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Things to consider when buying solar panels

  • Written by Adam Santarossa

Don’t Get Scorched By Solar This Summer


Residential and commercial clients looking at turning to solar power are being met with a deluge of misinformation, putting them at a disadvantage from the start.


But through simple research and asking the right questions, customers can guarantee they do not make the same mistakes as others.


Solar expert Paul Jones of CSA Services says buyers should do their due diligence and check out the company for certification and a track record for quality before solar panels are installed.


“The best thing to look for when buying solar is ensuring that the company is a genuine electrical contracting company,” Mr Jones said.


“Make sure that the owner of the company is involved in the business and is a qualified installer and has the necessary experience,” he said. 


“This way you know what you are getting is not only a quality product, but also that it has been installed correctly and you are getting the proper usage out of your system.”


Mr Jones says customers need to closely examine the details of the products they are offered before buying, as some companies that operate in the industry are simply using clever marketing to entice customers to pay a higher price.


“All of the panels should come with a minimum 10-year product warranty, and the inverters come with a five-year product warranty, some even 10 years now,” Mr Jones explained.


“There are some ‘Premium panels’ being offered in the market that come with a 25-year warranty. These panels aren’t necessarily that much better, this is just clever marketing.”


“Some companies use long warranties as a marketing tool, but this does not always mean higher quality. This is done to create more sales opportunities, rather than better quality product.”


“Many companies chop and change panel brands depending on how cheap they can get them for.”


“We’ve been using the same panels for nearly five-years now and we stick with one of the biggest panel manufacturers, Canadian Solar, who we’ve worked on a lot of commercial projects with.”


Advice for solar customers –

  • Do your research – Do not just settle for the cheapest price. Look into the products used and make sure that it is a well-known brand used by others in the industry.
  • Only use qualified and certified companies – Make sure that the company is a genuine electrical contracting company. Installation is often outsourced. Go with experience and a qualified installer.
  • Don’t be tricked by marketing – Some companies will offer long warranties and clever tactics to get you to pay more or offer an inferior level of quality. Look at the product details and technical information provided.
  • Understand rebates – You don’t need to provide your postcode or details to find out if you are eligible for rebates.  This is just a scheme to get your details.
  • Crunch the numbers – Regularly look through your bill to see that you are getting the most out of your solar system. Reputable companies can assist with ongoing management and service to make sure your system is operating efficiently and to its full potential.

Mr Jones said the biggest mistake both residential home and commercial solar clients make is not servicing their system regularly.


CSA services recommend that customers get their system checked annually, to ensure it is operating at its full potential.


“People get their cars serviced regularly, but they don’t bother with their solar. Solar works just as hard as the family car, but it also gives you a return on your investment,” Mr Jones said.


“People need to be getting their system checked to ensure their system is not going to cause them any problems and is working to its maximum.”


“There’s also a lot of people that have had systems installed by companies that are no longer around. Especially with commercial solar, a lot of companies have an expectation that it will perform at a certain level.”


“If something happens, something fails, and it goes unnoticed for a week or a month, that return on your investment blows out.”


“Things like hail damage, soiling and shading all have an impact on your system. Then there’s things like bird droppings or mice and possums nesting – they can be chewing on cables.”


With the government rebate dropping in January of each year, the final quarter of the year is the ideal time to have solar installed.


As summer approaches, clients can be seeing significant savings on their power bills.


“It’s a likely scenario that clients will be seeing payback on their system in 4-5 years,” Mr Jones explained.


“That is a 15 per cent return on investment and if you put the same money in the bank, you would not get such a high rate of investment.”


“The opportunities are there, customers just need to see the reality and the true story.”


For more information on CSA Services visit – https://www.csaservices.com.au/

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