Zimbabwe’s pain highlights the perils of cheap, inferior solar panels

Scores of Zimbabwe residents have been forced to learn the hard way that cheap, imported panels are too good to be true. Opportunistic Chinese e-businesses have preyed on Zimbabwe, flooding the country with dodgy panels that often fail before they even generate any power.

It has come after a period of extreme drought in the country, especially pronounced as most of their electricity is generated by hydropower. Most days, residents are left in the dark while the power will only come on for a few hours at night so that vital factories can trundle into life.

The largest hydropower plant at Lake Kariba is only capable of generating 50 per cent of its capacity, and scam traders sniffed their opportunity. They made big promises on WhatsApp, at tradeshows and on local radio that a solution was at hand – solar panels that could provide almost around the clock electricity, powered by the sun.

Locals believed it was their salvation and jumped at the opportunity. They soon found out they were effectively purchasing garbage.

The horror stories coming out of Zimbabwe 

The irony is that Zimbabwe is a country made for solar power. It is a sunshine-rich country that enjoys 7.5 hours of sunlight every day, with high levels of radiation that can be converted to electricity.

On paper, the country should easily be able to sustain itself on solar power. But this is a nation not only gripped by drought, but government instability and a lack of investment in electricity.

Cash-strapped residents felt they were left with no choice but to listen to the snake oil salesmen and purchase products that were faulty at best, dangerous at worst.

“All manufactured electrical solar implements from any country degrade over time. But the rate of failure of Chinese panels is now a great concern,” founder of renewable energy start-up Tawanda Energy Tawanda Chitiyo said.

“Defects are not immediately apparent to most of the customers. Also, the warranty they offer is very difficult to honour. How can a foreign company in Guangzhou get a return shipment from Harare, Zimbabwe?”

The lesson we can all learn from this 

Australia really is the lucky country. We have ready access to panels that will last up to 25 years and boast high-efficiency rates that will deliver plenty of renewable electricity to our homes and businesses.

There are government rebates, grants and incentives available to minimise the initial costs, and it usually only takes a few years for a quality system to pay for itself. Still, the bargain hunters will entertain the same pitches that have cruelled the Zimbabwe public.

Here at Energy Matters, we only sell and recommend the highest quality solutions, including inverters and batteries. We can help connect you to the best rebates and incentives and offer the most competitive prices on the market.

You will get a total solution, including installation from a licenced and experienced technician in your area, with a comprehensive warranty, aftercare and customer support. Cheap is often nasty in this industry, ensuring you are getting the best equipment for your investment and enjoying long-term savings with Energy Matters. 

Call us today on 1800 EMATTERS and get a quick quote. You can also email our friendly team for expert, obligation-free advice.