But The Guy From Interstate Said He’d Do It Much Cheaper.

South Australia. Famous for the world’s biggest set of balls (Malls balls, get your mind out of the gutter), the world’s largest rocking horse and the first jurisdiction of its size in the entire world to achieve being powered entirely from solar energy. On October 11th, 2020, the entire state of South Australia was run for a total of 1 hour on 100% solar energy, 77% of that being from residential rooftop solar. Although this may not seem to be like we are talking huge numbers just keep in mind this took around 288,000 home solar systems and eye watering number of Megawatts from solar farms to achieve this result. These sorts of achievements are great for South Australia as a state and represent healthy progress toward our target for 100% renewables by 2030, but it also attracts a darker side of the industry. Where there is money to be made, unfortunately the solar cowboys will follow.

We have all heard the horror stories of people and their dodgy installs, cables hanging all over the place, fires on rooves etc. Then when the customer tries to ring the company, it no longer exists. This typically is a trait of a business that has been open for a short period of time that purely just opens with the purpose to shut in a year, so they no longer have to service their customers. The problem is this also happens with reputable interstate businesses regularly.

“Support Local”, we hear this all the time and I think for the majority it is something we all try to be conscious of. Let us be honest though, if it is vastly cheaper elsewhere and has zero repercussions to the quality of the product, 90% of the time you are going to go the cheaper option. To the untrained eye this seems to be the same case when it comes to solar, I mean the company is big in WA and it is the same inverter and same panels right? It has got to be the same thing… Wrong.

Interstate solar businesses are increasingly becoming a problem here in South Australia. It is a similar case to the businesses that like to start up and close a year later, except they like to come over into SA make a quick buck and ride off back to their state 6 months later with no intention of providing customer service for their customers. “But we have an office in SA”, do you guys? Do you really? You call a single person rented out office cubicle in the city an office in SA? Shame on you. This is a common trick to give the impression you are dealing with a locally based company when in fact it is just another poser trying to get your money and run.

So, if an interstate business has just come over, who completes their installs? Obviously given the company is not from South Australia, they are not going to have a relationship with any installers from here. What you will find is it will be a case of whoever is available gets the job. Usually what you will find with that is the guys who are available to be contracted out at a minute’s notice are the ones that do not have much work on which is generally a good indication of the quality of the installer.

Then there is servicing. So, what happens to the solar business that came into the state to make a quick buck and have now decided to leave South Australia? Unfortunately for people who have had their systems installed by these businesses can find themselves in painful situations if ever they need any issues sorted. Often, it is a case of empty promises because they cannot get anyone to come fix the issue. Then you no longer receive calls back and then most of the time it becomes an issue the customer will need to contact consumer affairs about which often can not amount to anything in the end. These are very real problems but fortunately there is an easy solution. Stick with a local solar business that has stood the test of time, this will ensure you and your family are backed up throughout the lifetime of your product warranties this way if any issues arise, you know you will be taken care of.