Nov 24, 2017: Suncrowd Review – 0 Stars

Please allow me to begin this week’s Newsletter with an apology for my part in helping to organise the Suncrowd events that were held in our region a year ago and for helping to persuade people that this Community Solar Bulk Buy program was a good idea. It certainly seemed like one at the time but, I’m very sorry to say, has proved to be a bitter disappointment for many people, myself included.

The Suncrowd crew might look happy but many of their customers are not... THUMBS DOWN FOLKS.

The Suncrowd crew might look happy but many of their customers are not… THUMBS DOWN FOLKS.

A lucky few of the people who signed up to buy rooftop solar systems and/or batteries through the Suncrowd program did actually get what they wanted for a very good price and installed in a timely manner. Unfortunately they seem to be the exception rather than the rule. I’ve heard many more complaints from people who paid their deposit then waited many months without hearing a word from Suncrowd or their contracted installer, Sunny Afternoons. When rare communications were forthcoming they tended to be a list of excuses for why things were going so slowly with much of the blame being put on Tesla for being slow delivering their promised Powerwall 2 battery. Customers were advised not to expect any indication of when their installation might take place and that calling to enquire about it would only slow the process more. Eventually installations did start to trickle through but I’ve heard from a number of people that there were issues with their installation or they didn’t get what they asked for or that what they had been advised to purchase was not appropriate to their situation.

The final straw which prompted me to write this review came about a week ago when I heard from one of my very best friends (who signed up for a Suncrowd system on my recommendation) that, after a YEAR of waiting and getting no indication of when their system would be installed, they finally gave up and asked for their money back. They were told that they could get a refund of their deposit MINUS a 25% cancellation fee. I cannot believe the gall of this mob! To take someone’s money, make them wait a year with no result (or even an indication of when to expect one) then somehow feel like it’s fair to keep a quarter of the deposit…. it leaves me speechless with disgust…. especially because my friend’s system was a simple rooftop solar installation, no battery, no Reposit power, no justification for any of the excuses that were trotted out as to why people were having to wait so long.

Unfortunately my friends are not alone. I’ve heard from a number of other people, both prior to last week and since then, that they are either not happy with the service they received from Suncrowd and Sunny Afternoons or that they simply didn’t receive any service at all.

What we don’t know (because neither Suncrowd nor Sunny Afternoons have given us any useful information) is exactly how many of their customers (victims?) are dissatisfied with the program and we don’t know how many systems are still left to be installed. If you are one of those people please leave a comment at the end of this article. This is an outrage and I think something needs to be done about it. I’m not sure what that is yet but I will start by compiling information from people who feel they have been treated unfairly. I have made enquiries with the Energy Ombudsman who palmed me off onto Fair Trading who palmed me off onto the ACCC (gotta love Australian bureaucracy) so I’m getting the run-around but I will keep trying. Meanwhile please let me (and our readers) know what your experience has been with Suncrowd. I hope it has been better than my friend’s.

To be fair, I and the other people who agreed to help organise our local events, had every reason to believe that this would be a good thing for our community. Suncrowd had completed an apparently very successful community bulk buy campaign in Newcastle when they approached us wanting to do the same here. Unfortunately our campaign hasn’t turned out so successfully for a number of the participants. Once again I sincerely apologise for my part in this mess and will endeavour to do what I can to rectify it.

Brighter Notes

Tesla Tiny House Packs Them In

CIntia and I in front of the Tesla Tiny house while Matt Simms from Simmark enthrals the crowd.

Cintia and I in front of the Tesla Tiny house while Matt Simms from Simmark enthrals the crowd (except, apparently, the guy in the yellow shirt).

As mentioned in last week’s Newsletter, we had a visit from the Tesla Tiny House which is currently touring the country stirring up interest in solar, batteries and electric cars. Two events were organised for our region, one at Silos Estate Winery in Berry and one at the Bradman Oval in Bowral. These were organised and promoted by Simmark (a local solar, electrical, heating/cooling and security contractor) who kindly invited me to be there to answer people’s questions about Energy Positive Homes and Passive Solar Design. Hundreds of people came to both venues including school groups, families, home owners and retirees interested in learning more about small houses and renewable energy systems. For me it was like being a pig in mud so thanks to Simmark for asking me to be involved. It was encouraging to see so much interest in the things I’ve been banging on about for so long.

Off-Grid… No Thanks

One of those things I’ve been banging on about for years is that, rather than going off-grid, we’re all better off if we stay connected to the electricity grid so that we can all share our renewable energy. So it’s nice to see this article from ABC News that says the exactly same thing and gives detailed reasons for it.

