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The Hidden Cost of Cheap Solar Providers

 

When you’re searching for a solar provider, look beyond the price tag.

When you’re looking at the investment you’ll be making on solar panels for your home or business, make sure you think about more than just the upfront cost. Cutting corners to reduce costs on solar usually comes at the expense of both safety and quality. Cheap solar panels are sold at attractive price points – but often come with hidden costs that continue for years.

Low quality solar panels pose problems for both the industry and consumers. Not only do these products give the wider industry a bad reputation for poor outcomes, but they’re risking the safety of customers’ homes with potentially faulty parts and poor installation.

When you’re agreeing to an apparent ‘cheap’ price for solar panels and their installation, bear in mind you could end up paying much more in the long run through wasted time with poor customer service teams, replacing faulty parts or panels, lower than expected energy production, and potentially risking your home and family’s safety with a substandard electrical product.

Solar panels on a residential roof

 

High Quality Panels Will Always Deliver

In 2017, the Clean Energy Council brought up some really important issues about the quality of cheaper solar panels; how the manufacturer’s descriptions often don’t match the actual panel and aren’t meeting the standards their datasheets are claiming. However, consumers often aren’t aware of these risks until it’s too late. The message was clear: know what you’re buying and stick with brands that focus on their quality rather than their price.

But how can you tell whether your provider has chosen quality solar panels for your system? When speaking to your consultant, ensure they are thorough in explaining how your new system will affect your power bills. Ask them to elaborate on the brand and model of solar panels they are proposing, and how they have accounted for the direction and tilt of your solar panels and the effect of any shade on the system in their performance estimates. How have they matched your energy needs and usage patterns to their system design?

Be vigilant when it comes to purchasing your solar energy system – ask all the questions you need and take plenty of notes to understand exactly what you are getting, that the consultant knows their product, and how your system will affect your power bills.

Australian-Based Customer Service is Key

When it comes to customer service, you should never compromise on quality – and buying solar panels is no exception. Warranty paperwork should be easy to understand, and disputes and claims must be handled effectively. Quality solar panel providers take just as much time and effort investing in these sort of things as they do the panels themselves. Ask your provider to explain their process for handling complaints, disputes and warranty claims. Australian-based customer support with a quality solar provider, backed hand in hand by a quality solar panel manufacturer, can make this sometimes complex process much easier.

Australian-based customer support is invaluable when it comes to investments on your home or business. Dealing with a local for any replacements, repairs or advice on how best to maximise your return makes a world of difference. You’ll also have a local point of contact for any warranty claims, and they’ll be able to advocate on your behalf with manufacturers.

Solar panels on roof of suburban home

 

Safe Installation and Quality Maintenance

In June 2018, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Clean Energy Council revealed one in five rooftop solar systems in Australia are deficient. They tested over 4000 systems Australia-wide, and found that almost 20% of these systems did not meet Australian requirements in terms of installation or output. Common issues from this review included incorrectly installed or mounted components, not using plastic coatings to protect wiring and water entering electrical components.

Solar systems carry high voltages of electricity, and lower quality solar panels or a poorly installed system are both potentially lethal. A high quality solar provider will only use quality solar panels, and will take extra care to make sure your installation is done to the highest of standards. Poor installation can cost huge amounts to repair or remedy – it’s worth getting it right the first time.

Are your provider’s designers and installers Clean Energy Council accredited?

The Clean Energy Council is the leading regulatory body for the clean energy industry in Australia. They help to ensure ethical sales and marketing activities by clean energy retailers. Clean Energy Council accreditation of a company’s designers and installers shows good capability in the design and installation of solar energy systems, and that your solution will be designed and installed to appropriate guidelines and safety standards.

Additionally, solar energy systems are only eligible for government rebates if they’re designed and installed by Clean Energy Council accredited electricians. If you claim a rebate on a system that is then found to not be designed or installed by a Clean Energy Council accredited electrician, you may find yourself having to pay thousands more for your system than you expected, as well as having to reconsider just how safe those panels are on your roof.

Solar energy is an investment in your home for the long-term; make it a good one.

Whenever choosing where to invest your money for the long term, you should always look at the potential benefits and return you’ll get over a long period of time. The problem with cheap solar panels is that they often seem like great deals at first glance, but they can cost much more in the long term with underperforming panels, exaggerated performance claims, dangerous electrical work and faulty components.

 

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Zen Energy PTY LTD

Sustainable Industries Education
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Adelaide, South Australia

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