Commissioner's Blog: Shining a light on solar complaints
As one of the world’s sunniest landscapes, Western Australia is home to a booming rooftop solar industry that shows little sign of slowing down as many households look to address rising power bills and reduce pollution.
More than 400,000 WA homes and businesses, or around 36 per cent of customers, are estimated to have rooftop solar connected to WA's main grid, with that figure predicted to swell to 50 per cent by 2030.
Although there’s a lot to love about this particular renewable, 189 consumers have complained to Consumer Protection in the past two years about issues such as poor quality parts, companies not responding or providing false and misleading information, and installers failing to use due care and skill.
During a recent radio segment we heard from one consumer whose $12,500 rooftop solar system had stopped working not long after the installer went out of business. As we make enquiries to see whether the manufacturer can honour the warranty, it’s a timely reminder for consumers to thoroughly research who they plan to do business with.
Before agreeing to buy a solar PV system, get several quotes for the total cost, search online for independent reviews and make sure your preferred supplier is accredited by searching the Clean Energy Council (CEC) website.
If a supplier’s verbal claims are influencing your decision, make sure to have them included in the written contract and read through all the terms and conditions.
Remember that solar installers are not allowed to use forceful or high pressured sales tactics to get you to buy something, nor can they provide you with false or misleading information. They must also ensure their products and services meet the consumer guarantees.
The system’s electrical components must be installed by a licensed electrician working under a licensed electrical contractor. Ask to see these licences and expect to receive an electrical safety certificate for the work. Our colleagues at Building and Energy can assist if you have any electrical compliance concerns.
For more information or to find out where you should go to make a complaint, check Consumer Protection’s solar factsheet at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/solar-panel-systems-factsheet
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