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LivSol

Incompetent installer and solar providers

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Having yet again today been witness to incompetent Installer’s, got me wondering if we should not have a name and shame thread here. 

While I don't want to encourage negativity. I do feel the need to warn people about unscrupulous or just incompetent companies and individuals who are just in it for a quick buck.

There is plenty info available about how to install solar safely and correctly,, including sizing systems etc. But they don’t put in the time to educate themselves. 

I went to vet an install done recently as a favor with an Axpert inverter and a Lithuin battery. They had left half the panels disconnected (only 2 of the 4 sets are connected) and there was ZERO fusing, breakers, surge arrestor or any protection of any kind anywhere. 

There were actually breakers on each PV string and battery shut off there before with the old system, but in thier wisdom, they removed it all?!?

I was called to assist, as the owner was going dark at 11pm. Never mind that the battery they installed is too small for the load, the owner contacted them and AFTER their monitoring the system remotely, thier solution was to put in a bigger battery and the owner pay yet more money (already paid way to much for what was installed), but they never picked up that they left half the panels disconnected, which is the source of the issue, as they started each night with half charged battery due to running pumps etc. 

Still, a larger battery is needed to get all the way through the night, but to have missed that half the PV was not connected...?

Incompetent much?

Thier website claims they are off grid experts. Me thinks not!

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, LivSol said:

I do feel the need to warn people about unscrupulous or just incompetent companies and individuals

doing it via private messages would in my mind not be 'public', hence no slander would be committed; it would be like telling someone over the phone, if the line were to be hacked, tough luck, you did not intend for the info to be made public - hence no criminal act committed ...

your thoughts?

jay, are the servers dealing with pm secured?

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1 hour ago, Mike said:

many of them around. I actually stopped going to "repair" either illegal or incorrect installations if fear of my name being attached to said original installs....

I did not touch a thing and won’t. I went as a favor to troubleshoot. I even went so far as to insist  the owner did not mention my name or company.

I don’t want to be harassed by bullies that are outed for bad work. This company/guy seem quite aggressive. 

Somehow in thier mind, if you do the wrong thing enough, it magically becomes the right thing. The problem is most who they sell to don’t understand why their system does not work well, and just assume that the way solar is.

Very unethical..But motivates me to be more involved in the industry and try right the ship.

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I have seen large arrays of PV for pumps aligned to magnetic North. This from someone who charges for his services not someone who does it as a sideline or helps folk out.

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13 hours ago, LivSol said:

The problem is most who they sell to don’t understand

i was there and slowly [or should i say rather snappy] got out of my delirium when things started to seem wrong and for instance my electrician queried a few things [like wrong earth and no breakers AND MOST IMPORTANTLY i was guided to this forum!!!

i quickly found out that the installer is a poeloeka [nearly got that spelling wrong, xtra p ;-)] and started listening in here - should have known about this place years ago... but it is never too late

:D

edit, @plonkster subtly reminded me the spelling should be palooka; but whatever, you get the drift <_<

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Posted (edited)

Ok, very carefully, have some thoughts which have been bugging me for a while now, fueled further by my kids working in retail, and their stories about "some" customers.

[RANT]

Caveat emptor! Back then the Romans KNEW what was coming!

At what point do we take responsibility for spending our own hard earned cash, earned, I assume, with blood sweat and tears, and not the same as per this thread, a unscrupulous business person.
Lets say my wife buys solar and she is taken for a ride, as per this thread, by a solar installer. I will get furious and demand it be sorted by said installer or else.
If it was shoes or clothes, boy, I would be scared for said seller. Have had to "protect" a person before (they where stupid) and wifie took them on.

Yet, if I was taken for a ride in the same scenario, my wife will tell me why did I not do my homework, shaking her head walking away. Which I tend to agree with.

Point is, there are scenarios and there are scenarios and all have different outcomes. Where do we take responsibility?

Apply that to cars, cellphones, laptops ... 
Now add the complication of price - over and too cheap.

What the solar installer/s did was WRONG. But damn girls, if you want to spend that kinda money, do SOME homework like call your bud / friendly solar guy for advice BEFORE appoint anyone to install diddly squat!

[END RANT]

Ask our bud / friendly solar guy / shops how do you know the panels work, like what can I expect from the array midday on a good sunny day?
How do I test for that?
Ask the core questions like what safety measure MUST be installed, best and bare minimum.

Simple easy 'goed' with simple easy answers and you have Google and pictures to compare against.

