Choosing to fit a solar power system with battery storage is one of the most important decisions a homeowner will make on the journey towards realizing their dream home.
Opting for solar power means choosing a smart energy future. Making a choice to invest personally in the future of renewable energy, to divest oneself from fossil fuels, and to seek independence from variable, ever-increasing power bills.
Once one has decided to go solar, the follow up decisions, however, can prove just as critical.
Solar & Batteries are not plug-and-play appliances but “complex electrical installations”. It’s vitally important not only to use the highest quality components when setting up your solar system, but to ensure that they’re designed and installed meticulously and monitored adequately.
Unfortunately, complaints about solar companies have more than doubled over the last few years.
A survey conducted by CHOICE revealed that 30% of solar owners reported issues with their solar company.
In addition to that, Australian solar safety standards are not as stringent as in other parts of the world, like the US.
The vast majority of solar systems installed in Australia create high uncontrolled DC voltages that can pose a ﬁre and electrocution risk in the event of a fault.
Solar fires are often caused by an electrical arc fault, which occurs when an electrical current jumps from one point to another, potentially sparking a ﬁre.
When adding a battery to your solar pv system, the complexity and importance of quality workmanship becomes even more critical.
In February 2022 an Adelaide couple were lucky to escape with their lives when their house was badly damaged after a fire started due to their solar system’s faulty battery.
The couple escaped the blaze, managing to save their cat and two dogs, at 3am after being alerted to the danger by a smoke alarm.
Adelaide Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) claim there is a growing problem with faulty and malfunctioning lithium-ion batteries across Australia.
MFS northern operations commander Stuart Dawes told ABC News that the fire had started in a home battery storage system in the property’s garage.
“Lithium-ion storage systems are becoming more of an emerging hazard to fire services around the nation," said Mr Dawes.
Mr Dawes noted that it is vital that batteries are safely installed following the compliance regulations, “Fire services are developing policy and procedure to deal with the rise in these types of incidents.”
Work With An Experienced Installer
Safer Solar technologies reduce the risk of electrical arc faults, which in turn reduce the risk of solar-related ﬁres and electrocution. The two main Safer Solar technologies available in Australia are SolarEdge DC Power Optimisers and Enphase Microinverters.
Both Microinverters and Power Optimisers, known also as MLPE (Module level panel electronics), control power generated by the solar panel AT the solar panel and constantly monitor electrical performance for faults that may cause a ﬁre.
There’s a great variety of solar products on the market and a broad selection of installers operating in different parts of the country.
Figuring out which company to work with can be a little overwhelming at first, as there’s a lot of information to take in.
Choosing to work with an experienced installer that utilizes only high-quality components is vital to ensuring the success of one’s solar journey for the long-term.
Unfortunately, there are some less scrupulous installers operating on the fringes of the solar industry that have presided over solar system installation disasters for some homeowners.
Known as ‘solar cowboys’ these dodgy companies will usually be operating newly founded businesses/ websites that lack a history of verified customer reviews. Once they secure the sale, they will then outsource the installation to the cheapest labor available, in many cases unskilled and unqualified technicians.
Many installers setting up batteries these days do not even hold a CEC Battery Accreditation. And in most cases that translates to the start of a nightmare for homeowners.
As soon as the poor reviews start coming in from unsatisfied customers who’ve had poorly functioning solar systems and batteries installed on their properties, the dodgy operators close down their business and re-open under a new name.
Ultimately, customers will pay the price as they are left with faulty, unsafe and underperforming 'orphan' systems, with no company to hold accountable for warranties and service.
Close to 800 solar companies have gone out of business since 2011, leaving more than 650,000 Australians with no recourse if their systems fail.
Look For Verified Customer Reviews
Verified customer reviews are the best way to gauge the reliability and quality of service that a solar system installer provides. Look for installers that have been in business for several years at least that have amassed plenty of high quality, detailed customer reviews.
A dodgy installer might be able to add a handful of fake customer testimonials to their website, but real verified customer reviews are what you’re looking for.
Check Google Reviews for any installer you’re considering. A quality installer should have a good number of customer reviews spanning over several years.
In order to consider working with an installer, be sure that they’ve received plenty of five-star reviews from customers and have an overall rating over four stars.
Be sure to read back over several pages of customer reviews and keep an eye out for any inconsistencies or common complaints.
As well as Google Review, be sure to search for reviews on any installer you’re considering working with at ProductReview.com.au.
This independent website contains real, verified reviews from customers for thousands of Australian companies.
ProductReview.com.au gives out annual awards to a smaller number of exceptional Australian businesses in various categories that have received overwhelmingly positive customer reviews.
Smart Energy Answers was awarded the ProductReview.com.au award for the solar installer category for three years runningin 2020, 2021 and again in 2022.
Click the link below to learn more about the benefits of battery storage and energy management systems.