Solar PV wholesale and distributor Solco has reported a widening six month loss – to $4.45 million from $2.26 million – in the December half after suffering a 44 per cent slump in revenue to $6.3 million, and writing off inventory as the oversupply of solar panels continues to impact the market. It has also written off the goodwill of its recent Choice Electric purchase and made some tax write-offs.
One bright light was the higher margin solar pumping and off-grid business, and it says network service providers are looking favourably at utility‐scale renewable projects to support their ‘fringe‐of‐grid’ networks. “The sector continues to mature, despite increased competition from residential retailers/ installers. However our large project/ company experience continues to be a key differentiator for us, particularly in the Hybrid/ Remote Area Power system design and installation.
However, margins in the solar module and inverter sectors continue to be under pressure due to over‐supply and impacted revenues, and the solar market overall has contracted, and so it continues to consider merger proposals with other smaller companies to create a large entity with better access to capital. “Solco continues to pro‐actively engage in discussions with interested parties looking to be a part of a larger organisation, supported by access to capital markets via a listed vehicle, but is being prudent with our commitments to preserve shareholder value and ensure the best ‘fit’ in the new market dynamics.”
Tag sees growth for solar in off-grid markets
TAG Pacific is another that has been hit with losses in the last six months, reporting a $1.5 million net loss on a 19 per cent fall in sales, blaming in part a quiet and unpredictable period for the solar business, and the slump in margins caused by falling component prices. However, Tag said the commercial and off-grid solar markets have healthier prospects. It recently took full control of mining power specialist MPower, and says it sees a strong business in hybrid diesel / solar integration; grid stability and power storage.
Tag, which services back-up power to 61 per cent of Sydney’s CBD buildings, says solar’s viability is likely to continue to increase, although it will “take time” to reach the “tipping point”. Tag is also on the hunt for acquisitions in a fractured market.
Merimbula club gets 94kW system
Todae Solar says it has completed a 94.75kW grid-connect solar PV rooftop system at the Club Sapphire in Merimbula, NSW. The system of 379 Suntech 250w modules with 5 SMA Tripower inverters and has an expected output of 124,593kWh per year, and will significantly reduce energy needs and will reduce carbon emissions by about 160 tonnes of CO2 annually. “The system has only been on the roof for a short period, but we are already seeing the benefits both in the reduction in energy usage but also the fantastic response we have had from our members and the wider community to the initiative, ” Club Sapphire CEO Damien Foley. The system was installed under the Solar in Clubs program through Clubs’ Sustainable Futures and Solar Choice, servicing the NSW Club industry.
Will Infigen sell Australian wind assets?
Debt-constrained renewables group Infigen Energy has confirmed it is mulling various options that could include the sale of some of its Australian wind farm assets, freeing up capital for future expansion. Company CEO Miles George raised the possibility of such a move in an interview with the AFR on Monday. It later issued a statement saying: “Infigen Energy continues to assess a range of options to provide improved financial flexibility. Infigen Energy also continues to deal constructively with bona fide opportunities that might advance the Group’s strategy, including (amongst other things) potential asset sales.”