Not made in China or owned by a Chinese company
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The recent actions (May 2020) by the Chinese Government to impose an 80% tariff on Australian Barley imports has resulted in a lot of requests for 'non Chinese' solar products..
We went around our warehouse opening boxes to see what the 'Made in' label said.
No big surprises for us, but possibly for you. Please bear in mind that the products we get here in Australia are made almost entirely in Chinese factories, often 'under license' but to circumvent USA / Trump punitive import tariifs for Chinese goods, most "up stumps" and move their plant to Malaysia or India to supply the USA market.
So here is what the labels say on Australian imports:
SolarEdge inverters and Optimisers are All made in China
SMA inverters, single phase AV-41 model is made in China, but SMA Tripower (3 phase) is made in Germany.
Fronius inverters, ALL made in Austria (Europe)
Fimer (ABB), made in Italy.
Delta made in China, Enphase, made in China.
Goodwe, Huawei, Growatt, Sungrow, Solis, SolaX, Sofar, Solplanet, Kehua...
all Chinese companies making their inverters in China.
Solar panels are a little more complex
SolarWatt are German through and through but their panel tech is 'old school'.
LG make their Neon range in South Korean, but their Mono-X Plus is made in China.
Winaico are Taiwanese through and through.
and then you get the mongrels...
Q.Cells are engineered and designed in Germany but they make the Duo+ in their South Korean factory
but the cheaper MAXX in their Chinese factory.
Q.Cells are owned by South Korean conglomerate Hanwha.
Similar story for Maxeon (formerly made by SunPower). Designed in the USA, the more expensive models
are made in Malaysia and the cheaper 'P's are fully made in China and now the Maxeon business has a 30% Chinese owner.
REC were orginally a Norwegian company who moved manufacturing to Singapore before being bought out by a Chinese company.
Leapton are a Japanese company who now make their panels cheaper...in China of course.
Jinko are a Chinese company who make almost all of the panels that come to Australia, in China and it's an identical story for Canadian, JA, LonGi, Trina, ET, Seraphim, Risen, Chint/Astro, GCL, Suntech, & Ulica.
Then there's all the cable, breakers, conduit, rail and fixings.
Almost all of that comes from China.
A number of brands make their solar rail in Australia and one makes the clamps here too. Arrid.
The bit that actually makes electricity in a solar panel, the solar cell, is made from solar wafers, and almost 100% (97-98% at last count) of the World's solar wafers are made in China, so even if the panel itself is made in the USA, or Germany, or South Korea, the chances are that the bit that matters under the glass, is Chinese.
And then there are the electronic components in the solar inverters sourced mostly from Japan and China and installed in European inverters. It may say 'Made in Austria' on the box, but the components inside it aren't.
Therefore, it is impossible, completely impossible, to buy a complete solar installation that has nothing whatsoever from China.
However, if we take a pragmatic approach, then Fronius inverters, single or three phase, are made in Austria, and Q.Cells Duo+ or LG NeON panels are made in South Korea by South Korean owners.
We have noticed that these non-Chinese manufacturers are increasingly adding more and more premium to their prices. Is that a cynical reaction to the anti-Chinese sentiment?
Hard to confirm, but when Fronius recently released their new solar & battery range, the GEN24PLus, the price was $4,200 for the smallest inverter. That's double what a top quality Chinese Huawei 'solar & battery' inverter costs. You could purchase the extended 20 year Huawei manufacturer warranty, and still have $1,500 change.
When I wrote this back in May 2020 the situation with China was only just getting started. Since then many more Australian products have been either banned or had punitive tariffs imposed, but the news seems much better (Feb 2021), because a great many of these Australian products have quickly found willing buyers in other markets around the globe.