First Choice Solar

First Choice Solar Reviews

About

‘We are here for the long haul’ –

First Choice Solar founder welcomes new shareholders

 

In little more than a decade, Peter Berkers has grown First Choice Solar into one of the largest and most respected solar companies in South-East Queensland and Northern NSW.

 

Now he is focused on his next goal – overseeing a succession plan that will see the business thrive well into the future.

 

Founded in 2010, the business started life contracting for other solar companies. However, it was not long before Peter set his sights on becoming a solar retailer and was dealing directly with the customer.

 

“It’s no secret a lot of solar installers come and go and that’s why we’re so proud of our longevity. Solar is a highly competitive industry, but we are here for the long haul,” said Peter, who has invited two of his loyal team members to join him as shareholders in the business – son Josh Berkers and fellow long-term employee Matt McKinley.

 

“Matt and Josh have played an integral role in our tremendous growth during the past five years, and I am thrilled to welcome them as joint shareholders.”

 

Matt has worked with the business for a decade, having started as an installer before climbing the ladder to now being the director of a solar company that employs a dozen staff and has completed more than 10,000 installations.

 

“Josh oversees our installations, which are completed by full-time employees who are focused on quality rather than quantity,” Peter said.

 

“He has been with First Choice Solar since high school and throughout his electrical apprenticeship. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge and forms a key part of the leadership team with Matt and myself.”

 

As a proud father, Peter is understandably excited that Josh has joined him as a shareholder in the company he founded. Peter’s two other sons have also worked for First Choice Solar, with one having been onboard since day one and a potential future shareholder.

 

Starting out as Qelec Pty Ltd trading as First Choice Solar, the company has since changed its name to First Choice Solar Qld Pty Ltd (ACN: 144 966 110) after the restructure.

 

“What differentiates us from our competitors is that we don’t employ salespeople,” Peter said.

 

“We realised that customers want to speak with people who truly know what they are talking about and in our case that is Matt, Josh or myself.

 

“We are all qualified electricians, Clean Energy Council-accredited solar installers and have spent many years on the tools and our customers appreciate that we have the time to educate and support them.

 

“I believe there are three important aspects to selecting a solar system that will still be working and saving money for 10 years and beyond - the inverter, panels and installation.

 

“However, it is not just the quality of these three, but the workmanship and support given by the company providing it. We operate out of a factory and showroom in Burleigh Heads in which our customers can come and discuss our products and get advice and support.”

 

Peter added: “We only provide products from companies with proven performance that have offices and support staff based in Australia. I like to call these blue-chip companies where they have been around longer than the warranties they offer.”

 

With the succession plan now in play, the co-owner and mentor has no intention of stepping away any time soon.

 

“I still love going to work,” Peter said.

 

“I remain incredibly passionate about the industry, but it is reassuring to know we have implemented a succession plan that will ensure First Choice Solar continues to deliver quality, service and support to our customers well into the future.

 

“The solar industry is hugely rewarding because of its environmental benefits and we get to help people save money, which is the key driver for most of our customers.

 

“When you rewire a house, a customer can’t see your work. When a car breaks down, people can begrudge having to pay for it to be fixed. When we leave a job though, our customers look at the new solar panels on their roof and are happy because it is going to save them money for many years to come.

 

“My job never feels like a chore. It is an industry I love and when it comes time to retire, I think the boys might need to lock me out to keep me away.”

 

For more about First Choice Solar, visit www.fcsolar.com.au

 

Reviewers report paying: $3,800 - $5,500 for depending on hardware choice and installation difficulty ( how is this calculated? )

Panels, inverter and battery brands

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First Choice Solar Reviews (54)

Show Most Recent reviews from All timeacross Australia

Average Scores

4.6/5

Value for money

4.6/5

Quality of System

4.7/5

Installation

4.5/5

Customer Service

  • 5 star 23
  • 4 star 26
  • 3 star 4
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 1

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Fantastic fast service.

The sales/quoting service was great and very quick with getting back to me with the quote.
Installation was so quick and efficient. The installers were very polite.
Customer service has been amazing. I know all about the product and what I have paid for. Excellent competitive pricing.
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Fantastic

The sales process was straight forward and easy to understand, shott and sweet. The installation went smoothly and on time and they helped fill in documents for grid.
Panel rating: 5/5
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Original Review on 24-11-2020:

First Choice Solar installed the system, they did a good job and I was happy with the install.

First Choice Solar did a good job and were happy to give us instructions on it’s use. They were a pleasant company to deal with. Original ratings

Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5

Value for money: 4/5
Quality of System: 4/5
Installation: 4/5
Customer Service: 4/5

8 months later we asked Brian: "Are you happy with the performance of your system so far?"

