Customer Assurance Scheme

The Solar Association of NZ's Customer Assurance Scheme

Solar water heating systems are a long term investment, in keeping with other aspects of a building. Therefore it is essential to know when purchasing a solar water heating system that the system not only meets all legal requirements, but that it will have the expected durability and performance. It is to provide this assurance to our Customers that the Customer Assurance Scheme has been developed.

The solar water heating industry in New Zealand experienced rapid change during the period 2007 - 2013 as a Government Quality Assurance program led by EECA was implemented. This Scheme provided subsidies for products installed which met the legal and performance requirements. At the same time, new suppliers of solar water heating equipment emerged, primarily from China. Whilst the increase in compliance costs negated the effect of the subsidy offered, the residual effect now is an industry with high quality products with proven performance.

The Customer Assurance Scheme aims to bring together key aspects of the EECA Scheme but to expand it further in a way that a Government Agency was unable to do. Effectively the Customer Assurance Scheme uses the best practise developed during the Scheme to consolidate the range of system designs supported by the Association to give clearer guidance to the public which systems they should be considering. This approach requires individual companies to partially relinquish their right to promote and sell "what they like, how they like" in exchange for the sustainable development of the Industry. We support this principle through our System Grading Scheme, where system designs are ordered into "Gold", "Silver" and "Bronze" categories for the different climates in New Zealand, with "Gold" systems represent best practise system designs for the climate.

It is important to note that not all system designs are covered by the scheme. Customised solar water heating systems have long been a feature of the Industry. However, the System Grading Scheme covers the most common designs installed in New Zealand, and we recommend caution when considering a design not covered by the Scheme.

Key Components of the Customer Assurance Scheme

  • Accredited Members supplying compliant product
  • System Grading Scheme to provide guidance to the Customer
  • Complaints Resolution Service
  • Auditing of Members to maintain quality
  • Association Membership Categories

  • Accredited Members are responsible for the compliance and suitability for purpose of the products installed
  • CAS Accredited Retailers are the companies selling and arranging the installation of the systems
  • Accredited Installers are who will actually install the system
  • Associate Members are people who provide professional support to the Industry such as consultants, engineers, and similar services.
  • The Association Logos used to identify Members who are Accredited are presented below. In the list of attachments are the key documents which underpin the Customer Assurance Scheme, including application forms.