The right way to Discover the Finest Solar Installer in Australia
So how do you choose a good, let alone the best, solar installer? In this video, we will provide you with a list of questions to ask yourself before you start.
So let's start with a variation on an old joke. What is the difference between a solar installer and a used car seller? At least a used car salesman knows when what he's selling isn't working.
The solar industry in Australia is not only booming, it also didn't really exist 10 years ago. What has happened lately is that getting started with solar power is seen as a great way to get rich quick. And just like with the Pink Bat program over the past decade, there are many people who want to make quick money with solar with no concept or even interest in whether what they are doing is right for a customer.
Believe it or not, the solar installer and solar retail industries are almost completely unregulated and pretty much anyone can start a solar business overnight. All it really takes is an eye-catching website, some nifty sales pitches, and a bunch of product logos.
You will see that in general, the newer and less experienced you are, the more likely you are to become Australia's leading solar / number one company. Solar installation for over 10 years of guaranteed performance, industry leading warranties, 20 years of combined experience, personalized system design and quotation and so on and so on. In fact, any claims that real, reputable, dedicated solar companies could make can be.
So how do you tell them apart? Before we answer that, let's start with some basic facts that everyone should know before buying solar power. A recent review by the Australian National Audit Office, ANAO, found that one in six solar systems was non-standard and additional reports showed that 30% of customers reported problems with their solar company.
Even the Clean Energy Council recently found that an incredible one in five solar systems is defective or defective. Worse, New South Wales Fire and Rescue put out 30 house fires in a three month period last year alone. Everything caused by non-compliant solar systems. The scary part is that not all seedy installations use cheap products. Even the best products that are poorly installed cannot work or, in the worst case, pose a fire risk.
In addition, solar technology has changed so rapidly in the past five years. Planning, installing and managing an intelligent solar system today requires more than just a good electrician.
So what should you look for in an installer? There is a lot of stuff on the internet about that. All of this, of course, promotes the legitimate interest. But in our experience, there are five main areas to look at.
One, licensing and accreditation. Second, what is the installer's business focus? Three, experience and track record. Fourth, reputation and customer feedback. Finally, what if something goes wrong? I will talk about each of these points as they can help you make up your mind. I'm not going to talk about Solaray and how we use it until the end of the video, but please watch the end to find out.
So let's look at licensing and accreditation. This may sound simple, but believe it or not, there are many, many companies selling solar and storage systems that didn't even have a license to do so.
In all states of Australia, anyone, person or company that sells solar energy must have a contractor license from Fair Trading in New South Wales Energy Saving Victoria, Electrical Safety Office in Queensland, etc.
If you buy a solar system from an unlicensed person or company, you may not be legally covered for any warranty or damage, including fire. Maybe even from your own insurance company or if they just take your money and run. This is the first thing to check. Oh, and watch out for traders who claim they are operating under someone else's license, this is illegal and does not offer you any protection at all. All government licensing agencies have an online search that you can use to review licenses. So make sure you do this first.
Also, watch out for customers that solar systems are installed by a CEC-accredited installer. This is irrelevant as all solar systems must be signed off by a CEC-accredited installer in order to claim the discount. It has nothing to do with quality or competence. There are good CEC accredited plumbers, bad, cheap, great. And those who got their accreditation last week. Not to mention those who sign off an installation without visiting the site.
The CEC accreditation, too, rightly focuses on the correct installation standards and not just on the overall technology. So even a great CEC accredited installer is only a small part of what it takes to have a well-functioning solar system. So you can largely ignore this.
There is also a Clean Energy Council program called the Approved Solar Retailer Program. At the very least, you should only buy a solar system from someone who is on this program as it requires some very basic quality standards and consumer protection.
Unfortunately, while this program is a good step in the right direction, it is only a small step as it is quite easy to join this program with no guarantee of experience or quality. However, it is currently the only one of its kind. So be an important part of your decision making. Likewise, your installers should be members of the Clean Energy Council, Smart Energy Council, etc.
So let's talk about business focus. Solar and storage technology today is compared to about five years ago, like a modern smartphone with an old wall phone. Today's systems are all connected to the internet, usually have great software to help you manage your household energy, and often with the ability to configure your solar and storage capacity along with your usage and yourself Optimize your lifestyle.
It is therefore important to ensure that the solar company you choose has experience and skills in today's technology. Not just how to install it, but also how to configure it to solve any software and technology problems that may arise. And most importantly: manage it long into the future. Gone are the days when only a good electrician was required to plan and install a solar system.
Nowadays, an intelligent solar system requires far more than just installing the products themselves. Don't get me wrong now. All solar systems need good, if not great, electricians with extensive experience in solar and storage, of course they do. It's just that the installation itself is smaller today, although it's a very important part of the whole process. So, choose a solar and storage company that not only has solar and storage experience, but also has the technical skills and support staff to ensure that your system is not only properly installed, but also also works over the entire service life.
