In spite of the fact that buying a cheap solar system may appear to be a good deal at the time, it frequently results in a subpar installation, subpar performance, and worthless warranties.
Poor craftsmanship, improperly connected parts, and hurried instals are common problems caused by cheap solar firms cutting savings during installation. Additionally, these inferior systems frequently employ less expensive and worse-quality components, which can result in subpar performance and shorter lifespans.
Additionally, the warranties offered by these businesses are frequently useless and do not cover the problems that can occur with affordable solar energy systems.
To guarantee a high-quality solar system that will offer long-term benefits and save yourself from future headaches, please conduct careful research and select a reliable company.
What goes wrong when buying a cheap solar and battery system?
Purchasing a solar system is an investment that should provide returns for decades. However, this can only happen if the system is of good quality. Unfortunately, on the market today, various large sales companies offer cheap solar deals that are too good to be true.
People fall for these antics and suffer the consequences of having a cheap solar system with poor installation quality.
Shoddy workmanship and installation
If you found one or even several large install companies offering installation at a much cheaper price than many others, there is a reason. The installer will likely have to cut corners to get the job for the low margin and aim to complete the installation as fast as possible for some quick cash. Unfortunately, they will also just as quickly disappear when you run into the first of many issues.
The installation of your solar system is the most crucial step. Even quality inverters and panels installed poorly will perform poorly and break down faster.
As you encounter issues due to cheap solar, you will pay more to fix the problems continuously. You must understand every solar installation is different. You should only allow trusted, experienced local professionals to do this complex process.
For example, you may find a sales company that charges $1,200 less to install the same gear than your local quote. How can that happen? Simple – fewer brackets on the racking, thinner aluminium on the rails, some cost-cutting on installing the correct safety equipment, and a faster, more rushed install using silicon to hide all the water penetration sins on the roof, including the cracked tiles.
Low-quality solar companies compete for the lowest price possible to get quick cash.
They cut corners as much as possible to offer the cheapest deal possible. This leads to supplying the system components using the lowest cost as the selection criteria for all system parts, such as the racking, mounting brackets, safety switches, cables, panels, and inverter solutions.
Combined with a rushed installation, these cheaper components will see the homeowner suffering from a system that will have issues quickly and generate much lower PV system output than promised.
We have seen cheap solar system installers using non-UV-treated cable ties to fasten vital safety fuses to the racking. Unfortunately, the inis fastening method will crack and break in only a few years, creating an unsafe situation. The broken cable ties will also most likely slip into the gutters and clog up the gutter, potentially causing water to enter cavities and causing water-related maintenance issues.
Anyone who has audited a cheap solar system soon after the installation must admire the creativity of scrupulous installation companies to cut corners. In one instance in the Sydney suburb of Horsley Park, the urgent repairs to the system after three weeks of installation cost more than the initial cheap installation. Also, the safety switch wiring was completed, so the water entered the electrical conduit causing water ingress and failure of the fuse box.
Another issue associated with cheap quality solar systems is their meaningless warranty. For example, the panel warranty is void if panels are installed without following the clamp zone rules.
The warranty is void if inverters are installed on a north backing away in the midday heat. If the solar company that installed the system leaves after two years to start a new company with a different ABN and name, the artistry warranty is gone. Over 800 crap solar companies have followed this rebirthing path since 2010.
The common issue with cheap solar systems stems from how the installers want to get in and out as fast as possible to get their cash and run. They then leave you with a dodgy system with worthless warranties and sometimes ongoing issues, from cracked tiles to dented metal roofs.
Unfortunately, these companies are not easy to spot because they use famous personal endorsements and purchased reviews to hide behind slick marketing. The one giveaway is the lowball price, reference to Tier 1 panels, and claims to be the best and most respected or most extensive in the industry – so please be aware – you get what you pay for.
How can you avoid cheap solar?
Due to the internet, it is now easier than ever to research solar. With the likes of Google, you can go and search for companies and look at reviews, talk to neighbours, call around, get different solar & battery salespersons to undertake a site visit and ask them critical questions. You will be able to identify the professional from the fast talker quickly.
One golden rule in protecting your interests is – never to buy solar from a door-knocking company. These companies come to town to undertake a sales whirlwind tour, but if issues arise a short time later, one will never be able to get them to return. They sometimes sell the cheapest solar for very high prices, stinging the customer twice.
Go with top brands and do not skimp on getting the best inverter solution; get the biggest system possible, and consider a battery. Also, in future years, electric car charging will take care of any excess you might produce right now.
Last words of warning
Cheap solar installers and brands usually have misleading clauses in their fine print. For example, you must have a safety inspection by the same company every year. Otherwise, the warranties are void. This is complete nonsense, as any qualified installer could undertake a safety inspection, and one is not necessarily required every year.
If you want a solar system that will not give you all these issues, go with a CEC-approved, trusted local installer. Paying a slightly higher initial cost will help you save in the long run, and you will make money back and some extra in future years, as your quality system will deliver more extended returns.