Yes so far I am happy with the performance and savings from my solar, the installers could be more careful with broken tiles as a lot of people do not have spares,also the Fronius inverter is fairly noisy and this may annoy some people if it is installed to close to a living area.
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Great product and service

We are extremely happy with the quality of our panels and how efficiently the team worked to get the install done in only half a day. All communication was easy and the service was professional. We hardly notice the panels on the roof and can see the benefits already.
Panel rating: 5/5
Battery rating: 5/5
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Good Quality System

Salesperson very polite and helpful, arrived at the agreed time.
Everything was organised for us, including the grid connection once completed.

Installers very polite, efficient and cleaned up after themselves.
One big issue though was that there was not enough room on the westerly side for the quoted number of panels so we have one more on the eastern side and one less on the west. This brings the east/ west ratio under 60:40. If we had known that prior to installation we would have reconsidered our options.
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Could not fault First Choice Solar.

From the first meeting with Matt all went smoothly. Installers arrived promptly and did an excellent job, including what would happen about our energy provider and installation of the app for us. We have already recommended First Choice Solar to our nextdoor neighbours.
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Would definitely recommend First Choice Solar

After getting several quotes for my solar, I had a recommendation from I friend who used First Choice Solar.

I found First Choice Solar to be a genuine business offering affordable systems, with no commission sales representatives and a family business.

My first meeting was with Matt the owner, which I thought was a great start and it was an easy process thereafter.

The installers arrived on time, were helpful, friendly and informative and even set up the app on my phone for me.

They also had to cope with my Golden Retriever who was "helping" on the day.

I would definitely recommend First Choice Solar. My neighbours are also going to install with First Choice at my recommendation.

Michelle - Paradise Point
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Quality Installer

I would highly recommend First Choice Solar. Matt gave me a very thorough and competitive quote. The communication from the office staff regarding timing of the installation and Energex approval for the grid connection was excellent. Josh, Jake and the rest of installation team were polite, tidy and punctual. Overall a very pleasant experience.
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Couldn't be happier with the Solar Installation

From the outset First Choice Solar were very personable & made the whole process very simple without the usual pushy sales feel! We decided on a 8.5kw system after consultation of our current bills & what we were looking to get out of our Solar Panels. Their quote was very competitive and once the paperwork was signed the installers were booked in the following week.

Even the night before our installation my wife was looking at changing the configuration of the solar panels on the roof which Matt was only too happy to accommodate with images of what this would look like ...... so all very accommodating for newbies in the Solar area!
Installation day came & went without hassle, they explained what they would be doing & even managed to contend with a huge storm that hit just as they were attaching the panels to the roof! Time was spent explaining how the solar app worked on our phones which gives update to date info on how much power your panels are producing & how much is going back into the grid compared to how much is being used on your house; which is great!

Explanation was also provided of what the next steps would be in relation to Energex changing over meters & how to get the most out of your feedback tariffs etc

We've no hesitation in recommending First Choice Solar to anyone looking for a job well done!
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Original Review on 14-10-2020:

Very satisfied so far

Their quote was comprehensively explained.
Matt came up with the best solution for my roof configuration.
Installation was quick and efficient and the team left the premises neat and tidy.
They carried out the grid connection and set-up the energy meter app.
Original ratings

Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5

Value for money: 5/5
Quality of System: 5/5
Installation: 5/5
Customer Service: 5/5

8 months later we asked Rudi: "Are you happy with the performance of your system so far?"

Yes
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Excellent product, service and install

I had been looking at getting Solar for years and started the process of getting quotes from people I found online. I found First Choice while driving, dropped in unannounced and was met by the owner, Peter, who took the time to sit down with me, go through the process of how the system works and gave a good indication as to the savings i would be making.

I had a quote in a couple of hours and was booked in for install the next day.

The installation team showed up on the day and time they said they would and were extremely polite, knowledgeable and helpful in getting me to understand the best way to use the system.

System looks amazing too.

Looking back i only wish i had have found them sooner.

Couldn't recommend highly enough.
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All Good

Renovating the outside of our house and decided as part of the roof renovation, we would install a solar system. From quote to installation, First Choice Solar have been great.
Inverter rating: 5/5
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Customer service was excellent

Everything was done on time, as promised, service was great overall.
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Great job First Choice Solar.