Experience and track record. There is a lot more to reviewing your business experience than just looking at customer reviews, more about customer reviews in a minute. So be sure to look to the end. But first, why are experience and a track record so important?
Well there are a couple of reasons. First, as we just talked, today's solar and storage products are highly complex and a lot can go wrong.
Second, all solar and storage products come with long warranties and are only as good as the company you buy them from. A company that has been around for about 10 years or more does not mean that it will be around 10 more years. It's at least a much safer bet that started in the last year or so. And jump to the next quick opportunity to get rich.
Third, there are many, many mistakes to be made with solar before you can claim to be good at it. Let alone the best. Trust me we made them all. One of the many hundreds of important lessons we have learned over the years is what to do and how much it costs to support the systems we sell over a long period of time.
Most, if not all, of the new solar companies believe they are installing a system and that is the last thing they have to do with a customer. Only a few years later do they calculate the actual costs and, unfortunately, often they cannot afford it. And that's the last thing we and your customers have here from you.
So check out the details of this company on ASIC, a simple online search. Check their GST registration on ents.business.gov.au and see how far back the search results are on Google. You should be able to see all of the comments and ratings that were made years ago for most companies.
Also, look out for new companies with claims of 20 or 50 years of combined experience and so on. As well as companies that have an old trade name but a new company registration.
So let's talk about reputation and customer feedback. You should always check a company's ratings and reputation before making a purchase. This can be difficult, however, as the internet now thrives on customer reviews and many internet companies make a lot of money from reviews.
The way it works is that nowadays reviews are usually placed or hosted on websites that do not belong to the provider of the goods or services. This makes sense because companies in all industries have often been caught giving glowing, false reviews of themselves. So while you have to read reviews, here are some things to keep in mind. Google reviews are often reliable, but there is nothing stopping competitors from leaving negative reviews on their competitors' pages as there is no validation process.
Also, watch out for review sites that advertise on their review sites. We have been told by some review sites that by spending money on advertising with them, you can remove bad reviews. Not exactly an independent service.
Also, look out for review sites where they make their money collecting your data and selling that data to others. For example, you can get free quotes. If you are making money with the reviewed companies, there is a strong conflict of interest and that interest, by definition, cannot be that of you, the customer.
So, look for reviews on websites that have the reviews validated and the website that hosts the reviews is not making money on the reviews. We know it's almost impossible, but we live in hope.
After all, never buy from a company that doesn't have negative reviews. If the company is good and really tries to take care of their customers, they will make mistakes. Make sure there are only a handful of negative reviews, not many, but watch out for the ones that seem perfect.
What leads us to what happens when something goes wrong? Once you've gone through all of the above, you need to know what happens when something goes wrong. Remember that nobody and no company is perfect and mistakes happen.
Also, every now and then, products fail less because of the good ones, but it still happens. So make sure you ask questions like, “Who do I call if there is a problem? Is it just the general number? Are you in debt Do you have dedicated support staff? Do you use call centers? And if so, where are they physically? Do you have an IT system that tracks and manages all customer service issues? And can I get reports about it? "
You can also ask for the name of the customer service or support manager and look them up on LinkedIn to gauge their experience. Of course, these questions will usually give you acceptable answers. So just keep an eye out for smooth answers. You really need to trust your gut instinct.
So, these are the top five things we think everyone should look for when choosing a solar and storage provider. So let me use a few more seconds of your time to compare us, Solaray Energy, with these criteria.
One, licensing and accreditation. We are fully licensed in every state in which we operate. It goes without saying that we are a member of all important industrial groups. We are a CEC certified solar retailer and we are committed to the long term ethics and growth of our industry.
Two, business focus. Solaray has focused almost entirely on smart solar and storage solutions for the past 10 or more years. And we believe we have the industry-leading expertise in technologically advanced solar and storage systems. The company was founded in the decade before last by experienced IT and technology experts.
And over the years we have invested a lot of money and time in our support and service, not just in sales and installation. We installed tens of thousands of systems and are all still servicing today.
And we've been named Best Installer of the Year by two of the best suppliers in the industry, LG and Enphase, each year for the past five years. And believe me, we have to work really hard for our customers to make that happen.
Experience and track record. I want to say that our track record speaks for itself. So please go and see for yourself. We have developed practical technical and support know-how for all important solar and storage technology platforms. So we know what works well, what only works and which narrow-minded opinion doesn't work at all. This know-how is applied to our current, past and future customers.
Reputation and customer feedback. After doing what we've been doing for so long, we have a good reputation. Check our reviews. The main independent website we use is Trustpilot. You will see that our words and promises are underpinned by our actions and what happens when something goes wrong. So we can't promise you that nothing will go wrong when you buy from us, but we can promise you that it rarely happens. And if we do, we'll do everything we can to get it right. A promise that we have been keeping for many, many years.
I hope all of this helped. Of course, when you've made the decision to invest in a solar and storage system, there is a whole lot of information you need to consider by reviewing these five key areas and asking the right questions to protect yourself from disasters.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help.