A solar stitch up?
Local solar initiative concern over door knocker rip offs
THE popularity of rooftop solar has increased rapidly in the district in recent months, spurred on by the combination of increasing power prices, more affordable panels, and new initiatives like the ‘Bogie Bulk Buy’ making the switch to solar more attractive.
The more solar panels sold in the area, however, can have unintended consequences, as more and more brokers move in to try and take advantage of the community’s receptiveness to solar.
As some have found out in the last few weeks, not all these businesses are made equal, and both council and those running the Bogie Bulk Buy program, the Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF), have concerns some residents may be getting ripped off by door knocking salespeople.
Under the Bogie Bulk Buy Program residents qualify for free and independent advice from YEF about what system would best suit the household’s need.
To this point the program has been incredibly popular, with over 150kW worth of solar panels sold - well beyond the expectations of council and YEF.
So far, YEF say that equates to just over 7100 tonnes of CO2e abated, as well as $67,000 saved in energy bills every year across the community.
While the program has an affiliated company in Cherry Solar, YEF said they encouraged people to buy solar from any reputable business, and that of course, people should shop around to get the best deal.
However, that’s not necessarily that easy, especially when homeowners are confronted with technical jargon, and at times complex sums to calculate a return on their initial investment.
YEF say they have some concerns about certain businesses offering inferior products and deals under the guise of being part of the Bulk Buy Program, which they worry could erode community faith in reputable and honest solar companies and the program.
“Our role in the Bogie Bulk Buy is to ensure residents and businesses can access independent advice around solar and feel safe and confident that they are getting a good deal on quality products,” Dean Kline, the Yarra Energy Foundation CEO said.
“We encourage people to call us to discuss any solar quotes they have received, regardless of whether they are through the Shire of Strathbogie’s program or not.
“We are here to provide independent advice.”
YEF have three general tips for those who might be approached with a number of separate deals for solar panels.
Tip number one is to do your homework.
YEF say a simple search on the internet can provide a lot of information about that company, and any red flags like spelling errors, a lack of information, or a lack of contact details, will become obvious.
Tip number two is to be wary of door knockers.
While many reputable companies use door knocking to approach customers, they encourage caution, and urge people not to sign anything on the day. Make sure you have time to do your own research, even if they offer incentives.
Tip number three is; if in doubt, call YEF.
This is why the Yarra Energy Foundation is involved in the Bogie Bulk Buy.
Call them on 1300 866 634 to discuss your options, or ask about a quote that you have been given.