My solar adventure…!

Hi, I am Aditya, I live in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi with my parents and work as a project manager in one of the most reputed tech firms in India.

I used to be a strong renewable energy advocate. I always preached why going solar makes so much sense to every friend and relative of mine.

So one fine day, to set an example, I decided to get solar on my roof top. Although I had an idea about how the whole thing works but it was all superficial and I was looking for a credible information source to guide me in the right direction. I found a lot of gyan with everyone talking about the benefits of solar, I found no particular website which can tell me how to go about it. I tried looking at govt. websites as well, there was too much information and too many layers, enough to push me off. I tried looking up if any recognised player is taking care of the residential solar space providing end to end solution. All I could find is some companies selling boxes but no one was offering end to end solar solution for homes. What was on offer was a sea of private system integrators giving offers which were too good to be true. I had no clue how to move forward.

But I was determined. I asked around and got reference of a system integrator from a friend who has just given a nod to get solar installed at his place. According to him the guy was offering “unmatched price” and all the components as well as installation were shown to be of top notch quality.

I had a good look at the proposal, found it impressive and decided to go ahead with the same guy for installing solar at my place. I can easily say it was the biggest mistake of my life.

First of all, I was told that a guy will visit to assess the solar potential of my roof the very next day, his contact no. was shared as well. I was impressed and relieved as it was a Saturday and I wanted to be at the house when it happens. I called up the guy in the morning, no response….! When I was unable to get through to the guy till noon after multiple attempts, I called up the owner who instantly apologised and promised he will look into it immediately. It was at 4 pm, with my evening plans in ruins, he turned up himself saying his guy has went absconding and he will do the roof assessment himself to keep his word. He spent around an hour on the roof, and another one asking me questions about my electricity bill, power cut conditions, etc. He collected copies of some id proofs, bills, etc., explained to me what kind of solution I will need and gave me a ball park figure that I will end up paying, which was much lower than what I expected it to be. To my amazement, I got a proposal on my mail that very evening and instantly got a call from him saying he is all set to take the project forward the as soon as I give him a go ahead and pay 20% of the overall cost in advance.

The moment I paid the advance amount, the guy vanished for almost a month!!! I had to go chase him every day. Every time I was told that due to some govt. approval not coming through, he is unable to move ahead. I was like why was I not cautioned about such a thing at the beginning. No clarification and false deadlines marked a very bad start to my solar journey. By the way, same was happening with my friend who recommended the guy and was now regretting the same.

Finally, after multiple follow ups, the guy showed up one fine day saying he has got the required approvals and I can finally have the solution I was looking for in place. But there was a twist to the tale. He said I just need to pay the remaining amount for work to start. I was more than happy to pay but was left bemused when I saw the amount he was quoting. It was nowhere near to what he quoted earlier, in fact it was a whopping 30% more. When I asked about the reason, an entire list of items from “earthing” to “lighting arrester” was thrown at my face with an option of not to deploy them but it will hamper the electricity generation and jeopardise the safety of the solution. Apart from it the labour charges have gone up, the material charges have gone up and so on…

So I was left with the only option to pay the “hidden charges” if I want the installation to start. Grudgingly, I decided to pay hoping for this nightmare to be over. But no.

I was enjoying an extended weekend in Goa when I got a call from an unknown number saying he is waiting outside my house to unload the material for my solar installation - solar panels, inverter, etc.

I asked him to wait and dialled up the no. of the owner seeking clarification how come the material has been delivered without asking me even once. I was told that my no. was unreachable and they had to meet the deadline. He again apologised and said he will line up the material delivery later as per my convenience.

I lined it up for the very next weekend. While the material delivery happened on time and everything was looking to be on track finally, the guy informed me that he is facing some labour related issues and will get it resolved soon. The entire weekend passed away but the installation did not start. I was informed in the middle of the week that the labour problem has been resolved and they can start work immediately. In my frustration, I gave a nod asking my father to keep an eye on them. When I reached home, I was devastated to see the condition of the roof, it was a mess, I was not expecting such untidy work. On top of it, my father told me that the labour as well the staff of the system integrator were very ill mannered and created such a ruckus inside as well as outside the house that even our neighbours started complaining.

By this time, is was already regretting my decision to go solar. I was lured into the trap by the hook of “unmatched price”. I was thinking if only there was a good company to provide end to end solar solution in a hassle free as well as transparent manner, I would not have been subjected to such pain and frustration.

Until and unless a known brand, which understands the customer requirement and pain points, decides to enter residential solar power space, I will not recommend anyone to rely on just any system integrator who tries to win you over by making promises he won’t be adhering to.

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