Elon and Tesla Promise Outrageous Electric Trucks and Cars

If you’re interested in the potential of electric vehicles you’ll want to watch the video below (if you haven’t seen it already) showing Elon Musk launching Tesla’s new Semi Truck and Roadster. He’s talking about a huge truck with a better aerodynamic drag coefficient than a Bugatti sports car, 800km range and a promised 1 Million Mile Warranty PLUS a car that can go 0-100km/h in 1.9 seconds (making it the fastest production car ever made) AND with room for four people, luggage and a range of 1000 kilometres.

Neither of these EV’s is in production yet and, given Tesla’s track record for under-delivering on it’s promises, might not be available for quite some time but they seem to signal the death knell for the Infernal Combustion Engine (ICE). It’s going to be very interesting to see whether Tesla can crawl out from under the mountain of debt they have accumulated and go on to transform the world as promised or if they go broke in the attempt. Someone told me yesterday that Tesla lost $10,000 a MINUTE last year. I wish them the best of luck staying in front of the Chinese EV manufacturers and, hopefully staying in business.

By the way, if you’re interested in EV’s there’s an excellent Australian-based source of information called

I signed up for their monthly Newsletter which is full of the latest news about electric cars from around the world. Their last edition included an article which confirms that, even if charged from the dirtiest coal-powered electricity grid, EV’s produce about 25% less greenhouse gas emissions that petrol cars. But PLEASE do me a favour, if you ever hear anyone describe an EV as ‘Zero Emissions’, stop them and ask them where the power comes from to charge it. If it’s not charged with renewable energy it’s nowhere near ‘zero emissions’. And remember that, even if it is charged with 100% renewable energy (like mine usually is) there are emissions involved in the making of the car, it’s battery and the renewable energy system that is charging it. So no vehicle is ever going to be truly ‘zero emissions’ but EV’s are definitely a whole lot better than ICE vehicles.

ANU Breaks Record for Solar Cell Efficiency

According to another article from ABC News, scientists at ANU have obtained a 26% efficiency record for lower-cost solar cells that use Perovskite combined with silicon.

‘Until now efficiencies of this kind have only been achieved using high cost materials normally used on satellites,’ said Mr Duong, a PhD student. ‘We are now a step closer to a low cost alternative.’

Silicon solar cell technology is about 90 per cent of the solar market, but scientists around the world are working to find a way to make them more efficient, affordable, stable and reliable.

It seems we can expect to see the price of solar (and batteries) continue to get more and more affordable for the foreseeable future. Strange that our government seems unable to see it but I think this revolution is going to continue just fine with the COALition party’s support.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading. Cintia and I are off to Bong Bong Picnic Races and it’s shaping up to be a beautiful day!

4 comments to Nov 24, 2017: Suncrowd Review – 0 Stars

  • Clayton Hairs

    I live in Berrima and had to resort to threaten (and carry through) with the Office Of Fair Trading in order to get my system installed (needless to say it was installed within 10 days of me going to this route and many a pacifying call from the manager? at Sunny Afternoons)….

    IMO there was a great deal of naiveté all around in this engagement – from Sunny Afternoons’ side they assumed because they have installed massive solar arrays that this would be a cinch – well having over 300 ‘bosses’ amplifies things exponentially. The contracts that Sun Crowd had signed with Sunny Afternoons (via us, the consumer) left us NO WAY to exit the contract or at least pressure the installer to fulfil their obligations we were left as little islands, unsure if we were the ONLY ones not being listened to (it was IMPOSSIBLE to call Sunny Afternoons) or if indeed we had just been overlooked. As I understand it from the telephone calls mentioned above, the bloke ( I think he is the manager/managing director) at Sunny Afternoons and the fella that set up Sun Crown were big mates….now and as we all know, doing business with friends or family means you will have neither soon enough!

    If this were ever done again (and I have to say I believe the intentions to be good and the goodwill, initially, to be the thing that got us all involved) there needs to be a social media group that is formed amongst the clients who ‘buy in’ that way they are able to communicate among each other (and not be little islands at the mercy of who knows what) and also it would enable them to bring pressure in terms of class action should it come to that….

    • admin

      Thanks Clayton, I’m sorry to hear that you too had a nasty experience with Suncrowd and Sunny Afternoons. I think you’re exactly right that no-one knows what’s happening to other people in the program and that forming a group to share experiences and communication would have been a good idea. Andy.

  • Pam Dalby

    Same scenario inSouthern Highlands. Went to a seminar in Moss Vale over a year ago, paid my deposit in November 2016 and never heard another thing except for the Newsletter…… have just asked for my money back and threatened them with ACCC… say they will refund but less 25%. I will fight this…. I could have had a solar system installed over a year ago and been saving over $2000 in electricity bills and they want 25% of my deposit….They must be joking….!!!!

    • admin

      Too right Pam. Sorry to be slow responding but it is astounding that anyone would think it OK not to give you a full refund after you’ve waited over a year without hearing anything from them.

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