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Cheap solar - turning IT distributors into solar installers since 2012


SilverNodashi
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<rant>

Isn't it amazing how many "professional solar installers" there are, who used to be IT distributors. They know something about technology, have a reseller account with a big distributor (who also started selling solar stuff, even though they know little about it) and now they can suddenly install 100Kw solar farms. I am all for entrepreneurship and learning new ropes, but at the expense of a client who possible cannot afford the mistakes?

 

One of the most common reasons for solar being a big scam, is that these installers spec the systems wrong. The wrong size (and often model / type) batteries are used, generally with too few solar panels to recharge the batteries + provide energy for their load during the day. And now that it fails, it's the biggest scam ever. People would rather spend R60K on a generator, which 1) don't save them money on their eskom bill, 2) cost money to operate, 3) is very noisy and often an inconvenience to switch over to (ATS too slow, or too expensive). 

And what about protection? Fuses, isolators, panel earthing, etc. I know it's rocket science and people need to have 6 doctorate degrees to understand it, but does it mean you should just skip it all together?

</rant>

 

<flamesuit on>

Am I the only one who feel like this?

</flamesuit off>

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8 hours ago, SilverNodashi said:

Isn't it amazing how many "professional solar installers" there are, who used to be IT distributors. They know something about technology, have a reseller account with a big distributor (who also started selling solar stuff, even though they know little about it) and now they can suddenly install 100Kw solar farms.

Yeah, I feel like this too, but people will say it's because the product I push is one of the most high end (aka expensive) of the lot and so OF COURSE I'll be saying that (or in technical terms, they commit a false dichotomy and assume that the only possible reason for my disagreement must be because I want to do them in financially). Then again, I'm not an installer, so I'm sure it's worse for you.

I have similar issues with what I might call unbalanced setups. For example, an expensive inverter paired with crappy batteries (many many cringe-worthy strings in parallel). Or more often, an expensive battery paired with a very cheap inverter. The worst for me was a system where the battery was well over 100k, and it was rounded off with two Voltronics in parallel. Now this isn't just me bashing Voltronic (again), the reason it draws my attention is that it seems the installer has a hammer (aka reseller account with UPS/solar supplier), and now every problem becomes a nail. If the nail becomes bigger, get more hammers to pound it with.

Had a discussion with someone recently about some suppliers up North who sell Fangpusun charge controllers (Fangpusun's entire business is to make fake copies of other people's products). They are of course careful not to advertise it outright on their (very poorly) constructed website, but I'm told they distribute these things along with the Victron software and manuals. Let me just say... if you read this... we know who you are...

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11 hours ago, SilverNodashi said:

... , who used to be IT distributors.

Jip, for me that pictured started yonks ago when IT hardware importers, importing UPS'es also, saw the opportunity arise when the UPS'es started coming with solar charge controllers.

Their distributors then saw the "potential", knowing a bit about UPS batteries and all that, and ran with it, using Plonksters hammer analogy to all and every installation..

Back then a lot of non-IT guys who may have, or not, done a course or whatever and thought, hey, lets do this. Their marker where when they asked for ones electricity bill, a years worth of them, to spec the system, not telling one the full story, nor, as Silver points out, that sealed lead acid "leisure" batteries are for UPS'es, not solar systems.

Today I see they still ask for the bill, but very carefully explain to you that there will be no saving if you don't use the power during daytime, as most are no focused on grid tied systems, battery backup a add on option.

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