Solaray Energy is now called 1KOMMA5° Sydney and 1KOMMA5° Melbourne
German companies have a reputation for their high standards of manufacturing. And this was particularly true in the solar industry 5-10 years ago.
Buying a panel from a company such as Q Cells, Bosch or Solar World was a reliable way of ensuring you were buying a quality system, without delving into the mysterious world of Chinese solar manufacturing. How is the average mum or dad going to find out the difference between Jinko, Yingli, and ReneSolar?
Unfortunately, all of the main German manufacturers now either make their panels in Asia or do not have a local office here in Australia. In recent years, even LG Solar has withdrawn from the market, meaning almost all solar panels in Australia are now made in China, or Asia at least.
Here is the latest information about German Solar Manufacturers:
SolarWorld (2017): SolarWorld announced they are filing for bankruptcy as they were unable to meet their debt obligations. We had been worried about this for some time, which was why we stopped selling SolarWorld panels when they pulled out of Australia. If a company does not have an Australian office and they become insolvent the distributor or importer is responsible for the warranty obligations. It is risky business, and we see this type of thing happening over and over.
Q Cells: Around the time Q Cells moved their manufacturing to Asia, 1KOMMA5° made the decision to take the popular Q Cells Q.Pro panel off our price list. Q Cells were bought out in 2012 by Asian giant Hanwha, and have now moved their manufacturing to China, Malaysia and South Korea. Their new premium panels are now a popular option in Australia including the Q.Peak Duo series.
Bosch: Bosch stopped making solar panels in 2014.
‘German Engineered’ Panels: This sales line has caught out a lot of people over the years, which is unfortunate as it’s a one-liner typically used to sell some of the cheapest panels on the market. It’s one of those sales lines that doesn’t mean anything. You could argue that all solar panels are ‘engineered in German’ considering that solar panels were first designed there.
These companies that try to associate their products with Germany are typically manufacturing very cheap panels in China and don’t have any representation in Australia. However, this means they are able to get away with misleading or false statements about Germany without the risk of getting in trouble here in Australia. Here’s one that we used to hear about almost daily a few years ago before they were banned from Australia:
Our staff constantly hear feedback from customers who bought a cheap system or know of someone who did and who are now regretting the decision.
“I bought a 10kW system and the most it has ever achieved is 5kW of power.”
Output is everything in residential solar power. The more solar power you generate, the lower your power bill should be. When you buy a quality solar panel, you are ensuring that your panel has the built-in technology to maximise solar output in all light conditions, especially in NSW where cloud cover and hazy days are common.
“I’m calling to get a price on new panels, my system isn’t working and I can’t get in contact with my installer”.
The other problem is the cost of replacing cheap products that are not working and are not adequately covered under warranty. Reputable solar manufacturers are publicly listed companies with legal requirements to honour their warranty commitments. Importantly they should have an Australian office so that any faulty products are not only covered under warranty but replaced in good time and include installation and labour in their service.
Buying a quality system reduces the risk of costly repairs over the life of your system.
The 1KOMMA5° Group has taken matters into our own hands by manufacturing our own panel using German Polysilicon. We then assemble our panels in China to industry-leading quality standards. This allows us to manufacture a solar panel without forced child labour. Plus, we significantly reduced the CO2 footprint of the panel, with the panel paying back its energy footprint in well under one year.
Unlike the bad old days of the Australian solar industry, we aren’t claiming we have a panel with ‘German design’ (and then just making it in China). This is a serious step forward where we have balanced ethical supply chain management and industry-leading quality at an affordable price point.
Our new 1KOMMA5° solar panel features:
German design and quality (really)
Backed by Porsche Ventures, as well as 1KOMMA5, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the world
German-made polysilicon, which significantly reduces the CO2 footprint and eliminates any risk of forced child labour
Beautiful All-black design
25-year product & 30-year performance warranty
425W power rating