How To Purchase A Reliable Solar System

At times, investment into solar energy can be intimidating and stressful with a vast number of retailers and components to choose from. In this blog we pass on some tips to help you choose the right solar retailer.

It can be very difficult to determine what products and company will provide the most reliable solution for you. Ensuring that you are backed by a reputable retailer with quality components will ensure that your system will last its lifetime.

Australia had a record-breaking year in 2020 with the amount of solar installed and we are on track to break that record again in 2021. It is estimated that one in four Australian homes now have solar and that trend is likely to increase.

With the significant amount of solar that has been installed, it has been a worrying trend so see many consumers being exposed to predatory behaviour. Customers  are being pressured into buying systems with faulty components and/or poor workmanship.

Often when these issues turn into problems and the system failures increase, many solar intallers have no choice but to close shop and begin trading under a new name (known as ‘Phoenixing’). According to a report from the Consumer Action Law Centre, “close to 700 solar companies have gone out of business since 2011, leaving about 650,000 Australians with no recourse if their systems fail.” View this media report on the subject.

Here are key points to bear in mind out when navigating through the information when considering solar.

Being Backed By A Reputable Solar Retailer

Approved Clean Energy Council Retailer

To prevent this from happening to you, there are steps you can take to ensure you are being protected when purchasing solar panel. The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is a not-for-profit organisation that works with the leading renewable energy and energy storage businesses in Australia.

They implement accreditation requirements such as the APPROVED SOLAR RETAILER program to raise the standards within the solar industry. Approved solar retailers are committed to complying with the program’s Code of Conduct which are rules and standards that go above the current government requirements.

Going with a CEC Approved Retailer will protect you from:

  • Unethical sales tactics
  • Poor installation quality
  • Unreliable warranty support

Be on the lookout for the logo below and make sure that your system is only installed through a CEC Approved Solar Retailer.

You can search for Approved Solar Retailers on the Clean Energy Council website.

Choose a Retailer with a Physical Australian Address and Facility

For a more personalised service that is tailored around your specific needs it is recommended to use a solar provider that has an Australian presence and proper facility rather than working out of a call centre. Employing hard working Australians means they are more willing to meet you face-to-face and design a customisable solution for your needs.

Choose suppliers that have invested in their operation and have a proper facility with a showroom. This means they are more likely to be around in the long run to service any warranty issue or provide system upgrades in the future.

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Choose a Solar Retailer that has an established facility with a showroom.

Avoid installers operating from pretty websites or running their businesses out of a van simply because they lack the required resources to provide proper after sale service. These installers do offer low price tags because their business model is not built on long term strategy and likely their customers will need to pay someone else to rectify their defects when they are gone.

You may see on their website that they seem to have physical addresses in the CBD areas of the capital cities. Many times, these are a just a serviced office address – which can be leased for as little as $49 per month. Ask them if you can visit their office and meet the salesperson and see what they say!

These companies do this to reduce costs as their only value proposition is selling at a cheap price. If they will not send a consultant to inspect your home and discuss your specific solar requirements, what chance do you stand of them sending a technician if there is a problem? Read our blog on the dangers of cheap solar.

Avoid Door-to-Door or Telephone Sales Solar Companies

By far some of the worst cases of price gouging and unethical practises that we have witnessed are associated with companies that sell solar door to door and over the phone. They often promise “easy” weekly payments that can double the price.

In the case below the customer had signed with a door-to-door sale person. The customer then brought the contract into SolarBright for us to look over. We discovered that the customer had purchased a standard 6kW system with T1 panels valued at $4,000 for $13,000. These companies’ prey on consumer ignorance.

Luckily, they were within the 14-day cooling off period under NSW consumer protection and we were able to help them cancel the contract, and then saved them $9,000 on their new solar system.

Solar Rip Off: charging $13,000 for a $4000 system.

Choose Quality Products And Quality Workmanship

Having a solar power system installed is  a long-term investment. With society transitioning to smart homes, electric vehicles, and solar battery storage. It is  recommended to choose high quality solar components that can endure the harsh Australian conditions giving you the peace of mind that it will still be performing and saving you money in the long run.

Since our beginnings in 2008, the team at SolarBright have developed strong partnerships and accreditations with industry leading brands. This allows usto provide you with the highest quality products and services in the market.

These manufacturers have conducted substantial research and development, extensive testing, and quality control to offer the highest quality products, warranties and support available. Extremely high standards set on customer service and workmanship has led to SolarBright being considered as one of the most established and experienced solar companies in the country.

