Types of Support
With every additional system we install the number of people who might
require support grows. Fortunately Solar Designs always put a strong
emphasis on quality components and workmanship, product failures are rare.
As a result, after the first initial questions are answered, not much support
often are very easily answered, like "Is my inverter broken, all lights
are off?" (most models have a night shut-down) or "Why is power production
now so much lower than when the system was installed 3 months ago"
(seasonal variation from early January to later March).
Questions that come later might be about build-up of dust: We recommend to
wait for the next rainy day to solve that issue, but if customers don't want to
wait they can hose down panels from the ground, please do that in the cold time
of the day to avoid temperature stress. We don't suggest to go up on the roof
to clean panels, wet roofs are slippery and dangerous!.
Then of course there are the occasional problems with hardware components.
Mostly with inverters. Some brands (SMA) perform much better than others, but
eventually every man made thing will break down and needs replacing. Ideally
panels should last 30 years and inverters about 20 and most items of the top
brands we supplied should actually get there. But if you are unlucky enough to
be someone with a problem device then the rest of this page is written for you.
Rights of customers and voluntary support
Most systems installed by Solar Designs came with a 1 year warranty for workmanship.
Workmanship is the installation of the system and the quality of its design.
The main components are all covered by long manufacturers warranties. Those
manufacturers warranties vary depending on brand. Please check the
details in your 'owners manual'. In many cases if there is a valid warranty
claim the manufacturer or importer will supply a replacement unit at their cost.
But usually the manufacturer/importer will not cover the cost of installing the
In case something goes wrong Solar Designs will help you diagnose the issue
and liaise with the manufacturer on your behalf. We can also organise electricians
where required to exchange faulty parts. That is a voluntary service, we provide it
because we are committed to customer service and want all systems that were
installed by us to run as smoothly as possible for many years to come.
When an electrician is required to exchange parts and the manufacturer does not
cover the cost for call-out/labour the customer has to pay for those expenses.
The only exception is during the period of our workmanship warranty (usually 1 year
from installation). While faulty components are not strictly speaking related to
our workmanship we have provided this extra service in the past and will continue to
Solar Designs in Maintenance Mode
As you may know Solar Designs does not install any new systems. We are however
committed to provide service to all our existing customers, both under our warranty
obligations as well as voluntarily above an beyond those duties, as outlined in the
The main change is that we would like to handle as many enquiries as possible via
email rather than over the phone. If you now read this message you obviously have
Internet access, in that case please respect our request.
Solving issues via email will be just as quick, if you reach us on a mobile out and
about we won't have the inverter manuals to check error messages, we won't have
serial numbers to organise exchanges with manufacturers. Those important pieces of
information all are stored on our computer - where we also check emails
In case you can not reach us you can of course contact the manufacturers/importers.
Some will deal with you directly, others might put you in touch with their local
service agents. The rest of this page will give you the contact details.
So far all SMA inverters we installed (well over 100) are still happily doing
their duty, but at some point in future that is bound change.
SMA gives a 5 year warranty on all inverters.
Some units have an extended warranty to give a total of 10 years, if yours is one of
those you will have a special warranty certificate with the serial number of
SMA has a service centre in Australia.
Their contact details:
SMA Australia Pty Ltd
30-40 Harcourt Parade
Rosebery, NSW 2018
Tel. +61 2 9669 2889
Fax +61 2 9669 2887
Freecall 1800 SMA AUS
Second in terms of numbers installed by Solar Designs and with the occasional
defect also second in terms of reliability are Kaco inverters.
All Kaco inverters sold by Solar Designs came with a 7 year factory warranty from
the date of installation.
Kaco does not currently have a subsidiary in Australia. That means that warranty
repairs and replacements are handled through the importer,
As with issues with other brands Solar Designs is happy to organise a warranty claim
in case of problems. At the moment Kaco does not pay for the cost of electrical work
required to remove the defective inverter and install the replacement, meaning that
the customer has to pay for this service.
While Kaco does not have an Australian subsidiary they have a very good technical
support that can be contacted via phone or email. Contact details are shown on their
Fronius & Conergy
The Conergy branded inverters are actually made by Fronius.
Since Fronius recently opened a service centre in Australia it is probably quicker
to handle any warranty claims through them.
The models compare as follows:
Conergy WR1700 = Fronius IG15
Conergy WR2300 = Fronius IG20
Conergy WR3300 = Fronius IG30
Fronius inverters have had a few defects. The most common symptom we have encountered
is that the display shows 'State 443'. If your inverter shows that message please
switch off the AC supply to the inverter in your switchboard (labelled "Solar
Supply Main Switch"), then switch of the DC supply in the isolation enclosure
located below or next to the inverter. Wait for a few minutes, then switch the
supplies back on, DC first then AC. If the inverter shows 'State 443' again once it
has restarted is most likely needs a repair.
