Questions to ask before installing solar panels

solar-panels-renewable-energyWe welcome an international audience to Little Green Blog. Although we are based in the UK, we have numerous readers across Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.

Today we welcome Phil from Solar Market to the site. Based in sunny Australia, Solar Market provides no nonsense advice on making the move to solar energy. Phil is here with his five top tips to help you make the best decision.

The popularity of solar panel systems is increasing in Australia. Turn on the television, and an advertisement for solar power systems and solar hot water system will appear. Drive around Australia, and solar panels will be present on the roof tops on suburban homes.

Home owners installing solar panel systems can save thousands of dollars annually on their electricity bills and within a few years receive their return on investment.

Here are five tips to help you make the best decision:

Friends and Family

We all know somebody who has installed solar panels or solar hot water heaters on their home. Perhaps friends or family are enjoying some free electricity or maybe a colleague at work has recently invested.

First-hand experiences from friends are often the best way to find out about the hardware and the company providing the product as you’ll get the truth rather than marketing hype!

Local Warranty

There is nothing more frustrating than having a malfunctioning solar panel.

To add even more frustration, if your hardware has been designed in another country and doesn’t come with a local warranty, it can involve additional expenses of shipment outside Australia.

Select an Australian provider for the best results, and determine the length of the warranty. Most are between 10 and 25 years.

Purchase Quality Hardware

Solar power systems are comprised of three main components: solar panels, inverters and mounting system.

Quality components are recommended for optimal performance as cheap products are more likely to fail and repair can be costly. It’s a case of you get what you pay for…

To qualify the government rebate, the hardware must be certified.

Request More Than One Quote

Experts recommend getting several quotes before purchase to ensure the best price.

Three quotes is the ideal number so that you can compare not just price but quality of equipment and customer service too.

Obtain your quotes then rank them in order to select the best choice based upon price and inquiries.

Ask Numerous Questions

By asking questions you can determine the specific product offering from each solar panel provider and make an informed decision.

Here is a recommended list of questions to ask:

  • 1. What type of Feed in Tariff should I expect for my state?
  • 2. How soon will I realise the return on investment for my system?
  • 3. Is your company located in Australia?
  • 4. Do you only sell systems via Australian offices?
  • 5. How long has your company been in business?
  • 6. How many systems has your company installed?
  • 7. What size solar system is required for my home?
  • 8. How can I expect our electricity production to be affected by shade?
  • 9. In terms of power tolerance, are the solar panels your company offers positive or negative?
  • 10. Is the equipment certified and eligible for rebate?
  • 11. How does the rebate work?
  • 12. How much maintenance is required of the solar system?
  • 13. How long will the solar power system remain under warranty?

What about you? What tips would you share for getting the best deal for solar energy for your home?

1 Comment

  1. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking on May 30, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Wonderful post with such great info!! I needed to know some of these questions to ask because we have been discussing getting solar panels in the near future.