Beware of fly-by-night Solar PV installers

Making the move to renewable energy is a wise financial choice given Eskom’s dire state, as long as you do so with a reliable renewable energy partner with the best technology solutions, installation and support, warranties from tier 1 companies, superior technical and product knowledge and ongoing service to walk the journey with you.

Getting off the grid is a journey and does not happen overnight, so it’s vital that you do your homework and understand your long-term plan.  The system and approach you choose today will influence what you can and can’t do in future – you don’t want to spend the money today, only to find that you’re stuck with a system configuration that does not evolve with your changing needs.  Even worse, that you invest in a low grade, low-quality system that is not compatible or fit for purpose and has no local manufacturer support through an approved distributor.

A big concern in the industry is the sudden influx of fly-by-night operators looking to capitalise on the renewable energy boom.  ‘Drop-and-go’ importers without the financial strength to carry any warranty claims are bringing in and selling products at the lowest possible price without any installation, service back-up, safety considerations and warranties.  Installations are being done by unqualified people, with poor workmanship and no regard for or understanding of the important compatibility of the components, the electrical safety aspects and compliance that are intrinsic with a solar PV installation.  Hundreds of fly-by-night solar installers have gone out of business in the past few years, creating thousands of solar orphans with no back-up and worthless warranties.

In the last year, One Energy has been called to assist people who have bought dud systems and cannot get the original installer to resolve their issues or fulfil on warranties.  In almost all instances, we have found these systems to be entirely wrongly specified for the client’s needs, and most worrying, incorrectly programmed and without the necessary electrical safety measures in place.  In many instances we have found configurations where the charger component of the inverter is inadequate to fully charge the batteries, which as a result stay in a permanent state of partial charging. This is very damaging to a battery and can render a R50k battery useless in a matter of months – a huge financial knock.   The proper electrical integration of your inverter with your batteries and panels and your grid electricity is critical – any mistakes here can have very serious consequences – from a complete loss of your batteries in a few short months, to exploding batteries and fires that can burn your house down or worse.

A quality solar PV system should last you 15-20 years and beyond, with warranties and back-up to last.  Talk to One Energy, South Africa’s biggest and longest-standing solar energy franchise to help you get off the grid step-by step, safely and with the best return on investment and reliability.