Then watch the installer do that and if not, stop the project.
For you only paid for the parts that have arrived onsite, not a cent more.
Labour per day / week, not upfront.

For I have seen, the real good installers and suppliers, will accommodate one to ensure both sides are covered at all times.

And if they don't want to accommodate, either they have learned from unscrupulous customers to not accommodate no-one OR they know they are going to take you for a wild ride. It is a tough one, but you get the idea.

 

 

Edited by The Terrible Triplett
Made some improvements.

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16 hours ago, gabriel said:

hence no slander

I have a better idea. Why not shame them without naming them? For example, on Facebook there is an Australian group called "Crap Solar" or something to that effect. I since left because I found that my philosophical approach really don't work well among large groups of tradies... but it is there if you want to join :-)

Foryour viewing pleasure, I wanted to share this one. Suitably obscured I hope. It was a sponsored post (ie someone paid to put it in my face) so even if I didn't obscure the name it would not be defamation.

Selection_107.thumb.png.00219ffa9a7cab61b1edc20d0d2c957b.png

So let me list the ways.

First off, major social media fail. That comment at the bottom there... that is self-congratulatory. The little like thumb, that's self-self-congratulatory. Kid you not.

Second... how are you going to service the air conditioners?

Third... I'm told this is what the roof looked like under it:

29665570_10157317548314942_1618932153360437842_o.thumb.jpg.fa35c48cb02c37b62b7435651ffc299b.jpg

Scary init? :-)

It is clearly the same place. Sadly I've also given away the location now (City and store name). Maybe the roof was repaired beforehand... but I'm told it wasn't.

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On ‎11‎/‎05‎/‎2018 at 10:42 AM, plonkster said:

Why not shame them without naming them?

Been thinking on this.

So I am taken for a ride, can prove it in a court if I have to, but I am not going to court, yet I am not allowed to tell anyone else about my misfortune for that would be defamation of character and all that, and I will lose in court if it gets there, and it will for nefarious characters "has connections", I don't.

So how is that right?

The nefarious parties are winning all the way. Their next "target" keeps being "left in the dark", with nefarious characters getting new and better houses / fancy cars ... sounds like Gupta's!

Smells like a turd ... in the "political correctness" sense in that we, the "good" people, being the majority, are controlled by said nefarious minority.

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On ‎11‎/‎05‎/‎2018 at 10:42 AM, plonkster said:

First off, major social media fail. 
Second... how are you going to service the air conditioners?
Third... I'm told this is what the roof looked like under it:

First: Maybe s[he] congratulated the company, as owner / boss?
Second: Walk on the panels - they park SUV's on some makes. I have walked over mine to test they are as advertised. :-) 
Third: O shiiite ... maybe "they" (customer and installer) thought customer can save on replacing the roof, therein the closeness of the panels? Replacement of sheets ... that ship has now sailed.

Or maybe it is all a turd ... 

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9 hours ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

First: Maybe s[he] congratulated the company, as owner / boss?

That did occur to me, but to like your own comment? On the other hand, maybe their social media person doesn't understand social media. That's not a crime :-)

9 hours ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Walk on the panels

Yes, that's been suggested. Some say the panels might crack, others say it should be fine , still others say put a plank across it. I still think there ought to be ways to service things, including the PV panels! What if you need to troubleshoot a bad connection in the middle of that array? :-)

So maybe this isn't the worst... it's just one that came up, of which the installer was clearly incredibly proud.

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On 2018/05/12 at 9:05 PM, plonkster said:

That did occur to me, but to like your own comment? On the other hand, maybe their social media person doesn't understand social media. That's not a crime :-)

Yes, that's been suggested. Some say the panels might crack, others say it should be fine , still others say put a plank across it. I still think there ought to be ways to service things, including the PV panels! What if you need to troubleshoot a bad connection in the middle of that array? :-)

So maybe this isn't the worst... it's just one that came up, of which the installer was clearly incredibly proud.

Many people in a professional industry don't know how to manage social media properly, and though that doesn't mean their workmanship is bad, I agree with the OP, the installer should not have liked or commented on their own post. Even if it's their marketing person / team / "cousin" posting the feed. 

Most large commercial installations are done this way, rows and rows of panels right next to each other. Once on the roof, with that many panels, you often realized that roof space is always too limited and they have no other choice but to pack them very tightly. I have leaned on solar panels before, but not stood on them. Many panels are rated at 5400Pa snow load, which is 112lb/Ft or 116Kg/m2. Some roofs can't even handle that. Perhaps, are you say, put some plants over it?

