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.

You have rights to protect you as a consumer if you have a problem with a solar hot water or heat pump system installed in your home. This includes the rights you have under Australian Consumer Law.

Your consumer rights

Australian Consumer Law has rules for responsible marketing and selling, products being fit for purpose, and warranties being honoured.

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 your retailer 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 website 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.

More information, including who to contact about your rights as a consumer, see Consumer protection.

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.