When is a warranty not worth the paper it’s written on?

The New Zealand Solar PV industry is full of excellent products and solutions backed by reputable local distributors with the support of their international suppliers. At Taspac Energy we deal directly with the manufacturers of the products we sell to ensure we only supply internationally recognized, credible products and solutions from globally recognized and respected manufacturers. This strategy ensures when something does go wrong, we have the support of the manufacturer behind us so that we can support our customer (the installer) who in turn can support their customer – the end-user/consumer. It’s good for all parties involved which makes it great for our industry as it maintains a level of professionalism.

But………what happens when a Solar PV installer sources their products via non-authorized channels and sells them to an unsuspecting consumer? We’ve seen a lot of Solar PV equipment imported into New Zealand from dubious sources, including – non-compliant Solar PV Modules, inverters, racking and EV chargers. We’ve also seen internationally recognized Tier 1 PV Modules hit our shores that were “factory seconds” destined for another market picked up cheap and parallel imported into New Zealand. They look the same as the legitimate real thing but they’re often not designed to survive in our environment. We’ve seen many international solar installers come and go from our market leaving behind a trail of poor non-compliant installations, bad debts and angry customers.

We’re a little unique in New Zealand, our geographical location means we’re susceptible to high salt mist laden air and humid weather conditions, our high volcanic and farming activity means we have higher levels of sulfur and ammonia than many other developed nations. For this reason, a lot of the products that come into New Zealand are manufactured and treated a little differently – this applies to many industries including automotive, steel fabrication, electronics, HVAC and Solar PV.

If you’re a consumer looking to have Solar PV and/or Energy Storage installed it’s important you choose your installation company and PV/Energy Storage Solution wisely. Ask yourself this question: “If I can only drive one vehicle for the next 20 years, what vehicle would I choose to invest in?”.

A Solar PV/Energy Storage System is a significant investment – in some cases it costs as much as a vehicle and it has to remain in service, constantly used every day, exposed to the elements for 20 + years. Ask your installer where they source their equipment from and who holds the product warranty in the event they’re not around in a few years – if they’re not sourcing through the proper local channels, it’s highly likely there’s no local warranty should the installer ceases operation in New Zealand. If they’re parallel importing from our cousins in Australia you have no local protection either. Australia might not seem far away when you pop over to visit friends and family………that is until you have to make a warranty claim on an Inverter, PV Module or Battery supplied from there. At this point you’ll discover that little ditch between our two countries is the most expensive piece of water to freight across in the world – in most cases you’re better off throwing away the faulty item and buying a new one, even though it’s “still under warranty” as most warranties do not cover freight.

There’s a few Solar PV Installers marketing brands that are imported, sold and supported exclusively via Taspac in New Zealand however they’re not procuring them through us. Be aware of these operators and if you’re ever unsure, please feel free to drop us a quick email here to ensure the products you’re being sold are sourced through the correct channels for local warranty support. Alternatively you can call us on 0800 101 632, or for a regional list of our Certified Fronius Service Partners click here.

Click here to view the latest 5+5 Year warranty promotion on Fronius Inverters.