Solahart owner Darren Page says residents getting solar panels installed should consider quality over price.
Solahart owner Darren Page says residents getting solar panels installed should consider quality over price. Mike Knott BUN201218SOL2

Aussie solar capital could be in the dark about safety risk

POORLY installed solar panels could be putting thousands of Bundaberg homes at risk as a recent national audit reveals a fifth of inspected units were unsafe.

A national audit of the Renewable Energy Target found between 21 and 26 per cent of rooftop solar units inspected each year since 2001 had faulty wiring and unsecured panels.

Bundaberg is paving the way in renewable energy as the leading postcode Australia-wide for solar panel installations - The city had 11,060 installations and a capacity of 38,975kW, according to the Clean Energy Council's 2018 report.

Solahart Bundaberg Owner Darren Page said the risk of dodgy installations could come from a lack of knowledge for customers and choosing cheaper options when purchasing solar panels.

"You've got a lot of products out there on the market, there's a lot of misinformation about solar," he said.

"Everybody thinks that solar is solar when, in fact, if somebody asks us about solar saying 'I want a 5kW system' well it's like saying 'I want a 4 cylinder car'.

"There's quite a range between the very cheap and then the more reasonable - a bit more expensive but you're getting a lot better quality and we try not to dabble down in the low end and that's probably what consumers have got to keep in mind."

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor wrote letters to state and territory energy ministers last week, urging them to protect Australians and highlighting the "severity of the issue".

Mr Page said he felt Mr Taylor's claims were a way to "push the coal situation, coal and gas instead of renewables", which he said was a "dinosaur theory".

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said his advice for community members with solar was "if you have concerns contact your local electrician and get your system checked" and those looking to install solar panels ensure they are using a qualified tradesperson.

"The only reason the uptake of solar has been so high in this region is because people can't pay Premier Palaszczuk's outrageous power prices. Consumers are looking for ways to bring living costs down due to the continued inaction of the State Labor Government on power prices."



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