Following a referral by neighbours, we received a site inspection, quote and the date of installation all within 3 days of the request. The installation was completed as per the quote, on time and defect free. Worked seamlessly, a pleasure to do business with Matt and his team.
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Best price, best service

Received 3 quotes and all were competitive. There was some concern about the age of the switch board and weather it contained asbestos. Matt. from First Choice Solar offered to come out and inspect the board and confirmed it did not contain asbestos and was good to go. He was able to answer all our questions, was very polite and not at all pushy. His workers tuned up on time on the day the installation was due and did a great job.
Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5
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Easy to organise the purchhase and installation of the solar system for the replacement of an old 13 year old small system

Everything was as I expected, with the process, well organised and very punctual
Panel rating: 4/5
Inverter rating: 5/5
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Excellent company to deal with.

The quotation process gave us a clear understanding of what was going to be provided and I had confidence with the companies experience and knowledge of solar installations from discussions with the sales rep.
Installation was very organised and professional, on time, with no damage or mess to the property and all was left clean and tidy.
We had a seamless transition to the solar operation with the energy company all completed for us.
Very professional company to deal with from the quotation process through to the installation.
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Professional

Matthew handled the sales process and was informative and answered all questions, and gave good suggestions and his was the only company out of seven quotes that gave a full break down of costs .

The installation team ,led by Joshua, was equal to the quote process ,very professional on time and friendly and no problems with answering questions.

After the installation they explained the operating process ,and helped in explaining the grid connection.

This is now in process with our billing agent having the EWR number and we are waiting for the meter installation company to contact us when the meter will be installed and we can have a plan in place.

So thanks for your help again frank
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Original Review on 09-07-2020:

Very happy with whole experience from first choice

Wasn't pushy trying to upsell unlike others , explained everything in simple terms for us clueless folk, friendly team from the quote right through to installers.
Very experienced and thorough team .
They took care of everything .
We were very happy with them.
Original ratings

Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5

Value for money: 5/5
Quality of System: 5/5
Installation: 5/5
Customer Service: 5/5

8 months later we asked Jen: "Are you happy with the performance of your system so far?"

Very happy. Great generation.
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Very good experience!

Great initial contact from First Choice Solar. Mathew Explained all options very well. Didn’t try to push me into anything. Was upfront and honest and more than happy to answer any and all questions. The installation was fantastic. I’m Very happy with the entire process.
Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 4/5
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A problem-solver, not just a seller

Matthew was knowledgeable of the process required and offered solutions to issues I presented, not just upselling. This is what made the difference in choosing FirstChoice. They gave the best value for money. There were some delays (which were more related to Energex rather than FirstChoice).

It was also great to meet Peter, Matthew’s dad who was also a very experienced electrician and gave further advice on how to best manage multiple tenancies.

Highly recommended!
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Professional

Matt provided us with all the information we needed without overwhelming us. Everything went as planned & we are very happy. Thank you to the whole team at every step.
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Smooth and easy install

Very happy with First choice solar. Quick and easy process
Inverter rating: 5/5
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First Choice Always

They were the first quote and come to my house. They advised me on all systems then they recommended best value for money which we ended up going with. I felt I wasn't just buying a solar panel system but an overall service including after hours assistance when needed. It took half a day for installation and because we weren't home they called us that evening to walk us through everything. They advised on what I need to do with my current power supplier to update our meter box and also shared which companies were offering the best Feed in Tariff. So far so good with First Choice Solar. A+
Inverter rating: 5/5
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Fantastic friendly service

Great customer service, very fast and always happy to answer any question.
Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5
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Original Review on 28-03-2020:

Great installation

Gave us a quote straight away there was no effort for advice after the quote was given. Installation was excellent and tidy and were on time and no mess afterwards. All information regarding the solar was explained and shown how to use it and all paperwork/certificates were sent through email. They gave me advice about grid conection and if i had any problems they woild help.Thank you i am very happy with their service. Original ratings

Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5

Value for money: 5/5
Quality of System: 5/5
Installation: 5/5
Customer Service: 5/5

8 months later we asked Julianne: "Are you happy with the performance of your system so far?"

Our system is fantastic we haven't paid a bill since having it installed in March 20 and are in credit. We did make a few adjustments by getting rid if extra fridge and freezer.
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Bobbie in the office very efficient. Installers great guys. Overall, a good experience.

Everything A1. Professional. Polite. Love the App to monitor usage etc
Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5
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Great company and would use again

First Choice Solar was very professional and we had a great experience with them. They may not be the cheapest however their after sales service was great. They have their own inhouse installation team so you are not just getting sub contractors installing your solar. We would definitely use them again.
Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5
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Great

Really they were the only ones who ticked all the boxes on your comparison chart, Mathew Mckinley came to do the quote personally young electrician partner in company, straight forward, spoke my language, in a semi retired electrical contractor for 45 years, helpful office staff, installers did a great job and weren't under the pump to race off to another job, arrived on time cleaned up after themselves, i have recommended solar quotes and first choice and recently visited a long time customer/friend to find that she had first choice install here system some years ago and has nothing but praise for them. Thank you John.
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First Choice was the right choice

Matt came out and checked the site. Was a wealth of knowledge and honest. He provided me a professional proposal the same day. His follow up was polite and answered any questions I had.
All paperwork and lodging was done by the team. Longest part was waiting for Energex to do their part.

Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5
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First Choice Solar

Very happy with the sales and quote. Installation was delayed by weather but otherwise satisfactory. I was concerned that several items fell off the roof during installation. Otherwise customer seevice was good. I organised the grid connection myself on 26 March. It was completed on 15 May.
Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5
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A great way to buy solar!

First Choice Solar on the Gold Coast provided very efficient and reliable service.
Panel rating: 5/5
Inverter rating: 5/5
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Right choice

The sales/quoting process was well put together and presented.
Installation was as outline, installers were prompt and polite and efficient
As far as we know the installers organised the grid - we didn’t have to do anything. We haven’t yet received our first bill so am unable to confirm what the benefits will be.
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Very helpful team

The solar team was quite helpful and very. Knowledgeable. They showed up on time and finish the work properly
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Great personal service

Sales and quoting easy and quick; installation punctual and quick; was supportive when i comoleted the form for connection to the grid
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Great salesperson, great communication, seamless installation

The sales representative was professional, informed, well presented, well prepared. Could not fault them.
The installation was seamless. Company does not use contractors, they were on time, well presented, professional, tidied up after themselves, very meticulous and thorough
Currently not connected to the grid, that is in the pipeline, to date they have done what they need to do to get us on the grid, we are just waiting for our provider to come out.
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Best all round service for a very good price.

Sales/quoting process easy, informative, inclusive and level. Installation completed in 6 hours by a team of 4, all team members polite, punctual and engaging. Grid connection process in final days, after installation service has been good.
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Great all-round service

From first initial meeting with salesman through to installer's & administration all people involved were very professional & knowledgable. Very happy with quality of inverter& panels
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They gave us more panels, a better quality inverter and a cheaper overall price.
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Matthew McKinley.
This person really knows his stuff.
He also is honest and informative.
I know what I am paying for.
I know what I can have.
What I need and don't need.
His pricing is not the best, but I know that I will get the best service and the quality control guarantees.
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Bit slow on the 'after sales' support.
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After some significant research over several weeks, First Choice Solar was my first and last choice. They are always pleasant to deal with. Their professionalism, attention to detail and customer care are second to none. I have been in business for many years, and their standards of excellence are exemplary. Well done. Lee.
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Yes we produce about 3,000 kWh max
And they sold us a 6kva system
We will ever use it
3 kv system would have been adequate and saved us about $3,000
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The supplier I used is a owner/operator who works for himself. Very experienced and skilled. Did a fantastic job, provided all information requested and more.
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Yes. I thought Peter Bell from Go Solar was excellent. Prompt. Efficient. Gave good advice (it was his advice to go with the 5 kW Sunnyboy and extra 1kW in panels to maximise the excess production on the 44c Feed in Tarriff). Recommended quality gear SMA & Rec. Followed up but wasn't pushy. I've already recommended him to a friend. Thanks heaps for your great website.
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I found Qelec trading as First Choice via the Green Connect Brokerage advertising on eBay. The GC sales representative was friendly. We communicated by email and occasionally by phone (not easy to get by phone). I found the lack of detailed information a bit frustrating but the price was amazing. $6990 for a 5KW system advertised. Initially I expected the advertised BYD panels. As I went to buy I was told they were out of stock for BYD and was I could have 22 Lightway 235 Watt panels. The day of the install I got a message from the First Choice installer that 22 panels wouldn't fit on my roof. I was forgiving because all the sales folk I spoke to (about 6 counting Solar Quotes) said 22 panels for 5 KW would be fine. I contacted the GC sales rep and asked for a new quote. I was told I could have 18 Lightway 230 Watt panels. I said yes to this and was told they were out of Lightway stock and we were back to BYD but these were only 215 watt panels. I asked if they had an up market option and was offered Trina 250 watt Panels which I accepted. The install was done and I got my 18 Trina panels and a 4.4KW Samil inverter for $7277. I would have been happier if I had been offered the 5KW Samil and we could have easily have fitted 2 more panels for the 5 KW system I was originally after. Still at the end of the day I have a system which in winter with a tree shading the morning sun gives me around 17KW per day. In my direct dealings with First Choice the service was great. Going via the Green Connect brokerage it was a little painful.
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