The clean energy industry today said an investigation by the government’s consumer watchdog will see a change for the better in the marketing for solar power systems. Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Matthew Warren said measures to protect consumer confidence in the fast-growing solar industry were crucial to its long term success. “Australia’s solar PV industry is maturing fast”, Mr Warren said. “It is critical that the safety, reliability and performance of solar power systems meet the customer’s expectations.

“As an industry we are continuing to tighten and improve the safety and reliability of solar installations. Along with the scrutiny already being applied to the products and installers, it’s appropriate that the government watchdog is scrutinising advertising claims to ensure that they are credible”.

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (
ACCC) raised concerns of misleading or deceptive advertising by two solar panel companies operating in Queensland. The ACCC found that advertising claims by Queensland Solar Systems and State Solar Services were likely to have breached the Trade Practices Act.

The advertising claimed installing a 1.5
kW system could “wipe out” household energy bills, when in reality a system of this size would not be large enough to offset more than a third of energy consumption for most homes. It also claimed that the systems were available at heavily discounted prices, even though the products had never been sold at the higher prices advertised.

Mr Warren said both companies have voluntarily agreed to remove the advertising claims. “We will continue to build a competitive and dynamic solar industry in Australia where customers know what they are getting, get what they pay for, and the
solar panels are installed safely and work safely”, he said.

Source: Gippsland Friends of Future Generations.