THURSDAY 15 NOVEMBER, 2012 |
Commercial Solar Deals : If It Seems Too Good To Be True..
Old wisdom applies to new technology too - even clean and green solar power.
Solar scams appear to be spreading from targeting households to commercial-scale
It's a sad fact that even the clean energy revolution isn't without its dark
alleys harboring shady characters whispering "pssst.. wanna buy a
But unlike those creatures of ill-repute donning overcoats decked out with
knockoff Rolexes; solar swindles are often executed in a very blatant, glossy
and professional way.
The underbelly of the solar sector leverages the warm and fuzzy feeling of doing
good by the planet while slashing your electricity bill and trades on a lack of
knowledge on the target's part.
News sites and consumer protection agencies are littered with the unfortunate
stories of battlers who have made the mistake of choosing the wrong provider.
The ACCC has been tackling shady solar dealers, but it's a game of whack-a-mole
as they keep turning up like bad pennies.
Recently, solar provider Energy Matters launched its 23-page Solar
Power Consumer Guide
as a free download to help demystify solar power and
assist consumers in avoiding some of the common pitfalls.
But it's not just households in danger of being preyed upon by solar shysters.
It appears small businesses and larger commercial enterprises are in their
crosshairs too; using the same tactics, but just tweaked a little to appeal to a
more corporate palate.
Companies are increasingly becoming aware installing solar panels can provide
cheaper electricity than what they are currently paying for mains supplied
Additionally, generous incentives exist to encourage businesses to make the
switch to generating electricity from their often substantial rooftops.
Australia is on the verge of another solar revolution, this time powered by
medium-scale solar power systems.
However, according to Energy Matters' commercial
team, the company has been made aware of large systems being offered
under rental arrangements based on inflated performance claims - and for a
significant chunk of change.
In one example, taking into account the rental period and true electricity
generation potential of the system offered, the rental amount works out around
double the commercial rate for equivalent mains-supplied electricity.
This is certainly not good for any businesses taking up the arrangement as it
defeats much of the purpose of going solar in the first place, but scenarios
such as this also threaten to tarnish the reputation of the entire fledgling
commercial solar sector says Energy Matters.
Energy Matters warns "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware) applies
just as much to commercial-scale solar arrays as it does to home solar power
Potential commercial solar purchasers and lessees need to carry out as much due
diligence as they would with any other important investment in order to ensure
the arrangement they enter into is a profitable one and that the company they
are dealing with is reputable, offers quality components, has the required
expertise and track record.
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