solisplan installed an Autarco total solution at Pig Farm Netterden in September of 2019. A system consisting of high reliable and powerful Autarco MC solar panels including the unique kWh guarantee.

For the pig farm it’s important to have their CO2 footprint be as low as possible and with solar they can be fully self-sustainable. It was also important to them that their investment was secure and with the insured kWh guarantee they are benefitting from a no risk investment.

System size

463 kWp


Solar panels

1.520x MC of 305 Wp
More details

Inverters

8x Autarco UX inverters
More details

Mounting system

Apex R5
More details

Dealer

Solisplan


A total solution of powerful and reliable Autarco MC solar panels


This solar PV system of 463 kWp consists of 1.520 Autarco MC solar panels of which the yield is inverted by six Autarco UX inverters of 50 kW and two UX inverters of 60 kW. These MC solar panels have a really high color consistency and are very powerful at 305 Wp. The Autarco MC solar panels currently have the best value for money.

Pig Farm Netterden benefits from the unique kWh guarantee thanks to the Autarco total solution of inverters and solar panels. Solisplan used our innovative Helios software to fully design the system. The software automatically calculates the expected yield of the system, which is 484 MWh in the first year. This is insured by the kWh Guarantee Foundation, meaning for every kWh below the expected yield the company will receive a financial compensation. The business case that was calculated beforehand will for sure be met. A very safe and reliable investment.

“The kWh guarantee is of great value to us as we now have certainty with our investment.”

Jos Rijk – Co-partner

Benefitting from the SDE+ subsidy


The financial model for these kinds of projects in The Netherlands is driven largely by SDE+ subsidy, a production subsidy from the government that guarantees the market value of energy generated through renewables for a 15 year term. In other words, for the first fifteen years you receive a cash subsidy over every kWh generated. At the moment the SDE rate is just under €0.10/kWh so our insured kWh guarantee with a compensation rate of €0.10/kWh and 15 year term fits perfectly.

3 quick questions to Jos Rijk, co-partner at Pig Farm Netterden


Why is a solar total solution important to you?

We chose a total solution by Autarco because we liked to be fully taken care of by one company in the entire process. The installation happened very smoothly by Solisplan, an Authorized Dealer of Autarco. They made sure our business operations could continue like normal during installation.

What’s the reason for choosing solar to become more sustainable?

For us it’s important to have our CO2 footprint as low as possible and with solar we can be fully self-sustainable at our pig farm.

What is in your opinion the added value of a business case with kWh guarantee?

The kWh guarantee is of great value to us as we now have certainty with our investment. If the system’s yield in the future is lower than calculated beforehand we will receive a financial compensation per missed kWh. This makes for a solid business and we’re sure it will be met.

Interested? Get a free roof scan and follow up from one of our Authorized Dealers near you.


Eindhoven invests in sustainability with 2.564 solar panels on 5 buildings

The municipality of Eindhoven is investing in sustainable energy through solar installations. Recently five municipality owned buildings were fitted with Autarco solar panels. A total of 2.564 solar panels will generate about 800.000 kWh per year, enough to power 280 households.

The scope of solar solutions in Eindhoven


The latest installation in Eindhoven is a system of 80 solar panels on the roof of Dynamo; a youth center, stage, workshop space and school all in one building. Earlier last month four other buildings in Eindhoven were fitted with solar: Parktheater, Effenaar, Sportpark Eindhoven Noord, sports hall De Vijfkamp and a tennis center.

In total there are 5.500 solar panels now on municipality owned buildings and by the end of 2020 their goal is to have 125 buildings fitted with solar panels.

  • 2.564 Autarco solar panels on 5 buildings
  • Installed by Van Hout advisors and installers
  • Generating 800.000 kWh per year
  • A total of 125 municipality owned buildings with solar by 2020
  • 5.500 solar panels in total now

“Global warming is caused by humanity and now it’s up to us to come up with a solution. As municipality we lead by example with investments in solar.”

Rik Thijs – Councilor Energy and Climate

Benefitting from the SDE+ subsidy


All government owned buildings in Eindhoven are equipped with a smart meter to keep track of the energy consumption. These meters also keep track of what’s generated in case of solar installations. Eindhoven believes that having these kinds of insights is the best start for sustainability as they can detect energy waste and optimise existing installations.

The next step is moving forward with solar and Eindhoven is advised and helped by Van Hout in getting SDE+ subsidy, making it easier to invest in solar. With the subsidy programme the Ministry aims to encourage the production of renewable energy in the Netherlands. Sustainable energy is better for the environment and it makes the Netherlands less dependent on fossil fuels. It also benefits the overall economy. Van Hout helped Eindhoven successfully get SDE+ subsidy for the solar projects.

