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Please Help urgent advise, did I mess it up or is my solar installer bsing me?? Learn from my mistakes with solar installers!!


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Hi everyone,

I recently paid a solar installer 75% deposit to install a solar system.

I should have done better research and background check but I have learned the hard way.

1. They installed my panels West facing on my roof - i was informed by installer this is perfect because they are mono panels - JA 455w mono, what do you think?

2. My DB board was split to run geyser and oven/stove on utility and the rest solar. A fuse blew by the solar side, and I was told it is because I shorted something,

my neighbour inspected the db and told me that the solar side is not on earth leakage, the electrician (subcontracted to installer) told me that on solar they put 40amp fuses 

so it is normal that it is not on earth leakage, and that is how he wired it,  is this correct?? in the meantime, because the fuse blew, he has bypassed the fuse so none of my breakers have earth leakage :(

3. THIS IS THE BIG ONE. The first night after install i woke up at 2am and the power was off. Problem at COJ, my inverter was completely off, I thought something was wrong with

the inverter so i looked. I had no hand over from these guys or training on my system, i was just told to leave it alone. I pushed the on red button on the 1 x Plyontech US3000c battery, and the system turned on for about 20 mins and then went off. about 3 days later the battery failed. (screaming noise, error 19 on inverter) The solar installer took the battery in to the supplier.

and told me from the reports, doing this, the battery drained too low and the mosfets blew, so i am responsible to replace the battery. I did query them when i read the manual that the battery was not connected to ground, and was informed for a single battery it does not need to be connected to ground. Also i queried why the BMS was not connected from the battery to the inverter. The installer set the inverter - Growatt spf5000es to USE mode. i argued that the battery was not smartly operating, the reply I recieved was that the battery communicates through the positive and negative terminal to the Inverter, i didnt believe it.

Does it sound like I buggered the battery, or is the installer bsing me?

 

Lastly after the fuse blew these guys refused to bring back my battery and inverter and reinstate my Utility power until i pay them in full, because they cannot trust that i will pay them.

The one installer is an increadibly rude know it all, and the way he has handled me throughout this experience has been extremely stressful.

When you drop this kind of cash, make sure you have a reputable installer!!!

 

i now have to get my lawyer to put the money into a trust fund to pay it over to them once the install is finished as i cannot trust that they will not just take the balance and run, but now i also need to get out a professional to inspect the installation, references anyone?

and make sure it is not a bugger up. They are holding me for ransom

 

any advise will be so appreciated!!

 

 

Edited by roadkill
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14 hours ago, roadkill said:

Hi everyone,

I recently paid a solar installer 75% deposit to install a solar system.

I should have done better research and background check but I have learned the hard way.

1. They installed my panels West facing on my roof - i was informed by installer this is perfect because they are mono panels - JA 455w mono, what do you think?

2. My DB board was split to run geyser and oven/stove on utility and the rest solar. A fuse blew by the solar side, and I was told it is because I shorted something,

my neighbour inspected the db and told me that the solar side is not on earth leakage, the electrician (subcontracted to installer) told me that on solar they put 40amp fuses 

so it is normal that it is not on earth leakage, and that is how he wired it,  is this correct?? in the meantime, because the fuse blew, he has bypassed the fuse so none of my breakers have earth leakage :(

3. THIS IS THE BIG ONE. The first night after install i woke up at 2am and the power was off. Problem at COJ, my inverter was completely off, I thought something was wrong with

the inverter so i looked. I had no hand over from these guys or training on my system, i was just told to leave it alone. I pushed the on red button on the 1 x Plyontech US3000c battery, and the system turned on for about 20 mins and then went off. about 3 days later the battery failed. (screaming noise, error 19 on inverter) The solar installer took the battery in to the supplier.

and told me from the reports, doing this, the battery drained too low and the mosfets blew, so i am responsible to replace the battery. I did query them when i read the manual that the battery was not connected to ground, and was informed for a single battery it does not need to be connected to ground. Also i queried why the BMS was not connected from the battery to the inverter. The installer set the inverter - Growatt spf5000es to USE mode. i argued that the battery was not smartly operating, the reply I recieved was that the battery communicates through the positive and negative terminal to the Inverter, i didnt believe it.

Does it sound like I buggered the battery, or is the installer bsing me?

 

Lastly after the fuse blew these guys refused to bring back my battery and inverter and reinstate my Utility power until i pay them in full, because they cannot trust that i will pay them.

