Solar power installer raises alarm about lawless industry

Aug 29, 2023

New Zealand-wide power failures from an overextended grid, rising demand and bad weather can be reduced by encouraging household self-reliance through solar power, but first, regulation of the solar installation industry is sorely needed.

Cameron Dick, Managing Director of Vital Solar, said regulation is essential to encourage consumer trust and homeowners’ uptake of solar power. 

“Solar power offers tremendous benefits, but the need for regulation in the industry is hindering its growth in New Zealand. Consumers can be left with substandard products, inadequate warranties, and poor installation by installers who do not have the proper education, support, and quality control. 

“What we’re seeing is an influx of products not specifically designed for New Zealand’s unique climate and conditions,” says Dick. “Imported products without proper warranties do not serve Kiwi consumers.” 

He says there is a need for legislation that enforces quality training, equipment, and expert planning in the industry. Specific regulations such as ASNZS 5033 (2021) for solar installation and ASNZ 5139 (2019) for battery standards must be cited in law (currently, we are cited to 5033 2012, which is no longer suitable for how the industry has developed). 

“After having to rescue the level of shoddy work that we have had to, there’s no doubt that New Zealand is ten years behind in standards and education of installers and resellers) That is unacceptable for a constantly changing industry,” says Dick. 

1. Consumer guarantees and accountability 

Dick’s call for regulation also emphasises the need to hold salespeople accountable, implement product guarantees, and ensure installers are adequately trained to understand different solar scenarios. 

“Choosing brands that have been around longer than the warranty they offer, such as 25 years, is essential,” says Dick. “Ask your salesperson how much they believe in what they’re selling, who’s installing it, and how they monitor quality.” 

2. Encouraging residential uptake through incentives 

Tax breaks or credits, such as the systems in the USA or Australia, could encourage the residential uptake of solar power. Lessons can be learned from initiatives like Kainga Ora, which has used solar power successfully. 

“We need to encourage residential users to be more resilient. With so many good rooftops ready to go, we can reduce CO2 emissions and transition to 100% renewable energy much faster,” says Dick. 

3. An election-year issue 

Dick says this election year is a time to focus on individual household renewable energy. The difference in price points between quality and lower-level brands is narrowing, and now more than ever, it’s essential to think beyond warranties to create trust. It would be good to see the major parties adopt some of the smaller parties’ ideas around household renewable energy. 

Dick says he is not pleading for an industry overhaul, just a vision for a sustainable future where New Zealand’s unique challenges are met with innovation, quality, and ethics. 

“We can transform New Zealand’s energy landscape; we must need trust, greater responsibility and a real commitment to consumers and the environment,” says Dick. 

“I dream of a New Zealand where every individual property is powered by renewables which can charge their vehicles and use home electricity wisely, so we all get that great feeling of being independent in how we use power while doing our bit for the environment.”

For more information, contact Vital Solar

Our guarantee

With extensive experience and certification by New Zealand Master Electricians, we are the trusted solar energy systems provider for Kiwi homes and businesses. With the highest level of compliance available in solar installation, we only work with products covered by a manufacturer’s warranty and we guarantee all our workmanship.

Our commitment

Vital Solar is a proud member of SEANZ, the Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand.

SEANZ is an independent organisation that works hard to drive our sustainable energy future, leading the promotion, support and innovation of solar PV and energy storage technologies.

Because we’re members of SEANZ, we work to a strict SEANZ Code of Conduct. It also means you can apply for financing from your bank for solar energy systems from Vital Solar.

From the start, Maryann was extremely helpful and communicative! Cam was very knowledgeable and explained how everything worked. We had a great experience with Vital Solar and would recommend them to anyone!
Carly & Hannah Van Winkel
Carly & Hannah Van Winkel
After researching the market thoroughly, I settled on Vital to install our home PV system in 2022 and they did a very neat and professional job. Good assistance in working with the local lines company and excellent support in bedding in the control and monitoring systems. They know their stuff.
Grant Forsyth
Grant Forsyth
I've had the Enphase System now for a little over a year and I am just sorry I didn't get it installed sooner. We got 20 panels installed and glad we did that to make the most of whatever energy we are able to capture and use. Although I haven't changed the way in which I use electricity in the home, I have been able to see where I can maximize the solar energy and use it when I can although any extra is fed back to the grid (albeit at a piddly rate). Installation was seamless and the after sales service and support to change electricity service providers and respond to questions is second to none. Great service provided by the team at Vital Solar!!!
We heard about Vital Solar from a friend (a crusty old engineer who knows about stuff!) and he recommended them. We’re chuffed with the small system they did for us. Excellent service, convincing products and serious after sales service. Good work Cam and team! Many thanks.
neil keating
neil keating
We selected Vital Solar for our PV solar install because Cam was the only one to come to our place to view the site and wiring prior to quoting, which gave us confidence in their approach. The Enphase system was also recommended to me by a longstanding friend who is an electrician and Enphase also undertake some of their R&D in Christchurch with students from the University of Canterbury. On the whole, we were really impressed with Maryann, Cam and the team from Vital Solar and would highly recommend them to anyone interested in installing solar to their property.
Craig Campbell
Craig Campbell
Very happy with the service we got from Vital Solar. Even though they are not the original installer of our pannels, they were happy to replace a failed Micro Inverter, and provided extended afterservice when problems had to be resolved. I would highly recommend using their services
Chris Gelderman
Chris Gelderman
These guys supply a superior product and were the only ones to come and see us to have a look. They are very personable and kept us fully informed throughout the entire process. They personally install the panels and set up the power. Cam was great to deal with on site and Maryann was prompt with keeping us up to date and organising the inspector and power company. I was impressed in the way they left everything tidy and clean. We are very happy with our drop in power bills. They also have great after sales service. Would thoroughly reccomend Vital Solar.
Gary Lane
Gary Lane
Can't recommend this team more. We were nightmare customers (not they they would every tell us) with more questions than you can imagine and they were patient, accommodative and nothing was ever an issue. Even after the installation they are still there to help whenever we need. Truely the best.
Mark Collins
Mark Collins
We were virtually clueless when we started exploring Solar . Contacted a few companies including Vital Solar . We were so impressed from the outset with Maryanne responding to our myriad questions quickly & patiently . We decided to accept Cam & Maryanne’s offer to do a site visit to fully understand our requirements before quoting ( they were the only company to do this ) On receipt of the detailed quote there were still further questions from us . Never once were we fobbed off or made to feel stupid . We accepted the quote & the installation was pretty seamless after that . On go live , Cam & Maryanne did a detailed handover . Nothing has been too much trouble , their whole team have been friendly & professional . Cannot recommend Vital Solar highly enough - we are very pleased with the decision to go with them !
Excellent workmanship and what a fantastic crew. Thanks to the entire crew for making it so easy to get solar panels installed. Would highly recommend going with them.
Jayakantha Vijayakumar
Jayakantha Vijayakumar

Find out more about switching to solar

5 Collard Place, Henderson, Auckland 0610