News

Solar customers concerned about $599 to repair rusty screws

One of the screws taken from a reader's roof.
One of the screws taken from a reader's roof. Contributed

A NUMBER of complaints about rusted roofscrews on solar panel units around Gladstone prompted an email from installer Solar Farmers to about 1000 of its customers recently.

The email, sent September 22, invited customers to spend up to $599 to repair screws the Brisbane-based solar company claimed had been corroded by "hostile corrosive atmospheric conditions" only seen in Gladstone.

But Queensland Alumina Limited, who organised a bulk deal for its employees through Solar Farmers as an emissions offset along with BSL and Yarwun, has referred the email and the issue now to the Office of Fair Trading.

A QAL spokesperson said the company "does not agree with the representations environmental factors are the cause".

And in an email to its staff sent on September 30, QAL advised affected employees to seek "appropriate advice".

"Given the scale of this issue we suggest any employees impacted consult with the Office of Fair Trading and seek appropriate advice and support in their capacity as consumers," the email read.

Solar Farmers are standing by their explanation of the rusted roofscrews. We understand manager Craig Balmanno has also contacted the fair trading office and provided documentation that proves the materials used did meet Australian standards.

He told us suppliers have also assured him the screws were not faulty.

"The entire system is manufactured to Australian standards and comes as a kit when we buy it. The kits were not modified in any way," he said.

Mechanical engineer Jeff Dyer --- and also a Solar Farmers customer --- removed one of the screws from his roof last week. He says he is confident it's a stainless steel washer that has caused the reaction that left the screwhead rusty; not cyclone Marcia or Gladstone's air pollution, as Solar Farmers suggests.

Mr Dyer said the washer wasn't magnetic, looked like stainless steel and hadn't rusted which he would expect when stainless steel was in contact with galvanised steel.

"When you put the two dissimiliar metals together, such as galvanised steel and stainless steel, it causes electrolysis between the two metals and creates a high chance of of a reaction," Mr Dyer said.

He has written to the Solar Farmers and said he shouldn't have to pay to replace the screws.

We sent some of the roofscrews to Brisbane for testing; we are still waiting to receive those results back.




Magistrate sends man's 'serious' sex act case to district court

FILE PHOTO: Gladstone Courthouse, Yarroon St.

Sex intruder case 'serious', goes to District Court

Busy Gladstone facility to receive $3m revamp

Community and youth development officer Bec Frost is really happy about the new funding for the PCYC. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

The expansion will boost jobs too, with a "locals first” focus.

Bail refused for man accused of having 7.6g ice in car

FILE PHOTO: A drug analysis has yet to be completed but Gladstone man David Johnson has been charged with having 7.6g of ice.

Bail refused for fencer after police find ice in his car

Latest deals and offers

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

TELEVISION: New show is a Survivor, for now

Jonathan LaPaglia hosts the TV series Australian Survivor.

WHAT happens when a new show with a big budget flops?

Rachel Weisz understands celebrity gossip fascination

Actor Rachel Weisz

Weisz says mystery is good for an actor

Gina Rodriguez relished dramatic change for new film

Jane the Virgin lead Gina Rodriguez

TV star shaved her hair for movie role

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Gladstone landlords in trouble with Bechtel job losses

"If a big project was announced tomorrow I wouldn't want to see it"