The solar industry has been notorious for poor workmanship in the past. But, in Australia, that notoriety has flipped thanks to skilled and knowledgeable servicemen. Still, there are some bad apples out there, so I’m here to teach you how to choose a solar installer.
Let’s get started.
7 things you MUST do when choosing a solar installer
1. Find an installer that’s CEC-accredited.
The CEC, or Clean Energy Council, has had its hands on the residential solar industry since 2007 and has been directly responsible for the high-quality installations we have today.
They’ve done so by setting industry standard certifications for manufacturers, their products, as well as the installers that put them on your home.
Specifically for solar power installers, the CEC only gives out their accreditations to the men and women who go through their training. Thus, helping to ensure that the people who work on your solar panels go above and beyond even Australia’s standards.
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2. Get multiple quotes.
As of today, there are over 8000 CEC-accredited solar panel installers all around Australia. Many of them will give you different prices and different sets of components. Quite possibly, many of them will have different solar installation techniques and specialties, too.
It’s important that you ask for quotes from multiple installers so you have options to choose from based on your budget and preferences.
That being said, we have a network of pre-vetted CEC-accredited installers that you can use. We trust them with installations to our own home, so we’re confident they’ll do a fine job with yours. If you need it, we can get you 3 FREE quotes from them right away.
3. If you can, don’t settle for the cheapest ones.
When you get quotes from multiple solar installers, you will inevitably get one that’s cheaper than the rest. Unfortunately, more often than not, choosing the cheapest option only because it’s cheap is going to be a mistake.
Unbelievably cheap upfront costs often also mean you’re not getting the best quality components. That includes the solar panels themselves but also inverters, batteries, and mounts for solar power systems.
Now, not getting the best work, too. Not everyone needs the latest and greatest solar energy systems, after all. But when you’re choosing a solar installer, weigh the components they’re suggesting with the price of installation, then choose one that gets you the most out of your money.
4. Choose installers that are near your area.
Every state – no, every city – in Australia can have different environmental conditions than the other. For instance, Brisbane gets more rain than Perth.
Choosing an installer that’s in your area also means that you’re choosing someone familiar with the conditions specific to your city. This, in turn, helps ensure that your system’s specs and installation are tailored to your needs.
Moreover, these installers are also going to be well aware of the local standards and regulations. Plus, it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll respond to you faster if they work close to where you live – which, by the way, is also going to be crucial for maintenance moving forward.
5. Ask about warranties.
Speaking of maintenance, warranties will help ensure that your money stays in your pocket on the off chance that something in your system goes haywire. That being said, there are 3 warranties you should ask your installer about.
First, ask about their workmanship warranties. If it’s not at least 5 years, I recommend you look elsewhere.
2nd, ask about performance warranties. For solar panels, the modern standard is that your modules retain 85-90+% of their original efficiencies for 25 years. If it’s less than that, you’re likely being offered cheap and low-quality modules.
Finally, ask about product warranties. These warranties cover physical, electrical, and even environmental damages. Look for ones that cover your solar panels for at least 10 years and your inverters for 5-10.
6. Ask around for the installer’s reputation.
If you know people that live nearby who already have solar panels for at least a couple of years, and you plan on hiring the same installer as them, ask them about the installer’s craftmanship and if they’ve had issues with their system for the past couple of years.
If you can, you might even want to check their systems yourself. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert in solar to do this either. Just check if all the cables are tidied up, if there’s any rust or corrosion on the mounts and bolts, and other things that can be easily seen.
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7. Communicate with your prospects.
From my experience, this is often overlooked. Communicating with your potential installers even before you commit to installing solar panels will help give you an idea if both of you are compatible.
This is crucial because having a good relationship with your installer will more than likely also lead to quicker and better-quality installations.
Not only that, you’re likely going to have questions along the way, too. I know I had – and knowing that I can trust my installer to give me unbiased answers was invaluable.
Out of all these, the most important is that your installer is CEC-accredited. Here’s why:
Hiring CEC-accredited installers makes you eligible for rebates.
The entirety of Australia is entitled to solar rebates in form of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs). However, it does come with a few easy eligibility requirements. One of them is that you hire CEC-accredited installers.
Having said that, the quotes given to you by these installers already account for the rebates. Again, costs may vary but you should be looking at roughly $1000 per kW. So, if you’re planning on a 4 kW solar system, your quotes will be in the ballpark of $4000.
Recommended: How many solar panels do you need for your home?
CEC installers are aware of components that the Clean Energy Council approves.
This is, yet again, a crucial part of choosing accredited installers since it’s also part of the criteria to get rebates. These components include solar panels, inverters, and batteries.
Beyond rebates, though, choosing to have CEC-approved components for your system also helps ensure that what you’re running is above Australia’s minimum standards.
You get another layer of protection from the CEC.
In case your installer doesn’t comply with the CEC’s guidelines and Australia’s standards, you can lodge a complaint against him/her. As long as it’s backed up with proof and your complaints are within 5 years of installation, the CEC can dish out disciplinary actions.
Installing a solar system is a large and long-term investment for your home, so you should want to get it installed right. With that said, I hope the 7 tips here help you find the right solar panel installer for your home.
In a nutshell, though, it all comes down to asking for quotes from multiple installers, weighing your options to see which one gets you the most for your money, and choosing one that you trust the most.
Whoever you choose, though, make sure they’re CEC-accredited to ensure that you’re qualified for rebates and that your system is up-to-par with Australia’s standards.