Households across the country are reeling from yet another electricity price hike, with the average household set to hand over an extra $600 of hard earned cash to their electricity retailers this year.
With no end in sight, how long will you be a slave to your electricity bill? There has to be a better way! Short of washing your clothes in the river and dining in by candlelight each night. However, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. As energy prices rise, so too do feed in tariffs, ranging anywhere from 10 to 15 cents, depending on your retailer that’s as much as an 82% increase.
Suddenly, solar energy makes more sense than ever before. With rapid advancement in technology, and falling prices in solar systems, households stand to see a return on investment much quicker than ever before.
With so many new entrants into the solar market, how can you rest easy knowing you’ve chosen the right solar partner for you, and let’s face it, it is a partnership, investing in solar energy is a long-term investment in your lifestyle, and energy security for many years to come.
So we’ve put together a go-to guide on what to look out for:
How long have they been in business?
This question is two-fold, you should look at their history and their viability for the future. Be sure to choose a company who will be around long enough to honour the warranties they offer. A company that deals exclusively in solar is also one to be weary of, with government policies changing so often, and energy is such a hot topic, solar can plummet overnight and leave companies floundering, especially if their cash flow comes from one source. Find a company that has a number of different income sources, so you know you can call on them in five to ten years’ time.
Do your homework, we live in a world now where you don’t need to take the sales persons word as the only true source. You can quickly and easily get a holistic view of a company’s behaviour and interaction with their customers, this way you’ll get a feel for the entire experience from sales through to installation and beyond. Check out your trusty google reviews, it’s the most accessible review site in the country.
Playing the long game
Don’t be lured in by just a competitive price, technology is moving fast and it’s an exciting time to make the move the renewable energy. While you may not be ready for battery storage just yet, as prices continue to level out in this space, and with some exciting changes in the electricity market coming, you will want to get on-board the battery bullet train in the near future. Make sure the system you choose is battery ready, and if you’re serious about investing in your energy security, look for a provider who has experience in off-grid solutions as well, you will stand to benefit from their ahead of the curve knowledge of battery technology.
There are literally hundreds of brands to choose from and few of them have an identifiable brand you may have heard of, so short of calling Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, how can you make an informed choice to make sure your getting a quality product that will serve you well in to the future.
Panel manufacturers are graded to help you though this process, look for tier one products. These manufacturers are vertically integrated which essentially means they sell what they make and are willing to put their name behind it. Tier One manufacturers also invest heavily in R&D, and use advanced robotic processes which means mush less room for error in the construction process, and to qualify for this rating they must have been manufacturing for a minimum of five years. It does get tricky however, this does not necessarily mean it’s the best products on the market, but it does give you an indication of the financial viability of the company.
The inverter takes DC goodness from your roof top and converts to AC to power your home so reliability is key. The last thing you want is to find out your inverter has failed when you get a hefty electricity bill and with so many cheap inverters flooding the Australian market at the moment this happens more than you think. It pays to work with a partner who has a solid history selling quality inverters for a good period of time. They won’t keep selling them if they are failing.
Just what does that mean in the solar industry? Let’s just say it’s not a fun experience trying to track down your manufacturer for product support in a foreign country. Then there’s the question of just what your warranty covers. Be sure to ask the following questions – Who is installing your solar system? Are they accredited electrical contractors? Be sure your warranty covers all your needs, that includes installation (workmanship, and cabling), and products (inverters, and panels).
Now that you’re armed with the power of knowledge you can trust you’re making the right decision for YOU when it comes to investing in clean, reliable, and affordable energy solutions.