It’s True – One In Four Solar Installations Really Are Faulty

It was all across the News Corp press headlines this morning – Daily Telegraph, Courier Mail, Herald Sun and others including front page leaders:

One In Four Solar Installations Are Faulty!

So here’s something that we never thought we would say – we actually AGREE with a lot of the content of this article… I know, I know.

But they raise a number of really good points (with, of course, the usual inaccuracies and sensationalist statements, but more on that later).

Their key points are:

  • The Clean Energy Regulator has found that a whopping 22.5% of solar installations are unsafe or sub-standard;
  • Non-licensed installers are installing solar systems
  • Accredited products are being substituted for poor quality, unapproved products
  • Solar Retailers trying to fob off warranty and quality claims to third parties.

Unfortunately, we see this happening all the time.

Here are the basic reasons:

A good quality solar system of say 6kW from a reputable solar supplier starts at a little over $5,000 and can go as high as around $10,000 for a high-end system.

So if a 6kW system is sold for $4,000, $3,000 or even as low as $2,500, then something has to give – and believe me, we don’t make thousands on each solar system, so it’s not a discount. The market is absolutely awash with these cheap systems at the moment, as you will often see if you are searching for solar prices online:

There are only two areas a solar company can really reduce costs.

 1. Cheap Solar Products

One is to use cheap products, whether they be the panels, the inverters, mounting hardware or the rest of the equipment needed for it to work. And yes, the panels will almost always be sold as “Tier 1” or the inverters will be “Designed in Germany” and so on.

But most of this is just marketing rubbish (including using the term Tier 1 for a residential system when it is only relevant to a large scale solar farms). Also, you would be surprised how much money a cheap installer can save by using sub-standard or below spec cabling or isolators, for example – which can really lead to problems later on:

Water Damaged Solar Panel


 2. A Cheap Solar Installation

The only other way to keep the cost down is to pay less for the actual installation or to do the installation in less time than is needed. This is where we see huge problems (and there are many social media sites dedicated to highlighting these – search for Crap Solar on Facebook for example).

The result of cheap installations and/or cheap system components is that often systems won’t work the way they should, or don’t work at all – and sadly we get dozens of phone calls for help each week from consumers who have thought they were getting a good deal only to face huge remediation costs (and guess what, most of the time their original installer just won’t answer the phone or won’t fix it if they do).

It therefore comes as no surprise to us that more than 20% of solar installations aren’t passing the CER inspection – if anything we believe that as the systems installed over the last 4 or 5 years get older, this number is likely to dramatically increase.

Solaray Leading The Charge Against Cheap Solar

It’s great to see that the message is getting out. Cheap solar is costing Australian households time and money, plus there is a serious environmental disaster looming because all of these defective panels end up in a landfill.

Solaray is leading the charge against cheap solar, with director Jonathan Fisk featured tonight on 7NEWS Sydney discussing the latest report that an incredible 1 in 4 solar systems are faulty.

If you are thinking about buying solar, do it once and do it right. A good quality system can see a return on your money in as little as 3-5 years.


Don’t Get Stung

Installing a solar power system doesn’t have to be so risky. A good quality solar system from a reputable installer can pay for itself in around 3-5 years and provide a reliable flow of power for your household for over 25 years. In fact, a 5kW solar system can save you over $50,000 on your power bills over the life of the system, so it makes good financial sense to pay a little bit more upfront to ensure long term performance and reliability.

Good quality solar panels such as the LG NeON 2 module have a track record of superb performance in all weather conditions, plus they have a 25-year product warranty ensuring peace of mind for decades.

Choosing a reputable solar power installer is also important. All Solaray installations come with full-service warranties, free technical support and online monitoring so that you can track your system’s performance daily (if you want to). We also include back to base status alerts on our Enphase systems so if something goes wrong we will know about it immediately, which is something our customers really value:

“Today you came and replaced one of my solar panels that you had diagnosed as faulty. I was unaware of the problem but your monitoring of my system is impressive and the level of service you provide is outstanding. I feel very comfortable with your service and already have publicized your commitment to and support of your customers. Thank you for a job very well done.”

The Clean Energy Council also recommends only dealing with Approved Solar Retailers who provide a whole of system warranty and performance outcomes. Approved Solar Retails have all signed a code of conduct that is designed to lift the standards of the solar industry to ensure consumers are protected from the cowboys. Unfortunately, the cowboys are still out there, however it’s never been easier to find a reputable solar installer and to choose a good quality solar system that will be a good fit for your home.

There were, of course, some good old fashioned inaccuracies in the News Corp article this morning, including that the ‘recently released’ CER report is now 8 months old, and that the fraudster that has been convicted is actually a hot water installer, and nothing to do with solar power – but at least the headline was accurate.

Install The Right Solar System For Your Household

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