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Solar Power’s Dark Secret: What They Won’t Tell You About the Risks

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Solar Power: Saving Money or Saving Yourself a Headache?

Picture of a firefighter putting out an inverter fire
When it comes to electricity, it's all about risk mitigation!


  • Fires related to solar systems has increased in 2023 and is projected to increase in 2024.
  • Over 1,000 solar companies have gone bust since 2011, leaving many system owners in the lurch.
  • Retired Fire Captain becomes advocate for AC solar system as the best solution for fire safety.

The sun shines for free, so harnessing its power to light up your home sounds like a no-brainer, right? But the world of solar can be as bright and dazzling as it is confusing, with options ranging from dirt-cheap to eye-wateringly expensive. So, where do you land to get the most bang for your buck without becoming a victim of dodgy deals or shoddy workmanship? Let’s navigate the solar spectrum, shedding light on the risks and rewards at each end.

Cheap as Chips: A Risky Gamble

At the budget end, the allure of rock-bottom prices is undeniable. But remember, cheap often means cheerful…not reliable. Think low-grade panels that degrade quickly, dodgy installations that could spark a fire, and post-sale support that vanishes faster than a summer sunset. Worse still, some companies might even engage in “phoenix-ing,” disappearing with your money and leaving you holding an empty box (and a potentially dangerous one at that).

Burnt out solar panel from electrical issue.
Dodgy installs can make even the best equipment a fire hazard!

The Middle Ground: Sweet Spot or Siren Song?

Stepping up a notch, we find reliable brands like Enphase and Fronius, paired with solid panels from Trina and Jinko. These systems boast good workmanship, decent warranties, and (hopefully) reputable installers. But beware the “cowboy sellers” lurking in this mid-range market. They might charm you with slick presentations and sky-high markups, leaving you feeling like you just bought a gold-plated toaster when you really got a slightly above-average one.

Expensive Doesn't Always Mean Excellent

At the luxury end, you’ll find top-of-the-line technology and premium service. But even the fanciest panels can’t escape the occasional recall, as LG and Solax battery owners can painfully attest. Plus, forking out a small fortune doesn’t guarantee you’ll avoid pushy salespeople or installation hiccups. Also, keep in mind, just because you paid top dollar doesn’t mean you’re getting the best of the best, there are some unscrupulous businesses that will happily peddle bottom or mid-tier equipment as the “best in the market” despite any proof, this usually allows them to pocket a large commission of your naivety and trust. 

So, where do we go from here?


Unfortunately, the solar market isn’t as sunshine and rainbows as it should be. Regulatory bodies like Energy Consumers Australia can only do so much with current legislation. Dodgy operators still find loopholes, leaving many consumers with “orphaned systems” when companies go belly up. Over 500 solar businesses have shut down in recent years, leaving their customers in the lurch with systems no one else wants to touch.

Retired Fire Captain Richard Burke Talks Fire Safety

The Takeaway: Knowledge is Power (and Safety)

So, navigating the solar maze requires a healthy dose of skepticism and some key tips:

  • Research, research, research! Don’t get blinded by dazzling deals. Check company reputations, compare quotes, and prioritize quality over price.
  • Get multiple quotes and don’t be afraid to negotiate. A good installer will be happy to answer your questions and explain their process in detail. Look for accredited installers and warranties. Choose companies certified by bodies like Clean Energy Council and backed by strong warranties.
  • Read the fine print! Understand the terms and conditions before signing anything.
Remember, a solar system is an investment in your home and your future. Choose wisely, and let the sun power your life, not your worries.

Further Resources:

By staying informed and making smart choices, you can harness the power of the sun without getting burned. Now go forth and illuminate your home with confidence!

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Written By:

Luke Cove
Managing Director
Lightning Solar & Electrical

luke cove - Founder of lightning solar

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