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Solar industry continues to lift the bar on safety, quality, business operations

The Clean Energy Council agrees that excellent customer service and after-sales care should be the norm for solar customers, but said media reports based on a report from the Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) failed to acknowledge the substantial progress that has been made in this area.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the development of the Approved Solar Retailer program by the industry was a clear demonstration of its commitment to higher levels of retail practise. This voluntary industry code was authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and is now being mandated by a growing number of state government programs as a way to address many of the challenges faced by customers, he said.

“This is a very good industry, which has had a long-standing commitment to raising the bar and locking out the limited number of dodgy operators which dog every sector. Consequently safety and quality continues to improve, and is more heavily scrutinised than most other sectors across the country,” Mr Thornton said.

“More than 2 million Australian households have now installed a solar power system, and the vast majority of these have had a positive experience. Out of all these households, CALC’s Sunny Side Up report has highlighted a small number of case studies where everything didn’t go as it should have. The industry strives toward best practice, and continues to work with a wide range of regulatory bodies and consumer groups to constantly improve the industry and the way it interacts with customers.”

Mr Thornton said the Clean Energy Council acknowledges there has been room for improvement at the retail end, which is now being covered by the Approved Solar Retailer program.

“To qualify for inclusion in the scheme, solar businesses have to offer a minimum five-year whole-of-system warranty, demonstrate a commitment to ethical marketing practices and excellence in customer service. Several states have now adopted the Approved Solar Retailer program as an off-the-shelf solution for government programs, to ensure that every dollar spent by governments on solar or storage goes where it is supposed to,” Mr Thornton said.

“It’s disappointing the report and media coverage did not recognise this continued progress and the response being implemented by industry and governments.”

More information on the Approved Solar Retailer program is available at approvedsolarretailer.com.au

Please contact Mark Bretherton, the Clean Energy Council’s Director – Media on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.