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 start to finish, our solar journey with Vital Solar has been superb. We did extensive research and obtained 5 quotes before (easily) deciding on Cam, Maryann and the Vital Solar team. Cam (MD) is highly knowledgeable about all matters solar, and patiently answered all our questions. (Ours is a tricky South facing site, so there were many questions). Maryann was super helpful and kept the ball rolling with logistics and other queries. We decided to get Sun Power panels with Enphase microinverters and two Enphase IQ 5P batteries. Vital Solar’s installation and service team (including Sam and Keenan) was very professional, helpful and tidy. After the installation was complete, Maryann also helped us get the grid connection sorted. Such great people! We did our solar due diligence, and recommend the Vital Solar team very highly. Thank you guys!😊💯
Suki Harding
Suki Harding
For our small installation onto our villa the discussion, ongoing communication, installation, and final product was all excellent. We highly recommend this company
Tom Robinson
Tom Robinson
Vital Solar are awesome. They will listen to what you want, and educate you where necessary so that you can get a system that works best for you and your home. They take pride in their work and do a tidy job with quality equipment. I had a few extra requests such as a Solar hot water power diverter, and that was provided and installed with no hassle. I've asked for more information about extras (e.g. batteries) since the install, and have received friendly advice and follow up. I would recommend them over the big guys who you will either never hear back from, or they will quote something from their computer without even visiting your site.
Ryan Maxwell
Ryan Maxwell
Cannot recommend highly enough. Vital Solar took the time to understand our issues and come back with excellent information- waaayyyyyy more information than the original installer had ever shared. Which meant we could make good decisions. GREAT service, fantastic communication and just lovely individuals to work with. Highly recommended.
sandy pearson
sandy pearson
Cameron and Maryann are engaged and knowledgeable. Dealing directly with the owner is a distinct advantage, and the fact that Cameron visited and assessed the site before quoting was a key point in our choosing Vital Electric.
Alan Merry
Alan Merry
Had vital come through for a consult, and ended up going with an Enphase system, knowledge with the whole process and incredibly happy with total install.They truly went above and beyond my expectations a awesome crew
Andrew Dick
Andrew Dick
Vital Solar really know their stuff. I appreciated the education on solar as part of the sales process. The Vital Solar installation team, in their Vital Solar uniforms, were professional and kept us well informed as the installation progressed. Having a 25 year guarantee backs up the quality of both the product and the service from Vital Solar, giving us peace of mind. It's been worth paying a bit more with Vital Solar than some of the other providers we approached, to get quality. We're delighted with our new system. Did someone say power prices just went up again - not for us. Thanks Vital Solar.
David Schischka
David Schischka
Cam and his team at Vital Solar were recommended through a mutual friend. Definitely made the right choice to go with them for our residential PV install. A pleasure to deal with.
Luke Gowing
Luke Gowing

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