The relentless load shedding and soaring electricity prices have driven South Africans towards solar energy. But as demand surges, new providers are flooding the market, some of whom are more interested in quick profits than quality service.
Rein Snoeck Henkemans, CEO of Alumo Energy, cautions homeowners against falling for the allure of cheap deals.
“We’ve received numerous calls from distressed homeowners who’ve been duped by inexperienced service providers offering ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deals,“ he revealed. These hastily installed systems, often using subpar components, frequently malfunction, leaving homeowners stranded when the providers vanish.
While the market’s oversaturation has made solar systems more affordable, the influx of inexperienced installers poses risks. “Poorly installed systems require more maintenance and have shorter lifespans, escalating costs in the long run,” Henkemans warned. “Moreover, when these systems fail, homeowners often find their warranties voided due to incorrect installations or inferior components.”
This saturation also intensifies competition, potentially squeezing profit margins and tempting some providers to adopt unethical practices, tarnishing the industry’s image.
However, Henkemans believes the market will self-correct. “Homeowners are becoming more discerning, researching installers thoroughly before investing in solar,” he said.
“As demand stabilises, many fly-by-night operators will exit, allowing established firms to reclaim market share”.
External factors, like regulatory changes and technological advancements, will further professionalise the industry.
Henkemans concluded: “While the industry navigates these teething issues, homeowners should diligently research providers, ensuring they offer quality products and long-term support.”