A Quick Guide to Purchasing a Solar Power System
TV Advertisements that promote the use of solar-powered systems have become widespread in Australia. This has somehow led to an increase in the number of suburban homes using solar panels. The main advantage of installing solar panels on your home is that they can give you a great deal of savings in the long run. But, not all solar power systems are of the same quality that is why care must be practiced when choosing and purchasing a solar power system. For the best pick, here is a quick guide when buying your own solar power system:
1.) Ask for feedback from family and friends
Because of the popularity of solar panels these days, there is a huge chance that a friend or family of yours has it in their homes. They will definitely tell you the truth about the product without biases and their personal experiences will give you a good idea on what or what not to buy.
2.) Shop around
A solar panel system for your home is a major purchase. Before you make that huge investment, look around and know the different prices from each of the companies that offer the equipment. At the very least, look for three quotes to know the average amount that you need to spend for the system. Choose the one that fits your budget without compromising the quality.
3.) Choose high quality hardware
Solar power systems basically consists of three major hardware equipments which are the solar panels, the mounting system and the inverter. For an efficient and perfectly working system, choose the best quality of each of these three such as those that have been certified. They may be relatively expensive than the others but you will be assured of their durability and life span. Plus, you will be getting a rebate from the government for purchasing the good quality hardware. Bear in mind that settling for self-certified, poor quality hardware will only be cheap initially. But, they can become more costly on your part in case they break or fail to work.
4.) Demand for a local warranty
Before finalizing your decision on the company that will install the solar panels for your home, make sure to ask them of what will happen in case you encounter problems with the equipment after it has been installed. Moreover, take note of the length of warranty. If you need to send back the item to another country for repair, then consider this as a major con and look for another company. Take note that claiming a warranty from a company outside Australia will not only be difficult. It will also be expensive. Your best bet then is to find an Australian-based solar panel installer. Aside from this, choose a company that will give you the longest possible warranty coverage of at least 10 years.
5.) Prepare and ask all possible questions
Considering solar power is a major purchase, you’ll want to do your own due diligence. There are a number of other important factors to take into account. Let’s look at a few now:
Roof orientation and inclination:
In Australia, it’s been shown that a north facing roof is best for catching the most amount of sunshine – it certainly doesn’t mean if your roof doesn’t face north you can’t use solar however. Also, don’t stress too much about the roof inclination. Ideal solar production is achieved if your roof is pitched at the same degrees as your location’s latitude. Your installer will be able to advise more on this.
Shading of your roof:
This does have a significant effect on your solar power system’s performance. Sometimes shading can’t be avoided, but ideally you’ll want your roof to be catching as much sunlight during the hours of 9am – 3pm.
Solar Panel Power Tolerance:
You should only purchase solar panels with a positive power tolerance. For example, pv panels with a power tolerance of +5% and a power rating of 190W means the panel will produce anywhere between 190W and 199.5W of electricity. If you see panels with a tolerance of +/-5% it means they can produce anywhere in the range of 181W and 199.5W – which is a big variation. Stick with positive tolerance panels for maximum efficiency.
Before closing the deal with the installation company of your choice, don’t forget to ask the following basic and very important questions:
a. What is the needed size of the solar power system?
b. What is the Feed in Tariff?
c. How long will the system take before paying for itself?
d. What is the extent of electricity production affected by shade?
e. Is there a possibility of upgrading the system when needed?
f. How long has the company been in that business?
g. How many solar systems have the company already installed?
h. Is the company Australian-based?
i. Are the company’s equipment exclusively from Australian-based manufacturers?
j. Do the company’s solar panels have negative or positive power tolerance?
k. How can you claim a rebate?
l. Is the equipment they offer qualified for the rebate?
m. How much maintenance does their solar system require to efficiently work and still be covered by warranty?