Solar Power Lie #1: “The profit margins in solar power make it a money-printing scam for all installers.”

I just got off the phone with a homeowner interested in solar power and here’s a snippet of what he was ranting about…

“The profit margins in solar power are bullsh%&t! They want to charge me $9000 (before RECS) when the wholesale price of the panels and inverter is only $4,000!  Even if it costs them $1000 to install, That’s still almost a 100% mark up! This is highway robbery! I’ll just wait until the prices come down and there is more competition to drive out the gougers.”

Solar Power Lie #1: “The profit margins in solar power make it a money-printing scam for all installers.”

The Truth: The profit margins in solar power make it a money-printing scam for the WORST installers.

The Truth explained: For the solar power installers who are in it for the long run, the reputable, honest, hard-working ones who know what they are doing, the margins are not astronomical by any means.

The good guys have to do things that all REAL business do: hire staff, train staff, buy the latest technology and equipment, pay GST, pay for insurance, put aside cash for warranty claims any time over the next 25 years, etc, etc..

All these things cut deeply into that “almost 100% markup”. Of course, they are making a profit or they wouldn’t be able to stay in business, but the ones who do it right are not “cranking out hundred dollar bills like a counterfeiters.

Who is cranking out hundred dollar bills? The cowboys.

The disreputable installers who have poured into the solar power industry DO make a killing.

Because they know that they can bang the cheapest possible system on your roof and then forget about you. For THEM, solar power is a licence to print money.

Which is why you need to make sure you’re doing business with a fully insured, accredited, REAL installer in it for the long haul and not some cowboy.

And please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that, just because the company can afford a full page ad in your local paper that they must be reputable.

There are many, one and two man bands out there that are doing a fantastic job of serving customers and installing good quality systems built to last.

And there are at least half a dozen companies spending big on newspaper TV and radio adverts who appear to be in for a quick buck whilst the rebates are good. They are selling no-name inverters and panels at knock down prices and will leave it up to you to connect your system to the grid! Yes that’s right. Despite advertising their systems as fully installed, they don’t appear to want the expense or hassle of actually connecting your system to the grid so you can actually use it.

So how do you sort the good guys from the rest?

1)    Check their ABN with ASIC. Look up their address. Then Google that address to see if they have operated under a different name recently. If they change their name every 5 minutes that is a bad sign.

2)   See what previous customers think of them in the largest database of solar installer reviews in Australia

3)   Search their name on Whirlpool.net.au

4)   Read this blog post.

5)   Ask them how much of their profit they set aside for warranty claims.

6)   Remember. If a solar power offer seems too good to be true…

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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