When a component is installed, it seems that until the user updates the configuration (using the "Options" button) a request to get the component parameters from Joomla returns an essentially empty object. The request:
$params = Joomla\CMS\Component\ComponentHelper::getParams('com_example);
results in a $params object that does not give values for $params->get('parmname'). It seems that the XML (config.xml) is not used during installation to create default parameters, but is only used when the user updates the "options".
Unfortunately, creating a new Registry object and using the method loadFile on config.xml does not produce a usable parameters object either. So a component that relies on parameter values (defaults will do until the user chooses something else) does not work on first installation.
Have I misunderstood something? Is there a solution to this?