UL vs non UL for off grid?

bmetbmet Posts: 630Solar Expert ✭✭
I've seen some web sites which appear as clearing houses for yester-year's panels. What I am wondering, are there reasons not to save a little money for a non-UL listed panel if it being used for off-grid, very specific purpose? The $$$ difference between two 130W panels is significant when going with a non UL product. I believe in "you get what you pay for", but what makes a non UL panel much more of a risk if it is being used, alone, for a limited purpose?


  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: UL vs non UL for off grid?

    I can speak for the Sun brand that are actually 100% Evergreen manufactured panels, the only difference is a sticker and unless you have a building code requirement for UL listed panels, yes one can get much more for there money using a non-UL listed PV panel.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: UL vs non UL for off grid?

    Technically you don't have to use a UL-listed product off grid. Unless you want to keep your insurance. If the place burns down and they find non-listed anything was installed, they'll blame that even if it wasn't at fault.
    What you're gambling on is whether the non-listing is because they didn't bother to get it tested (which costs money) or they didn't bother to get it tested because its such poor quality that there's no hope it would pass.

    For experimental purposes, fine. For reliable power, you might want to reconsider the choice.
  • AntronXAntronX Posts: 462Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: UL vs non UL for off grid?

    How much does it cost to have a panel UL tested, listed?

    Edit: Try calling sunelec with this question. Why aren't they UL testing their panels.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,047Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: UL vs non UL for off grid?

    Also, be very careful of your panel sources... UL / NRTL at least is an indication that the company cares enough to at least try and make a good/safe product.

    However, "UL Marks" are not a guarantee either.. Counterfeiting UL / NRTL marks is becoming big business.

    Buying from a reputable retailer/wholesaler helps, as does going through a building permit/inspection process... But is not always perfect either (Panel Fire Question).

    Avoid any panels that are not obviously made from glass and come with an aluminum frame. There may be some all plastic panels coming from who-knows-where and those are matches waiting to be lit (see PFQ link).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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