What are Australian-made solar panels

What are Australian-made solar panels?

Thinking about getting solar panels installed and curious about whether it’s possible to buy Australian-made solar panels? Then you’re probably not surprised to hear that solar panels made in Australia are a popular choice for homeowners when it comes to cost, quality, and reliability – other Aussies are thinking the same as you!

Whether you’re keen to support local industry or want to reduce the carbon emissions associated with transporting your solar panels, there are several good reasons to look for an all-Australian solar solution. This article explains your options and compares homegrown solar brands so that you can make a well-informed decision. Ready to take a gander? Let’s go!

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Can you buy solar panels that are made in Australia?

If you’re chasing Australian-made solar panels, the good news is that you can buy solar panels that are made in Australia – they’re just much less common than solar panels that are made in China and sold in the Australian market.

According to the International Energy Agency, China is responsible for more than 80% of all manufacturing stages that go into making solar panels. China’s dominance of the global solar panel manufacturing scene has had the benefit of bringing down the price of panels, dramatically cutting the ‘payback period’ for investing in home solar. The downside is that global reliance on just one country for many of the elements required to create solar panels is a supply chain risk.

You’ll find many Chinese-made solar panels on offer in Australia. All Clean Energy Council (CEC)-accredited solar installers must choose products that comply with Australian standards, however, which means that if you choose a solar panel that’s made overseas and sold to you by an CEC-accredited installer, it still meets strict local regulations.

What solar panels are Australian-made?

Tindo Solar and MSquare Energy are the only companies that claim to manufacture solar panels in Australia.

Tindo Solar makes its panels at a manufacturing plant in Mawson Lakes, South Australia, and has been in business since 2011. Tindo offers a 25-year performance guarantee on its Karra G2 solar panels and on its website says: “We don’t take shortcuts in the manufacturing process and have a strict zero-defect policy. We haven’t been into other factories to see their processes and systems so can’t compare, but the average failure rate of solar panels in the world is 1 in 1,000 [per annum] – Tindo panels’ failure rate is 1 in 200,000”.

MSquare Energy’s manufacturing facility is in Kelso, New South Wales. However, in May 2022 the Clean Energy Regulator said that it had permanently suspended MSquare Energy in March 2022 from the register of individuals or companies that can create small-scale technology certificates (STCs) – the certificates that are commonly used to recoup some of the cost of installing solar. The regulator also said that the CEC had removed all MSquare solar panels from the list of modules that were eligible for STCs, after finding that MSquare’s solar panels didn’t comply with the required standards.

The best Australian-made solar panels

If you’ve made up your mind that Australian-made solar panels are the only way to go, it’s hard to look past Tindo Solar, which has a solid reputation as a panel brand that homeowners and businesses can rely on. Tindo panels power a range of Aussie sites, from Bendigo Bank branches to Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services’ ranger bases and showgrounds and public pools run by Dubbo regional Council in NSW! SolarQuotes users give Tindo panels 4.8 stars out of a possible five stars and SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock personally vouches for the brand, having installed their panels on his own roof.

While there aren’t too many solar panels made Down Under, there are a handful of options when it comes to battery storage units. Solar battery brands including sonnenBatterie, Magellan Power and Powerplus manufacture batteries in Australia.

Compare solar electricity plans in your state

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 3911kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4613kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on SA Power network in Adelaide but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4011kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Are solar panels from other countries of poorer quality?

As mentioned above, many of the solar panels sold in Australia are from other countries, and especially from China. It’s true that Chinese manufacturers have produced low-quality solar panels in the past. It’s also fair to say that there are some ideological issues raised around the use of Chinese solar technology, including that Chinese-made smart solar inverters could be used for spying and that solar manufacturing in the Xinjiang region of China could be implicated in the use of forced labour.

But it’d be unfair to generalise about Chinese-made solar panels and those from other countries, among which Vietnam, Malaysia, India, the US, South Korea, Germany, Canada, Japan are manufacturers in the solar space. Many Chinese companies have invested heavily in research and development to improve the technology and quality of their solar panels, putting them on par, if not better than, than some panels made in other countries.

Germany also plays a significant role in the solar industry, with many innovative companies located there. Much like most German-made appliances and automobiles, German solar panels have an excellent reputation for reliability as well as for using high-quality materials during the manufacturing process.
Product recalls in the solar sector over the past decade have tended to be related to inverters and batteries, as well as the isolators used on solar systems.

As we noted earlier, The CEC has an approval process that lists the “PV modules” – solar module typically refers to a single solar panel – that qualify for STCs, which applies to Australian-made and overseas-sourced solar panels sold in Australia. Approval requires panels to be tested and certified to meet Australian Standards or International Electrotechnical Commission Standards.

The council also has an “enhanced” list of panels that meet those minimum approval requirements plus higher standards, such as not degrading prematurely if exposed, for example, to salt mist in coastal installations or particularly hot, humid environments.

You can find the list of approved panels on the CEC website. Jinko Solar is a Chinese manufacturer, for example, that has panels on the CEC approved list, as does another Chinese manufacturer called Trina. Both brands are typically well-regarded in the solar industry.

As with any product, there are good and bad manufacturers in each country, making it important to research individual brands before making a purchase decision.

What should you look for in a solar panel?

Australian-made solar panels have a good reputation in terms of quality and durability, despite there not being many brand choices yet. That’s why it may be wise to explore high-quality solar panels manufactured in China, Germany and other countries too – keep your options open!

You just need to do your research and look for panels that offer the best value for money, considering issues including efficiency, durability, price, certification, warranty and local support. You can read much more about these topics in Canstar Blue’s guide to solar panels. Your solar installer can also advise you on which brand of panels may suit your needs and budget.

Jared Mullane
Energy Contributor
Jared Mullane was a content producer and editor at Canstar Blue for three years until 2022, most recently as Energy Editor. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Griffith University.

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