Seven questions to ask when choosing a rooftop solar retailer
Interested in rooftop solar? These questions will help you choose a reliable solar retailer.
Australia may lead the world in the uptake of domestic rooftop solar, with an estimated one in four homes equipped with PV panels, but authorities fear as many as 400,000 installations could be sub-standard and that 40,000-plus systems may be unsafe.
Federal energy minister Angus Taylor has asked the Clean Energy Regulator to investigate the rooftop solar industry after two investigations by ABC TV’s 7.30 program revealed widespread defective solar installations, pushy sales tactics and other suspect practices.
So how can consumers ensure they’re buying a safe and efficient solar system from a trustworthy retailer? It’s important to ask the right questions, says RACV Solar CEO Andy McCarthy.
Seven questions you should ask your solar retailer before you commit
Has the solar company been around long?
To avoid fly-by-night operators, Andy recommends finding out how long the company has been in business, which is an indication of commitment to quality and long-term customer care.
He says there are many “orphaned” solar systems, where the company that sold or installed the system is no longer around, leaving customers without support.
The number of systems a company has installed also gives an indication of expertise, but some smaller firms with less volume also provide great workmanship and shouldn’t be discounted, he says.
Andy suggests asking the company for a few customers you can talk to, researching online reviews or getting recommendations from trusted friends.
Are they a Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved solar retailer?
If an offer sounds too good to be true or if a solar retailer gives you the hard sell, it should ring alarm bells.
To avoid scammers, make sure the company is approved by the Clean Energy Council. This means they must adhere to a code of conduct, which sets out ethical sales and marketing activities and solar-industry best practice. The CEC warns to beware of high-pressure sales, telemarketing and door-knocking.
CEC-approved retailers also use specially trained, CEC-accredited designers and installers, rather than unqualified labourers. They also use CEC-approved components and provide a minimum five-year workmanship warranty or longer.