What to Expect When You’re Shopping for a Solar PV System
Solar PV has come a long way since its inception as a niche investment for early adopters. With over 2 million solar systems now installed throughout Australia (2018), renewable energy is rapidly becoming a more common place addition to homes and businesses.
Yet despite its increasing popularity, starting to shop for solar can still be a daunting and confusing process to instigate for many consumers. With foreign terms, unknown products and conflicting advice, it can often be an intimidating process to begin. To make it just a little easier for you, we have put together a few basics of what to expect when you begin shopping for a solar PV system.
Beginning the Search
So you have decided you want to buy or at least investigate the benefits of a solar PV system- exciting! There are several ways you could find a solar company, but a quick Google search finds you an abundance of companies in the area all offering products and prices that promise to be your best option. How on earth do you find out who is telling the truth and what you really need? Don’t panic, we got you.
Clean Energy Council
The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is a peak body in Australia for the clean energy industry. Their website (follow this link here) has a wealth of information regarding things you should consider when choosing a system and has a database of their CEC approved retailers, and CEC accredited installers.
The CEC Solar Retailer Code of Conduct is a way for solar businesses to show their commitment to responsible sales and marketing activities and solar industry best practice. Similarly, the CEC accreditation is a qualification that demonstrates an installer’s competence in design and installation of stand-alone and grid-connected solar PV systems. By choosing a company that holds these, you know you’re picking a company that has demonstrated their commitment to a high standard of customer service and installation.
If you want to hear firsthand how other people found their installation- read the reviews. Not just the ones published on the company’s testimonial site, but on their Google reviews or sites such as SolarQuotes (follow the link here). SolarQuotes hosts thousands of reviews of local solar companies from other customers, helping you see who the best is and what others think of them.
Reaching out to a Company
So, you have it narrowed down to a few, or even just one company that you want to contact? When contacting them, arrange a site visit so their sales representative can have a look at your premise. This means they can see your property and account for any additional work on your premise such as meter box upgrades, long cable runs or note any preferences you may have for location.
If your home is still in the new build status, then you can visit their showroom and bring your plans. This will also help you have peace of mind that your chosen company has a local presence and will be able to understand the local regulations and applications processes for your installation as well as offer help if you ever need in the future. To find out where the local SolarHub offices are view our contact us page here (link).
You have now booked the consultation- well done. You may have been asked already, but beforehand it is a good idea to source a recent electricity bill. This will help your consultant give you a more accurate projection of your energy savings and understand what you might need in terms of size of system.
You will also be sent some preliminary information, usually including some basic information about who they are, how solar works and what products they offer. It is not essential to read this beforehand however it can help you gage a basic understanding so you can have more pointed questions ready.
During your appointment your representative will talk to you about your energy needs and have a look at your property or plans, electricity bill, and uncover what will work best for you. A SolarHub appointment usually takes around 40-60 minutes depending on how many questions you have. Of course, you can also ask additional questions post appointment if you need.
Post- Consult and Making sense of all that Information
Following a SolarHub consultation you will receive a customised quote. Take your time with the information given to you and feel free to ask for help clarifying anything you don’t understand. It is important you make sense of the investment you’re considering.
Quality of Products
If you have questions regarding the products used and want another opinion, an excellent resource is CHOICE (find the link here). CHOICE is a leading consumer advocacy group in Australia and have researched numerous solar products to provide an educated assessment for consumers to utilise.
There might be some phrases used that you may not be familiar with. These could include some such as energy optimisation, the grid, STC’s, NextGen, feed-in tariffs, hybrid, retro-fitting or inverters. Reposit Power have a great blog post that outlines some common technical jargon commonly used (find the link here).
Alternatively, the SolarHub information book has a breakdown of the process of solar as well as some of the terms or concepts explained. This could be downloaded here (download here).
Making the Decision
Making the decision to invest in solar in going to be an individual’s choice. Ensure you take your time to understand what you are purchasing, how it works, and the quality of the system and installers work, and good luck.
If you want to find out more about making the switch to solar, get in contact with us today via our contact page (find the link here).