With Australia’s surge in residential solar, consumers need to be aware of unscrupulous operators looking to take advantage of the clean energy boom. Liam Navon from Smart Energy offers his top tips to ensure Australians get quality rooftop solar systems.
In the past three months, wholesale electricity costs have increased 141 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2021, leading many Australians towards solar energy.
Rooftop solar panels can significantly reduce utility bills and are a great way to reduce a household’s carbon footprint. With solar demand skyrocketing, there has been a rise in new entrants in the Australian market.
However, among the many reputable solar companies around the nation, there are some “cowboys” offering cheap, low-quality PV products. Their offers may look enticing, but they often cut costs by providing cheap panels and using external contractors for installation without accreditation.
“Choosing a solar panel manufacturer can be challenging,” says Liam Navon, from Australian solar company Smart Energy.
“There are several types of companies that offer different services such as installation and financing options.
“With so many options out there, it’s imperative to consider a variety of factors when choosing a solar company.”
To help consumers make the right solar choice, Navon offers the following tips.
Never pick a solar company purely based on price
The cheapest option may seem appealing, but people who go with cheaper solar systems often face higher costs in the long run, or are left with a system that doesn’t meet their needs.
Cheap solar modules usually have cheap components. You must ensure the solar components you select are covered by adequate warranties.
Some questionable companies use dodgy tactics to keep their warranties from being honoured so make sure you get clarity on what is covered and what isn’t.
Ensure you know how many years the system should last
Solar systems are expected to last more than 25 years, with a typical payback period of less than five years. In order to achieve the most successful return on investment, the company you choose must meet what you are after for the long haul.
Solar panels have a long lifespan so when it comes to choosing a company to help maintain them in 10 or 15 years after purchase, you need to assess whether or not that company will still be around. A simple way to assess a company’s longevity credentials is through its online reviews and how far they date back.
There are plenty of excellent solar startups, but estimating how long a company is likely to be around is beneficial to ensure they will be there to assist you a decade from now.
Consider a company’s reputation and ask for referrals
It is not uncommon for solar “cowboys” to post fake testimonials and accreditations on their websites. However, you can search for solar companies on Google and Facebook where reviews and comments are allowed.
If a provider has a long track record of satisfied customers, there will be evidence online. Consumer reviews are a convenient way to learn about companies that stand behind their products. The more reputable the company, the more confident you can be in your purchase.
Check for Clean Energy Council accreditation
On the Clean Energy Council website, you can find a list of approved retailers. From there, you can verify companies’ online claims.
You can also ask retailers directly if they are Clean Energy Council accredited installers, and if they will be overseeing the installation.
It is common for shady solar retailers to show Clean Energy Council logos on their documents and websites, when in fact they are not certified so being diligent in your research is essential.