Ricky Barone installed a solar system on his roof in 2014 to make the most of the North Queensland sun and save money on his electricity bills.
- Ricky Barone has been told his installation is a fire hazard but the retailer won’t uninstall it
- A number of regulatory bodies are receiving complaints about solar retailers, manufacturers and installers
- Some of the main issues raised relate to price, quality and high-pressure sales
Since its installation, however, it has cost him thousands of dollars and years of sleepless nights.
It wasn’t until a so-called solar doctor inspected his rooftop panels this year that the Mackay man realised the potential hazard he was living under.
“He [the solar inspector] basically said it’s badly installed and there’s a big chance it could catch fire,” Mr Barone said.
“I was so ticked off and I haven’t been sleeping well thinking about it.”
Mr Barone said it was a two-year wait to get a solar system installed by a local company, so he instead turned to a company based in Melbourne.
Ricky Barone and his son in Mackay.(ABC Tropical North: Hannah Walsh)
He said the problems started after about six months and then he had difficulty getting parts replaced, such as when the inverters failed after 18 months.
On one occasion a neighbour called Mr Barone to alert him to a fire.
“They blew up the meter box,” he said.
“It should have clicked from day one … we’ve had nothing but trouble with it.
“The system has never worked … we got it to try and save money to do some other renovations, but we haven’t been able to.”
Mr Barone said he wanted the company to uninstall it but the ABC understands the firm has not sold solar in a number of years.
“They just keep saying someone will get in contact, and they never do,” Mr Barone said.
“They’ve got a complaint site and there’s a lot of people in the same boat.”
The company has been contacted by the ABC for comment.
What is a solar doctor?
Jemal Solo started his own solar-inspection business in Mackay because he said no-one was advocating for home owners with solar installations.
Jemal Solo says most people do not consider getting their solar installations serviced.(<span class="_1EAJU _1…….