Typical questions & answers from customers:
If you are thinking of buying solar for your home, here are some recent question & answers that may help before you make a decision on which solar power quote offers you the best value for money.
Will solar still work if my roof is shaded?
This is one of the most important questions to ask as if your roof is permanently shaded, then solar may not work for you.
If in doubt, ask the solar company when quoting to provide advice & a shading report & to advise accordingly.
It’s also important to bear in mind that regardless of claim, no solar panel technology will produce a significant amount of power in full shade, even with micro inverters or optimisers.
How do I choose the right solar company?
Do your research.
Make sure that the company has a good reputation by checking all solar reviews, is local to you and always use an accredited solar power system installer, certified by the Clean Energy Council.
Compare all components quoted and warranty periods. While large, well-established companies can pass on substantial savings due to increased buying power, other companies often reduce costs by cutting corners.
How many solar quotes should I get?
When you are ready to buy, you should always get at least three quotes from different solar installers to compare. By having multiple companies give you a breakdown on how much solar will cost you, you can gain a real understanding of whether solar is right for your budget and whether or not you’re being ripped off (in either price or quality).
I have obtained three solar quotes, but the price differences are significant.
When making an important investment like solar power, you will find that prices may vary between providers for many different reasons.
The size of the system is one, with the average size system installed is a 6.6kw system in Australia. The system components are the next variable as some installers may quote a string inverter for example (which is fine) and another installer may quote micro inverters which are more expensive. Then you have the solar panels. One installer may quote on entry level panels, which again is fine as long as the brand is listed with the Clean Energy Council of Australia. The next installer may decide to quote on the best premium panels available, so your budget is important here to decide on a system price that doesn’t compromise on quality components.
In the end, don’t be swayed by a cheaper system price as inferior components can reduce the up-front cost of the system initially, but they may wind up costing you much more in the long run if the system fails.
You should also be comfortable analysing these quotes and deciding which one will be the best solution for your home. If in doubt, seek independent professional solar advice.
How many panels do I need?
To size your solar panel system, you need to work out how much electricity you use and when you use it. As a guide, a typical home uses 20kWh of energy a day. A 5kW solar system would meet most of the daytime power needs.
However, these days solar panels are relatively cheap, so it usually makes sense to put on the biggest system that your roof can take and that you can afford. The excess electricity can go back into the grid and earn you some money via feed-in tariffs or charge a home storage battery.
For most homes, the average size system is 6.6kW of panels with a 5kW inverter
6.6kW is a common size for new systems, but bigger systems (9 to 10kW or more) are also being purchased.
Buyer Beware “caveat emptor” In Australia we do have an accreditation program with strong standards and a fairly well-regulated solar industry.
However, in recent years there has been a surge in our industry due some very generous Government rebates as well as falling solar panel prices. This has resulted in a number of unscrupulous solar companies emerging. These companies tend to advertise inexpensive systems, with high pressure sales, use poor quality products and in some cases have installed solar power systems that are unsafe.
If the deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is…
High pressure sales tactics are unfortunately common in the solar industry. Try not to make decisions on the spot. Simply ask the salesperson to let you consider the offer. If it’s as good as they claim, it will still be a good deal tomorrow. Pressured decisions on the spot often turn out to be less advantageous in reflection.
Try to understand what government rebates and subsidies are available to you as in many circumstances, these can pay a significant proportion of the upfront cost of your solar panels.
It is also important to find out how much you will get paid for the surplus solar electricity you export to the grid, as this can make a huge difference to how long it will take for your system to pay for itself.
A solar power system can be a great investment for your home.
Don’t squander the opportunity by getting caught with a shonky company or simply poor service for the sake of a few dollars. If in doubt and you would like independent professional advice, contact us at www.indpendentsolarconsultants.com.au