In recent days Spanish corporations Telefónica and Repsol announced the launch of a solar power joint venture called Solar360. The company offers solar installations, solar kits and batteries to households, companies and communities/condominiums. Solar360 also offers maintenance services, financing and subsidies management.
At Robinsun we welcome any new initiative that promotes renewable energy installations in general and plug & play solar kits in particular. We were therefore curious to see what Solar360 is up to, and took a look at their products and services, like we did for the solar kits of Leroy Merlin recently as well.
A solar generalist
Solar360’s offering is rather generalist. Rooftop solar installations, plug & play kits and batteries for households, companies and communities sounds like a “we serve everybody with everything” approach, with no clear specialization. There are rooftop specialists, like Otovo, 1komma5 or Sunhero, to name a few. Then there are plug & play solar kit specialists like us at Robinsun. All these companies focus on households, as the commercial offering, customer service and after sales support for households requires a special degree of attention. With companies the relationship is managed differently. Solar360 wants to do it all. Based on our experience, it remains to be seen how well this service ends up being, especially given that 2 corporate giants are behind the company. Big corporations generally don’t shine for agility and customer focus.
Our special interest focuses of course on Solar360’s plug & play solar kits, since that is our domain of expertise. The first thing to notice is that Solar360 focuses on kits with lightweight panels, comparable to our Robinsun Light kits.
|Kit name||Kit Solar 2 paneles (400W)||Kit Solar 4 paneles (800W)||Light 300||Light 600|
|Panel brand||Turbo Energy||Turbo Energy||Sunman||Sunman|
|# of panels||2||4||1||2|
|Power per panel (Wp)||220||220||310||310|
|Warranty||10 años||10 años||25 años||25 años|
|Micro inverter||Turbo Energy||Turbo Energy||Tsun||Tsun|
|Warranty||10 años||10 años||12 años||12 años|
|Mount||incl. bridas metálicas||incl. bridas metálicas||incl. bridas metálicas||incl. bridas metálicas|
|Plug & Play||Si||Si||Si||Si|
|Price (incl. VAT & transport)||€809||€1,189||€529||€899|
Solar360 uses 2 or 4 panels, of 220Wp each. The manufacturer seems to be a company called Turbo Energy, that is so far completely unknown in the European solar components market. Their website doesn’t mention solar components at all, and we couldn’t find any information related to the panels and micro inverters Solar360 uses on Turbo Energy’s website. This is suspicious, as normally solar component manufacturers showcase their products prominently and offer all kinds of information on their sites, incl. tech sheet downloads. It is also not clear if the panels are square, as their tech sheet on Solar360’s website says, or rectangular, as is shown on the various pictures on their site. Panels come with a 10 year warranty and have an expected 20 years of life, rather short for solar panels that usually come with a 25 year performance warranty, like for our Robinsun Plug & Play Solar Kits.
As for the micro inverter, also this component is supposedly from Turbo Energy. The pictures of the product don’t show the side with the label that would usually identify the device. For both their 400 W and 800 W Solar360 uses a 800 W micro inverter. The idea seems to be that you can start with a 400 W kit, and can later add extra panels to upgrade it to 800 W (an extra 2 panels can be bought separately on Solar360’s website). There isn’t a lot of data available on the micro inverter beyond the standard tech sheet. It is not clear if the user can monitor production by connecting to the micro inverter, or if an additional smart plug is required. At Robinsun, we have carefully analyzed and tested a wide range of micro inverters. In the end we chose Tsun micro inverters, that offer an excellent quality, lifespan, and direct WiFi connectivity. This means you can connect with an app directly to the micro inverter to monitor production, without the need to add an extra smart plug for this. Solar360’s micro inverter comes with a 10 year warranty, a bit shorter than Tsun’s 12 years that are the industry standard.
The panels can be fixed to a balcony railing with cable binders, exactly like we at Robinsun have been offering for quite a while now. Kits cost €809,10 (400W) or €1.189,15 (800W), a rather steep price compared to for example our Robinsun Light 300 (€529) or Light 600 (€899).
From the first product presentation on Solar360’s website it is clear that the company isn’t specialized in plug & play solar kits. The information so far is rather scant, and it is unclear who the real manufacturers of the components are. Warranties are shorter than industry standard, and prices so far on the higher end of the market.
Given the continuous decline of solar component prices over the past decades, it is to be seen if Solar360 will be able to hold its pricing or be left out of the market. We recommend all households interested in buying a plug & play solar kit to take a close look at components, qualities and warranties. A plug & play solar kit has to produce solar energy reliably over 25 years or longer. Compromising today on quality cuts the return on investment short if the kit cannot produce clean, solar energy reliably over a long period of time.