NSW solar industry in “massive trouble” as Perth-based hot water firm hit with payment demand from note holders

ASX-listed developer of solar hot water technology Intelligent Solar is in trouble after it announced yesterday it had received a notice of default from a trustee acting on behalf of convertible note holders which requires immediate repayment.

The news came days after new figures showed that a large number of solar panels installed in New South Wales are faulty – only 20% of 658 households surveyed had correctly installed panels, with 18.5% containing major faults.

New South Wales installers say a lack of Government support and the new audit figures are creating a pessimistic atmosphere that is causing people to stay away from solar.

“The industry is in massive trouble right now,” says Carbon Management Solutions co-founder Amber Ferguson.

“We haven’t sold a system in NSW in three months. We are coming to work every day and are hearing about other companies that are going under. We’re extremely frustrated.”

Ferguson says the lack of Government support is having a negative impact on the firm, which ranked first in last year’s Smart5.

The NSW Government removed financial incentives for people installing solar panels. Previously a feed-in tariff meant home owners were paid 60c for every kilowatt of solar power they generated.

Ferguson says that lack of policy makes installers wary about selling systems because customers who buy them may miss out on future benefits.

“We can’t sell systems to customers if we don’t know how much money they’re going to be making from them,” she says.

Ferguson says her company installs 20 systems a day but that work is drying up in NSW.

She says while other states can offer installers feed-in tariffs the lack of consistency in NSW policy is hurting providers.

“We’re spending a lot of time and money investing in these audits the industry body is asking us to participate in and that’s fine, but if you’re going to force companies to go bankrupt and not give them any policy it’s extremely frustrating,” she says.

The NSW crisis comes as a number of solar companies around Australia are in trouble.

Perth-based Intelligent Solar announced yesterday that it would be requesting a trading halt after receiving a notice of default from Beath Investment Services, the trustee acting on behalf of several convertible note holders.

The company is talking to its finance providers, is discussing the matter with BIS and is set to “review alternative capital raising prospects”.

Intelligent Solar was contacted this morning, but phones were diverted to major shareholder PPK. A spokesperson was not available to comment prior to publication.

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