We don’t shy away from the reputation that solar installers have gotten over the years, instead, we aim to challenge it every chance we get. Unfortunately, not everyone is on board, and many are still caught up in bad habits.
Many companies are trying to do the right thing, however feel that they are being bogged down by the challenges that come with new and exciting technology, namely... people trying to make a quick buck.
The thing is, solar power is often a financial decision for most people, rather than a materialistic one. While it’s justifiable to spend thousands on a flashy car, most people only see the numbers when it comes to a solar system.
This had lead to companies adopting a race-to-the-bottom tactic which involves undercutting the competition with cheap and ineffective panels, advertised as the top of the range.
It has made it hard on dozens of companies who want to do the right thing by their customers by providing quality panels, inverters and most of all installations. It is very easy to sell someone on price, but a lot of time, doing so relies on withholding vital information from the customer and focusing intently on being the cheapest system out there.
More so than the companies, it has made it hard on consumers who thought that they would spend the next ten years with heavily reduced uy bills and a reliable system under their name. Instead what they got was either an ineffective system or a system that blew up on them shortly after the warranty ended.
This has given the whole industry a bad rep and for a technology as important as solar, it’s simply devastating. There are number of hidden costs to a cheap installation, some that will hit you once the system is installed and some years later after looking further into your questionable contract.
Lack of Proper Inverter and Panel Monitoring
Most cheap systems don’t come with appropriate monitoring and reporting services. This means you won’t know how well your system is performing until you get your next bill.
When you have a great system that is reliable and safe, this isn’t such a huge issue. However, cheaper systems mean a greater chance of failure.
Now when a cheap system does fail, a lot of the time it goes unnoticed until you get your next bill on top of your financing payments, doubling your expenses when in reality they should be decreasing.
Profit focused companies always try to go for the cheaper option, which in this case are subcontractors. Subcontractors aren’t always synonymous with bad quality, in fact, in some cases the opposite is true. However, the cheapest on the market are in a rush to get to the next job, due to the fact they accept less money each time.
This means they are constantly rushing highly important procedures which can mean the difference between a safe system and a fire hazard capable of physical harm.
Not all solar technology is made equal. Due to solar being a technology that is constantly being upgraded and improved upon, it is very easy to source panels that achieve 22% efficiency and some that achieve 10%.
A lot of people haven’t had the time to learn about the difference, and when a company tells you that their product is Tier 1, you should feel comfortable trusting them. Some companies don’t even include the name of their products outside of ‘solar panel’ as a way of stopping people doing their own research.
Commission Only Employees
A great way to maximise profits is by only paying people when they directly bring in sales, meaning you’ll never have to spend a dime unless you make something in return.
Salespeople are naturally energetic, but when they are only being paid when they make a sale, under the pump, is an understatement. Who is more likely to skew the truth to make a sale, a commission only contractor or a salaried employee?
The price you see might not be the price you get once you choose to go with the cheaper option. Many companies advertise extremely low rates . Companies go as far as having subclauses in their contracts allowing them to switch out the advertised products for that products equivalent.
What actually happens is that they will quote one system, then swap it out for a cheaper one and maximise their profits. We don’t try to shame companies individually, however, we will stand by saying that this practice is dishonest and deceitful.
We hope to see a day where such practices are all but gone from the industry, so that customers and companies have positive and valuable relationships, rather than playing cat and mouse on price and profit.
To summarise, when a company is focused on selling to maximise profit, rather than selling to facilitate a customer’s transition to a renewable technology aimed at saving money, only bad things will come from it.
Solar is one of the only products that a person can buy, and see a direct financial return. Think about it, a car depreciates in value as soon as you drive it out of the lot, an iPhone is great to have but will put you back $900+.
Solar power is a product that aims to save you more money than you spend, so it's time it gets the reputation it deserves, not one inherited from bad practice.