For many people buying solar is a new concept and we’re keen to make sure people buy a good quality system that will deliver many years of service.
We require stringent quality and safety standards to be met so that customers receive a high-quality product, installed safely by a qualified professional.
That means ensuring only authorised retailers, installers and accredited solar products are eligible under the program.
To maintain standards across the industry, all solar retailers wanting to be part of the Solar Homes program must be Clean Energy Council . All installers participating in the Program must be Clean Energy Council . Retailers who wish to participate in the Solar Homes program are required to agree to Solar Victoria’s , which contains provisions to protect consumers. Installers who wish to participate need to agree to Solar Victoria’s .
The purpose of these checks is to ensure the safety of Victorians and develop an understanding of where the solar retail and installation industry is doing well, and where there is room for improvement.
Dodgy advertising and sales tactics
This is a growing industry, but unfortunately there are still some companies doing the wrong thing and undermining the good operators.
Solar Victoria does not endorse any individual company involved in the Solar Homes program. This includes cold-callers or anyone going door-to-door.
It’s not illegal to sell door-to-door or over the phone, but consumers have 10 full business days to reconsider agreements made as a result of uninvited telemarketing or door-to-door sales.
The cooling-off period gives consumers time to ensure they are happy with the decision and that they have all the information needed to make a good choice. It begins on the first business day after the agreement is made. If the consumer cancels the agreement, there’s no penalty.
There are rules about how calls/visits are conducted. Telemarketers must hang up immediately when asked by the consumer and not call back for at least 30 days.
Try to verify details of companies calling or visiting from an independent source, such as a phone directory, but beware of fake websites as scammers send links to websites that look real, carrying the logos of well-known organisations.
Do not rely on caller ID. Scammers can use internet services to buy local telephone numbers that hide the fact they are based overseas
Tips for consumers
- Ensure that any retailer you use is included on the list of Solar Victoria’s .
- Be wary of traders offering goods or services with significantly discounted prices. It’s generally a trade-off for low-quality equipment that may not last.
- Talk to neighbours, friends and family who have recently installed solar systems, find out who they’ve dealt with or speak to well-known providers.
- Educate yourself by asking questions and be vigilant. Read the guides produced by and the .
- Find online reviews of the companies you’re looking at but be aware of those that are over-enthusiastic or multiple reviews submitted on the same day.
- See if company details, such as ABN, are listed on their website – you can check these on .
- Remember, Victorian Government agencies will never ask for personal details, such as banking information over the phone.
- Find out more about on Consumer Affairs Victoria’s website.
- Apart from Consumer Affairs Victoria, you can report dodgy sales behaviour to , which is run by the .
- You may need to obtain approval from your energy distributor to connect a solar PV system to the electricity grid prior to installation of your solar PV system. Your retailer has an obligation to explain this process before a contract is agreed to.
Educate yourself on solar
These resources can help you to learn more about solar energy before you install:
WorkSafe Victoria (WSV)
Description: Victoria’s workplace health and safety regulator.
Purpose: Contact WSV to report a workplace health and safety incident, to report employer-non-compliance or to speak to WSV’s health and safety and injury compensation advisory service.
Phone: Advisory service: 1800 136 089. 24/7 Emergencies: 13 23 60.
Energy Safe Victoria (ESV)
Description: Victoria’s technical and safety regulator for the generation, supply, and use of electricity, gas, and pipelines.
Purpose: ESV should be contacted in relation to safety and quality concerns for electrical and gas installations and equipment, among other things.
Phone: 1800 800 158
Victorian Building Authority (VBA)
Description: Victoria’s building and plumbing regulator.
Purpose: The VBA provides information about building and plumbing matters, including safety matters, for property owners, residents and renovators.
Phone: 1300 815 127
Clean Energy Council (CEC)
Description: A peak body for the clean energy sector in Australia.
Purpose: The CEC may be contacted in relation to potential breaches of its Solar Retailer Code of Conduct by Approved Solar Retailers, as well as instances of non-compliance by CEC Accredited Installers.
Phone: 03 9929 4100
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)
Description: Victoria’s consumer affairs regulator.
Purpose: CAV receives enquiries relating to compliance with and enforcement of consumer laws and regulations, as well as complaints relating to potential breaches of these laws and regulations.
Phone: 1300 55 81 81
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
Description: Australia’s corporate, markets, and financial services regulator.
Purpose: ASIC provides information and answers enquiries about companies, businesses and individuals. Consumers may also report alleged misconduct of companies and organisations registered with ASIC.
Phone: 1300 300 630
Scamwatch - Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
Description: The ACCC is Australia’s competition regulator and national consumer law champion, and provides information on how to recognise, avoid, and report scams.
Purpose: The ACCC provides guidance for consumers and small businesses relating to consumer rights and product safety. Consumers may also contact the ACCC to report scams and other consumer issues.
Phone: 1300 850 115
Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV)
Description: Dispute resolution service for energy and water issues.
Purpose: EWOV receives complaints about energy and water related matters within its jurisdiction.
Phone: 1800 500 509
Essential Services Commission (ESC)
Description: Victoria’s regulator for the price, quality and reliability of essential services.
Purpose: The ESC provides information for consumers in relation to electricity, gas and water issues as well as energy saving information.
Phone: 1300 664 969
Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC)
Description: Consumer advocacy organisation.
Purpose: CALC may provide legal and financial assistance for people struggling with a range of consumer and financial issues.
Phone: 1800 466 477
Clean Energy Regulator (CER)
Description: Australian independent statutory authority responsible for administering legislation to reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of clean energy.
Purpose: The CER provides education and information in relation to the schemes that it administers, including the Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme, Emissions Reduction Fund, Renewable Energy Target, among others.
Phone: 1300 553 542
Reviewed 11 June 2020