The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Solar

Research well. Research early.

There are many options available nowadays when it comes to getting solar power installed at home, but the most important action that people can take is to do in-depth research and begin early. In this post, there will be many tips to going about this research to make sure that people tick all the boxes for their circumstances and find the best option for them.

Think of this as the ultimate buyer’s guide to solar.

But, where does one start? Continue below for what are some aspects of buying solar that you should consider.

The warranty

Solar providers all offer a vast array of different products. Some of these products vary in cost and quality, but the primary aspect that people need to consider is the warranty that the manufacturer offers.

Most solar energy products come with long life manufacturer warranties – often over fifteen years and a lot of them offer twenty-five years and more. Manufacturer warranties reflect the quality of the product and therefore it would be safe to think that a solar system, including solar panels and inverters, would naturally last a considerable amount of time.

A lot of people overlook their warranty, but it’s important for a reason. Solar energy products need to be reliable and made from quality materials so that they last long enough to pay themselves off and make significant savings on energy costs. The warranty needs to reflect this.

So, the best thing to do when considering solar energy products would be to look at the brand of the products and see if they are reputable and have a fantastic track record. If they do, it would be safe to invest in that brand. If there isn’t much information available, it probably helps to explain why they are cheaper to being with in the first place.

Pricing and your expectations

Related to the warranty, price, and how much a person is willing to spend on a solar panel system is the next most important aspect to look at.

In the consumer market, the rule of thumb has always been “you get what you pay for.” It is no different with solar products. If people are paying well below for a system in comparison to other similar-sized systems, they often find they are purchasing equipment that is of poorer quality or the service they receive from their solar provider is lackluster.

Making sure that the equipment is quality and the installation is professional and up to standard would seem like common sense, but many people overlook these factors when the price is lower.

Instead, it would be wise to compare the warranty periods, reviews of service they provide, and compare the solar products available to ensure that you are not buying sub-par products that may have problems later, or engaging with a service provider who may cut corners.

Furthermore, if you are looking into options to get the best value for money and reduce the overhead costs for your solar panel installation, check out our article “How Solar Can Reduce Your Electricity Costs” for more information.

Government certifications

One of the ways you can reduce the cost of getting solar installed is by accessing a rebate from the government (different states in Australia have different criteria). It is important to understand that solar energy products have different certifications based on the type of testing they have gone through in a laboratory independent of the manufacturer. This is to ensure they meet their specifications as advertised.

To qualify for a rebate – which can often mean a substantial saving – the products must have these certifications to prove their reliability, efficiency, and safety for installing at a residence or place of work.

Beware of manufacturers that have their own types of certifications. Self-assessments will be rejected and those products will be disqualified from the rebate scheme, meaning cheaper products often end up being more expensive because they cannot take advantage of a range of government incentives.

Panel size and type

The next part of the process would be to consider the size of the solar panel system and the types of panels. Over the last few years, solar energy technology has rapidly advanced and isn’t as it used to be.

In the past, limited space meant the need for incredibly efficient (and significantly expensive) “mono-crystalline” panels. However, with the advancement of technology, residents can now enjoy significant savings from solar without the need to spend heaps of money covering their whole roof with solar panels.

Even if a person has a substantial amount of roof space, they may also want to consider the size of the panels versus their energy output. A smart rule to follow would be to opt for more efficient panels and have less of them, rather than having a roof filled with less efficient panels. More efficient panels mean better use of the space available. In saying that, if a person wanted to create more solar energy, they could simply add to that system at a later date. Downsizing a solar panel system and modifying it by upgrading the panels would be costlier and more difficult in the long run. Therefore, it makes sense to make a better financial investment earlier on.

How you use your electricity

Another crucial aspect to consider when a homeowner or business owner is thinking of getting solar is their electricity use. Does the home use more electricity at night than during the day? If so, the savings made by a solar panel system won’t be as high as those using more electricity during daylight.

This is because home appliances will be using solar energy first before drawing any additional power from the grid. If there is any surplus, that is fed back to the grid and a credit is applied to the energy bill. A rule to follow would be to use the electricity generated during the day, rather than sell it back to the grid.

Generally, solar power that is consumed in the home is two to three times more valuable than selling that same energy to your energy provider. Therefore, households that use a lot of electricity during daytime hours will end up saving more money with a solar system. They also often see their investment pay itself off quicker – the average being in between three to six years.

This is in stark contrast to selling back to the grid, where people will see a return on investment within six to nine years instead.

Having said this, it is important to note that just because a person’s habits now tend towards nighttime use, it doesn’t mean that they cannot plan in the future to ensure that they use more energy during the daytime, and in turn, greatly increase their yearly savings.

A bonus tip for this would be to check the electricity bill and analyze how much energy is used every month, quarter, or more. Also, check peak and off-peak rates to gain as much information as possible to know how electricity is being utilized within your home or workplace. This will better equip the person to make smarter decisions and change habits to reap the rewards of getting solar.

Getting Solar in 2020

Even though this has been an uncertain year for many due to COVID-19, plenty of homeowners are installing solar panel systems to reduce their electricity bills and free up their finances.

If you are interested in how solar can bring you benefits while working at home during the pandemic, check out the article “The Benefits of Solar During Covid-19.”

The solar industry is still thriving during this time and the government incentives are now more available than ever to cut down the costs of getting solar. For people looking to save money and have a significant impact on renewable energy sources, now is a great time to research the options that are currently being offered.

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