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Solar Consultants Brisbane Closed Down: Is my warranty valid?

Solar Consultants BrisbaneSolar Consultants closed for business

If you’ve been trying to contact Solar Consultants Brisbane (aka Five Star Energy), you’ll have noticed they have gone into liquidation and closed their doors in November 2014. Another Solar power sales company “gone bust” leaving customers feeling frustrated with the solar industry. However, you may still be able to claim your warranty on your inverter and panels, depending on the brand you purchased.

*DISCLAIMER: MC Electrical is not affiliated with Solar Consultants or any other third party sales companies. If you have warranty or workmanship issues please seek support from your local solar electrician or review the Clean Energy Council dispute and complaints page for support options.

Inverters

Inverters usually come standard with a 5-year manufacturer warranty. The inverters typically used by Solar Consultants were:

  • Aurora inverter. Power-One Aurora was bought out by the huge company ABB. It is a great inverter, and ABB honour their warranties. It’s worth getting us to install a WiFi card when replacing your ABB inverter, this way your system can be remotely monitored with automated email alerts when a fault occurs.
  • SMA inverters. SMA are an extremely reliable inverter, and they honour their warranties. If you have this inverter, it’s probably not faulty, so we’d check your panels and isolators first.
  • Five Star Inverters.  Solar Consultants imported and rebranded the JFY inverter. You should be able to claim it from JFY (below).
  • JFY inverters. JingFuYuan inverters (including the JFI, Suntree and Suntwins range) are still disturbingly prevalent in Australia. If you have a JFY inverter, it’s probably faulty. Claiming warranties is difficult when you tell them you bought it off a company that has since closed down. You may end up cutting your losses and replacing it with a real inverter, but we’ll help you fight the good fight if you choose to try and claim the warranty.
  • Sunny Roo or Sunna inverters. These inverters were mainly imported by Beyond Building but installed also by other companies including Metro Electrical and Solar Consultants. The inverters disappeared in 2012 along with Beyond Building. They were a dodgy inverter to say the least. You won’t be able to claim a warranty with these inverters. Consider yourself lucky that it lasted this long!

Panels

Panels are not normally the weak point on a solar install, but the panels Solar Consultants used have had a concerning failure rate. Panels they supplied include:

  • STS panels. Model STS-6M-260M-60 (or Zhejiang Jingshang panels).
  • Five Star Panels. Solar Consultants imported and rebranded these panels, so your warranty went bust with them.
  • Tianneng TNS panels. These may have been their worst panels. We have had no luck with manufacturer warranties.
  • Hanover (a German sounding cheap Chinese panel) – PowerArc (a reputable solar wholesaler) still sell these panels, claiming your manufacturer warranty should ok.
  • Rise Solar. (Ningbo Xinyou Model XY250-60F/M6) – Rise Solar still operates Victoria, Australia – but we have had no luck getting even a single panel replaced. We’re happy to try again.

Installation and Balance of supply

Solar Consultants use subcontractors to do their installations. For a short time, MC Electrical was one of their sub-contractors. If we installed your system, we will honour any workmanship warranty. However at the time we parted ways with Solar Consultants, the price they were paying installers was, well, ridiculous. There was no way an Electrical contractor could install to a high standard, with high-quality isolators, etc., and still make a profit. As a result, many of the installations carried out by their sub-contractors had substandard workmanship. In some ways, this may be good news as installation faults are often the least expensive to fix.

  •  If you have warranty or workmanship issues please seek support from your local solar electrician or review the Clean Energy Council dispute and complaints page for support options.

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Author
Mark Cavanagh

Mark is the Owner and Manager of MC Solar & Electrical. He’s an Electrician, accredited solar installer/designer and an electrical contractor.

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