Australian solar companies 'adjusting well'

9th Jul 2013

The solar power landscape is constantly changing, both at home and abroad.

Nigel Morris of Solar Business Services says that global prices for solar PV have collapsed 75 per cent or more over the last few years.

Unsurprisingly, this led to massive consumer interest, with strong government rebates for solar and generous feed-in tariff schemes helping sales to explode.

However, in Australia at least, there is a downside to this phenomenon, which Morris is quick to point out.

"The cost of sales hasn't really changed much and competition is as intense as ever, putting most companies under extraordinary margin pressure," he explains.

He predicted a period of belt-tightening and consolidation in February last year, and this is beginning to manifest itself now.

Companies that have moved fast to stem losses are ones that have succeeded, Morris states, and while making cuts is always difficult, those that are prepared for leaner times are more likely to take advantage of a future upturn.

Nigel cited the recent announcement that Carbon Management Solutions would be restructuring, admitting that he was "a little relieved".

The NSW-based business had been doing well, but was a victim of premier Barry O'Farrell's "botched" handling of FITs in the state, he added.

But while news that the company is restructuring is sad, Morris stated, it shows the its maturity in dealing with the evolving solar landscape – a model that many other businesses could do well to learn from.

"Carbon Management Solutions and Aussie Solar Installations have been merged into a new single entity, with the original entities wound up, allowing the company to focus on the commercial market instead of residential installations."

The enormous effort that founders Cameron and Amber Ferguson are putting into revitalising their operation shows how challenging the Australian solar environment can be, Morris concluded.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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