Do’s and Don’ts when buying solar

Fast read

When considering buying a solar system, it is important to research how it works and what you want from it. Get multiple quotes from different companies as well as compare the offered panels, inverters, batteries, warranties, and performance guarantees.

Make sure your solar provider and installer are qualified and experienced, with a history in the solar industry and good reviews. Don’t buy just on price, as it may compromise quality, and make sure the panels are not installed in the shade, as it will affect their energy generation.

Seek advice from a qualified local supplier or installer, and consider using a Your Energy Answer Authorised Partner for a well-vetted, experienced, and trustworthy solar company.

What are the three key do’s and don’ts when buying solar?

1. Do your research and understand how solar power works before buying solar

You need to understand precisely what you want to buy and why. What do you expect the system to do now and in the future? How will the system work, ensure you get the best results from your solar system, and avoid the pitfalls and risks of getting the decisions wrong with your solar system?

Your Energy Answers is a great place to undertake your research. The information here has been developed by industry veterans and experts with a wide range of experience and knowledge—providing the information you need to make a more educated decision in your choice of solar power system. So just travel to our site and research the topic, also, there are several helpful guides and calculators.

2. Get multiple quotes

Don’t just go with the first quote that you are getting, especially if it’s from a door-knock company, we would recommend obtaining quotes from at least two different companies. If possible, also several options in each quote so that you can compare what you have been offered regarding not only price but the panels, inverters, battery storage, warranties, performance guarantees, and projected savings.

Consider what each of these is offering you against the research that you have done, and ask questions about anything you are unsure about. In particular, ensure that the quotes are detailed with all the required information as per our FAQs, specifically “What to look for on my solar quote before buying a solar system” and the “Guide about Solar Cowboys.”

solar panels being installed by qualified local installers, one of the many DOs when buying solar
Correct accreditation of installers and providers is essential to ensure the validity of your warranty

3. Ensure your solar provider and installer are qualified

Ensure that the company you are going with has a history in solar. Also, ensure their company has existed for at least 5 to 10 years. They should be able to provide details of their Electrical Contractors license and or Builders Contractors license to you.

Ensure that a fully Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited installer will be present on the day of and throughout the solar system installation process. We would recommend clarifying this at the time of the sale and installation. Ask the installer to show you their license before they start working on your home, and ensure this installer is in attendance.

Don’t fall for these traps

1. Don’t buy just on price

A significant difference in pricing of what, at face value, may appear to be similar quality systems exists. The old adage, “buy cheap, buy twice”, is extremely accurate in buying a solar PV system.

You are installing a small power station in your home that generates electricity. If in the wrong hands, using poor quality equipment or good equipment shoddily installed can not only fail quickly. It can also be dangerous, leading to failures, smouldering fires, or worse.

2. Don’t have solar panels installed in the shade

Even a small amount of shade can significantly decrease the power generated by your solar panels. While microinverters or optimisers can help mitigate the impact of minor shade on the overall system, it doesn’t completely solve the issue.

Shade on solar panels is like covering a portion of them with a blanket – it blocks sunlight and reduces their ability to produce electricity. Microinverters and optimisers are like special tools that can minimise the impact of shade on individual panels, helping them perform better even if some are partially shaded.

However, it’s important to note that while these technologies can improve efficiency, they may not entirely eliminate the problem. To maximize the effectiveness of your solar panels, it’s ideal to install them in areas with minimal shade.

3. Don’t have the solar inverter installed in the sun

The inverter is the brain of the whole system. Converting the electricity from the panels to electricity that can be used in the house or sent to a battery or the electricity grid.

It also regulates electricity for safety and efficiency. The heat from the sun will reduce both the efficiency and the life of the string inverter. It can also void the product’s warranty.

So it is vital to ensure the inverter is installed in a shaded spot on the house. Ideally, this will be a garage, a cellar, or the south side of the house. If not possible, ensure a shade structure is installed above the inverter. Now you have the major DO’s and DON’Ts when buying solar.

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