Background Checks on Solar Companies

How to Spot a Dud.

When looking into buying from a Solar business, it’s worth doing your homework on the company. Nicole (a self-confessed Solar Nerd and sales consultant) has worked as a nerd / consultant with several Solar companies over the last six years. I defer to her for wisdom on this topic. Take it away Nicole!

Having been in the Solar industry for about six years now, I find it rather odd when I come across a company I’ve never heard of. That’s not to say I know every company by any means, but you learn who your competitors are when you’re out on the road every day.

In recent months, I have come across several competitor quotes whom I had never heard of. The quickest and easiest way to get some background info is an ABN search. It’s easy, free and can save you a lot of future frustration! I downloaded an app on my phone simply called “ABN Lookup”, or you can search on the  Australian Business Register (ABR). Not only will the ABN search tell you how long the company has been registered, it also gives you historical data about whether the company has ever changed their name. This can raise alarm bells if there have been more than one name change. Of course it won’t tell you about the reputation of the company, quality of products, or their financial stability, but it’s a great place to start. Many of the recent ABN searches I have performed have revealed exactly that; the company has only been operating a couple of months, or they have had several different business names or their ABNs have been active/cancelled/active/cancelled.

In an industry riddled with rooftop cowboys, it’s important to know you’re installing with a company who’s in it for the long haul and hasn’t just sprung up out of nowhere (like the insulation debacle or rainwater tanks). As with any government incentive, there are always going to be the fly-by-nighters who are in it to make a quick buck. Their quotes may be cheaper…but will they be around to service the warranties they’ve promised?

My personal experience in solar in the last six years has taught me a lot, but I can definitely  say there is one thing for sure: there is a HUGE difference between working for a “Solar” company versus working for an “Electrical” company. The motivation for starting a business is more virtuous with an electrical company – of course, everyone is in business to make money, but a lot more ‘solar’ companies popped up overnight when the government incentives were initiated. So do your background checks and make sure you’re installing with a reputable company whose passion is solar and is planning on being around long into the future – I can now honestly say I’m proud of who I work for! The Clean Energy Council also has a list of Approved Solar Retailers who all have the “badge of honour” for conducting honest, ethical business and adhere to an industry Code of Conduct.

Come and check out our inverters in action at our office in Eagle Farm (Mark will chew your ear off if given the chance!), or give us a call for a quote.

Nicole – Solar Nerd & Sales Consultant.

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Mark Cavanagh

Mark is the Owner and Manager of MC Solar & Electrical. He’s an Electrician, accredited solar installer/designer and an electrical contractor.

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