When 2022 ended, Australia already had 3.36 million PV panel installations. Clearly, many people want solar energy to power their homes. What this statistic doesn’t tell you, though, is that the journey toward solar is riddled with challenges. Hence, the many mistakes people make when buying solar systems.
Here are 9 of them so you know what obstacles to avoid.
1. Not getting multiple quotes
Like any other industry, servicemen in the solar industry have their prices. Each of them will also give you different recommendations in terms of what brands to buy from and what combinations and settings you should have according to how they see fit.
It’s a mistake to rely on a single installer for their quote because it limits your options. Who knows? One installer might just give you a better deal than the other.
Not to mention, getting multiple quotes is easy. And, with us, it’s FREE. We can get you 3 quotes from our network of pre-vetted installers right away.
2. Not hiring a CEC-accredited installer
Aside from getting multiple quotes, the installers you ask them from also need to be CEC-accredited. (Yes, need.)
The Clean Energy Council (CEC) provides a course for installers which, in turn, gives them the skills and knowledge necessary to put up solar systems that are up to Australia’s standards.
They also have a list of products that they approve which, of course, the installers know about. Plus, hiring CEC-accredited servicemen is one of the requirements for Australia’s solar rebate eligibility. Meaning, hiring them saves you thousands of dollars on your installation.
3. Not considering the condition of your roof
Roofs are by far the most common place to install solar panels. There are already 3.4 million rooftop solar panels all around Australia as of 2023. That’s record-breaking, by the way.
I’m going to assume that you’re looking to install solar panels on your roof, too. And, in that case, it’s going to be a mistake not to get it checked before you buy anything for your solar power system.
See, your roof needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight of your solar panels. If you install them without considering the condition of your roof, you‘re risking costly repairs in the near future.
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4. Thinking north is the only good option
Since Australia is in the southern hemisphere, a north-facing roof is the most ideal orientation for installing solar panels. However, being ideal doesn’t always make it the best option.
For instance, maybe that direction is shaded for most of the day. Or maybe you don’t have enough space in the north-facing part of your roof. Both cases will limit the size of your solar energy system as well as its efficiency.
On the other hand, east and west are also terrific options depending on your power usage. If your energy consumption is higher in the morning, consider the east. If it’s in the afternoon, consider the west.
Heck, even south-facing solar panels are practical now. The solar power production of this orientation isn’t nearly as much as the others but, given the efficiency and low price of modern solar energy equipment, you will still be able to save money on your electricity bills.
5. Giving up without looking at financing options
Another mistake you can avoid when buying solar components is giving up right away when you see their prices. Yes, they can be expensive, but you also don’t have to pay the full price upfront. You have numerous financing options, after all.
Your financing options include:
- Personal loans
- Green loans
- Adding your system to your mortgage
- Leasing a solar system
- Power Purchase Agreements
- Interest-free loans
Except for scammy interest-free loans, all these financing options can help get a residential solar system to feel monetarily lighter. And, even if they do come with varying interest rates, all of them will still help you save money over time.
If you want to know more about your financing options, we have a more detailed discussion in our Solar Panels 101 guide.
6. Not reading warranties and insurance policies
Before buying solar panels for your home, you’ve got to read about their warranties. And, just as importantly, you’ve got to figure out insurance policies, too.
After all, a solar system is a big investment. You wouldn’t want to shell out more money in case of damages — and these warranties and insurance policies protect you from that.
First, I recommend you talk with your home insurance provider about adding your solar system to your policy. This should increase your sum insured.
Next, check out warranties for all the components you plan on buying.
It will be different for every manufacturer but the gold standard for performance warranties is that solar panels maintain 85-90% of their maximum efficiency after 25 years. Set that as your minimum criteria and you should be fine.
Recommended: Insurance and warranties for solar panels
7. Thinking price is the be-all and end-all of quality
Generally speaking, more expensive solar PV systems also yield better results and better durabilities. This isn’t always true, though. Plus, you might not even need the priciest set.
For example, Canadian Solar has panels that are cheaper than SunPower. The former has slightly less efficiency, though, but maybe that’s all you need.
This, again, highlights the importance of getting quotes from multiple installers. Each one will recommend different sets based on your energy usage. You can then choose what you think is best for your home.
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8. Not sizing your solar system before purchasing components
Speaking of not needing the priciest solar panels, your home likely doesn’t need the biggest system, too.
The Australian government gives rebates (otherwise known as STCs) to solar systems of up to 100 kW. Mind you, most residential systems only need 6.6 kW.
If you do plan on oversizing your solar power system, though, that’s fine. Just make sure you have a way to store your excess solar energy so you can use it at night.
9. Waiting too long before investing
The price of solar panels has been going down year after year, so it’s only natural to think of waiting a little longer. Well, there are a couple of reasons why that’s a mistake.
First, the number of STCs you will be eligible for will decrease every year. Meaning, your rebates go down, too, which pulls up the upfront cost of installing solar systems.
Second, the price of power is rising. In a news report from The Guardian, electricity bills in most Australian states are expected to rise by as much as 23.7%. Producing your own power as soon as possible also means future-proofing your finances.
Streamlining the entire solar installation process is our mission. So, hopefully, this list of mistakes to avoid helps you out on your journey while also saving you time and money.
In a nutshell, though, many of these mistakes are easily preventable with a trustworthy solar installer. After all, they know what product combinations will best maximize your power usage and budget, as well as grant you access to rebates, insurance policies, and warranties.