Submitted by Andrew on Tue, 15/06/2021 - 14:34

Thinking about going solar? Well, you might have heard something about the pitfalls of solar, the bad companies who burn out in no time, and leave their customers burnt in the process.

Every company in the industry claims to offer the very best, and it can be hard to pick out the ones who can back up those claims. Here’s some information to help you choose the best of the bunch and avoid being left high and dry.

Customers being left in the dark, is unfortunately something that can happen even to reasonably savvy consumers, due to unethical practices of ‘phoenix’ companies.

‘Phoenix’ companies make use of an illegal, but difficult to prove practice of intentionally going into voluntary administration or liquidation, then opening a new company in the same industry a year or so later. This is done in order to avoid needing to pay creditors, suppliers, clients, taxes, or even their staff. No one but those behind these scams profit.

Solar customers need to be particularly wary of these predatory practices as they may not receive any assistance and/or labour reimbursement for warranty claims if their solar retailer goes into administration or liquidation. Worst case scenario, they may have to pay for a new inverter and/or panels, should anything go wrong with their solar energy system.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! For those looking to go solar, doing their due diligence in choosing the right company will ensure they don’t get caught in the trap laid by these Phoenix companies.

Below are a few steps you can take to assess whether a company is going to be worth your time and money.

Check their ABN/ACN, how long have they been in business for?

The longevity of a company can be a great deciding factor in their quality. After all, solar is a tumultuous industry, where only the best can keep their footing and stay afloat. Go with a company who can prove their experience, for example, we’ve been active in the solar industry for almost two decades now, and first opened our doors way back in the 90s. You can do this with a quick ABN search.

Do they have a good reputation across numerous review platforms?

Unbiased review platforms, such as Product Review and Trustpilot collate independent customer reviews. There’s no better insight on the quality of a company than the opinions of their previous customers. Refer to these review platforms before you take the claims of quality directly from any company at face value. Solargain recently received Canstar’s most satisfied customers in solar for 2021 award, a sign of our commitment to customer satisfaction and the positive responses we've received from our customers.

Do their products come from manufacturers with a good reputation and an established Australian presence?

It’s important to take a look past the retailer themselves to the products they supply. One of the most common issues Australian solar consumers run into is their systems coming from international manufacturers with no presence here in Australia. This can make claiming warranties an tedious and difficult process. At Solargain we take product selection extremely seriously and only stock products from manufacturers with an Australian presence and who we trust to do right by our customers and company.

Do they have a well-established warranty and after-sales department

Even if manufacturers have an established presence in Australia, warranty claim processes can be confusing for the layman. That’s why quality solar retailers offer the support of their warranty and after-sales departments, sticking by their customers throughout the lifetime of their systems. At Solargain we stick by not only our customers, but any solar user who needs our support, such as those whose retailer has gone out of business. That’s why we have one of the largest service departments of any solar retailer in Australia.

Do they have all the quality assured certifications and accreditations such as ISO 9001, CEC accredited

Accreditations and certifications are a valuable tool for customers wanting to determine the quality of companies they are considering. Accreditations such as the Clean Energy Council accreditation, or the ISO 9001 certification [link[ both serve as testaments to a companies commitment to quality and integrity. Solargain was one of the first companies to gain the ISO 9001 certification, and we are assessed independently to ensure we keep up this consistent level of quality.

As you can see, there are a number of things you should keep in mind when assessing a solar company and choosing the retailer right for you. We have a number of pages available to help you in this process such as Questions to Ask Before You Buy and How to Pick out Quality Solar from the Pack.