Western Australian Solar Buyers beware of the old saying “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is….”
We often receive phone calls from distressed consumers whose Solar PV systems have failed and the company that sold them to them has disappeared or closed its West Australian office. Imagine the stress of spending thousands of dollars to be left with a system that doesn’t work. Unfortunately, you would be surprised how often this happens.
It seems that more and more eastern states companies are taking out large ads in our WA newspapers using misleading language and dodgy sales tactics.
Things to look out for when shopping for your Solar Panels:
- “German Brand Panels’’ means nothing, it’s very likely these panels are made in China and just have a German-sounding name. Unless the advertising states “Made in Germany” expect them to be made elsewhere.
- Companies claiming their panels are “Tier 1” but not giving you a brand name and information to back it up. This is a common tactic as there is no definitive list of Tier 1 panels and companies rate the tiers differently. Do your research before you buy.
- Claiming a local, physical address in WA when in actual fact the address is just a serviced office with no showroom. Such companies are notorious for vacating and shutting shop at any time. It’s easy to hire a serviced office in Perth then re-direct the calls to over east or overseas. Consumers are left believing they are dealing with a local company but they are really they are based over east or overseas. Getting any decent service is often very difficult with these companies, again make sure you do your research.
- Claiming that they arrange an STC rebate of 50% when the reality is the STC’s pay for around 30% of the total cost. The STC price is the same for everybody and companies that claim any difference are using smoke and mirror tactics.
- Offering free solar systems supplied & installed via a Power Purchase Agreement. That is, the Client pays for the electricity the system makes. In reality, you end up being locked into a 20-year contract leaving consumers paying for their systems 4 times over.
- Promoting inverter brands from manufacturers that are no longer in business. Often companies buy up discontinued and obsolete stock, that’s fine as long as the manufacturer is still in business. However recently we saw one company advertising inverters for a company that’s gone broke. Good luck getting a warranty claim on that one…
Here’s an example:
So Western Australian Solar Buyers beware of the old saying “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is….”
Buying Solar should be a carefully considered decision. A quality solar panel system generally will give a hassle-free performance for over 20 years. A poor quality system can fail in less than 5 years and could even catch fire and cause major damage.
Top tips for buying Solar
- Stick with a local Solar company where the owner lives in Perth and works in the business. You never know when you will need his help.
- Do your research! It’s so easy nowadays… Google the inverter brand/model, the panel brand/model, and the company that’s selling and installing the system. There are many review and forum sites that will help you get the full picture.
- Choose a company that is an “Approved Clean Energy Council Retailer” as they have been through a stringent application process and are signatories to the “Clean Energy Council Code of Conduct”.
- Ask for references. Jobs that have been done in your area then check them, most people are more than happy to share their experiences.