When was the last time you checked where your solar panels actually came from?
With the flood of cheap solar coming into the market, many companies are marketing themselves as Australian, Canadian and even German made. On further inspection, one will find that the solar cells and parts are actually made overseas, mostly in China.
One such company that claims to have Australian made solar panels is Tindo Solar. So it would be more truthful to say “Made in China, assembled in Australia” on solar product
German made solar panel label
The rise of Chinese solar panels in Australia
China now dominates the Australian panel market with over 80% of solar systems made there. After German solar panels disappeared from the market, all of a sudden many German sounding panels found their way into Australia: Munsterland, Hanover, and Dortmund Solar.
Despite the German name, all of them are Chinese made panels, by Chinese companies.
Nevertheless, some made in China panels still try to pretend otherwise. Manufacturers even go as far as producing labels in the German language – as per the above image.
Some even go as far as setting up shadow companies so they can list their office addresses as German when they are actually based in China.
False solar product advertising rampant within the solar industry
There are many examples of false advertising in the solar panel industry.
Many Canadian solar panels coming to Australia are made in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
SunPower a US-based company now makes some of their cheaper P19 panels in China.
REC who claims to be a Norwegian brand is actually owned by China Chem and makes panels in Singapore and Vietnam.
Hanwa Qcell panels say “Engineered in Germany” very prominently on the box, but forget to tell you that only a small engineering team is actually based in Germany. Not surprisingly these panels are actually made in China, Malaysia, and Korea.
To see where various brand panels are made and who owns the company see the table below:
Where solar panels are actually made
Recommendation for solar industry
A reference list of solar panels sold in Australia available via the Clean Energy Council or other appropriate industry bodies should be implemented. This list should include details such as country of production and assembly.
When buying solar panels make sure that you choose a reputable company that is transparent about where their solar products are made.