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How to Find Good Solar Installers near me

Finn Peacock

In this article, I’ll use my 15 years’ experience to guide you on how to find the best solar installers near you. We’ll explore the typical costs involved in solar panel installation and identify red flags. Let’s dive in.

How much does the installation of solar panels cost?

When getting solar panels installed, be wary of quotes too pricey or alarmingly cheap. To have a better understanding of reasonable prices for solar power installation, check out our Australian solar price index tool. It gives you up-to-date monthly averages of solar panel systems pricing including installation cost. You can even check the average for your specific state. This will help you compare against quotes you get.

How to identify and avoid the worst solar companies in Australia

When separating the wheat from the chaff, it is important to spot the companies you should avoid. Because I’ve got better things to do than swat away legal threats all day, I won’t name names here – and besides, new shonks pop up all the time.

So instead, I’ll give you the tools to find the shonks yourself. Here are some red flags to look out for:

Pro tip – if you are considering a company, but have a bad gut feeling about them, just give us a call. We’ll be happy to share any insights we may have on their reputation in the industry.

1. They don’t have any SAA-accredited designers on staff

All good solar companies will have a qualified solar designer on staff. I would say it’s the most important role, because if you get the design wrong, everything else quickly turns to shit.

To demonstrate their competence, the person that designs your solar (and battery system) should be accredited by Solar Accreditation Australia (SAA). And this person should be a full-time member of the company. This is not something that should be farmed out to a subcontractor, in my opinion.

The worst solar companies will – god forbid – let an unqualified salesperson design your system. The good ones will get their accredited designer to do the design in advance of the tradies rocking up to your site.

Check if the company employs an SAA-approved designer. When requesting quotes, ask them to provide you with their designer’s SAA accreditation number, ensure it is current, and ask for the preliminary design before they send the install team around.

Of course, the lead solar installer also needs to be similarly accredited to do the installation (installation and design accreditation are separate, but can be the same person), and you are welcome to ask them to show you their accreditation card. But thankfully unqualified installers are very rare these days, it seems to be unqualified designers that are the mark of a shonky solar retailer.

Note: Until recently, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) was the accreditation scheme operator. That is why you might still find designers and installers mentioning they are “CEC accredited”. Installers and designers are legally required to transfer their accreditation to SAA by June 2024 if they still want to remain eligible for Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs).

2. They are too expensive

Watch out for solar installers who use aggressive tactics to overcharge. This is the modus operandi of most solar-selling doorknockers. It’s got so bad that if someone knocks on your door trying to sell you solar or batteries (or an electricity plan), your best move is to politely tell them to bugger off. Trust me, you are not missing out on any amazing deal; you are only open to people who invite a doorknocker into their home.

Some companies start by knocking on your door and pressuring both you and your spouse to be present. They aim to get you to sign a contract immediately, preventing you from getting other quotes or discussing it.

They may quote an outrageous price, like $20,000, for a system that should cost closer to $6,000. They will then use classic sales tricks like offering discounts if you hang their sign on your fence or pretending to call their boss for a “better” deal. Even if they reduce the price to $10,000, it’s still well above market rates.

They might push you to waive your cooling-off period, falsely promising faster installation. This is meant to stop you from shopping around and realising their inflated prices.

Our advice: avoid cold phone calls, doorknockers and sales letters with their high-pressure pitches and always get multiple quotes. Don’t sign anything without comparing prices and confirming the going rate for the solar system you want.

3. They are too cheap

Some solar installers offer prices so low that it makes you question their practices. If you know the cost of solar components and what a quality installation costs, with enough overheads for a sustainable business, these crazy low prices make no sense.

They likely cut corners with the cheapest, clearance panels, ultra-cheap inverters, racking, isolators, and rushed installation work by a team that is only incentivized to get the job done and leave, not carefully install a system that both looks good and should last for decades.

When was the last time you bought the cheapest option or hired the cheapest tradesperson, and it resulted in a durable and high-quality solution? Undercharging almost always means sacrificing quality, care and painful offshore customer service, and you don’t want that with high-voltage solar systems that you are relying on to save thousands of dollars every year. Faulty or poorly installed equipment can be hazardous, so opting for the cheapest option can also be a dangerous gamble.

A quality solar installation should prioritise safety, durability, and reliable components. Investing a little more in a reputable installer will ensure your system functions safely and efficiently for years. Avoid installers offering prices too good to be true, and instead, look for a balance of quality and affordability.

4. Read any 1-star reviews

When looking for solar installer reviews, check different platforms, like Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews, ProductReview or my own SolarQuotes reviews.

Does the company have a consistent average score across all the platforms? If there is a discrepancy of much more than 0.2 stars, that’s a sign they are gaming one of the platforms – the one where they send all their customers to ‘prove’ how good they are.

Have a careful look at any 1-star reviews. When you read through them, do you see any recurring issues? Does the company respond to these reviews promptly? Everyone makes mistakes, but a reliable company will address any issues with their installation as soon as possible to protect their reputation.

One star reviews of a solar company

This company (which shall remain nameless) gets recurring complaints about their lack of communication after installation. Avoid!

  • The reviews database

    We collect reviews of all Australian solar installers whether they are in the SolarQuotes network (i.e. paying clients) or not. You can search our solar installer reviews database here or submit reviews here.

  • The ranking tables

    For all our solar installer ranking tables, we only show those who are active in our Australian network (i.e. companies that pay to participate). This is because we want to present a list of installers that we have pre-vetted – and our vetting process is very thorough. We have rejected applications from many Australian installers wanting to join the network as the companies didn’t meet our stringent standards.

  • How to find 3 great installers in your area who are in the SolarQuotes network.

    If you get 3 quotes for solar power through our service, wherever possible, we will choose 3 high-scoring installers that provide services in your postcode and who are currently active in the SQ network. With our database of tens of thousands of reviews, that means that we can be very confident that you will get quotes from 3 fantastic installers, which is reassuring in this industry, believe me.
    Our free service to you helps take the guesswork out of finding the best solar installers to assist you in harvesting the energy of the sun from your home’s rooftop and slashing your electricity bills! If you’d like to do a little digging yourself, you can also find solar installers with our new search tool or browse recommended solar installers in various Australia cities.

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