A set back for the solar power industry in Mackay

Like any industry in Australia, the solar is open to so called ‘dodgy operators’ as well as poor customer service.  That’s why its important to do your home work.

At an East Mackay retirement village, about $250,000 worth of solar panels are ticking time bombs waiting to go off. If the electricity supply is turned off for any one of the 30 incorrectly wired solar power systems, a fire could break out.

There is no solution in sight because no-one will repair the faults for fear of being held liable.

“It’s a complete shamble,” Park Haven Garden retirement village manager Darren Jones said.

Resident Marilyn Hastings said: “I’ve been doing all the tooing and froing and it’s been a massive effort.

“It’s a lot of bureaucracy.”

The residents of the Scott Street village were approached by a company called Sanctuary Solar, which promised it could install solar systems that, after government rebates, would cost them near nothing. 30 of the 36 residents took up the offer.

Sanctuary Solar then became DCM Solar, then DCM Green, and is now in administration.

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The company made headlines for helping “green” Cate Blanchett’s Sydney Theatre Company, and billed itself as one of the largest solar panel installers in Australia, focused on retirement homes and villages.

It claimed to have installed solar panels on 6500 retirement home units across New South Wales alone, and to have installed 10% of the panels put in place under the Federal Government’s Solar Homes and Communities Program.

It was placed in the hands of administrators on March 10.

The solar systems at Park Haven Garden have been wrongly wired – especially the DC breakers – and the connections between the solar panels and the main power supply are potential fire hazards.

Meters, which are supposed to record power going out to Ergon Energy, are registering electricity coming in, which means everyone has had their electricity bills almost doubled. This has been addressed by Ergon.

The installers switched the solar panels on without notifying Ergon Energy, and an inverter system is not switched on.

Another major obstacle for residents is that the installer came from NSW, but under the Federal Government scheme, the installer had to come from Queensland.

There have been two inspections of the units since the installers went into administration, but no-one will touch any of the faulty work.

“It’s been a comedy of errors from the start,” Member for Dawson George Christensen said.

“The installation has been botched and homes could burn down.

“I’ve been involved since last November and still the government won’t do anything.

“This is another pink batts fiasco.

“No-one will fix it because of liability issues and there are potential insurance problems for unit owners.

“The problem has been there for a year now.

“The problem is that no checks were done by any government authority on who was doing the work and the quality of the work.

“Anything which could go wrong with it has gone wrong.

“I am calling on the Federal Government to fix it.

“The safety of these residents is at risk.”

by Australian Solar Quotes

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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