Another ABN, another Solar Cowboy!
April – June 2018 – 57,351 installations.
April – June 2019 – 70,238 installations
Supply and demand – The Home Insulation Program
“The reality is that the Australian government conceived of, devised, designed and implemented a program that enabled very large numbers of inexperienced workers — often engaged by unscrupulous and avaricious employers or head contractors, who were themselves inexperienced in insulation installation — to undertake potentially dangerous work,” the commissioner wrote.
The Solar Industry hasn’t learnt much..
In 2018, 3,678 systems were inspected. Of these:
- 2,850 (77.5%) were assessed as compliant.
- 748 (20.3%) were assessed as substandard.
- 80 systems (2.2%) were assessed as unsafe.
You don’t need to be an electrical contractor with any solar experience to own a solar company..
In QLD, the company selling you your solar system does not need to hold an electrical contractors license. This means that your solar system could be designed by someone who not only has never installed a solar system but has never been on a roof before in their life! The cascading impacts of this can be horrific. If your solar system is designed by an inexperienced individual working for a sales company the following can become very costly :
- Sub contractor/installer doesn’t care – Unfortunately the solar sales companies selling these systems work off very small margins, meaning the solar panel installer is paid very little by the sales company. This can result in very poor workmanship and a sub standard installation. Majority of the time you’ll end up paying twice!
- Over promising amount solar panels – Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between designing a solar panel system from a desk using satellite software and actually measuring up a roof in reality. This mistake partnered up with a sub contractor/installer not caring can result in 18 panels being installed when you’ve paid for 22. The worst part is, you’ll never know unless you get up on the roof and count!
- No after sales support – Sales companies are renowned for low margins and a high turnover of sales. As you could imagine, there is no incentive for taking care of their previous sales. Try and call a ‘sales office’ for support and you’ll be left in the dark. I guess you can’t blame them.. they’ve got to put food on the table right?
Summer is coming..
With Summer approaching you really have to steer clear of the cheap ‘bill crusher’ deals you see every day in your facebook feed. The marketing from these solar companies will increase dramatically, just like the number of new ABN’s.
3 key things to look for :
- Does the solar company employ in house CEC accredited electricians or do they sub contract?
- Do they use reputable solar panels and inverters?
- Read their reviews. Hint – Read their worst ones.
The amazing movement towards a renewable energy future isn’t as amazing as it sounds. Just like ‘The Home Insulation Program’ the ‘Solar Panel Rebate Scheme’ is poorly designed and has attracted unqualified, inexperienced and negligent contractors to undertake dangerous work.
I hate to put a negative article out like this as I truly believe that real change occurs when a positive narrative is told but when it is impacting great small businesses who genuinely care about their clients it’s hard not to.
Article by Jye van Waelsden – Managing Director
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