Australia’s solar industry is “effectively unregulated” and consumers are falling victim to “predatory” sales tactics which pressure them to buy expensive systems, according to new research.

New data released to the ABC’s 7.30 reveals concerns about the regulations around Australia’s burgeoning solar industry, which advocates say is outpacing laws designed to protect consumers.

The report poses serious questions for an industry which has installed solar panels on the rooftops of two million households.

According to the Sunny Side Up report from the Consumer Action Law Centre, close to 700 solar companies have gone out of business since 2011, leaving about 650,000 Australians with no recourse if their systems fail.

It found there were a number of “concerning trends” in the solar industry, including:

  • “Predatory” high-pressure sales tactics
  • Businesses going under, leaving people with worthless warranties and no recourse
  • Australians being offered unaffordable credit to buy solar systems

Some solar businesses have also been known to “phoenix”, which refers to when they fold and then re-open in order to avoid paying out warranties or creditors.