Shifting through the S%#! What you should be asking!

In the minefield that is solar it is hard to separate the bad guys from the good. We feel sorry for customers because even we have trouble keeping up with companies coming and going from the industry. As you will see not all companies out there are bad and here are the questions to ask to help dismiss the bad and listen to the good…….

  • How long have they been in business? ABN SEARCH!

Such an important question to ask, regularly you will read or hear a consultant say we have been ‘in business for over ten years’ or ‘we have over ten year’s experience’. Then you do an ABN search to see the business established in 2016.

Experience and time really does tell the true story, I can count the companies on both hands who have been in the industry for 10 years and over and I can honestly say they are all great companies.

  • What products are they offering? More to the point what panels are they offering?

 Is it a BILL BUSTING 6.6kW for under $3000 or upgrade to a Fronius for an extra $800 dollars….

Sure Fronius is a great inverter and yes those panels are “Tier 1”…… must be a good system then. But hey almost every panel available in Australia falls under the category of ‘’Tier 1’’. But are you really looking at the things that matter when it comes to panels? In market consumed by panel manufacturers relying on high turnover of product to survive on such small profit margins in a market decreasing in size are you best going for the biggest. MacDonald’s might sell the most burgers but does that make them the best? 

Leads me in to the next question…

  • What are the warranty claims for the product you offer?

How do you really know how good a product is? Both spec sheets look pretty similar… Both Salesmen claim their panel is the best…. Easy way to get the answer is ask to see the warranty claims for the panels, this is where you truly see a snapshot of what quality is and what product will give you the best returns on investment. It would be concerning if they claim to not know them especially when we can get that information. This graph below shows you why we push REC so hard…… may also explain why that BILL BUSTING 6.6KW IS ONLY $3000.

REC Updated Warranty claim
  • How long is the ‘manufacturers’ warranty?

If you see a horse at the races paying 100-1 to win, probably a good reason why the odds are so large. Same with warranties, if a manufacturer is only willing to warrant something for 10 years, it is probably telling you they don’t expect to last too much longer than that. The industry standard on panels is 10 years, when you look at the brands who represent the top end

  • Do they have an office front? What about a dedicated service department?

Keep them accountable, someone who does not have an office or works from home has few overheads and little accountability. It is easy for them to pack up and move on to the next wonderful business venture. Service departments are a good indicator to if the company has structure, typically larger solar companies will have this along with a dedicated commercial division.

  • Are they a CEC accredited retailer?

Let’s clear this up NOT CEC accredited installer/designer but is the company a CEC accredited retailer. This is a process where we are audited by the CEC to ensure that we uphold the highest standards and ethical business practice.

A lot of companies try to use the CEC accredited installer/design to trick customers into thinking they are. Last time I checked the list only comprised of 10 companies based/founded in Perth. 

  • Do your own research

Not a question, but ultimately this is the best advice I can possibly give you.  Visit the different forums and independent websites to get a better understanding of what and who you are investing in.