Solar Free

Solar Free Reviews

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Solar Free is a distributor of Conergy solar panels across Australia, with particular emphasis on the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria.

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Solar Free Reviews (11)

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Average Scores

3.4/5

Value for money

3.4/5

Quality of System

3.2/5

Installation

2.8/5

Customer Service

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

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Bad service (took forever to get installed), bad installation (did not pass government checks). All round bad.
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Original Review on 30-05-2011:

I searched the internet for stories from others while I was researching solar panels and installation companies. I drew a blank. So I am detailing my story here in the hope that it might shed some light for others.

ACTEWAGL Energy Shop over the phone (early April 2011) quoted about $5000 for a 1.5kW system: 8 panels, inverter in garage, 33% deposit, refund if not do-able by 30/6/2011.


Solar Free (early April 2011) quoted over the phone using Google Maps or similar to look at the house roof. Quoted $2995 for a 1.5kW system, subject to a site visit. A weatherproof inverter would be installed on the exterior of the house near the meter box.

They weren't interested in doing a site visit until after the quote was accepted. At the time this seemed like a reasonable cost-saving measure. Quote accepted and 10% paid up front as requested. (note: a friend mentioned in May that Solar Free's up front payment had increased to 50%) Two working days later an email arrived with a large number of attachments. These included (1) the ACTEWAGL connection form, which was to be signed and returned by snail mail or by hand before any further action was possible, and (2) the contract for installation that I had agreed to by paying the 10%. The contract included a clause that said that verbal advice from the company was not to be relied upon! After a few weeks I was contacted by Field Force (subcontracted by Solar Free, along with 2 other companies, to carry out installations) to organise a date for the site inspection. I accepted the earliest time and date offered. The site inspection was carried out approx 6 weeks after the quote was initially accepted. The guy was about 2 hours later than agreed, although I was his first visit for the day. He wasn't interested in getting onto the roof, although I had a ladder ready due to the earlier experience with Green Tiger. About 1 week later I received the quote for additional works: about $1300 for a meter box upgrade. I phoned the ACTEWAGL Energy Shop (AES) for a sanity check since this was different to what Green Tiger said. AES said a 60cm x 60cm meter box was required and estimated a cost of $800-$1200 to have a box upgraded. So I agreed and paid the ~$1300. A request from Solar Free for the remaining 90% quickly followed. I paid. A couple of days later I was advised by phone that due to the weather my installation would be sometime after 6th June. So no date for installation yet, approx $4300 paid for a 1.5kV system so far, and I'm still wondering if this is a good idea.
Original ratings

Panel rating: 3/5
Inverter rating: 3/5

Value for money: 3/5
Quality of System: N/A
Installation: N/A
Customer Service: 3/5

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

To my knowledge, the 1.5 kW system has never reached this peak. This could be due to the angle of inclination and facing-direction of the panels.
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Original Review on 25-05-2011:

The telephone experiences with the installer I selected have been very good. Friendly and efficient. The pre-installation guys were polite although they were very quick with the inspection and did not advise me of an extra charge (an upgrade required to our power box to modernize for solar) until I received a letter from a contracted panel up-grader which wished payment within 5 days. Although price was fair, it would have nice to be told directly at pre-installation rather than later from a contractor.

Note: Unfortunately, as installation has not yet been completed I cannot vouch for quality and value at this stage. All I can say is pricing is very competitive and with components being German built (I know Germans put Australia to shame as far as national solar output and have always been fantastic engineers and designers), these were the main factors for me.
Original ratings

Panel rating: 4/5
Inverter rating: 4/5

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

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

The Conergy system has performed completely to expectations and even exceeded them. We have been enjoying reduced energy costs and are very glad we committed to this Government led programme when we did (before the cancellation of new uptake).
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Original Review on 30-05-2011:

Not yet installed. Please contact me again in 2 or 3 weeks.
Comments so far:
Supplier and the installers are not local;
Communication not as good as I would like;
Money was requested before installation;
Little or no flexibility for choice of panels;
Decision was rushed because of political pressure; but
Price seemed right at the time.
Original ratings

Panel rating: 2/5
Inverter rating: 3/5

Value for money: 3/5
Quality of System: 3/5
Installation: N/A
Customer Service: 2/5

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

No. I expected 10 panels to generate more than I consume - even in winter. I have yet to see how they perform in summer.
We need some sort of reference point to compare with.
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Original Review on 18-05-2011:

Not yet turned on - installed only a week ago. Not entirely happy about the requirement to pay full (net) amount as soon as approved by ACT without a completed installation, but it worked out. Original ratings

Panel rating: 4/5
Inverter rating: 4/5

Value for money: 3/5
Quality of System: 4/5
Installation: 4/5
Customer Service: 3/5

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

The system is 1.52Kw and paid for our summer bills and about half of our winter ones. It seems fine if perhaps of less than sufficient size to supply our full energy requirements. but it was the size we could then afford.
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The process was very straightforward. I decided to go with them mainly because they were not pushy compared to the other companies I enquired with and believe their package was amazing. I was impressed with the installation within the 9 days of deposit. I had done a lot of research before deciding on the company and the complete German solution. I believe I have got a good deal, waiting on the savings to come along now.
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Solar free demand money upfront before the installation process is complete. After completion, the solar panels are not connected to the grid - Solar free blame ACTEW AGL and their back log of systems to be connected however ACTEW AGL say they never received the paperwork for it. Solar Free are extremely unhelpful and suggest I contact ACTEW AGL. At this point I am assuming that ACTEW AGL have no record of my house needing to be connected and Solar Free are claiming that they have done the right thing. Solar Free are rubbish and NOT to be recommended.
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Solarfree employ a business model of call centres and subcontractors which obviously helps them deliver a cheaper product but the customer experiance has been shocking. After many phone calls I have resolved most issues and I am proceeding only because of their (still) claimed ability to deliver before end June.
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They advertise the full cost of installment but there are more expenses which are charged
by the electrician for extra switches etc. The worst part is that you have to pay the full amount
before they send you the contract to sign. My advise is to deal with a local supplier and contractor.
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This company used pressure sales techniques which put me off to a degree; however after research and comparison with other companies, they were comparable. They are a new company and not well organised but the installation so far has been quite good. I am currently concerned that the installation hasn't yet been inspected or connected since installation after a 3-4 week period. The installer was not the one on the contract due to a disagreement between Solar Free and the original installer.
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