One of Australia’s largest wholesale distributors of solar modules, Powerark Solar, has gone into voluntary administration, ASIC documents reveal.
A combined notice of appointment and first meeting of creditors was published by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission late last week, confirming that administrators had been appointed to the Melbourne-based company.
The news of the major wholesaler’s downfall – one year after the industry in Victoria was hit by a months-long Covid-19 lockdown – was flagged in this week’s edition of One Step Off The Grid’s Solar Insiders podcast, by co-host Nigel Morris, head of businesses development at Solar Analytics.
It comes as solar suppliers in Australia are wedged between backlogs of low-priced panels and a looming panel price hike, driven by raw material shortages and soaring freight costs.
“It’s very, very tough out there and the forecast from almost everyone is that [wholesale solar panel] prices have to go up,” said Morris in last week’s Solar Insiders podcast with RenewEconomy editor Giles Parkinson.
As RenewEconomy reported in March, PV panel prices have been under almost constant pricing pressure since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, from a relentless combination of inflated freight costs and shortages of key solar panel ingredients, including glass and polysilicon.
And while panel prices had already jumped in the global market – exacerbated by a jump in the cost of shipping, which Morris says has “gone through the roof” – this has yet to take effect in Australia.
Conversely, Australian wholesalers are facing an oversupply of historically cheap panels that is chipping away at already very thin profit margins.
According to Powerark’s Facebook page, the company had established itself as one of the fastest growing solar products distributor in Australia and was the first to introduce microinverters into the Australian market.
Reports in the financial press reveal that the Melbourne-based Powerark Solar signed a new, three-lease for a 1252 square metre unit in an industrial estate in Sydney’s Greenacre as recently as September 2019.