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July 2018

Solar increasingly lighting the way

More and more consumers are installing rooftop solar systems to cut and control the cost of their rising electricity bills ('Unprecedented': Solar panel installations soar, on track to triple 2017 record, SMH, 9 July 2018).

We decided to investigate whether people were experiencing any problems with their solar installations. To do this, we turned to our Voice Your Choice members, and asked the following questions:

Since installation, have you had any problems with the following components of your solar PV system?

solar pv chart 1

Base: all respondents n=1028.

20% had problems with the inverter

6% had decline in performance/level of output

3% had problems with the cable/connector

2% had problems with the panels themselves

1% had problems with framing/mounting structure

1% had problems with the batteries

8% had other problems

67% haven't had any problems

Did you experience any of the following issues with your installer?

solar pv chart 2

Base: respondents who did not install the system by themselves n=1020.

7% experienced significant delays with the installation work

5% said their installer put in incorrect / faulty wiring

4% said their installer damaged the roof

4% said their installer did not honour or facilitate the warranty process

4% said their installer had missing / inadequate documentation & paperwork

3% experienced deviations from original work plan

3% said their installer put the inverter at an inappropriate location

3% said their installer put the panels at a sub-optimal location

2% faced extra costs that were not disclosed prior to work commencement

2% said their installer used materials different to originally stated

1% said their installer put in incorrect / inappropriate labelling

1% had safety issues

13% had other issues

70% haven't had any problem with the installer

Around a third of all respondents indicated some difficulty with either their system or service provider. These problems varied widely with no one single problem coming up strongly. Although not all of these problems resulted in extra cost or stress, the results will hopefully provide added insight into what you should be asking when installing your new system.

If you've experienced any of the above problems or you're about to embark on a new solar installation, remember that as a member you can always contact our experts at CHOICE Help with any questions relating to consumer law.