Australia’s rooftop solar market is being warned to brace for a months-long impact from the devastating coronavirus outbreak in China, as disrupted panel production and supply takes its toll on the local market.
Solar Juice co-founder and head of supply, Rami Fedda said in a video message on LinkedIn on Tuesday that the word from key solar panel manufacturers was that China was not expected to return to anything like business-as-usual on PV panel exports until early March.
“Manufacturers are running under capacity because their employees have to be quarantined for at least the next 14 days,” Fedda said.
“Also other parts of the supply chain are affected, such as trucking and ports,” he added. “Many containers are on the wharf, waiting to get on the vessel.”
For installers in Australia, Fedda said, this meant current Australian stockpiles of China-made panels could run out within the month, leaving installers and consumers in the lurch. China-made modules account for 90 per cent of Australia’s rooftop solar market.
“We strongly believe that the stock currently available in Australia will not get us through to mid-March, let alone late March,” he warned.
But Fedda also stressed that there were ways to help bridge the supply gap.
“Please look at alternate products such as non-Chinese brands, like REC, LG … QCells,” he said.
“We want everybody to start planning by the month, not just by the day, and this will reduce the chance of getting disappointed due to not having panels – because if there’s no panels there’s no solar installations.”
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