I went to a maintenance job in North Adelaide today after a fairly rountine one in Malvern. I was in awe of the very old buildings, architecture and grandure of the place, it took be right back to my time in England. However, i quickly started to pick out th issues witht he two small solar systems I was there to clean and assess. Many of the common faults were apparent, non compliance with standards AS 4777 and AS5033 at the time of installation and I thought this has to be one of those 'sold by satellite' systems, and installed by interstate bandits.

The key workmanship issues I found were non compliance, wrong cable ties (PVC used nearly a year after they were banned), earthing incomplete (a full 3 years after that was mandated) and the use of different brand plugs mated (12 months after that was inscribed). I was quite astounded by these simple errors such a long time after the rules had changed. A worker on site said a 'bunch of young guys' installed it and that he wasn't impressed.

I completed the black list and the owner came back and we began discussing the issues. I asked him about the sales process he went through and was astounded to hear of the 6 he contacted only 3 came out to site. Of these 3, one said it was too hard, second wasn't interested and gave a donkey quote, the third, from reptuatle company Venergy said we can do it. It was an unusual installtion it has to be said, but the point is that this guy was left with just one resonably sensible opinion on this challenging project! It was not a very good opinion at that, chronic shade issues have not assessed where the use of Mirco Inverters or Optimisers would have given a much greater output than the string inverters used (at least they were SMA).

From that I came to the installation issues. I e-mailed the panel manufacturer to ask for the installation manual. Do you know how many installers read these? I would guess from what I have seen about 1 in 100! Turns out the panels haven't been installed as per manual, what a surprise. So where from here? The customer will be hoping the installation issues will be remedied by the sales company, they have a good guarantee.

I hope now that many of the industry fly by night companies have folded or otherwise evaporated, we will see and improvement in the overall sales standards and understanding of what products are out there the market to improve customer yield. In turn we should also see a vast improvement in the workmanship of 'expert installers' out there!