Solar Victoria logo

Section 9: Consumer protections when buying solar or hot water systems

If you have a problem with a solar electricity or hot water system installed at your home you have rights to protect you as a consumer.

If you have a problem with a solar electricity or hot water system installed at your home you have rights to protect you as a consumer. This includes the rights you have under Australian Consumer Law, and additional entitlements under the Clean Energy Council’s Solar Retailer Code of Conduct, which CEC Approved Solar Retailers have promised to adhere to. We recommend you choose an Approved Solar retailer, and from 1 November 2019 only Approved Solar Retailers will be able to participate in the solar panel (PV) rebate program.

Your consumer rights

Australian Consumer Law has rules for responsible marketing and selling, products being fit for purpose, and warranties being honoured. The Solar Retailer Code of Conduct has higher standards in these areas. It also has requirements for Approved Solar Retailers with regard to dealing with problems and complaints.

When you buy a system find out who you should contact if there is a fault, and be aware of the warranties available with your system.

If you have a problem with a product, service or unfulfilled contract try to resolve it directly with the company first. Putting your complaint in writing gives you records of your dealings with it.

If you are unable to contact the business, or you do not receive a satisfactory response within a reasonable time, you could lodge a complaint with Consumer Affairs Victoria, who may be able to assist.

The Solar Energy page on the Consumer Affairs Victoria websiteExternal Link has advice on the next steps, from dealing with a faulty product such as a solar inverter, problems with installation and dealing with insolvent businesses.

You may also choose to take your complaint further by applying to a court or tribunal, such as the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), or seek your own independent legal advice.

Below are some handy contacts regarding who to contact to protect your consumer rights.

Consumer rights organisations

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV):

You can contact CAV to help resolve disputes between you, the customer, and traders. CAV enforces compliance with consumer laws.

T: 1300 55 81 81 Link

Energy & Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV):

You can contact EWOV to investigate any customer complaint about electricity, natural gas, bottled gas (LPG) and water companies.

T: 1800 500 509 (free call) or 131 450 (interpreter service) Link

Essential Services Commission (ESC):

You can contact ESC for issues relating to the price, quality and reliability of essential services such as electricity.

T: 1300 664 969 or (+61 3) 9032 1300 Link

Ensuring safety in the Solar Homes Program

The Solar Homes Program requires the highest standards in safety, which is the responsibility of workers and their employers who must ensure their teams are trained, supervised and equipped to do the job safely.

Solar Victoria is working with a range of agencies to minimise risk to works and householders getting new solar installations.

WorkSafe Victoria and Energy Safe Victoria are conducting inspections at the time of installation. Independent post-installation audits commissioned by Solar Victoria are underway.

The post installation auditing process assesses electrical safety, confirms the equipment installed is what was quoted for, and that the installer was approved by the Clean Energy Council to do the work. It also confirms that the inspection by the Licensed Electrical lnspector was done correctly.

An enforcement committee made up of various regulators (WorkSafe Victoria, Energy Safe Victoria, Consumer Affairs Victoria, Victorian Building Authority) and the Clean Energy Council reviews each matter to determine if further action is needed.

Reviewed 22 February 2023