Hanwha QCELLS To Exit Australia

qcells solar panels on an australian roof

QCELLS solar panels installed in Australia

In a significant development for the Australian solar market, solar panel and battery importer, Hanwha QCELLS Australia – who operated in the mid to high end of the market – has let the solar industry know it will be closing its business in Australia.

Here’s what you need to know if you’ve purchased or are considering purchasing QCELLS solar panels or QCELLS batteries.

No More QCELLS For Australia

QCELLS has decided to stop selling into Australia, focusing its efforts on the global market, particularly in the USA. This move comes without a formal press release, leaving many in the industry and consumers looking for clarity on the implications of this decision.

A spokesperson for QCELLS Australia told SolarQuotes:

After a strategic business review and thorough consultation with staff, yesterday Hanwha QCELLS Australia Pty Ltd, the sole distribution company of Qcells products in Australia, informed employees that the company will be closing

 

This decision is based on the context of the Australian solar market facing record-breaking price drops and extreme market competition over the last 12 months.

 

However, it does NOT mean that the business is winding up operations immediately as we need to fulfil the responsibilities of services and supply to customers that we have promised. Hanwha Q CELLS Australia will run the business as usual for the next few months to assure that all our customers secure their necessary supply of Qcells products.

Warranty and Support Continuity

For current Q CELLS product owners and those with pending installations, there’s reassuring news. The Korean parent company, Hanwha QCELLS has always managed product warranties directly, and there will be no changes to existing warranties despite the ending of Australian operations.

QCELLS told us:

Consumers in Australia who have purchased QCELLS solar panels and QCELLS batteries will be served ongoing by the manufacturer’s warranty under Australian consumer law.

This means your investment remains protected under the terms originally provided. Additionally, Australian solar company, Zeco will continue to offer after-sales support and service, ensuring ongoing assistance for QCELLS customers in Australia.

Outside Of Australia QCELLS is expanding

Internationally, QCELLS’s is expanding, with the recent inauguration of a 5GW factory in Georgia, USA, and  a 20-30% market share in the USA.

Why they have chosen to leave Australia, I can only speculate. Their official line is “record-breaking price drops and extreme market competition”. Perhaps REC was winning in the premium solar panel segment? Perhaps the cheaper Chinese giants like Jinko, Canadian, Trina and Longi are too hard to compete with? Perhaps Australian Consumer Law is too much? Or maybe they just wanted to focus on the glittering lights of North America.

What’s Next for Australian Solar Consumers?

For those considering solar, the exit of QCELLS from the Australian market underscores the importance of choosing products backed by a strong brand, solid warranties and reliable support networks. While QCELLS will no longer sell new products in Australia, the continuing warranties that come with them stand as a reminder to choose a solar panel brand that is backed by a international company with a global brand to protect.

QCELLS’ decision to wind down operations in Australia without a so much as a press release was surprising. But thankfully the Korean mothership, Hanwha, appears focused on maintaining Australian customer trust. Probably a good job seeing as they still operate the Nectr solar financing brand here.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and the founder and CEO of SolarQuotes.com.au. I started SolarQuotes in 2009 and the SolarQuotes blog in 2013 with the belief that it’s more important to be truthful and objective than popular. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division. Since 2009, I’ve helped over 700,000 Aussies get quotes for solar from installers I trust. Read my full bio.

Comments

  1. Mark Stevens says

    QCELLS has 35% market share in the US, and has held the #1 spot for 4 – 5 years.

    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/qcells-maintains-no-1-position-in-both-us-residential–commercial-solar-market-segments-301868121.html

    Much of the Australian solar industry, on the other hand, is in a race to the bottom.

  2. Ryan Hothersall says

    I don’t know what effect I’m having on solar panel manufacturers…

    Firstly had LG panels installed on the house in 2019. Couple of years later LG shut up shop making solar panels. So far no issues with those.

    Last year (2023) decided to expand my setup and had a second system installed on the shed using QCells panels. Now I read this article…

    What next?.

  3. Back 12 months ago I had to choose between q cells and REC for our panel choice.
    Reading this I kinda wish I had bit the bullet and gone the extra expense. It does sound like Hanwha is going to continue to support the product here in OZ. The real question will come if anything happens in the next 24 years as a 25 year warranty and a third party doing the warranty is a concern to me as to how long this will really last.
    We are drastically expanding our electrical usage and upgrading our home from single phase to 3 phase and with that we have the opportunity to increase solar system size. I hope this doesn’t affect the ability to do so as we were potentially wanting to add an additional 5kW.

    Guess I will have to have a chat with the original installers.

  4. Andrew MacKeith says

    As Ryan says, LG stopped making solar panels, now Q.Cells withdraw from Australia. Huawei hand over almost their entire product range of inverters and batteries to iStore in an OEM deal. Do we smell?

