Grid connections and energy distributors;
In the last week, we've seen multiple examples of interesting issues with customers grid connections. It's not a common topic in the solar world, but to fair, is probably the most important aspect, after the actual system of course.
We recently helped a customer get connected, who had purchased a system with another company. The company he had brought through never submitted his grid application, and he had been struggling to get help ever since. And that was over 2 years ago...
He had purchased off the TV, and no one had been to visit the site. His box was up to scratch, and the system was fine, but for some weird reason, no one had bothered to actually have the system submitted for grid application. He had made numerous calls, sent emails, threatened, and tried to take legal action, all to no avail.
Finally, he ended up being told that the only solution was to take the company through small claims and proceed through there.
Now, this customer had brought with one of the larger companies, and, because of this factor, thought he was totally fine. However, that company had been using a subcontractor who no longer worked for them, and had not supplied the electrical compliance certificate. The large company said that because of this it wasn't their fault, and that the customer had to chase the installer. The installer claimed that the company hadn't paid him correctly, and would not supply any certificate until such time that he had been paid in full.
All in all a right mess, and a reminder for customers to always make sure their system is connected to the grid as soon as possible to make sure nothing untoward can occur afterwards. As grid connection is undertaken by a third party, under Australian consumer law it can be very difficult to enforce action if something goes wrong.
The poor customer said a very important line to us though, which just has to be shared in the hope that others don't suffer the same fate, "I can't believe *insert very famous Australian Sportsman's name here* would put his name to this company".
Unfortunately for the customer, good companies don't need to spend hundreds of thousands on sports stars to make up for their lack of workmanship!
In this industry, we are yet to see anyone manage more than 3 install teams per day and do a good job. Unfortunately, good help is hard to find, which is why so many companies have gone by the wayside. It's just to easy for autonomous workers to go off coarse and cause major problems. Having good workmanship and consistent performance gets harder with every extra player on the team. Make sure the installer is legally responsible for their work and signs off on their own jobs!