SolarQuotes Puts Solar Installers Through The Wringer – So You Don't Have To

By Finn Peacock

Chartered Electrical Engineer, Ex-CSIRO, Founder of SolarQuotes

One of the biggest problems that people face when considering solar is knowing who to trust.

Sure, the nice salesman will look you in the eye and smile when telling you about how great their company is. 

It's nice to trust, but important to verify – screening is a must.

If you're looking to manually search through solar installers in your area (and in some cases, there can be hundreds!), the fastest way to see if a company is trustworthy is to consult our extensive solar installer review database.

However, screening so many installers in that way can take a lot of time!

Through my website, SolarQuotes, I've come up with a much easier way – simply fill out my short form requesting quotes for solar here, and I'll arrange up to 3 installers from my pre-vetted network to contact you ASAP for free, no-obligation quotes.

"But", I hear you ask, "How do I know that the installers you recommend to me are reputable?"

Good question!

The extensive SolarQuotes vetting process

I personally vet every single solar installer that applies to be a part of the SolarQuotes network. Over the past 8 years, I've knocked back literally hundreds of installers, with the help of the following vetting checklist:

1) I check the company name, trading name, and names of the main people in charge.

What I'm looking for here is any evidence that they have any dodgy business practices (such as hiring 'no experience necessary!' commission-only door-to-door salespeople).

I then check if the Clean Energy Regulator has marked them with any Enforceable Undertakings (which means they're intentionally or unintentionally rorting the solar rebate system)

I also maintain an extensive blacklist spreadsheet that usually stops well-known names in the industry dead in their tracks once I cross-reference their names with it.

Once all that is done, if something still doesn't feel right I call some good friends of mine in the industry to see if they're familiar with the company in question.

You can't beat industry knowledge when it comes to identifying shonks!

2) I check the ABN registry to make sure that the company name on the application and the registered name of the company match, and also to see if they are GST registered.

This is fairly straightforward – it usually sets off alarm bells when a company tries to apply under a totally different name to what they're legally registered as.

Not being GST registered is also a big red flag (because if your business is turning over more than $75,000 per year you legally need to be)

You'd be amazed how many solar installers apply to join our network claiming to be massive companies who aren't even registered for GST!

3) I check the ACN registry 

This is to see how long they've been registered.

I also check to see if any unusual documents have been lodged by the company.

4) I check their electrical contractors license

Here, I'm looking to see that the company operates under a valid electrical contractors' license. I also check if there are any black marks against the license.

5) I check their email and website

They must have their email address match their company. I generally do not take installers with gmail, hotmail, bigpond (etc.) email addresses unless they are very small regional installers.

Their website must show what brands of solar panels & inverters they sell. If they carry (in my opinion) junk brands, this usually disqualifies them immediately. 

I also review the information presented on their website to see if they're making any false or misleading sales claims.

I then check to see if there are any strange terms & conditions on their website that might be a red flag.

Once I've reviewed their website, I check what presence they have on other websites, including my own. The Whirlpool forums are usually a gold mine for finding any complaints about dodgy installers.

Finally, I run a full credit check, making sure that none of the listed company directors have any black marks against their name.

As you can see – I take my vetting procedures very seriously and it has taken me years to fine tune the screening to the point I have today.

That's how you know that when you request quotes through my website – I'm not just palming you off to a dodgy company.

The guiding principle of my website is "If I wouldn't recommend a solar installer to my grandmother, I won't recommend them through SolarQuotes".

And if any installers who make it through the vetting later do the wrong thing, I reserve the right to remove them from the SolarQuotes network immediately.

For full transparency – we had to do this with one company in the last 12 months.

How to find 3 great installers in your area who are in the SolarQuotes network.

If you get 3 quotes for solar through SolarQuotes, wherever possible, we will choose 3 high scoring installers that serve your postcode who are currently active in the SQ network. With our database of over 20,000 reviews, that means that we can be very confident that you will get quotes from 3 fantastic installers.

Which is reassuring in this industry, believe me!

“Many thanks…
I was a lost sheep in a field of wolves without your help”

– Margret, Castle Hill, NSW

 

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. Since 2009 over 300,000 Australians have used my site to get quotes for high quality solar from pre-vetted solar installers.

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