The one installer is an increadibly rude know it all, and the way he has handled me throughout this experience has been extremely stressful.

When you drop this kind of cash, make sure you have a reputable installer!!!

 

i now have to get my lawyer to put the money into a trust fund to pay it over to them once the install is finished as i cannot trust that they will not just take the balance and run, but now i also need to get out a professional to inspect the installation, references anyone?

and make sure it is not a bugger up. They are holding me for ransom

 

any advise will be so appreciated!!

 

 

Hi. Please can you name the installer so that this doesn’t happen to more innocent people. Thanks 

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Hi Gents.

As a community do you think we can approach these installers together. 9000 strong and help the client recieve propper service? I feel it would be useful as a community to post these companies so we can help the end user get his working system. I feel that 9000 of us should carry some weight. Your thoughts?

Sincerely

Jason

 

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18 minutes ago, Energy-Jason said:

Hi Gents.

As a community do you think we can approach these installers together. 9000 strong and help the client recieve propper service? I feel it would be useful as a community to post these companies so we can help the end user get his working system. I feel that 9000 of us should carry some weight. Your thoughts?

Sincerely

Jason

 

Fully agreed, I bet most of us have horror installer stories to share.

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11 minutes ago, Energy-Jason said:

Your thoughts?

It can't hurt.

I am in Zimbabwe and have learnt a great deal from this forum which has assisted me and where and when I can help others ask the right questions. It seems that this industry is a great opportunity for average electricians to make a quick buck by selling and installing a system that works ok initially and fails within a very short time but by then they are long gone or by then can hide behind a multitude of reasons that are blamed on the customer.

I am not an installer but have enjoyed my solar journey as most have here and am always looking towards what I can do to improve my system, but it does irritate me to see people being advised and sold systems that are so clearly not sized or configured correctly for their requirements.

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I feel we need to all step in when a customer gets toppled over by a bad installer. We should not allow the installer to go into hiding. I feel we can make a difference here. I am not to sure of how we can execute this. 

The only is to name the installer. I can make a section for us. Let's use our strength in numbers.

Thoughts?

Jay

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7 minutes ago, Brani said:

Hi,

as much as this case is pretty clear that the installer is holding a client at ransom, I believe there could be implication and possible law suits if we go all out, naming and shaming different installers, resellers etc.

There are always couple of sides to the story and i would hate if Power Forum becomes a ground for those kind of disputes.

I think clients has few options, from going to the bank like suggested and using a fund that will pay only once the problems are solved, reporting an issue with ECA (I assume COC was issued), Department of Labour, PV Green card and/or any other relevant authority. Another option would be to go full legal route, and combination of these actions should be able to sort out all those bad installers that are around.

As a community, we could perhaps have some experts to volunteer and go to the prospective client and issue a report on their findings, that will help the client fight his legal battle. And if it's something simple like setting a parameter, help the guy on the spot. I think that would be more productive and helpful. Most of the users anyway help each other in this way.

Excellent concerns 

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2 hours ago, Energy-Jason said:

Hi Gents.

As a community do you think we can approach these installers together. 9000 strong and help the client recieve propper service? I feel it would be useful as a community to post these companies so we can help the end user get his working system. I feel that 9000 of us should carry some weight. Your thoughts?

Sincerely

Jason

 

100% agree. Name and shame.

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Unfortunately there are VERY few decent installers and the only way to look after the consumer and industry in general is to name and shame...BUT, the shamed installer has to have the opportunity to refute the allegations...Be fair to everybody.

To the OP, it sounds like you were ripped off in a big way, which is unfortunate because there are many people on the forum who can provide good advice.

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1 hour ago, Brani said:

Hi,

as much as this case is pretty clear that the installer is holding a client at ransom, I believe there could be implication and possible law suits if we go all out, naming and shaming different installers, resellers etc.

There are always couple of sides to the story and i would hate if Power Forum becomes a ground for those kind of disputes.

I think clients has few options, from going to the bank like suggested and using a fund that will pay only once the problems are solved, reporting an issue with ECA (I assume COC was issued), Department of Labour, PV Green card and/or any other relevant authority. Another option would be to go full legal route, and combination of these actions should be able to sort out all those bad installers that are around.

As a community, we could perhaps have some experts to volunteer and go to the prospective client and issue a report on their findings, that will help the client fight his legal battle. And if it's something simple like setting a parameter, help the guy on the spot. I think that would be more productive and helpful. Most of the users anyway help each other in this way.

