Sibert shutters solar business amid ‘bad debt’ and ‘poor customer payments’

Sibert Instruments has confirmed it will shutter its solar wholesale division Sibert Solar from 31 March 2018.

The distributor, which has been a longstanding distributor of solar PV equipment for the UK sector, confirmed the closure in a statement sent to customers, signed by managing director David Gardner, earlier this week.

It squared the closure with the fact that recent years had been “very challenging financially”, adding that its “excellent” supplier partnerships had not been enough to offset falling demand and slimmer margins.

But Sibert also referenced “bad debt and continuing poor customer payments” as having been contributory factors to the decision, an issue which has become prominent in the solar industry following a long list of installers and developers to have collapsed following cuts to subsidies stemming from 2015.

Only when Lark Energy collapsed last year did it become known that the entity owed nearly £20 million to more than 200 separate trade creditors, while prominent installers like Your Group and Mark Group have left trails of trade debt after their respective collapses.

Sibert will, however, continue to support the company’s range of LED displays as well as the Myenergi range of electric vehicle charging points moving forward.

There will also be continuing support for its sales of Solar-Log solar monitoring units, manufactured by Germany-based Solare Datensysteme and sold in the UK by Sibert Solar, which is to be led by Sibert stalwart Andy O’Leary.

The newly-formed Sibert Solar will act as Solare Satensysteme’s technical, service and support representative with a view to working as a trading partner in the near future. The company will also look to provide independent project consultancy activities, on-site monitoring and control commissioning while also dedicating itself to continuing the supply and support of Sibert Solar’s export management system.

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, O’Leary said he was pleased to be able to continue within the industry.

“I have been humbled by the response from the industry, which has been extremely positive and supportive, now that we have been able to share details of the situation and plans, and I am looking forward to finding out what the future holds in store,” he said.

Sibert said a period of transition would continue into April, adding that it hoped to assist O’Leary in “certain areas” moving forward.