The downside of solar is it's both roofing and electricity, which means there are lots of little things that can become huge problems. To be honest here, if you don't get it right, it will be a nightmare. Here's a little story from one of our team recently.
During some recent roof painting one of us had done, the painter stuffed up, and got paint all around the property! As soon as the issue was raised, the painter disappeared. Which, unfortunately in solar, is often what installers do. To be fair, this is a fault of tradesmen worldwide, especially in Australia, and is very common no matter the trade.
But what do you do when this happens???
1. You can try the courts, but most of these guys will have to be dragged back to the property kicking and screaming. If you do get a result, it will take years of courtrooms and legal costs. Even if it's hundreds of thousands of damages, you still are probably best off to just get it fixed yourself if the company isn't honest. Terrible, but the truth. Many will go to jail before they'll admit fault...
2. Fairtrade. They will listen to you, and then nicely refer you back to option one which is the courts.
3. Ombudsman. They will nicely do exactly what Fair Trade will do (please also remember that these bodies exist to protect companies as well as consumers, they're not on your side.)
QBCC or relevant building body. They will do the same as the other two. Remember carefully, regardless of what happened it's your word vs theirs. Even video proof can sometimes not be enough...
Insurance. Well, unfortunately, workmanship is not covered under Australian insurance policies. So, once again, you're back to option 1.
Now this staff member knew better than what they did. They saved $1500 and it's ended up costing $10s of thousands in damages. A harsh reminder that you can't skimp, and you need to make sure you never let the wrong person work on your home. Extremely unfair yes, but unfortunately that is life, and they went the cheap route and got what they paid for.
Sometimes, it's worth doing things right the first time. When it goes wrong, it's far more difficult to fix.
We hope this negative experience can help some of you out there not make the same mistakes. Stay sunny everyone.