Sydney-based installer Scott Marriott will go all over the state to get the job done.
How long have you been installing solar?
I’ve been doing it for about two years and I’ve been accredited for about one year. I’ve been an electrician pretty much my whole life, since I left school back in England from age 17. I started up my own company back there and then came over here about eight years ago. I did two years on a holiday visa and then got sponsored by a company. I’ve worked in the mines, done lots of different electrical work, and then I thought I’d get into solar.
What made you choose solar?
A lot of my friends were telling me there’s a lot of work in solar, to keep you busy. I thought I’d give it a shot. I do residential and commercial work.
What interesting systems have you installed recently?
I did one up in Newcastle not long ago that was 32kW, that’s one of the bigger ones. It was on a farm, with about 10 houses off the one. It was a rooftop system on a big metal shed that took about 65 panels and he had another building that fit about 45 panels. One system was a separately tenanted house with a single-phase system and another was a three-phase that was split across the whole of his farmland pretty much.
Has covid-19 affected your work recently?
Yeah, it put us off work there for a it. On the other hand it kind of motivated me to get out and push more for new work. It made me get more creative about trying to get work. I’ve made flyers and chased up my own work for a while. I’ve definitely had a few days off more than I’d like, but it is what it is.
Do residential customers understand solar?
Here and there. They understand that they get free electricity but when I break it down and tell them about issues that might happen, such as shading – let’s put some optimisers on this side to help you get the benefit, that sort of thing – and I’ll break it up down for them and talk them through what’s best on their roof before I even start. I’ll just talk them through what is the best scenario for them. Some people have an idea but I wouldn’t say everyone does.
Have some of them heard horror stories about cheap solar systems?
You’re always going to hear those stories and I put them down to [retailers] who sell cheap systems and get cheap labour. As the old saying goes, if you pay peanuts you can expect monkeys. I always say to people don’t buy the cheapest ones, but people want to bargain don’t they and that’s what they’re happy about. The system could break down within five years; I get callouts on systems that haven’t bee up a year. I have to fix a lot of problems for people, like isolators that aren’t connected properly and the DC current’s arcing across phases. I get called out to jobs like that.
Do customers understand it’s worth paying for a quality system?
I try and sell them a better product. SolarWatt panels are guaranteed for 30 years and their new panels are pretty much indestructible. You can shoot ice cannons at them and they don’t break. I get a lot of callouts for broken panels because of hail damage. I tell them what are the good brands; it doesn’t have to be too expensive.
Are you getting good technical support?
I do, to be fair. Every time you have to call engineers they’re always pretty handy. It might take an hour on the phone but they always get there in the end. I can’t fault them in that respect.