Tindo: Australia’s home-grown solar panel manufacturer

The global solar power industry has seen unprecedented turbulence over the last several years, and Australia is no exception to this. With the rapid expansion of the solar photovoltaic (PV) panel manufacturing base–especially in China–comes fierce competition between the players in a field where 10 years ago there was very little. This increased competition is just one of the factors that has lead to the general malaise plaguing panel manufacturers across the globe, which although a boon to solar PV customers, has resulted in the collapse of a number of manufacturers. This is why Tindo Solar caused a stir when it entered the market with ‘Made in Australia’ solar panels. Tindo Karra 240 solar panels have been available on the market since January 2012.

What is special about Tindo’s solar panels?

An Australian solar panel manufacturer

Australia is home to one of the world’s most widely recognised solar PV research centres: UNSW’s Photovoltaic Engineering faculty. This is where the seeds for the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels–Suntech–were planted. It is also a hub for ongoing development of solar technologies. Despite this, nearly all solar panels available on the Australian market are manufactured overseas. Given Australia’s relatively small manufacturing base, this state of affairs may be inevitable, but it does not prevent shoppers from favouring a ‘Made in Australia’ label where one can be found. This is perhaps why news of Tindo’s emergence is causing such a buzz.

Supporting its home-grown image, Tindo’s name comes from the Kaurna Aboriginal language–the language of traditional inhabitants of the Adelaide plains, where the company’s manufacturing plant is located–and means ‘sun’. The name of the company’s first panel line–the Karra 240–gets its etymology from the Kaurna word for ‘sky’ or ‘heaven’.

Hand-selected solar system installers

The company prides itself in its commitment to more than just turning a profit, and hopes to appeal to customers who share a similar mindset. Tindo has hand-selected the installers who will install their panels based on their credibility, ethics, and motivations, hoping to build a great reputation through association with quality installations and excellent customer service. As community engagement is one of the qualities that Tindo requires in its installers, almost all of those selected are small businesses who similarly rely on their reputations and word of mouth to promote their businesses and grow their customer bases.

Solar panels that produce grid-compatible AC electricity

Most solar panels produce Direct Current (DC) electricity, which needs to be converted to 240-volt Alternating Current (AC) via a solar inverter in order for it to be compatible with the electricity grid and to be used by home electrical appliances. Most solar systems have centralised inverters into which all solar panels in a system feed. In such conventional systems, if there are variations in electrical output among panels in an individual string, the output of the whole of the array can suffer.

Tindo panels, on the other hand, each come equipped with micro-inverters made by Enecsys. These inverters allow each panel to function individually, converting DC to AC on the module level. This means that entire strings or arrays will not suffer dramatic output losses in the event of the failure or shading of an individual panel; this increases the yield of a system over its lifetime. Although inverters for each panel may mean a higher upfront cost for the panels themselves, decreased installation labour costs, and the elimination of the need for a central inverter offset much of the upfront cost of a whole system. Additionally, improved yields over the life of the system thanks to the micro-inverter technology make micro-inverter equipped panels a wise investment decision.

Enecsys Micro-Inverters for Tindo Panels--How they work

Enecsys Micro-Inverters for Tindo Panels–One panel failure does not bring down the whole array. (Image via Enecsys)

In addition to the obvious benefit of circumventing the need for a central inverter (often the most expensive individual part of a solar PV system), Enecsys micro-inverters offer a number of other potential benefits, including improved safety (avoidance of ‘arcing’ across strings of panels, for example), enhanced monitoring capability (the performance of each module can be tracked on a smartphone or a PC individually), and simplified system design and installation (no need to worry about matching panel wattage on strings or what the acceptable central inverter input voltage is).

(SolarEdge, as discussed previously, is a  technology similar to that used in Tindo panels, except that DC electricity is harnessed from each individual panel before all being centrally converted to AC in an centralised inverter. While still advantageous in terms of mitigation of output loss due to partial shading, SolarEdge does not afford the same safety features as the Enecsys micro-inverters used by Tindo.)

High-quality components make a high-quality panel

Tindo’s panels are technically engineered and made in Australia, but the overseas-sourced parts that comprise them are what make their products noteworthy. The company has elected to take a synergistic approach to its products, carefully forming partnerships with reputable manufacturers in order to produce whole panels whose quality is greater than the sum of their parts. Tindo panels boast Q-Cells solar cells, Bridgestone EVAsky encapsulant, Dow Corning edge seals, DuPont backsheets, Saint Gobain glass, Enecsys micro-inverters, and FPE junction boxes.

Where can I get Tindo Solar Panels?

As noted above, only around 60 installers who have been hand-selected by Tindo will be using their panels in installations. A number of these installers may be members of the Solar Choice installer network. If you are interested in Tindo solar panels, fill out the Solar Quote Comparison Request form to the right of this page to see if any Solar Choice Network installers in your area offer a Tindo option in their installations.

Resources and Links

Tindo Solar Karra-240 Brochure (pdf)

© 2011 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Top image via Tindo Solar

James Martin II

Contributor at Solar Choice
James was Solar Choice's primary writer & researcher between 2010 and 2018.

He is now the communications manager for energy technology startup SwitchDin, but remains an occasional contributor to the Solar Choice blog.

James lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
James Martin II

Comments

  1. Hi there, My company uses a lot of solar panels along its remote radio repeater stations. We have Kyocera panels, BP Solar and Suntech panels. However, the major problem we have is vandalism and theft. I’d like to know whether you are looking at addressing solar panel theft. For security purposes, we asked for manufacturers to imprint company logos and colours on the solar panels or mounted the whole array structure high on the communication towers but all were stolen so pls see if you can address the theft issue, then I might come back to Tindo Solar Power.

    Thanks

    Wesley

    1. Hi Ron,

      I should point out that this is an article about Tindo Solar–Solar Choice is not affiliated with Tindo, nor are we a dealer of their products. However, because we are a broker, it is possible that some of the installers in our network may offer a Tindo option. If you’re interested in finding out whether/which installers in our network offer Tindo products in Sydney, the best way to do this is to fill out the Solar Quote Comparison request form to the right of this page.

      Best of luck!

  2. Please tell me the price of your panels as compared to the many that are available , are they suitable for Tasmanian conditions ? and can i insist that my installer use your product in his Quote.
    With thanks
    Don

    1. Hi Don,

      Tindo panels tend to be a bit more expensive than other panels because of the in-built microinverters, but they are a good panel. They should perform just fine in Tasmanian conditions.

      If you fill out the Quote Comparison Request form to the right of this page you can initiate a dialogue with one of our brokers, who would be happy to check into Tindo options in Tasmania for you. Alternatively, give us a ring on 1300 78 72 73.

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