The failed module manufacturer QSolar used fake TÜV SÜD certificates on some its products, PV Tech has learned.
On Thursday, the company’s interim, court-appointed board will resign having determined that the Canadian-listed company has no future.
A bank of complaints from customers has been developing. One customer who contacted PV Tech shared photos of a TÜV SÜD kite mark on the back of a badly degraded 175W module branded QSolar, and carrying a Calgary address.
TÜV SÜD confirmed that the model in the photo had never been certified telling PV Tech in a statement: “Our internal research has shown that QSolar had one certification which was declared invalid in April 2014. Within this certification there was no product QS 175 Rainbow and no model with an indicated performance of 175W. Furthermore certification owner was QSolar Photovoltaic in Shanghai. An address in Calgary, Alberta, Canada never owned a certification. This means that the TÜV SÜD certification mark on the panel is faked.”
After selling off his own shares, CEO Andres Tapakoudes claimed to be putting the money back into the company, according to a corporate update issued in February 2015. The effect was a dive in the company’s share price. The same statement then went on to say cash from Tapakoudes was “not assured”, constituting a "material uncertainty" as to the company's ability to continue as a going concern.
The statement also said in addition to seeking new sources of equity to enable the company to continue operating, QSolar management had been focused on "obtaining TÜV SÜD and UL certification”. UL currently has no certificates listed for QSolar.
QSolar's share price was just under CA$1.00 in May 2014, around CA$0.20 in January 2015 and less than CA$0.05 in March when trading was halted.
Shortly after, Tapakoudes, along with CFO Preston Maddin and the rest of the board, resigned without issuing a press release, in breach of Canadian securities rules.
Last month Tapakoudes incorporated a new company in the UK called Aktinium Technologies Limited. PV Tech attempted to contact Tapakoudes via two recently listed mobile phone numbers but was unsuccessful.
The court-appointed board has also failed to have any contact with any of the QSolar’s former management.
Bill MacDonald, one of the court-appointed directors looking to salvage something from the company for its shareholders, said the previous management left just three boxes of paperwork for two years' worth of company activity.
“The logical operation from the former board and management is a huge impediment from us trying to conduct normal due diligence,” MacDonald told PV Tech. “The fact there was no information to conduct due diligence on leaves you to think the worst.”