Hi Guys I agree with @Energy-Jason and with @Brani However this is a open forum and the accused person or company can also state their case and resolve the issue amicably...

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On a general note, this seems to me to be a problem with the solar industry. TBF and TBH these companies make money from installations. They don't make money from tweaking your system or from on-going support. I have some odd behaviour on my system over a year after buying and there's not really a lot of support coming my way. I suspect the problem is not new, but is exaggerated by the prolonged spell of overcast weather we are having in Gauteng this summer. 

Anyway... inverter is Brand X, batteries are Brand Z and so on. The manufacturers, not unreasonably, will feel that there are things that they can't control and that they can't be held responsible for the overall performance of the system. The guys I bought from are busy installing. They might even be able to say that well, you've had 12 months and now there's no guarantee from our side though they haven't played that card yet. 

In the meantime I look forward and see that not this week, not next week but at some point in the future I am going to need to make some changes or replace the batteries or something and then what do I do?

This is industry is very heavily directed towards sales and installations, but where are the guys I can call to come have a look at my system and tweak whatever needs tweaking? And no, I don't expect them to do that for free, but is that sort of support even there?

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1 hour ago, Bobster said:

On a general note, this seems to me to be a problem with the solar industry. TBF and TBH these companies make money from installations. They don't make money from tweaking your system or from on-going support. I have some odd behaviour on my system over a year after buying and there's not really a lot of support coming my way. I suspect the problem is not new, but is exaggerated by the prolonged spell of overcast weather we are having in Gauteng this summer. 

Anyway... inverter is Brand X, batteries are Brand Z and so on. The manufacturers, not unreasonably, will feel that there are things that they can't control and that they can't be held responsible for the overall performance of the system. The guys I bought from are busy installing. They might even be able to say that well, you've had 12 months and now there's no guarantee from our side though they haven't played that card yet. 

In the meantime I look forward and see that not this week, not next week but at some point in the future I am going to need to make some changes or replace the batteries or something and then what do I do?

This is industry is very heavily directed towards sales and installations, but where are the guys I can call to come have a look at my system and tweak whatever needs tweaking? And no, I don't expect them to do that for free, but is that sort of support even there?

A very good post. What I have been trying to create for the past 8 years is for installers to register that have their clients best interest at heart.

A good installer should charge his fair share but for a fair price. Too long have I seen installers doing half jobs and more importantly not educating the client regarding maintenance and life time of battery's etc.

Yes the forum has a store. It is not and will not ever be my intention to take over all business- we welcome all reputable suppliers. Since 2013 I have wanted to create a safe space for clients to make informed decisions and feel that the forum is helping them achieve that and has their back as we have done due diligence on all our registered manufacturers and installers.

We are busy listing very reputable manufacturers and soon hope for installers to sign up. I want this forum to be a platform that members can trust and use any supplier of their choice knowing that they are reputable. I feel the time of dodgey installers taking clients hard earned money and providing poor service will come to an end very soon. I too have been victim to this treatment. The market is changing to that of informed clients!

Sincerely

Jay

 

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19 hours ago, roadkill said:

1. They installed my panels West facing on my roof

If the roof only allowed for panels facing West than it is not their fault, but they could at least warned you of the PV that you would loose out on especially in the early mornings.

 

19 hours ago, roadkill said:

2. My DB board was split to run geyser and oven/stove on utility and the rest solar. A fuse blew by the solar side, and I was told it is because I shorted something,

Splitting the DB is normally the way to go when installing a inverter they should also give you a COC for that work as it also serves as a guarantee that they are confident in what they have done. Regarding the fuse that blew at the solar side that should not have anything to do with you shorting out anything unless you were on the roof shorting pv wires or shorting battery terminals. It sounds like a bad installation with a fault somewhere blowing a fuse.

 

20 hours ago, roadkill said:

my neighbour inspected the db and told me that the solar side is not on earth leakage, the electrician (subcontracted to installer) told me that on solar they put 40amp fuses 

so it is normal that it is not on earth leakage, and that is how he wired it,  is this correct?? in the meantime, because the fuse blew, he has bypassed the fuse so none of my breakers have earth leakage :(

The best is to get a earth leakage tester and test your plugs to see if they are on earth leakage, if they are not the installer is putting you and your families lives at risk by bridging out the earth leakage. The fuses that they installed also sound a bit dodgy why did they not use circuit breakers and rather fuses.

