If there is one thing about the solar industry that simply does not make sense for me, its the decision of some consumers to pick an out of town solar retail company for the supply and installation of their new solar system?
I understand that some people may look at this post as simply a local company owner crying poor that they lost a sale to BIG CITY company, but its really not that at all. I would be happy(er) if the consumer purchased their solar system from ANY local solar company. Why? every week I deal with Coffs Harbour residents who pass on their ‘bad experience’ stories of having gone with a online or non-local solar company! I simply do not want people to have bad experiences with solar as I know that SOLAR ENERGY is a wonderful thing which simply makes sense.
When you invest in a new solar system, your are buying a complete package. Its simply not the same as buying a new fridge or washing machine which you could be forgiven for buying online. A solar system installation is a complete suite of products and services.
You have the core products like solar panels and inverter(s) which we are familiar with as well as the accessories to the installation such as solar DC and AC cable, roof fixtures and fittings and the electrical safety components such as breakers and isolators. On top of that there is also the installation. This is not just having a new washing machine all plumbed up and ready to go – This is about fixing solar panels on to the roof of your much loved home. Its about creating an electrical circuit and making sure that this system which has enough current to kill someone is 100% safe. So just think about all these various parts of your new solar system and then ask yourself – how come the out of town solar company is so cheap? The bottom line is that out of town solar companies will sub-contract out the solar installation to the electrician who will do the job for the least amount of money. That electrician who has been squeezed to provide an installation service for as little money as possible will not put any effort into making the solar installation anything more than a “get in & get out” job and that also applies to buying the most affordable electrical components. Remember to that time is money for a contracted electrician who has agreed to a ‘job cost’. The short cuts on installation could be a simple as the placement of the panels on the roof. Rushed jobs have the solar panels off-center or simply placed in the most accessible location not taking into consideration the aesthetics of the property.
So the bottom line is that apart from NO QUALITY CONTROL in respects to the installation, what happens if there is a problem with the installation? Lets say there is a leak or that you can see that the panels are not aligned correctly. What do you do? Well you call the out of town solar company who is good at taking orders but a little unmotivated in respects to after-sales service and you ask for that electrician to come back out. Now I can tell you that the electrician who has no formal tie to the solar company will NOT want to waste his time fault finding or fixing up ‘aesthetic’ issues. After all – he has been paid for the job and now he has other work to get on with. For prompt service he will want paid to paid for his time or quite simply – he will get to it when he can get to it!… and that is why we hear so many stories of Coffs Harbour locals getting so frustrated with a lack of action in respects to ‘installation warranty’ that they then pay a local solar company like ours to come out and make good their solar installation.
My company will pick up 2-3 jobs a week that are basic fix up jobs or orders for new solar equipment where a client has simply not been able to action within a reasonable time frame a legitimate warranty claim. That number is increasing and that is the purpose of this email. Dont be another disgruntled customer forced to pay your own money to fix something that should not have been broken in the first place.
Your solar system is a LONG TERM investment. Dont risk your investment buying from a company that you cannot simply drive down to their offices and speak with the owner or manager. Dont buy solar systems online. If you buy LOCAL you may spend a few hundred dollars more, but you will get quality after-sales service and you will protect your investment.
Buy Local Stay Local
Mark McClurg – Managing Director, Coffs Solar Energy