THE TRUTH ABOUT SOLAR – Messenger Article 21/2/17
SOARING power prices are creating a rush to solar, but it’s not all good news.
Sharpe Group technicians are coming across an increasing number of poorly installed systems, some of which are potentially dangerous to homeowners. “We are increasingly being called out to fix under-performing systems,” Sharpe spokesman David Sharpe says.
He says cut-price solar systems are usually badly made, produce as little as 60 per cent of the energy they should and often pose a fire risk.
“A blaze can be caused by a cheap panel that ignites on the roof, or a faulty inverter or wiring that sets fire to a wall,” he explains.
“Once a structure is ablaze it takes a lot of resources and time to extinguish.”
Even if it is extinguished, water damage to the property will often be extensive.
However, there are certain things that can be done to ensure consumer safety. “Every solar panel should have the following clearly labelled on it – a brand name or manufacturer, Australian certification, a serial number and a bar code,” he says. “The Clean Energy Council website has more information on Australian compliance standards.”
Mr Sharpe adds that a warranty means nothing if the consumer can’t trace the fault back to the manufacturer.
“If the serial number on the unit is written in another language and the installer has gone out of business, the consumer has nothing to fall back on.”
Consumer advocate Choice has found that 25 per cent of solar systems experience problems, mainly caused by low-quality components that result in a decline in performance.
“There is a bewildering amount of information and misinformation on rooftop solar systems and many people have rushed in without getting the full facts,” Mr Sharpe says.
Sharpe Group technicians can inspect, repair and arrange upgrades to solar systems.