Solar solutions in Eindhoven installed by Van Hout


Van Hout is at the forefront of mechanical engineering and sustainable energy. Van Hout is of course an expert at installing high quality systems, but it doesn’t stop there. They aim to truly add value to their clients, a challenge which ultimately sets them apart. Their advisors and installers always go the extra mile. In the case of this project this meant advising and helping Eindhoven get the SDE+ subsidy for sustainable projects.

Advisor Hans Van Hauwe: “By benefitting from the SDE+ subsidy it’s a lot easier to choose solar. With the subsidy it’s not about the cost anymore, only about the benefits.”


Dealer Spotlight: Jeroen Vlemmings Elektro & Montage

In this edition of our Dealer Spotlight we’re highlighting Jeroen Vlemmings Elektro & Montage. With his experience in both electrical engineering and solar he’s a great addition to our dealer network in North Brabant.

Jeroen Vlemmings is a true specialist in electrical engineering with more than 20 years of experience. A few years ago he successfully expanded his operations with solar. We spoke with Jeroen on the roof of one of his customers where he recently installed a 161 kWp system made with innovative Autarco Silverpoint solar panels. We asked him a few questions about his business, solar and the collaboration with Autarco.

More than 20 years of experience

Jeroen Vlemmings has more than 20 years of experience in both electrical engineering and solar.

Autarco total solution

Supplies and installs all components for a full Autarco total solution with kWh guarantee.

Both B2B and B2C

From smaller residential systems to large commercial solar solutions.

Installing a 161 kWp Autarco system


In September of 2019 Jeroen installed a system of 496 Autarco Silverpoint solar panels at ebm-papst. For bigger jobs like this one he expands his team with hired forces. This way he remains flexible with the ability to install bigger solar projects.

“This was a very nice system to make and also very easy for us as installers. All Autarco products not only work great together as a total solution, it’s also easy to install. All components fit perfectly together and the mounting system is also very easy to use.”, says Jeroen Vlemmings

This system was engineered beforehand in Autarco’s free Helios design software. One of its features is the ability to create a system design on recent aerial maps. Helios automatically calculates the expected yield and after approval an order can be placed for all required materials, all with the press of a button.

“I had to get used to Helios when I first used it because the software is quite extensive, but after using it for a while it became easy to use. An important feature for me is the ability to automatically generate a business case PDF that I can share. Easy for me and a nicely presented business case for my customer.”

“Collaborating with Autarco happens exactly how I like it; quick and efficient contact, very helpful employees and they always honour their commitments.”

Jeroen Vlemmings – Owner

3 quick questions to owner Jeroen Vlemmings


How do you like the support by Autarco?

When I just started working with Autarco they really helped me get started with the products and my first time using the Helios software. Things didn’t go so smoothly in the beginning, but Autarco really helped me get through my first project I engineered. It’s really great to work with a single contact person. Of course he’s unable to help me with everything, but he can connect me to the right person who can help me quickly and efficiently.


What are the main advantages of an Autarco system?

Important for my customers is the fact I can provide a total solution by Autarco with components that work perfectly together. Customers benefit from an insured kWh guarantee, making for a rock solid business case. For me as an installer the biggest advantage is the fact that the system just works beautifully and it’s easy to install. Autarco also works with the latest innovations which definitely helps when talking to customers.


What is the most important reason for working with Autarco?

Besides the products being great I really enjoy working together with the Autarco team. When something’s up I can talk directly with someone who can help me out. That’s the main reason I can recommend working with Autarco. They simply honour their commitments which is highly important to me.

Solar project of 161 kWp


September 2019 Jeroen Vlemmings Elektro & Montage installed an Autarco total solution at ebm-papst Benelux. A system made with innovative Silverpoint solar panels, including an insured kWh guarantee.

More information

Want to offer real value?Become an Authorized Dealer.

Join us today! As an Autarco partner you also benefit from attractive services and extensive marketing support.

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Fioretti College more sustainable with 312 kWp solar installation

Fioretti College was the first of nine OMO schools to become more sustainable with a total solar solution by Autarco. A system of more than a thousand PC Series solar panels, including an insured kWh guarantee.

At Fioretti College kids from the age of 12 are being prepared for the future. Kids get the opportunity to fully evolve themselves, discover their talents and develop them further. Sustainability is highly important for all OMO schools as they believe it’s their social responsibility to take action and participate in creating a more sustainable world. Solar power makes their energy usage greener and they can teach their students about solar and the need for the world to become more sustainable.

