How to compare solar quotes?

Fast read

When comparing solar quotes in Australia, it is essential to take your time and do thorough research. Request quotes from multiple solar installers to get a comprehensive view of the market and identify any outliers.

Compare the system size, components, warranties, and installation costs in each quote. Check for any disclaimers or assumptions that may lead to additional costs.

Assess the performance estimates and forecasted savings from each system to ensure they align with your expectations.

How do I compare solar quotes?

The first thing to consider when comparing solar quotes is to take your time. Don’t rush it! Before deciding, compare solar options as it requires investing thousands of dollars or more.

We have more information on getting a good quote, including solar quotes for batteries, in our detailed guides. They can be found here.

So how do you begin?

Firstly, do your research on solar. Our website is a great place to begin learning about solar energy. Our website is a great resource for learning about solar power.

It gives details about solar power, how it functions, suggested products, trustworthy installers, and tips to prevent issues.

Please do not ask for a cheap solar quote with a low price attached, for example, Facebook advertising. These solar sales companies prioritise low prices and offer long warranties, but their products often break down quickly.

Customers who use such companies will end up with a low-quality dud system.

Some questions you should ask yourself are:

  • How long has the company been in the industry?
  • If it is a cheap offer – how often have the company directors been directors of bankrupt solar companies?
  • How much information do you receive regarding the brands and products used?
  • What warranties do they offer?
  • How long will it take to install the system, and where will it sit on the roof?
  • Where is the inverter position?
  • Will we hide the cabling in wall cavities, or will the cabling be on the home exterior?
  • How much energy will it produce per year, as well as by month and averages per day?
  • What estimates are they making on savings based on your situation and usage patterns for electricity?
  • Who handles the warranty and after-sales service?
  • Does the company have a dedicated after-sales process? If so, ask for a copy.

There is a hell of a lot to consider when comparing solar quotes

We are assuming now that you’ve done your research, understand solar, have a good idea of what you want and need and are now comparing solar quotes to decide which one to choose.

It must be first stated that to evaluate options, costs, and services, request solar quotes from several solar installers. Aim for at least three to five quotes to get a fuller picture of the market and spot any outliers.

Compare the equipment in the solar quotes

Make sure that the solar quote includes high-quality products. For home solar batteries, especially lithium-ion batteries, go with a reputable brand like Tesla. Research the efficiency, warranty, and lifespan of the panels.

The inverter is a crucial component that converts the DC power from the panels into AC power for your home. Check the brand, efficiency, and warranty of the inverter.

Compare what is included

Review each solar quote’s suggested system size and component list in detail. Consider the kind and effectiveness of the solar panels, inverters, batteries (if used), and other machinery. Check the specifications to ensure they satisfy your expectations for quality and energy.

Compare what is not included

Are there any disclaimers or assumptions they make that may lead to further costs on the day? This is a red flag and should be confirmed.

System size and production estimate need to be correct

The size of the system should match your energy needs. A professional company should analyse your energy consumption and recommend a system that meets your requirements.

This calculation should also estimate your future consumption in case your household’s situation changes.

Saying for every household, “put the biggest PV system possible” on your roof is not always the best advice. For example, a sample pensioner household would waste money following such advice.

man signing piece of paper for solar quote

Compare the performance estimates between the solar quotes

Check the estimated annual energy production in the supplied paperwork.

This should be based on factors like your location, roof angle, shading, etc. Compare this with your energy consumption to see if it matches.

You can try our output calculator to get some generation data for different postcodes and system sizes.

How much are they forecasting that each system will generate per year, month on average? How much do they forecast you will save per year / Do these all lineup? What assumptions do the various companies make in these estimates/forecasts? Are these consistent between solar quotes? If they vary, go with the conservative estimate.

Costs before and after the rebate

Analyse the total cost, including the equipment, installation details, switchboard work and any additional charges. Compare this with other solar quotes for a similar system. Make sure you can compare apples with apples. If a really cheap company does not give you too many details regarding the equipment, that’s a red flag. Or if the equipment is clearly of a lower quality, ask that company to solar quote for better gear and specify what you want.  You can use one of the other better equipment solar quotes as a blueprint. If they refuse – then drop them from your consideration.

The solar quote should outline any available Federal or State Government incentives and rebates that can reduce the cost.

Financing options

Check the available financing options and their terms, especially the interest rate. Interest-free is a marketing term. It does not exist in real life. The interest has been bundled on top of the initial sales price, and the company is not upfront with you. BEWARE.

Look at the after-sales support

Ask about post-installation services like system support, monitoring, and maintenance. Recognise the extent of the warranties and customer support to ensure continued system performance. Reputable installers should provide prompt customer service and guarantee a seamless switch to solar power. Does the company have a written after-sales support process? Ask for a copy.

Check the experience of the company

How long have they been in business? This is very important. What are their online reviews like on Google and Facebook? Unfortunately, other product-related review ranks can not be relied upon, so take these rankings with a grain of salt. We will prepare a separate article on how some reviews can be fudged.

Some solar installers focus on particular installation types, such as residential or commercial projects. Examine their knowledge and experience handling projects like yours. A provider with relevant experience will be better able to comprehend your particular needs and give a more suited solution. Installers with off-grid solar qualifications and battery installation experience are usually highly qualified.

Installation details

Understand the expected timeline for installation. When will they come? How soon can they be installed? Be prepared to wait 2, 4 or even 6 weeks for a quality company. as they are in demand. Ensure that the installers are certified and have experience with similar installations. If in doubt, ask for proof of qualification.

Warranty and maintenance

There are a number of different warranties that can be compared. The workmanship Warranty covers the installation itself. Standard industry offerings are between 5 to 10 years.  Manufacturers’ Product warranties for panels, inverters and racking should be provided in detail. The 25-year performance warranty is in our opinion useless and has more loopholes than Swiss cheese. See our FAQ on this matter here. 

Ask if there’s a monitoring system in place and ask for help to set it up. As if the 1st maintenance inspection is offered for free or if it can be quoted and booked in now – at a reasonable price. How soon do they recommend? We say 2 years is a good timeframe.

Compare the price of the solar quotes

The price of installation varies widely between suppliers. Look for clear and detailed itemised cost breakdowns in each solar quote. The installation costs include all required parts, labour, permits, and other fees. Using this information, you may then accurately compare costs and uncover hidden fees.

Watch out for solar quotes from large companies that are very cheap and label their panels as Tier 1. These solar quotes are cheaper for a reason, such as very low-quality after-sales service and inferior products as well as rough and ready installs. Please, please do not fall into the low price and even lower quality trap.

In summary

Choose a local company that has been around for at least 5 to 10 years or even longer so that after-sales, which is very important, will not be an issue.

  • Compare with other solar quotes, apples with apples. Get multiple quotes and compare them on all the above factors.
  • Price vs. Quality. Don’t just go for the cheapest solar quote, as this has, especially in solar, led to hundreds of thousands of poor outcomes. Consider the quality of the equipment and the reputation of the installer.
  • Transparency – everything should be detailed clearly in the solar quote without any hidden charges or generalities, e.g. Tier 1 panels.
  • Alignment with your needs – ensure that the solar quote is tailored to your energy needs, preferences, and budget.
  • Consult with an independent expert – If in doubt, you might consider consulting with an independent solar expert to evaluate the solar quotes or a family member with a system or some quality solar-focused Facebook groups.

So, comparing solar quotes requires thoroughly evaluating numerous variables, such as system size, components, warranties, installation prices, financial choices, installer qualifications, and customer evaluations. You can make an informed decision and choose the best solar installation for your home by comparing estimates holistically and considering your specific energy requirements.

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