If you have any questions about solar or want a customised solar proposal please contact Solarbright today.

The Risks Of Cheap Solar

In this blog we look the risks of cheap solar and how some solar installers can offer solar at cheap prices.  We give advice on choosing a reputable solar panel supplier.

Updated Sep 2023

Most people will have seen the ads in their social feeds or on the internet for cheap 6.6kW solar systems priced for $3,200 or less. LIMITED OFFER or SALE ENDS SOON shout the banners, often featuring ex Aussie cricket captains.

Then you will see ads for other 6.6kW systems that are hundreds of dollars more. We often get asked by our customers “Why is some solar so cheap?” The answer is in the shortcuts taken with the quality of the components and installation.

The Risks Of Cheap Solar – The Harsh Truth

Cheap: of little account; of small value; mean; shoddy.

Australians seem addicted to cheap solar. The truth with solar is you get what you pay for. In the long term cheap solar costs you more. Consider this:

  • Over 700 solar companies have gone out of business since 2011 leaving tens of thousands of customers as “solar orphans” with worthless warranties and useless systems.
  • At least 1 in 5 installed systems were found by the Australian National Audit Office to be “sub-standard” and failed to meet industry standards.
  • The same audit found 2% of systems were “dangerous.”
  • The cheap installers hide behind solar panel and inverter “brands” and some behind Aussie ex-cricketers.
  • The shortcuts taken with the installations are a shortcut to property danger.


Watch This Channel 9 Report on Poor Quality Solar

Don’t put your home in danger with cheap solar.

How Do They Get Solar To A Cheap Price?

Most people believe that the major cost of a 6.6kW solar system is in the solar panels and inverter – the hardware.


The biggest single cost is the installation – the man on the roof and the quality of the installation components and workmanship.

To get to the cheap price they use cheap components and unlicensed, unskilled labour including backpackers. Unskilled labour is cheap.

The installation by the unskilled workers is then signed off by a remote, licensed installer who does not conduct an on-site inspection of the quality of the job or to see if it even meets regulations. There were cases uncovered by the Clean Energy Council where a cheap solar company installer was signing off on up to 10 solar systems a day!

The cheap solar companies are in a race to the bottom on pricing, and Australian families and businesses are the biggest losers.

In the last few months of 2020 there was a jump in the number of fires caused by poorly installed solar. The NSW Department of Fair Trading spot checked 100 solar businesses and fined 20 of them for failing to meet industry standards.

Kevin Anderson, the Minister for Better Regulation at that time, said there were unscrupulous operators “Who are selling less than the best quality products, not installing it properly and causing fires.”

As these cheap systems begin to age, they become more of a risk as the issues with poor installation and poor quality components come to the fore. The danger is real.

Do you want a backpacker or a licensed installer to install your solar system?

Cheap Solar Installation = Compromised Safety

One of the biggest risks of cheap solar is what corners are cut in the installation?

Every week we are taking down these cheap solar systems, some only three or four years old. The customers have been stuck with a worthless system that is not working and have no choice except to buy a new, quality solar power system.

They have bought cheap once and now have to pay again.

With these systems we remove, the poor quality of the workmanship we see is astounding. We see systems that:

  • Fail to meet Clean Energy Council regulations.
  • Have “Solar Snakes” – conduit with the high voltage DC cables inside – running across the roof.
  • High voltage DC cables lying directly across the roof.
  • Untied and unbundled high voltage cable laying beneath the panels.
  • Inferior poor quality DC isolation switches are used and not installed to regulation, posing the risk of failure and fire.

How To Choose Your Solar Retailer

Avoid the risks of cheap solar an do not become “solar orphan” left with a faulty system and worthless warranties. Do some research and choose your solar supplier wisely. Ask the following questions:

  • Are they a reputable retailer with over 15 years history that can back up the long-term warranties?
  • Are they a NETCC Approved Seller? This is different to a CEC Accredited Installer which is mandatory for installers.
  • Do they have credentials from the top industry companies such as Tesla?
  • On installs do they just use labourers and backpackers with an accredited installer to sign off later?
  • Do they have a showroom and a physical address, or just a pretty website?
  • Also check the address – some companies hire mailing addresses in serviced offices in CBD areas so they can put several state capital addresses on their website.
  • When you request a quote does a person come out to inspect and provide a free consultation? If not, would you expect them to come if there was an issue?

Choose a solar retailer has that has the history, resources and credentials to help you now and in the future.