Solarmax Inverter Bankruptcy: What it means for Solarmax owners.

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Solarmax have gone bust.

Bad news for fans of Solarmax inverters as its parent company, Sputnik Engineering, has just filed for insolvency.

Solarmax are a 20 year old Swiss inverter manufacturer who made fantastic quality inverters at a great price. It seems, with hindsight, that the price was a little too great!

If you were considering buying a Solarmax, then you should probably change brands so that your warranty is with a solvent manufacturer. Go for a big brand like SMA, Fronius, Sungrow, ABB, Zeversolar, Delta, Enphase or Solarbridge (feel free to leave any big brands I’ve missed out in the comments!)

If you already have a Solarmax on your home, then don’t panic!

Number 1 thing to understand is that Solarmax are very reliable. So you are unlikely to need to call on the warranty.

But even good inverters can fail, so if you do need to claim on the warranty be aware that under Australian Consumer Law, your solar company must honour the warranty, even if the manufacturer has gone broke. They will either repair or replace your inverter with an equivalent model from a different brand.

I tried to call the Aussie importers, “Sputnik Engineering Australia & NZ PTY LTD” today, but it looks like the lines have been disconnected.

The other sad part of this company failure is that many Solarmax inverters were designed for the easy addition of batteries, so you could have a hybrid (AKA grid connect with batteries) system. This required you to buy an extra circuit board which slotted in to the inverter. Unless another company jumps in to buy the brand and technology (quite likely), then this may not be possible going forward. But fear not – you can still go hybrid fairly easily using a technique called AC coupling. This is described in detail in this post. The post talks about converting microinverters to hybrid, but the technique can be used on almost any inverter, including SolarMax inverters.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

Comments

  1. The Swiss Made SolarMax Inverter is regarded as one of the most efficient and highest quality inverters in the world. With the announcement of SolarMax becoming insolvent the Australian Distributor – Renesola Australia Pty Ltd issued an immediate press release reassuring SolarMax customers they will continue to honour the 5 year warranty given on all SolarMax inverters. This also applies to all future sales.

    There is hope another large inverter manufacturer will take over the SolarMax facility and continue manufacturing and developing this leading edge product.

  2. Please could you tell me if it is allowable to cover the solar unit with a cupboard for aesthetic reasons. The yellow and grey is quite inappropriate to our newly rendered old home.

    • Hi Jan,

      If you can find a copy of the user manual, then it will have minimum clearances around the inverter. Make sure you respect these, and put plenty of vents so the heat can escape and you should be fine.

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

  3. My SolarMax SM6000S 5KW inverter has a malfunction error, that Fan 1 has failed. Trying to find who to contact since the company I bought it from (Infinity Solar) has gone out of business. Just called Renesola and they said they can only cover warranty if it’s a unit they sold. Anyone else know what other distributors were used to supply the Australian Market? I’m on the Gold Coast, QLD.

    Also,with a fan failed, is it safe to leave the unit on? or should I turn it off? it’s winter here now, so not getting as much work as during summer.

    • Hi Jiva,

      I’ve done a quick search and “Sputnik Engineering Australia P/L” which I think was the importer, are still a registered business:

      https://abr.business.gov.au/SearchByAbn.aspx?SearchText=59+160+399+977

      If they were the company that imported Solarmax inverters and you can get hold of them, then they would have an obligation to recompense you.

      Getting hold of them may be hard though. If you need help – let me know.

      Another option may be a good local installer who may be able to fix the fan – if it is a standard part that can be replaced – although that will come at a cost obviously. Let m know if you need a recommendation.

      Finn

    • electrifier says

      Hello Jiva,
      I have a SolarMax inverter that had a fan fault. I was able to fix it myself as I discovered the fan on the outside of the inverter had been jammed by insects, I unscrewed the fan and cleared the insect jamming it, put it back and off she spun. Something you could investigate as a possible issue on your inverter.

  4. Brian Cain says

    I have a SolarMax 2000S inverter fitted that has developed a fault. I have spent hours trying to find someone to help, having discovered Infinity Solar and the distributor are defunct. The system is four years old and I have an extended 10 year warranty, that would appear to be worthless. Can anyone help?

  5. Anne Hanton says

    Hi can any one tell me more about solarmax inverter. I have one on the solar system. It breaking me and need help.
    Not happy as im paying more now than i’ve ever had with a 4kw system.
    Have 4 kw with solarmax inverter…3 phase power.
    Anne

    • Hi Anne,

      The company that sold you the system must rectify any issues if it is still in warranty – regardless of the status of the inverter manufacturer.

      More details here:

      https://support.solarquotes.com.au/hc/en-us/articles/333756999796-I-got-solar-installed-it-isn-t-working-properly-and-the-company-refuses-to-fix-it-

      • I bought my solar system from the Mark Group in April/May of 2014, with a Solar Max 4200S inverter. The Mark Group folded and/or was taken over by Solgen at some point. My inverter hasn’t worked for around 3 years now!! I couldn’t get hold of the Mark Group… that’s when I discovered Solgen’s take over… but I also couldn’t get hold of them. I tried phone numbers, email addresses and websites with no luck. I left messages and no one got back to me. I got one person on the phone, once… they said they would get someone from the technical department to call me back… never happened. I gave up. Then, when talking to a solar installer at one of my son’s sport activities, he said he’d have a look into it for me. I sent him all the info I had on my system. He managed to get hold of Solgen after a while… they gave him the run around too though… he persisted. He finally got into someone that sounded like they were going to do something!! Then the company said, sorry, he’s left the company and he had no luck with anyone else he got hold of. Then they started using Covid as an excuse, saying that no claims would be getting dealt with until they’re back at full capacity “after Covid”… well, that’s been 2 years… we’ve heard no more from them!! What should I do?! 3 years of having a non-functional solar system on the roof and time ticking away on my extended 10 year warranty… and I’m here paying full price for my electricity every quarter 😡

        • Trevor Glen says

          Hi Bindi,

          Trevor here from the SolarQuotes team.

          I spoke to the team about this and we think that probably the best thing to do is get a quote for a repair or maintenance as it’s quite possible that your warranty may have expired anyway.

          To do that, go here: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/quote/start/ and select Repairs and Maintenance.

          Good luck!

          Regards,
          Trevor

        • Trevor Glen says

          Hi Bindi,

          It’s been pointed out that I’d missed the fact you mentioned the extended 10 year warranty. In that case it would not have expired.

          Solgen claim they don’t have to honour the warranty promised by Mark Group. We don’t know if that is accurate or not. You could test that through the relevant Office of Fair Trading (sometimes called ‘Consumer Affairs’) in you state or territory:

          ACT: Office of Regulatory Services, 02 6207 3000.
          NSW: Fair Trading, 13 32 20.
          NT: Consumer Affairs, 1800 019 319.
          QLD: Office of Fair Trading, 13 74 68.
          SA: Consumer and Business Services, 131 882.
          TAS: Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading, 1300 654 499.
          VIC: Consumer Affairs, 1300 558 181.
          WA: Consumer Protection: 1300 304 054

          Regards,
          Trevor

          • Thanks for getting back to me about that. I will do what I can through fair trading now then

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