Many of us are looking to reduce our bills by installing solar panels, but where do you start and what should you look for? It’s a bit of a process, but well worth it if you’re staying in your home for the long term. Here’s how to go about it.
Is your home suitable for solar?
The first thing to do is to identify if your home is suitable. You can do that by checking to see if you have at least 10m2 of available roof space that has clear solar access at all times. Then, look for a good solar provider and obtain at least two to three quotes.
Finding the right solar provider
There are hundreds of solar providers out there and choosing one can be a confusing process. The industry body is the Clean Energy Council (or CEC). The CEC accredits solar installers so check out their website to find an accredited solar installer near you. Also ask around and get recommendations from friends and neighbours. You’ll also want an installer that does all the paperwork for you, provides good warranties and gives a detailed quote.
There are many variables in selecting solar PV including roof orientation and pitch, how you use your energy and type of panels. Make sure whoever you choose considers all the relevant variables for your property.
What to look for in panels
The key things to look for in solar panels are warranties. Look for a 25 year warranty on the solar PV panels, for inverters 5-10 years, and micro inverters up to 20 years. It’s important that the company you choose is in business for the period of your warranties, so consider longevity of the provider as well. If you think you might want to install batteries in the future, choose a system that is ‘battery ready’.
The key things to look for in solar panels are warranties.
There is also a quality assurance program for solar panels which is run by the Australian Solar Council, so select panels that have a Positive Quality mark. You can check panels online at their website.
Things to check
Make sure the solar provider does all the paperwork and gets it to your energy retailer – they should provide confirmation of this. Then contact the energy retailer to confirm the paperwork has been received, is complete and ask how long before the registration is complete. If any of this is not done you could have issues, such as delays in getting the feed-in tariff or having the system commissioned.
Before you install solar PV reduce your energy consumption as much as possible first.
While solar PV systems are pretty much ‘set and forget’, choose a system that includes a monitoring facility. It’s great to be able to check how much energy you’re generating and they can also help in detecting any faults.Remember, before you install solar PV reduce your energy consumption as much as possible first. That way you could potentially get away with installing a smaller system which is cheaper to buy.