 

20 hours ago, roadkill said:

3. THIS IS THE BIG ONE. The first night after install i woke up at 2am and the power was off. Problem at COJ, my inverter was completely off, I thought something was wrong with

the inverter so i looked. I had no hand over from these guys or training on my system

This installer should of given you all the do’s and the dont’s of this brand new system and at least asked you to phone them the instant anything is not working to your liking, instead it seems they ripped you off and possibly lied to you about the damaged battery.

 

20 hours ago, roadkill said:

Does it sound like I buggered the battery, or is the installer bsing me?

There is always two sides to a story but this sounds very wrong if they blame you for damaging the battery and shorting the wiring of a brand new installation. 

There is so many suppliers and installers who has seen solar as a lucrative business opportunity’s and they pop up everywhere and unfortunately no matter how expensive the inverter or battery is you buy it is only as good as the installer installing it.

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2 hours ago, Energy-Jason said:

A very good post. What I have been trying to create for the past 8 years is for installers to register that have their clients best interest at heart.

A good installer should charge his fair share but for a fair price. Too long have I seen installers doing half jobs and more importantly not educating the client regarding maintenance and life time of battery's etc.

Yes the forum has a store. It is not and will not ever be my intention to take over all business- we welcome all reputable suppliers. Since 2013 I have wanted to create a safe space for clients to make informed decisions and feel that the forum is helping them achieve that and has their back as we have done due diligence on all our registered manufacturers and installers.

We are busy listing very reputable manufacturers and soon hope for installers to sign up. I want this forum to be a platform that members can trust and use any supplier of their choice knowing that they are reputable. I feel the time of dodgey installers taking clients hard earned money and providing poor service will come to an end very soon. I too have been victim to this treatment. The market is changing to that of informed clients!

Sincerely

Jay

 

Thanks for this. It doesn't really address my problem, which, I suspect, is going to be other people's problem going forwards. The installer has done their installation, stabilised the system early on, and now who do I lean on for support in the future?

It's like getting a heat pump installed (which I have done). Lots of guys will do that because they don't just get paid for their time but get a markup on the hardware as well. Which is fair enough as long as they don't mark up by ridiculous amounts. I don't expect them to charge me the same price I can get on takealot because the one I buy at takealot will just arrive in a box and now what do I do? So their knowledge and experience has a value as well. 

But a few years time call around and try to get somebody to test or service your heat pump (I've done that too). You will find a lot less takers.

I'm not just beating up on solar power and heat pump installers here. I think this is an issue in several business areas now. Everybody wants to sell and install new stuff for you, but there's not so much support 2 or 3 or 10 years down the line.

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2 minutes ago, Brani said:

Spare a thought for installers as well. There is so much competition in the market, and so many dodgy deals that undercuts them. And most definitely the price is everything, and customers expect highest standards for lowest prices. 
We expect local support 10 years down the line, but are happy to buy from Chinese manufacturers that have been in the market for much less time than that.

Very often we lack of understanding of getting what we pay for.

 

Yes. This is the flip side of the argument. I hope I said that I don't expect the service to be free, but there is the problem that you mention.

The market (which includes me) has to recognise expertise as something of value. 

In my defense I refer to the comments I made about how I don't expect the installer of my heat pump to out price takealot. Takealot will deliver the same device, but that's all they will do. Without the installer's expertise that heat pump is just a lump in a box.

 

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I think that's most of these installers are just out for a quick buck, no after sale service so they really don't care if it works properly.

That's why I opted to buy my equipment and just get someone to do the installation according to what I wanted. I can fone my installer anytime day or night and he's always willing to help.

He also did not charge me R10 000-R15 000 per day like some do.

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8 hours ago, Energy-Jason said:

Hi Gents.

As a community do you think we can approach these installers together. 9000 strong and help the client recieve propper service? I feel it would be useful as a community to post these companies so we can help the end user get his working system. I feel that 9000 of us should carry some weight. Your thoughts?

Sincerely

Jason

 

How about a simple ratings section? Users can rate their experience with installers and installers can, if they want, comment back?

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1 hour ago, Bobster said:

Everybody wants to sell and install new stuff for you, but there's not so much support 2 or 3 or 10 years down the line.

I agree with this statement I even think the inverters we have now will be so out dated 5-10years from now as technology in electronics are growing with such a speed that soon you will just install a smart inverter, panels and batteries of your choice and the inverter will recognize and set itself up according to your installed capacity. The inverters we use now will be called “absoluut” and no-one will want to touch them. 

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