SolarWorld asks North American customers to inspect PV installations

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The recall release of 1.5 million SolarWorld modules on Friday, which in fact is rather an inspection of installations which can mostly be done by the costumers than a recall, is potentially very damaging to the German and U.S. manufacturer’s brand, given that it trades heavily on the “quality” label. SolarWorld has responded to the recall notice by saying that installer error is responsible for the notice an that there is no fault with the modules themselves.

SolarWorld’s Ben Santarris said that no modules are being recalled, rather systems using the 1.5 million modules are to be inspected to ensure correct lugs were used to ground the installations. This is consistent with the report at CPSC website.

“We train installers to use the tin-coated [lug] variant,” said Santarris, “we include tin-coated variants in our kits, industry standards call for tin-coated lugs and permitting authorities watch for tin-coated parts. But in one case, an installer used the wrong variant. Therefore, we are now more explicitly specifying the tin-coated variant.”

Santarris said that the CPSC release incorrectly used the term recall, when in fact all that is required is an inspection of the arrays.

“The manual was not “incorrect.” It simply included a part designation that might not be sufficiently unambiguous for installers who were not properly trained. Nevertheless, we are taking full responsibility for double-checking any systems for any use of improper lugs by third-party installation firms.”

SolarWorld maintains that there is no problem with its modules and that it has voluntarily launched the re-inspection process.

Solarworld Hotline

Consumers in the U.S. and Canada with SolarWorld modules installed between June 2010 and June 2014 are instructed to contact SolarWorld, who will issue replacement lugs. Any consumer that does not know how to identify the lugs should nevertheless contact SolarWorld, who have also confirmed that an authorized company representative will be sent free of charge to inspect and – if necessary – change the lugs in question.

SolarWorld Americas can be contacted free of charge on 001 877 360 1787