The solar installation engineered inside Autarco’s Helios software

System size

312 kWp


Solar panels

1096x PC Series of 285 Wp
More details

Inverters

9x XLX of 30 kW
More details

Mounting system

Matrix symmetrical
More details

Association of schools

One of nine OMO schools with solar by Autarco
More details

Fioretti College chose highly reliable PC Series solar panels with great value for money


This solar energy system of 312 kWp consists of 1096 PC Series solar panels which produce energy that’s inverted by nine Autarco XLX inverters of 30 kW. These solar panels are tried and tested to be highly efficient and reliable. They are also very durable and have an improved performance on sunny days.

The combination of Autarco inverters and solar panels enables Fioretti College to benefit from the unique kWh guarantee. The Helios design software automatically calculates the expected yield, which is insured by the kWh guarantee foundation. For every missed kWh Fioretti College will receive a financial compensation. The business case that was calculated beforehand will for sure be met. A very safe and reliable investment.

“We’re certain our investment will pay itself back, allowing us to free up budget in other areas to invest in teachers for example.”

Eric Hoogland – Project Manager Housing at OMO

3 quick questions to Eric Hoogland, project manager housing at OMO


What’s the reason for choosing solar to become more sustainable?

Sustainability is very important to us, we believe it’s our social responsibility to make our schools more sustainable. We also believe it’s important to educate our students on the importance of taking care of our planet. The best way to do this is by going solar and educating them on how solar works and why it’s important.


Why have you decided to go for an Autarco system?

In our opinion buying a system from Autarco has multiple benefits. The most important one is the fact Autarco only works with their own components, making for a reliable and efficient total solution. Also important to us is the fact that Autarco is a Dutch brand with support in Dutch when needed.


What is in your opinion the added value of a business case with kWh guarantee?

Ultimately the financial reward of a solar installation is also important, besides the increased sustainability of our schools. With a kWh guarantee we’re certain our investment will pay itself back and more. This allows us to free up budget in other areas to invest in teachers for example.

Interested? Get a free roof scan and follow up from one of our Authorized Dealers near you.


Solar solution of 161 kWp at ebm-papst, market leader in ventilation

In September of 2019 Jeroen Vlemmings Elektro & Montage installed an Autarco total solution at ebm-papst Benelux. A system of innovative Silverpoint solar panels, including an insured kWh guarantee.

ebm-papst is a global organisation specialised in ventilation and drive technology. These sustainable fans are also used in Autarco inverters. As a part of their Green Intelligence company philosophy they aim to make every new product more sustainable than the previous. Matching with this philosophy is a solar energy system by Autarco on the roof of their new facility in Beek en Donk.

System size

161 kWp


Solar panels

496x Silverpoint of 325 Wp
More details

Inverters

3x UX of 50 kW
More details

Mounting system

Matrix symmetrical
More details

Dealer

Jeroen Vlemmings Elektro & Montage
More details

An Autarco total solution with innovative Silverpoint solar panels


This solar energy system of 161 kWp consists of 496 Silverpoint panels which produce energy that’s inverted by three Autarco UX inverters of 50 kW. These Silverpoint solar panels are made with the latest technologies. Rather than thin strips of aluminium running across the front of the solar panel the electrons are passed through a copper conductive layer behind the solar cells. This makes for industry-leading efficiency greater than 20% and lower degradation over time.

The combination of Autarco inverters and solar panels enables ebm-papst to benefit from the unique kWh guarantee. Installer Jeroen Vlemmings used our innovative Helios software to exactly dimension the system. The software automatically calculates the expected yield, which is 139 MWh in the first year. This is insured by the kWh guarantee foundation and for every missed kWh ebm-papst will receive a financial compensation. The business case that was calculated beforehand will for sure be met. A very safe and reliable investment.

“We chose the kWh guarantee to make sure we’re insured of meeting our business case in the upcoming 10-15 years.”

Ad van Nistelrooij – Director ebm-papst Benelux

3 quick questions to Ad van Nistelrooij, director at ebm-papst Benelux


Why is a solar total solution important to you?

We’ve purchased all products from one brand and that’s important to us as we are not solar specialists. We liked to be fully taken care of so that we could continue to focus on our own business. A total solution from one brand is the best choice so that we have one point of contact.


What’s the reason for choosing solar to become more sustainable?

Green Intelligence is our company philosophy, meaning that in everything we do we’re aiming to contribute to a more sustainable world. We should commit to a sustainable future to maintain a right to exist. Therefore we’ve decided to install a solar solution on the roof of our new building making it nearly energy neutral.


What is in your opinion the added value of a business case with kWh guarantee?

Beforehand we can’t say with certainty how long the solar energy system will last and how it will perform. That’s why it’s important to us to have a rock-solid business case, insured by the kWh guarantee foundation. This way we know for sure that the upcoming 10-15 years the business case will be met like how it was calculated beforehand. If the system underperforms in the future we will get a financial compensation.

