Advice for purchasing and installing solar PV systems
When your company decides to purchase and install a solar PV system, it pays to research who you’re dealing with:
- Look for a company with a strong track record.
- Ensure that the company uses quality products. See below ‘What are the best quality solar PV panels?’
- Check the fine print of their warranty and service offerings (make sure it matches the verbal assurances given to you by their salesperson).
- Look at the products and services that are included in their offer.
- Look for online reviews of the equipment you’re looking to purchase. Photon magazine, for example, provides independent reviews for most products sold in the Australian market.
As with many other products and services, when it comes to solar PV, you tend to get what you pay for. If you are choosing the lowest cost option, make sure that you do your homework to ensure that you’re getting a good system.
What are the best quality solar PV panels?
If you want to buy high-quality solar panels, ask your supplier if the panels are made by a ‘Tier 1’ brand name manufacturer.
When a panel is classed as ‘Tier 1’, it means that it is well made, reliable, durable and high performing. There are two other tiers, so if you cannot afford ‘Tier 1’ solar panels, look for reputable ‘Tier 2’ models.
Tier 1 and 2 are better made than Tier 3 panels and are more likely to perform better over a longer period of time.
The Australian Solar Council has just started rolling out the ‘Positive Quality’ program to provide consumers with peace of mind regarding the solar components that they buy. PQ labels will be found on modules that have been audited by the program. As this program is new and growing, check their site on a regular basis: EnergyCut.info/pq-suppliers
Are they accredited?
In order to be eligible for government incentives such as ‘Small-scale Technology Certificates’ (STCs) your supplier will need to be accredited by the Clean Energy Council.
The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has so far accredited 4,500 solar PV panel installers. You can find a CEC approved installer here: EnergyCut.info/find-an-installer
Want more advice about installing solar?
For detailed advice about purchasing a solar PV system, visit the following:
- Clean Energy Council advice for purchasing solar PV: EnergyCut.info/purchasing-a-solar-system
- Australian Government Clean Energy Regulator advice for choosing solar panels: EnergyCut.info/CER-choosing-solar-panels
Gray’s Bakery, NSW
At their regional bakery in Victoria, Gray’s Bakery installed a 10kW solar PV system on their roof. Inspired by the success of this, they intend to add an additional 10kW of solar. Along with other energy efficiency steps, co-owner Janine Gray says they are saving “thousands of dollars” a year.