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5 hours ago, SilverNodashi said:

Many panels are rated at 5400Pa snow load

Indeed, I believe an engineer did okay the roof structure itself for the installation, and maybe the state of the roofing itself is not relevant to that :-)

Maybe I'm making way too much about this. It's a poor example really, there are way way worse installs than this one!

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17 hours ago, plonkster said:

Maybe I'm making way too much about this. It's a poor example really, there are way way worse installs than this one!

I still think there should be service walkways. I weigh 120kg and if I was the aircon tech there would be a problem.

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Where do you draw the line on slander and exposing fraud. If I installed half the pannels and charged full price and some little old lady could never get on the roof to check what then . That's fraud. If I didn't connect half the pannels and told you the battery I sold you too was too small , only so I could sell you a larger battery pack and then connect the rest of the pannels , Well to say the lest that's very questionable. I think we should quit the political correctness and call a spade a f!@$ing shovel.

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1 hour ago, seant said:

Where do you draw the line on slander and exposing fraud

Malice vs incompetence again. Not connecting the panels to cause a condition and then lying to make more money, that is malice. Making a few mistakes along the way (maybe the customer told them to leave the roof alone for now!) is a different. The trouble, of course, is how to distinguish. Particularly bad incompetence is often barely distinguishable from malice. In criminal circles we even get a thing such as Dolus Eventualis: When the incompetence is essentially so bad that it becomes criminal (though I am sure this doesn't really apply to solar installations per se).

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Sure mistakes , well none of us are perfect. Malice , ripping someone off sorry that's just plain wrong. I'll give you another example, pensioner friends of mine were told their garage door motor needs to be change as there are no spares since the manufacturers have closed. Here's a quote for R6k to fit a new one. It took me about 30min to change a drive gear which I got, surprise surprise, from the manufacturer in Pretoria.  The same folks bought a new dishwasher , because the repair shop told them theirs was uneconomical to repair. But they were offered R200 as a scrap value. Low and behold no parts were needed and a bit of time on Google and the machine was fixed. So again call it like it is there a lot of lying cheating stealing people out there and the truth should be layer out bare for all to see.

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5 hours ago, seant said:

garage door motor needs to be change as there are no spares since the manufacturers have closed

Corroma doors? I had one of those. Broke the big old nylon gear inside. Was pretty much told the same thing, but a new ET blue was around R800, so I replaced it. 6k seems rather a lot for replacing only an opener? Of course it doesn't end there. Family of mine was quoted upward of 50k to tile a small bathroom...

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I hear constantly I need to replace stuff, like garage doors, car, 22year old Bosch Dishwasher that uses 5l per wash because of no parts, replacements parts bla bla bla.

Google, being my bestie, always solves the parts and part repair 'opportunities' - opportunities as in "problems are opportunities dressed in overalls".

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On 2018/05/11 at 10:42 AM, plonkster said:

I have a better idea. Why not shame them without naming them? For example, on Facebook there is an Australian group called "Crap Solar" or something to that effect. I since left because I found that my philosophical approach really don't work well among large groups of tradies... but it is there if you want to join :-)

Foryour viewing pleasure, I wanted to share this one. Suitably obscured I hope. It was a sponsored post (ie someone paid to put it in my face) so even if I didn't obscure the name it would not be defamation.

Selection_107.thumb.png.00219ffa9a7cab61b1edc20d0d2c957b.png

So let me list the ways.

First off, major social media fail. That comment at the bottom there... that is self-congratulatory. The little like thumb, that's self-self-congratulatory. Kid you not.

Second... how are you going to service the air conditioners?

Third... I'm told this is what the roof looked like under it:

29665570_10157317548314942_1618932153360437842_o.thumb.jpg.fa35c48cb02c37b62b7435651ffc299b.jpg

Scary init? :-)

It is clearly the same place. Sadly I've also given away the location now (City and store name). Maybe the roof was repaired beforehand... but I'm told it wasn't.

This install is plastered all over FB. This guy is very proud of this. I always say that installing a solar system is one things and requires a skilled and experienced workman. A skill set in its own right. Designing the system is another story all together, which requires a different skill set, understanding and expertise. Kind of like the engineer who develops and designs a car, and the people who manufacture it. While each is important, one does not automtically mean you can do the other competently! 

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