CHOICE membership

Has your solar PV installer or supplier folded and left you without any support for your system?

Thanks for the suggestion @gordon. I have been through their call centre experience. It left me giddy with being passed round and round and round. :dizzy_face:

In our case, the installer/certifyer has vanished and we can’t find any trace of him. He no longer has an electrical licence, or has CEC certification. Nothing. Gone.

When certifying, the installer worked for EM/Flex so all recent legal correspondence was directed at both the installer and the company (Flex).

It took a long time to work my way up the food chain, till for the last few months my correspondence has been directly with Flex/EMs Head of Customer Experience & Solutions and cc-ed to their legal person, so hopefully they remain in place for the time being.

None-the-less the closure of the Energy Matters business is worrying.

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I’m told that some managers are still around, but only until 31/12, so go hard to see if you can get a result before then.

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I’ve been trying to… Really… They just don’t want to accept responsibility for their shoddy work.

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Might be best to shoot something off to the CEC then, and have them try to get some action too.

http://www.solaraccreditation.com.au/consumers/solar-pv-warranties-complaints-and-disputes/dispute-form.html

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I skimmed through the CEC disputes and complaints procedures and if I I read it right they are a toothless tiger.

If the CEC determine there is a proven breach of the code of conduct they can ‘request’ a rectification from the signatory. If they do not comply, the most severe action appears to be a ‘sanction’.

If the signatory business has had more than three sanctions within 12 months, they get suspended. That is as far as the CEC processes go.

There is no punitive action. The names of the signatory members who have breached the code of conduct are not published. And no compensation for the complainant.

If consumers are dissatisfied at any point, the CEC suggest they approach their state’s consumer watchdog.

So the CEC don’t appear to be any real help for consumers with issues. If the signatory was responsive to customers, it wouldn’t be necessary to go to CEC. If they are not, they will likely ignore the CEC. Therefore the CEC seems to be a waste of time, and consumers would probably be saving time and effort going straight to their state’s consumer watchdog.

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I guess that leaves dept of fair trading, or whatever the equivalent state dept is in qld.
I’ve heard solar installers refer to the CEC as Clown Corp. I don’t think they are popular with anyone.

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I heard similar from the solar people too.

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It reads like the CEC is yet another waste of money to build worthless time wasting window dressing so government looks like it gives a toss about consumers who have been done over. So many ‘support agencies’ have been created in a similar mold, yet the pollies seem never to be held accountable.

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Further evidence that the CEC is pretty useless - from the auditors report on the RET as summarised in Ronald Brakels’ blog here: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/solar-installation-audit/

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Yep, UnLTD Solar packed up after creaming the sector nicely. that said & with my own research before committing, I have had no issues with panels, inverter or installation for almost 9 years now.

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An article regarding problems with the solar industry in Australia.

Almost makes the construction industry look good.

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Another example of the failure of industry self-regulation. Unfortunately, the consumer protections are almost absent.

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I can’t understand why self regulation is allowed in any industry. Businesses both big and small, have demonstrated time and time again how open to abuse that method of regulation is.

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In reality are there three parts to this when as customers we see only one?

As customers we expect that in buying a solar PV system it is more like purchasing a car than a saucepan. IE we are purchasing an ongoing commitment with liability to the benefit of the manufacturer?

The seller however is simply contracting to supply and install some rooftop panels, an inverter and cabling to connect it all. Not that much different to an electrician first wiring a house or adding a swimming pool with pump and some lighting.

Since inverters come with a 5-10year warranty and the panels with 10/25 year warranties it leaves the impression that the supplier installer will be part of this for up to 25 years.

The reality is that the seller installer is not that much different to a local Betta Electrical franchisee who just sold you a new fancy electric wall oven or air conditioner including installation.

In either instance there is the possibility that the seller could go belly up the next day.
In either instance the installer is probably a third party electrical contractor.

As it appears to work now there are three parts to consider concerning warranty and support:

  1. What if the quality of the install are not acceptable or to standard?
  2. What if the supplied and installed item/s stop working as expected, a fault or failure. This might be early in the product life or later on?
  3. What if over time a fault develops that diminishes the performance of the installed item/s, prior to a reasonable lifetime for the item?

Does existing consumer law if it considers a solar PV system in the same way as a wall oven provide adequate consumer outcomes?

Alternately is consumer law not applicable in that way and the items supplied and installed covered in the same way a building extension or electrical contractors work might be? Eg to supply added lighting and say a pool pump? How adequate are these protections?

It would seem as @gordon and @meltam suggest that the question of warranty and support once a business closes is not unique. Which ever way you look at it.

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All (legal) grid connected systems are installed by CEC accredited installers, which supposedly is a guarantee of good quality work meeting Australian standards. Unfortunately this is not the case, I’ve seen plenty of terrible installations, mainly due to poor placement of PV panels/shading, but there are numerous other problems with installations which can be read about online.

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While I know you know, and you know I know, and most of us know, and you did not mean for an answer, for the rest of the readers it is because enough people vote for a political ideology whereby it is a given truth that business can always be trusted to do the right thing, and royal commissions are nothing but wastes of time since there is nothing to see. If readers have been awake over the past months they might have learned something about that faith in business being self governing and self regulating, or not.

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When the QRIDA appointed inspector recently checked out our solar and battery system which ws supplied under the Qld Solar Bonus Scheme, he found everything was 100% correct and he went on to say that he had checked out about 10 systems installed in FNQ under the scheme to date.

He further stated that about 8 of them were installed by the same contractor who did ours but that one system which had been installed by a different contractor was an absolute shocker.

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What “self regulation” means most times is unregulated. Therefore self regulation means many times a lack of laws to protect, almost “I set my own rules” type of mindset… anyone for Laissez-faire with that solar setup as we provide it as a complementary extra, buy now pay later.

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We have a Conergy solar HWS which was installed not long before we bought our current home in 2015.

Conergy went bellyup in 2015 and another company, Solar Now International T/A Envirosun, also based in Malaga, WA, is selling an identical system with the same approval numbers. What a coincidence.

During the recent overcast and rainy weather, we noticed the hot water was not hot enough so I called the service number for Envirosun on 02.05.2019 and the call sequencer requested our postcode and said that I was being connected to the local service agent.

The first call was answered but immediately cut out so I called again. This time it rang out and the voicemail stated “private number” and gave no name.

I left a message with a request to call me back, and I am still waiting for the courtesy of a reply some 6 days later.

I checked the HWS and determined that the booster element was fine but the thermostat was faulty and I ordered a replacement on eBay on 03.05.2019 which arrived today. Total cost was $31.00.

I was also going to get the service agent to check and replace the sacrificial anode if needed but they obviously did not want our business.

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