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So how do some companies sell systems at such jaw droopingly low headline prices?

Here are some of the ways I’ve seen people getting burned by dodgy solar companies:

1. Bait & Switch. They use quality components as the bait, advertising genuine Tier 1 solar panels and a top end inverter. They put in their conditions of sale that they reserve the right to swap out the inverter and panels for ‘equivalents’. Then, they install a really cheap inverter and panels instead.

2. Bait and Switch . They don’t advertise the brand of panels and inverter, just a really low price. When the customer makes an enquiry, they upsell them to better hardware, with the end result that customer pays much, much more than the price that was originally advertised.

3. Cut corners on the Install. I was shown a job ad on Gumtree last week. It was asking for backpackers who wanted to earn $17.50 per hour wiring up switchboards and panels for a solar company. It said they needed their own ABN but didn’t need an Australian Electrical License. This is a recipe for disaster (and probably illegal). For example, here’s what can happen when a novice works on your switchboard:

Cut corners on the install : Some companies have reputations for paying the lowest install rates in the industry. Guess what – they also have a reputation for really poor installations. Most solar power systems operate at high voltage DC. If installed well, high voltage DC is safe. If it is not installed well it is very dangerous. Here’s what happens when high voltage DC goes wrong:

They use crappy solar panels – but claim they are the absolute cream of the crop. Some companies claim their panels are Tier 1, but they are nothing of the sort. Cheap panels do not last in the Aussie sun. Good panels should last 30 years plus.

Recent import statistics show that around 60% of panels coming into Australia are not Tier 1 and that’s a worry. These low end panels will start failing and it can be really hard to get a low-cost solar company to honor the panel warranty for these reasons. Here is what can happen to a badly made panel within 2 year

They use a crappy solar inverter and claim it is the best quality money can buy. A really cheap inverter will be unlikely to last 3 years. Inverters are easier to replace under warranty than panels, but still some manufacturers will blame the failure on ‘grid spikes’ and you’ll either have to fight, or pay $1500+ for a new inverter.

Hey, inverter manufacturers! If you want to sell into the Aussie market, then you have to cope with grid spikes because our grid voltages are all over the place!

If you’re considering installing solar panels for your home or business get quotes from high-quality, pre-vetted installers quickly and easily:

Cheap Panels

Here is what can happen to a badly made panel within 2 year

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