SolarQuotes Vodcast Episode 30 – Solar Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Finn and Ronald discuss how much deposit you should pay your solar installer, a major proposed wind/solar/storage project in SA, Project EnergyConnect and much more.

How Much Deposit Should You Pay A Solar Installer?

00:34 – Finn asked Richard to investigate what the rules were in states and territories regarding the legislated maximum deposit that should be paid on a solar power system. This came about after a solar buyer contacted us stating he had to stump up a 50% deposit – and then the company went bust before the system was installed.

It turned out the information was difficult to locate and interpret.

In NSW, QLD, VIC and SA it would appear to be 10% for “small jobs”, which would incorporate typical panel installations. In WA, it’s 6.5% and in Tasmania there is no legislated maximum.

Finn points out there are reputable solar companies that ask for more.

“I don’t think that’s through badness, I don’t think that’s through ignorance, I think that’s through the legislation being really ambiguous and hard to find,” he says.

The article drew some very interesting comments, with some disagreeing with our interpretation. We’re going to leave the post for a week or so and then update it, incorporating the feedback.

“And hopefully this will be a very close to the truth on what the rules actually are,” says Finn.

Finn’s also working on a feature for SolarQuotes whereby if you’ve received a quote through our service from an installer we’ve referred and you’ve paid less than 10% or the mandated minimum deposit, SolarQuotes can protect against situations such as a solar installation company going toes up pre-installation.

Worst Review Of The Week

04:00 – The worst review of the week goes to … SolarQuotes (we really don’t get many of these). This came as a result of Captain Green being a SolarQuotes client. The reviewer was upset that his/her deposit hadn’t been returned in a timely fashion after Captain Green allegedly stated it didn’t want to perform the solar power installation as it was located in the country.

When reviews like this occur, we follow up immediately. SQ paused Captain Green’s account while the claims were investigated – and as always there are two sides to every story.

Captain Green was having trouble getting permission from the powers-that-be to connect the PV system; but Finn says the company absolutely should have replied to the email from the customer promptly.

“In the end Captain Green have given him the deposit back. And we’re happy with the resolution to restart Captain Green with referrals.”

Finn says in his experience, Captain Green always do the right thing when they do make a mistake. SQ cops a bit of flak for having Captain Green as a client as the company competes heavily on price. Ronald points out there’s cheap as in value for money and cheap as in cheap and nasty.

“On being a high volume lowish margin installer, they do make more mistakes than the lower volume people that charge higher prices,” Finn states.

However, Finn knows the people behind Captain Green fairly well and in his opinion, they are good people. Finn encourages solar buyers to check out Captain Green reviews and where there are bad reviews (there aren’t many), to read why they got them – and what Captain Green did to resolve the issues.

Best Review Of The Week

06:39SpaceSolar (a SolarQuotes client) operates in New South Wales and Victoria. A reviewer said he spent years trying to find a  firm that would perform a tricky solar panel installation on an old terrace house. While most companies balked at the project, SpaceSolar took it on – and did a great job.

Dirt Cheap Solar + Energy Storage PPA In The USA

08:45 – In California (which is sort of like Australia in that it’s really sunny – but not as radically cool says Ronald), the  Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) looks to be signing on to a deal for around $AUD ~2.9c per kilowatt hour for solar-only electricity supply and combined solar power and energy storage supply at approximately $AUD 4.8c per kilowatt-hour.

While deals like this aren’t yet a signal we can dump all fossil fuel based power generation immediately says Finn, it’s very promising and it’s a good step towards de-carbonising the grid.

Big Solar, Wind And Storage Project For SA’s Burra

10:29 – French company Neoen last week announced its proposed “Goyder South” project, which is to be constructed in the Burra region of South Australia. The  total project involves 1,200MW of wind power, 600MW of solar energy capacity and 900MW of battery storage capacity. However, the first stage only involves a third of each, with the remaining two-thirds are contingent on Project EnergyConnect (SA – NSW interconnector) being completed.

SA-NSW Interconnector

11.23 – Finn and Ronald discuss the SA-NSW interconnector (Project EnergyConnect), which will run from Robertstown in South Australia to Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

Cheaper Tesla Powerwall (In SA, With Conditions)

13:05 – Tesla recently lowered the price of Tesla Powerwall 2 by $2,200 in South Australia if you join the Tesla/Energy Locals virtual power plant (VPP). Ronald and Finn discuss some of the pros and cons of the deal; plus also touch on Simply Energy’s VPP.

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About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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