Solar inverter manufacturer ABB and the Italian company about to take over its solar inverter operations – Firmer – have responded to an open letter published by the U.K. Solar Trade Association (STA) which was critical of ABB’s products and customer service record.
The U.K. trade body voiced the fears of some of its members that the impending takeover of ABB’s inverter business by Fimer would make enforcing warranty claims more difficult and remarked on what members described as poor customer service to date.
ABB issued the following statement to pv magazine:
Taking reference to the previous publication regarding the open letter sent by Mr Chris Hewett, CEO of the solar trade association [sic] on September 1st.
“ABB regrets any inconvenience which might have affected certain customers. We can confirm that we have already taken the necessary steps to ensure that this situation is properly managed and that we are already in close contact with all affected customers to resolve any pending matters. We are currently reviewing our entire service network in the U.K. for solar inverters, with the intention to better serve our customers.
“Regarding the comprehensive transfer of the solar business, we would like to emphasize that FIMER, a long-respected manufacturer of solar solutions, does share ABB’s commitment to innovation, quality and customer service. As a result of this transfer, the high level of service engagement that ABB is committed to will be retained in the future under FIMER. Indeed, the transaction framework of the deal includes assurances that FIMER will honor existing commitments and warranty obligations to ABB customers in the solar inverter industry.”
Fimer told pv magazine the company cannot take charge of any issues raised by the STA until the transfer of the inverter business has been concluded.
CEO Filippo Carzaniga pointed out the company had been informed about complaints made by U.K. customers about ABB inverters during negotiation of the sale of the inverter business. The Fimer boss said his company has “proactively studied and implemented a solution” to the issue, which will be applied with completion of the handover.
“As already communicated through the press releases [which announced the planned acquisition] and the direct communications to the customers made by ABB in the past weeks, Fimer will take charge of all warranties and liabilities in continuity with the activity already implemented by ABB, regarding the installed base affected by technical issues,” Carzaniga stated.
The statement released in July to announce the sale of ABB’s inverter business revealed the vendor had agreed to pay Fimer $430 million over six years to cover warranty risks and other liabilities. Without revealing the value of the overall deal, ABB also said it expected to incur up to $40 million in separation costs from the transaction.