Since Fronius opened their Melbourne subsidiary the warranty service has improved
a lot. When notified of a defect they usually ship a replacement device within
24 hours, arriving in Perth in less than 1 week. Fronius also pays a lump sum amount
that usually covers the cost of the electrician who replaces the inverter.
Their contact details are:
Fronius Australia Pty Ltd
90-92 Lambeck Drive
Tullamarine VIC 3043
Tel. +61 (0) 3 8340 2900
Fax. +61 (0) 3 8340 2909
If you can't reach Solar Designs to organise a warranty repair/replacement on your
behalf Fronius should be able to put you in contact with one of their local
SunPower were our most popular panels in 2008 and 2009. They were one of the
first brands to offer a 10 year product warranty (materials and workmanship) in
addition to the quite common 25 year power warranty (output).
SunPower panels were sold to us by long established wholesaler SolarSales, which
soon was taken over and became the Australian subsidiary of the manufacturer,
now known as SunPower Corporation Australia Pty Ltd.
Their contact details are:
SunPower Corporation Australia Pty Ltd
16 Belgravia Street
Belmont Western Australia 6104
Tel: 1 800 SUNPOWER, 1 800 786 769
Fax: +61 (08) 94775899
or on the web: www.sunpowercorp.com.au/
SunTech are currently the biggest panel manufacturer in the world. Of all the Chinese
brands it is arguably the most reputable. Their panels have a 5 year product warranty
and the usual 25 year power warranty. We sold significant quantities of them
since they were outstanding value for money in 2008 and early 2010.
With the great value for money came shortages in supply, SunTech could not make their
panels fast enough to keep up with demand. As a result Solar Designs purchased
SunTech panels from several different wholesalers. If you have any issues with your
panels and need to know please ask us and we can look up which panel was
supplied by who.
SunTech also has an Australian subsidiary with the following contact details:
82-86 Bay Street
Botany NSW 2019, Australia
Tel: +61 (2) 9695 8180
Fax: +61 (2) 9316 5270
For customer service they give the following (overseas) details:
Asia/Pacific, Middle East, and Africa Customer Service
SolarWorld is a major German PV company, with most panels sold here in Australia
assembled in South Korea. We started selling them in 2010 when they became a great
value for money product. Their product warranty is 5 years, their performance
guarantee 25 years.
SolarWorld panels are imported into Australia
Bosch is a well known German company, active in a variety of areas. Their solar
panels are imported by SolarMatrix. All the panels we
supplied came from Bosch's German manufacturing plant. The high quality of the Bosch
products is backed up by the manufacturer through a 10 year product warranty and a
25 year performance warranty.
Webel panels have a 2 year manufacturers warranty on materials and workmanship as
well as a 25 year warranty on output. SunGrid, the
wholesaler/importer has extended the product warranty to 5 years.
According to the Trade Practices Act 1974 (now renamed the Competition and
Consumer Act 2010), the responsibility that a product is of 'merchantable quality'
lies with the manufacturer. In case the manufacturer does not have a
representative in Australia the importer will be liable.
Solar Designs did not import any inverters or panels, we bought from local
wholesalers who in turn were the importers. While we encourage our customers
to use Solar Designs as a go between in case of any problems with the products
we supplied, ultimately the buck stops with those wholesalers (some of which are the
Australian subsidiary of the manufacturer). Their contact details
are given below.
SolarMatrix is an importer of top quality German brand name PV components. Many of
the SMA inverters and all Kaco inverters and Bosch and SolarWorld panels supplied by
Solar Designs were sourced through them.
As a wholesaler they don't usually deal with end customers. But in the unlikely case
that you don't get a timely reply from Solar Designs to a warranty issue involving
Kaco, Bosch or SolarWorld you can try contacting them (beware, they are very busy
most of the time, please only approach them in case of an genuine warranty problem
with one of those specific brands and give them a few days to get back to you).
Their contact details are:
Solarmatrix Pty Ltd
6/4 Whyalla Street
Western Australia 6155
Phone: +61 8 9457 4341
Fax: +61 8 9354 9479
SunGrid started as an importer/wholesaler of good value solar panels and inverters.
They soon moved on to supply their own range of SunGrid branded panels. SunGrid
supplied SolarDesigns in 2008 with Webel panels and with SunTech panels.
As a wholesaler/importer they don't usually deal with end customers. But in the
unlikely case that you don't get a timely reply from Solar Designs to a warranty
issue involving Webel panels you can try contacting them.
Their contact details are:
SunGrid Pty Ltd
Level 1, 4 Bannister Street
Fremantle WA 6160
Post Office Box 321
Fremantle WA 6959
Tel: +61 8 9430 5179
Fax: +61 8 9433 2858