According to a recent report on 9 News Adelaide, there has been a rise in the number of unscrupulous solar retailers looking to make a fast buck and leaving customers high and dry when they go out of business.
With high electricity prices and some great government incentives, it has never been a better time to install solar – but how do you avoid the cowboys and pick a reputable solar retailer? Here are our 5 tips to choosing the right solar retailer for you.
- Check to see if the retailer is a Clean Energy Council (CEC) Approved Retailer. All CEC Approved Retailers have demonstrated their commitment to responsible sales and marketing activities and solar industry best practice; and agree to adhere the Clean Energy Council’s Solar Retailer Code of Conduct, which is authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Some of the main requirements of the code include:
- Ensuring that sales representatives act ethically at all times
- Not engaging in any dishonest or misleading advertising or sales tactics
- Upholding consumers’ legal rights relating to cooling-off periods and refunds
- Providing a minimum five-year warranty covering the operation and performance of the entire PV system
- Providing consumers with all required documentation after the PV system is installed
- Having a fair and transparent complaints process
- Adhering to all existing legislation and regulations
- Complying with all code administration, compliance arrangements and breach of code procedures, including payment of an annual fee
- Do your research on the company. How long has the business been around for and what are customers saying about the service they were provided? A company that has been around a long time is generally doing something right; and you can easily verify that by checking out customer reviews on their website and/or Facebook page, Google and comparison sites. You have reason to be suspicious if the company has no reviews displayed or ALL of them are glowing recommendations. Reading great reviews is reassuring but don’t immediately discount a business because they have a few adverse comments (depending on what they are of course!). You want to have confidence that if a problem does occur, the business will do the right thing and fix any issues in a timely, professional manner.
- What is the price? Selecting a solar system for your home or business on price alone is never a wise decision. As the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. Your system will perform better over the long-term if you choose high quality brands with substantial warranty periods installed by a long-standing company with fully qualified installers.Of course, you don’t want to be paying too much either, so it is always a good idea to shop around and get a few quotes; but make sure you are comparing apples with apples. Check if the price you have been quoted is all-inclusive – you don’t want to be stung with some additional, unexpected costs come installation time.
- Has the company won any awards? This can be a great indication of how well a business is perceived by its industry peers – giving you peace of mind that you are partnering with a highly skilled, experienced team that know how to deliver projects ranging in size and complexity. A company that “thinks outside of the box” is not going to provide you with a standard ‘off the shelf’ solar system, but a bespoke solution that exactly matches your requirements and maximises your return on investment.
- Avoid being sold to. That might sound a bit strange given that you are looking to buy a solar system but be wary of the “hard sell”. A good solar consultant should firstly not just send you a quote but invest the time to come and see you and then take the time to get to know you, understand your energy usage and site specifics; and recommend a system right for you – not their wallet. You should feel completely confident that you understand how the system will work and the benefits it will offer.