Do your homework: Richard Hillard, from Byron Solar, urges people to be careful when getting solar panels installed, and to make sure they are getting a quality system that suits their needs.
Do your homework: Richard Hillard, from Byron Solar, urges people to be careful when getting solar panels installed, and to make sure they are getting a quality system that suits their needs. Cathy Adams

Dodgy dealers cash in on solar

CONSUMERS are being warned about the high-pressure selling techniques being used by some operators in the solar industry to sell grid interactive solar systems.

The NSW Government’s generous solar credit scheme is currently under review and it is not known whether it will continue once the review is tabled in Parliament, expected to happen in November.

The scheme provides financial incentives to consumers to purchase grid interactive solar systems through issuing bonus Renewable Energy Certificates and a grid feed-intariff of 60 cents per kilowatt, guaranteed for seven years. The scheme enables consumers to pay off the cost of installing the system within a few years.

The scheme has proved so popular enough systems to generate 50 megawatts of energy were installed in just eight months, at which point, in line with the scheme’s legislation, the review was triggered.

It is not known whether the review will result in the continuation of the scheme, the adoption of a less generous scheme, or no scheme at all.

This uncertainty is being used to sell systems, according to Byron Bay solar installer Richard Hillard.

Mr Hillard compared the situation to the Federal Government’s insulation scheme, in which companies were formed to take advantage of the rebate.

“A bunch of companies have sprung up,” he said. “They have massive sales teams selling door-to-door.”

Mr Hillard also said people were making sales calls from India and that there were issues with the quality of some of the systems being sold.

“Some of them are cheap and of questionable quality,” he said.

To avoid problems down the track, consumers should choose established solar installers using quality panels and inverters.

A spokesperson from the Government’s Green Energy Council said that under the current legislation an existing customer, classified as someone who has an eligible generator connected to the electricity grid, would continue to be eligible for the feed-in-tariff.

However, the spokesperson said, if changes to the legislation were put to the Parliament, the Government would propose that an existing customer be redefined as those who had purchased an eligible generator and had applied to connect it to the grid before the legislation was enacted.


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