WA Solar Owners Invited To Complete Survey

Western Australia solar installation survey

A Western Australian government agency is asking the state’s solar owners to provide feedback on their clean power journey.

Building and Energy, which is a division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations and Safety, is undertaking the survey to gain a better understanding of the community’s experience with the solar industry.

The survey should be pretty quick to complete assuming you don’t have a story to tell. There are only nine questions, covering:

  • Installation date
  • Amount paid for the system
  • System size
  • Name of installation company
  • Electrical contractor number – “I don’t know” is also an option
  • Whether the owner received an  Electrical Safety Certificate
  • Satisfaction score
  • Reason for satisfaction score
  • Further comment

Submissions can be anonymous, but the option to leave a name and contact details is provided for those who want follow up (which isn’t guaranteed).

While the reason for the survey is pretty vague, Building and Energy has some teeth. Among its functions are regulation, enforcement, audit and inspection, monitoring and investigating consumer related complaints in the electrical industry (and other industries).

Depending on how broadly Building and Energy promotes the survey, it could get a lot of responses – and perhaps some installers may get a tap on the shoulder as a result of responses.

The Small-scale Solar Scene In Western Australia

Home solar power in WA is thriving. As at the end of February this year, more than 375,000 systems below 100kW capacity had been installed across the state. At least 5,900 of those installations occurred in the first two months of this year.

While WA’s feed-in tariff is pretty crappy nowadays, one of the reasons for PV’s enduring popularity is pricing. Solar installers in Perth have been kept particularly busy as the city and metropolitan region has the lowest solar prices in Australia (and apparently, in the world). Even with a lousy feed-in tariff, going solar will still be a great investment in many cases.

Do Your Research

Most Western Australians will have a positive experience in getting solar panels installed. But as is the case everywhere else and as in any trade, mistakes can be made and sometimes worse – WA isn’t immune to shonky operators. For example, a Perth solar installation firm copped a $6,000 fine last year for fake testimonials on its website.

Last November, Western Australia’s Commissioner for Consumer Protection (another Department division) Lanie Chopping said rooftop solar power has a bright future in Western Australia, but buyers need to do their research before signing on the dotted line.

Part of that research should include reading solar installer reviews.

Speaking generally about consumer issues and not just those relating to solar, in March this year Commissioner Chopping said consumers with issues were better off lodging a complaint they haven’t been able to resolve with a trader through the agency than just complaining on social media.

“Our work relies on the WA community communicating with us so we can ensure traders are doing the right thing.”

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.

Comments

  1. The problem is that, in WA, since the state government (the McGowan government) abolished consumer protection, by burying the department that used to provide consumer protection, in the department of mines (the mining companies running the government, which regards fossil fuels as the only resources that the state has), the department is shonky, and encourages fraud.

    And, it is probabaly not surpriseing that the fossil fuels part of the goernment, wants to cause trouble for the “solar industry”, by running this survey that they can abuse to misrepesent the nature of the industry.

    If we would have a state government, that supported the use of clean electricity generation in the state, rather than being opposed to it, and, had a real Department Of Consumer Protection, as existed BEFORE the McGowan state government dismembered it, then, such a survey may be worth our partiicipation.

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