Solar Cowboys: How To Wrangle a Trustworthy Solar Energy Installer

Written by Kerry Mullany

Metaphorically galloping off into the horizon, a bag of gold coins jingle-jangling, leaving a dusty cloud of disillusion and unkept promise in their wake, Solar Cowboys will leave you out of pocket and p*ssed off. 

Between 2011 and 2021 there were over 750 solar companies who went into liquidation or simply stopped trading. Assuming these companies existed for 4 years and installed an average of 250 systems per year; around 750,000 solar systems in Australia, more than one third of the total, could be considered "orphans" due to lack of ongoing support.


Solar Cowboy, installing solar panels badly, scallywags, solar batteries


Firstly, what is a “Solar Cowboy”?

During the solar boom, many new solar companies emerged looking to make a quick buck. Disregarding long-term responsibilities tied to rooftop solar systems, cutting corners, using subpar parts and drafting unreliable contracts; a new genre of solar companies was born. Nicknamed Solar Cowboys after their terrible traits, it's no surprise that many of these warranty-lacking companies faced insolvency. 

... and why have so many solar companies gone into liquidation? 

As per Australian Consumer Law, the installation company is accountable for rectification costs if the system fails. Up to their wide brimmed hats in consumer claims due to premature system failures, many Solar Cowboys opted for bankruptcy, finding it more cost-effective than replacing numerous failed systems.

Embarking on a solar journey shouldn't feel like a sheriff's wild chase to round up a reliable option. We've simplified your solar quest with some streamlined pointers to help you identify the solar scallywags from the reliable ranch hands. 


The 5 Warning Signs you’ll dealing with a Solar Cowboy:

Any ambiguity regarding licences, certifications, or insurance is a major red flag. These are essential for ensuring consumer safety. If they cannot prove they are qualified for the job, run a mile!

A lack of positive feedback or the presence of bad reviews indicates poor customer satisfaction. Be wary of companies that have rebranded after going bust, and always research their background and ask for recent testimonials.

Beware of companies offering extremely low prices or guaranteed savings. These often mask hidden costs and dishonest practices.

This includes vague contracts, inconsistent communication, a lack of transparency about warranties and poor after-sales services. If a company is hard to reach or provides unclear information, they're likely not professional.

Untraceable, just like they will be once they have your money. Reputable companies should offer various payment options, including financing. If they insist on cash-only transactions, it could indicate shady practices.

The 5 Non-Negotiable Traits of a Trustworthy Solar Company:

Choose a company with a solid reputation and a proven track record of successful installations. Positive reviews and testimonials from previous customers will verify the company’s reliability and authenticity. 

Ensure the company holds relevant industry certifications, licences and insurance. These credentials indicate their commitment to professional standards and expertise that not only ensure the job is done correctly, but more importantly, safely!

Reliable companies use high-quality solar panels and equipment from reputable manufacturers. They offer comprehensive warranties for both products and workmanship, showcasing confidence in their installations.

Look for transparency in communication and contracts. A dependable company will provide clear explanations of costs, timelines, project details, and expertly answer all your questions: leaving no room for confusion.

Reliable companies are readily available to address your queries before, during and after the installation of solar panels & batteries. for an example of ongoing customer support.

Check out SmartCare for an example of ongoing customer support.

Have you heard of Smart Care?

Have you heard of Smart Care?

Smart Energy’s full-service customer care and warranty package. As a customer, you’re entitled from the moment you make the smart switch. We understand that Solar is a long term investment, which is why we are invested in the long-term care of you and your system.

Rope in a reliable solar company

Just remember, like a keen-eyed scout, thorough research and due diligence will lead you to selecting a sun-savvy partner. So saddle up partner, and rope in a reliable solar company, that you can confidently ride on with. Yehaaaaw!


trustworthy solar installer

If you’ve already installed solar with one of these wretched cowboys you may be facing denied warranty claims and extra expenses. We’re sorry if this applies to you and whilst we can’t help you directly, we can point you in the right direction. 

  1. The Clean Energy Council - this link provides steps a consumer can take to resolve a complaint regarding their home solar system. It also includes the contact details for the consumer protection agencies of each state and territory. 
  2. The New Energy Tech Consumer Code - if the installer said they were NETCC approved, contact these guys.
  3. You can also consult with a legal professional if necessary, but hopefully it won’t reach this stage.

Need more help?

Contact us for a Free Solar Health Check to see how much solar could save you.

25,000+ happy customers across Australia.


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