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 power 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 company.
What are the three key do’s and don’ts when buying solar?
1. Do your research and understand how solar power works
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 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, batteries, 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.”
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
There is a significant difference in pricing of what, at face value, may appear to be similar quality systems. The old adage, “buy cheap, buy twice”, is very accurate in buying a solar 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 little shade can seriously reduce the amount of power your panels can generate. Of course, the effects of minor shade on the whole system can be reduced using micro-inverters or optimisers. But this does not solve the problem completely.
3. Don’t have the solar inverter installed in the sun
The inverter is the brain of the solar system. Converting the electricity from the panels to electricity that can be used in the house or sent to a battery or the grid.
It also regulates electricity for safety and efficiency. The heat from the sun will reduce both the efficiency and the life of the inverter. It can also void the 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.