All of us at Energy Partners are here for your solar energy enquiries and to share our expert opinions and recommendations, but if you ever need a handy and comprehensive online consumer guide to solar, the Clean Energy Council’s website is a beauty.

https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/

At this great resource, you can look up CEC accredited solar installers, CEC approved solar retailers, government programs, costs and savings info, and tips for avoiding solar scams. You will find the FAQs section on solar and battery storage particularly useful. As well, you can lodge complaints and disputes against solar retailers and installers in the consumer enquiries section. You’ll also find helpful info on dealing with wider electricity retailer and distributor issues, and electrical safety problems.

Committing to best practice

Approved solar retailers and accredited installers are committed to industry best practice. However, some solar companies’ sales and marketing activities are not responsible, and some installers lack credentials. If consumers believe they are the victim of deficient service or faulty workmanship, they are encouraged to lodge a complaint with the Clean Energy Council (as long as it’s regarding a CEC approved retailer or CEC accredited installer).

Complaints about unapproved retailers or non-accredited installers should be directed to the Office of Fair Trading in the relevant state. Installers and solar businesses are also able to report product faults and submit these for referral to the CEC testing program via the online complaint form.

Avoiding exposure to solar scams

Solar is big business, which unfortunately can bring out dodgy sales tactics. It helps to be prepared in case you are doorknocked, cold-called, or subjected to high-pressure sales tactics to sign up to a solar deal. The CEC website is full of useful tips on avoiding getting burned by the less than professional members of the solar salesforce.

In particular, the CEC warns about solar scams that often involve people claiming to be offering government rebates, selling energy-saving devices, or giving away free solar systems. They explain that a number of existing government solar rebate programs around Australia can make it hard to know if the company you’ve been contacted by, and the deal they are offering, is genuine.

One example of such a scam is a salesperson who claims to be offering to replace your solar panels for brand new panels free of charge. The CEC says to be aware of offers like these, as the ‘free’ panels are very likely to be cheap and low quality, and you may be swapping your high-quality panels for an inferior low-quality product.

They suggest protecting yourself from solar scams by visiting the Federal Government’s SCAMwatch website, and also by putting your phone number on the Do Not Call Register to avoid getting unwanted calls. Finally, if you find yourself the victim of a scam, they urge you to report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) via the SCAMwatch website, or by calling 1300 795 995.

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