    • Yes we do
      Because we are obsessed with paying less
      And the rest of the world doesn’t

      But it’s not just LG and Huawei,
      Senec, Solarwatt, Qcells, soon to be more. It’s a complete domino effect

      • Andrew MacKeith says

        Are Australians really the World’s pre-eminent cheapskates?

        Perhaps, but I think it more likely that we are simply a convenient dumping ground for surplus solar panels. Chinese making more panels than their home markets can consume due to their economic downturn?… send the surplus to Oz.

        Makes it very difficult for premium brands, Q.Cells, REC, SunPower/Maxeon to compete.

        6kW of SunPower Maxeons, after subsidy are currently 10 x more expensive than 6kW of most Chinese made panels, after subsidy.
        $540 against $5,400. That’s mad.

        We have anti-dumping laws here, but I’m not sure how they work but clearly not fast enough… if they work at all.

  5. Q Cells were their own worst enemy. Rather the sell to all wholesalers (of which I am one) they chose to sell directly to installers and a very very limited number of wholesalers. When asked for them by an installer I would simply say no we can’t stock them because Q Cell wont supply…BUT… I do have “X” brand panels that are of equal quality and a better price. Sale to me – no sale to Q Cell. I did have discussions with them about the obvious effects their approach would have on sales and market share – to no avail. And now they’re gone. No surprise.

  6. As someone who works in the industry as a consultant, Its honestly a huge blow for me. I had to cancel a few signed contracts and hold installations as the clients have to choose other panels, and in all this confusion, I might not even go with solar as there is a significant lack of products in the premium & budget brand categories. Now the choice has to be either getting something Chinese or breaking the bank with the likes of REC.

    • Qcells global still remains
      The only difference is that Qcells no longer has an Australian subsidiary, and warranty is still covered under a global context, however not supersede ACL,
      probably no different to 50+ other brands in the market

      • Its not about warranties per se; Its about the peace of mind knowing that a product you just purchased has a stable foothold in the market. And for some people, their leaving is a huge deal, I guess. Never the less, I am really hoping that companies like REC or Sunpower will launch something that will fill this void and make it all sunshine and rainbows again.

  7. Peter Mercuri says

    Hi Fin
    Thanks for the update on QCells.
    What effect do you think this will have suppliers such Solahart who install QCells but under the Silhouette range?

  8. Rob Rashbrook says

    I just bought a Qcells solar system 5.7Kw with battery with the potential to upgrade the battery to 10Kw in the future. I suppose I will have to upgrade now if I want to add on to the existing system. Rather annoying.

  9. The discussion re warranty and components is really academic. Who has 190w panels from 10 years ago to replace failed ones under ‘warranty’. Who wants to add to their battery only to find non compatibility with model, due to ‘enhancements”. What we are buying is 5 to 12 year efficiency, then dump and replace with newer tech, at reduced pricings. It might all change when Govt subsidies are removed, but solar is NOT like car parts, nothing of vintage (older than 18months) kept in stock. This applies to all premium and opportunistic Brands.

    • Anthony Bennett says

      Hi Tony,

      You’re right in many respects but actually Trina still have 265w modules on hand, they’re still on the CEC approved list and they’re shipping them out for warranty jobs. No one has 175/200w panels though… even if they’re still under a 25 year performance guarantee.

      I think car makers are obliged to carry spare parts stock for 7 years or perhaps 10? After that they’ll sell whatever is still profitable.

  10. I recently had 35 QCells panels installed on my roof. In regard to the warranty being honoured by ZECO which is based in Melbourne with a branch in ACT.
    I Live in Brisbane so how is ZECO Warranty going to help me or others who also live outside their interstate offices?

    • Correct me if I’m wrong here, but my understanding here is that when you submit any warranty claim, if the retailer is available, they will take care of it. If the retailer is not in business, then Zeco will get in touch with the installer who installed the system; if even the installer is not available, then they will contact one of their partners or an independent electrician/installer to do the initial inspection. After the issue is figured out, the warranty provider will get their partner or trusted third-party installers to fix the issue for you.
      I would like to note that this is just how almost everyone handles warranty claims. Zeco might have some other way that they prefer.

  11. Works in the industry, the big news really isn’t much of surprise, expecting a number of manufacturers to close/ withdraw. Especially “high end”, spec wise, they became irrelevant since Jinko came out with new N type. A bloodbath from China is making things better and cheaper for consumers in unimaginable speeds.

    • Lets revisit this in 10yrs time when N type panels start to degrade quicker than their p-type counterparts 😀

  12. This is what an obsession with cheap solar has done to the Australian market, arguably the best panel to come out of China; QCells is gooone. What happens when the others stop making money here, they’ll up and leave too. The safest bet would seem investing in Australian made Tindo panels

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