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700+ dodgy solar installers CEC

Last year the CEC cancelled its accreditation of 12 installers and suspended the accreditation of 160 more. It also struck more than 5,500 models of solar panel from its list of approved products, along with 88 models of solar inverter. Shocking – to use a bad pun.

But according to CEC chief executive Kane Thornton, “I don’t think it’s up to the government to dictate exactly which product [or price] an Australian consumer might prefer.” That is a very politically correct statement, but it means you cannot protect a bargain hunter from themselves.

But State rules hamstring the regulator

The ABC 7.30 report found that some parts of Australia have far more comprehensive checks than others.

  • Tasmania, ACT and Victoria: inspects every system.
  • Northern Territory: 295 rooftop solar systems in the past 12 months (a statistical sample methodology that is likely skewed towards convenience).
  • Queensland: installers with a history of substandard work receive audits.
  • New South Wales: a targeted compliance program for solar installations is under development.
  • South Australia: Almost 33% of homes now have rooftop solar, but it could not provide any information to 7.30.
  • South-west WA: State-owned Western Power is responsible for rooftop solar inspections, almost 10,000 checks in the past 18 months.
  • Rural and remote WA: Horizon Power failed to confirm whether it runs an inspections regime independently of the CER and failed to provide information to 7.30.

The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) that administers Australia’s renewable energy target said it is required by law to inspect a statistically significant number of rooftop solar systems (about 5,500) over two years. That is a sick joke – a bit like asking the fox to mind the chickens!

And don’t even start on batteries

Fortunately, only about 60,000 batteries have so-far been fitted to the two million solar panel installations by 950 CEC accredited installers. CEC says that there is no agreed Australian standard (there may be State standards, and it is working on an Australian one).

The National Audit Office found some of the risks of cheap or poorly installed batteries include electric shock, gas explosion, fire, and chemical exposure.

But more importantly, the payback argument used for solar panels is not so applicable to batteries.

According to Gelonese batteries vary in cost – the cheaper ones (with shorter life and recharge cycles) may cost $800 per kWh to the best at $2,000 per kWh. That 10kWh battery that ranges in price from $8,000 to $20,000 – can take up to 20 years to deliver a positive ROI. Catch 22 – the battery usually lasts up to 10-15 years – this is not cost-effective and no amount of sales person’s hyperbole – OK bullshit – can disguise that.

 He also warns about the managed battery schemes where you pay a fixed price for power each month. “I know I am using strong words, but the last company you should sell your power to is the energy retailer or the battery maker that takes control of your battery. Those schemes are fraught with often impossible to meet conditions and hidden charges. For example,

“You agree to allow us and our service providers access and control of your battery, at our complete discretion and as we deem necessary.”

GadgetGuy’s take –700+ dodgy solar installers is a farce that needs fixing – fast

The more I investigate solar and battery power, the more I think it’s a sick joke imposed on us by bureaucrats to meet theoretical renewable energy targets. And let’s not get started on our artificially high energy prices either. The whole energy supply issue is a mess.

Now you have made it this far and are scared about solar you can read GadgetGuy’s other articles about #Stop the energy rip-off.

The one that started our crusade – Ember pulse can stop the energy rip off

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