Dodgy Solar Panels Landing In Australia

Time is running out for the Australian Federal Governments ‘grid connect solar power rebate’. Unfortunately, the $8000 rebate has been tainted by unethical, ‘overnight’ companies duping consumers with inferior equipment and ‘too good to be true’ deals.

Of course, there are genuine companies selling genuine products within the solar industry, but the emergence of many underhand tactics continues to threaten an unsuspecting public.

Solar panels must have the IEC 61215 certificate to qualify for the rebate. Standards have recently been tightened, but Australia has been slow to enforce the changes. The result being, low quality panels slipping through the net, and being sold at knockdown prices, until later this year.

These inferior panels may look the same as quality panels; however, problems arise when sunlight conditions are low. Unlike branded panels, on less than perfect ‘sunny days’ these inferior panels are subject to a dramatic reduction in performance.

Consumers are encouraged to enquire which panel brand the company will be supplying with their system, and research the brand’s performance which is easy to do via the internet.

Many of these Chinese panels have not been tested thoroughly for Australian weather conditions. Other brand companies, such as Solarfun and Suntech have. Although these untested panels come with the same warranty, it should be noted. If the panel manufacturing company should vanish, warranties are useless.

‘Buy Back’ guarantees are also being offered, whereby, should the panels fail within four or five years, the company will remove the system and refund monies paid. However, this does NOT include the eight thousand dollar government rebate, and that’s the twist.

Once the company removes the panels, the buyer will be responsible for refunding the grant to the government, therefore, $8000 out of pocket. Making the change to solar power can be a positive move, so long as consumers are aware of certain ‘issues’.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

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