Interested? Get a free roof scan and follow up from one of our Authorized Dealers near you.


A combination of innovations: meet our new MHE series solar panels

Multi-wire and half cut cells for 340Wp solar panels

You’ve probably noticed your options for solar panel types have increased in the past few months. It has partly to do with the removal of MIP and partly to do with maturity of the next stage in solar panel advancements. As you know, Autarco never offered a 5BB halfcut and waited it out to directly deliver more advanced technologies, our Silverpoint and multi-wire halfcut panels. Let us explain why.

Our decision to skip directly to multi-wire technology


Choosing the right solar panel technology must be about more than finding the lowest EUR/Wp or finding the highest rated power. Our approach at Autarco is to offer our partners the solar panel with the perfect mix between price and long-term performance with a zero tolerance on sacrificing any reliability. In other words we seek to reduce EUR/kWh over a systems life (LCOE if you prefer) that can be delivered with certainty and insured. 

This approach resulted in a decision to not offer a 5BB half-cut solar panel in to the market and to skip directly to multi-wire and Silverpoint technology. The additional 5Wp in powerclass delivered by 5BB halfcut was not worth the additional risk that doubling the soldering points on traditional busbars introduced.

Combining two innovations into one new solar panel


Combining the recent multi-wire and halfcut developments into one solar panel, Autarco is now able to present its new MHE series, with the outstanding 120-cell 335Wp solar panel now available.

With halfcut cells, the cells that are capturing the sun’s energy are split in two, resulting in 120 cells in a traditional sized solar panel. Because of the smaller size, internal currents in the cells are lower, meaning less power losses and higher power classes for these solar panels. Because of the halfcut cells the solar panels are also less impacted by shade, further improving yields.

Multi-wire is a completely new technology compared to traditional busbars, it is a leap rather than a gradual shift like we saw from 3 to 4 to 5 busbars. There are fundamental changes in the way multi-wire technology works. You are using a thin round wire rather than a flat bus-bar which delivers some reflective benefits. Because lower pressure is exerted on the cell during soldering and lower temperature is used, the likelihood of interconnection and microcrack related defects is reduced. 

As well as a reduced likelihood of defects, if a defect does occur, the impact is far more contained, effectively impacting only 1/9 of the cell as opposed to 1/5. So although a halfcut solar panel has more soldering connections, risks are in fact smaller than in more traditional panels.

Our new MHE series solar panel is available for ordering now, act quickly if you don’t want to miss out! Contact us for more details or view the product documentation below.

View MHE technical details

Autarco leading the industry through drone aerial thermography

Autarco has initiated an industry-leading project designed to enhance the delivery of optimal performing solar systems. Together with Dutch Drone Company, O-Nexus and support from RVO, the project will provide new insights and tackle one of the biggest issues in the solar industry.

Why use drone-based aerial thermography?


As a company committed to innovation and digitisation of the industry, Autarco has been an early adopter of drone-based aerial thermography and is now seeking to maximise this new technology to its full extent.

This project will provide additional data to help deliver two improvements to our software through advanced data analytics and machine learning.

  1. Improve performance loss model
  2. Improve monitoring-based detection of defects

Advanced monitoring of solar performance


When an Autarco Authorized Dealer designs a system in our free software, a digital twin is created of your actual solar system. By using real-time satellite irradiance (sun levels) and temperature data, we calculate expected performance of this digital twin and compare it to the actual production of your system. If there is underperformance detected, quite often it is to do with vegetation growth, soiling or inverter failure. Occasionally underperformance may be caused by a defect in the solar panel which is far more difficult to detect and diagnose remotely.

In addition to being able to detect system underperformance this way, we can also detect anomalies in the monitoring data. The monitoring data we receive from your system includes the DC voltage and current data of each group of modules on your system. Using this we can already detect certain types of defects. A near perfect understanding of system design (e.g. stringing) and shade conditions is required to achieve an acceptable level of accuracy for this type of detection.

Autarco is one of very few companies who can achieve this, thanks to the digital twin and our integrated total solution approach.

How aerial thermography benefits our advanced monitoring


We want to improve our advanced monitoring even further. To achieve this we need more data to validate our models and calculations.

1. Improve performance loss model

If drone aerial thermography tells us that there are certain anomalies found, we want to be able to say with certainty what type of performance losses these anomalies are causing in the full system. There is no one in the industry who is currently able to do this reliably.

2. Improve monitoring-based detection of defects

If we can continue to improve the intelligence of our software in the future, we might not even need to use the drones to take the aerial thermography images. We can potentially fully detect and diagnose the defects in the solar panels entirely through our advanced monitoring data.

Drone flights are starting now. We are excited about the possibilities of this project and will share our findings with you as soon as they become available.