MEDIA RELEASE: SolarHub supports more integrity and checks in the solar industry
28 May 2019
Last night the 7.30 report ran a story on the solar industry, highlighting the fact that after 10 years of solar boom, a lot of poor-quality equipment still makes its way into Australia and is sold with claims that it is designed to last. The resulting failures of panels and inverters after only a few years leave many consumers out of pocket and with solar equipment going to landfill prematurely.
SolarHub CEO, Benn Masters said “The problem of the cheap system solar industry is that too often poor-quality equipment is sold via slick marketing and cheap pricing, giving consumers a solar system that is at risk of experiencing failure earlier than consumer should rightfully expect.”
“While the poor-quality gear does not present any danger, it sometimes fails much earlier than the lengthy warranties that go with the product would lead you to expect.”
Benn Masters continued “I would not be surprised if the CO2 it takes to make the rails, panels and inverters of cheap quality solar systems is more than what some short lived systems actually generate in clean renewable energy. Therefore, unfortunately it is entirely possible that these poor-quality systems actually contribute to climate change. In such instances, the solar rebate, intended for CO2 abatement, actually is not effective. “
“There is a fundamental flaw in the regulatory regime which allows the solar rebate to be claimed over and over by one household, even after purchases of multiple failing poor quality systems, and we all pay for it.”
“SolarHub and our staff would support discussing a regulatory framework which results in better consumer and environmental outcomes.”
A recent study by the Consumer Action Law Centre Victoria, which also got a mention by the Choice Consumer magazine (link found here) highlighted that around 700 solar installation companies left the industry in less than a decade, leaving hundreds of thousands of unsupported solar systems in their wake.
The owners of such “solar orphans” or “zombie solar systems” (still working – but poorly performing) are often stuck with poor electricity generation and long wait times for warranty repairs, if they actually can find someone willing to repair their solar system.
Solar can make a real difference to electricity bills of Australian businesses and households. Properly installed systems and gear that has been designed to last for decades will maximise environmental abatement outcomes and financial benefits.
SolarHub is concerned that some deceptive practices by some industry operators to maximise profits is being made at the detriment of environmental and consumer outcomes.
In concluding the remarks on improving the regulatory regime and providing tips to consumers looking to maximise environmental outcomes and financial returns Benn Masters said, “In light of the 7:30 Report revealing poor quality issues, I recommend consumers go with an experienced and well regarded local solar specialist to install their solar system. Consumers should do their diligence and avoid installers with patchy or no track record of providing quality service.”