What you must consider before investing in solar panels

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With one in four Aussies installing solar on their roof, you may be rushing to get your hands on your own system. But before you start researching, here are some things you must consider before you invest in solar panels.

1. Cheap solar panels are cheap for a reason

The cost of solar in Australia has reduced in recent years due to better technology, and the government solar rebate. But, as with fine wine, you get what you pay for.

If you’re installing in a solar system, it’s a substantial financial investment. If you want to choose the best solar panels, the first thing is to focus on more than just the price tag.

Before you invest in solar, make sure you’re not falling for cheap solar quotes. Don’t just look at the solar panel price. Make sure you get high quality panels for a competitive price, like the Hyundai 390 Watt panels, as otherwise you’ll see a terrible return.

Buying cheap panels will save you a few bucks straight up, but it’s likely they’ll fail in a few years. By that time, the solar company that sold you such low price panels may have already gone into liquidation.

2. Will the panel manufacturer honour the warranties?

When you’re looking at which solar panels you should invest in, it’s important not only to look at the panel itself, but the brand that makes it. Are they established? Are they world-renowned? Do they have a good warranty and support system?

The difficulty with choosing a smaller, less established brand is that you can not always rely on them to be around for the 25 year lifetime of your panels. You also can’t rely on them to provide warranties that cover that 25 year lifetime.

This is why we choose to work with trusted partners including Hyundai, LG, Qcells, Sungrow, Goodwe and GE. Each of these solar technology manufacturers are well respected in the solar industry, with strong brands and business models across multiple markets. Hyundai and LG also offer both 25 year product and 25 year performance warranties.

When you choose to invest in solar panels from brands like Hyundai, listed at #81 on the Forbes list of the world’s most valuable brands, you know they’ll be around to honour your warranties.

If you’re not sure exactly what to look for in a warranty, check out this article on solar panel warranties.

Investing in solar panels with a higher efficiency will get you more power and take up less space on your roof.

3. What is the Module Efficiency of the Solar Panel?

It seems obvious, but the module efficiency of the solar panel can sometimes be overlooked when you’re thinking about investing in a solar panel system. This is because when you try to look up the efficiency of solar panels, it’s a sea of complicated data sheets that – to the regular Australian -make no bloody sense.

Basically, the rule of thumb is that you want a solar panel with an efficiency of at least 15%. The higher the efficiency, the more power it produces per square metre. Investing in solar panels with a higher efficiency will get you more power and take up less space on your roof.

High efficiency modules can be super expensive though, so you need to weigh up the price in regard to the value you’re getting.

For instance the LG Neon R 380Watt offers a huge 22% module efficiency, however it is twice the price of the Hyundai 390Watt Panel, which offers a 20.8% module efficiency.

4. Who is installing the solar panels?

Solar is a long term investment, so before you invest, you must consider both the quality of the installation company and the solar panel manufacturer. Even if you get the highest quality solar panels, you’ll never get a positive return on your investment if the panels are installed poorly.

Making sure that the company you choose has qualified and licensed electricians, accredited by the Clean Energy Council is key. This is because if there are any electrical extras you need, like switchboard or mains upgrades, you won’t need to source a separate electrical contractor.

The solar installation company you choose should also have these qualified electricians design your system. Some dodgy solar companies allow their salesman to design the system, so be sure to ask lots of questions if you think thats the case.

You system design should reduce any potential shade issues, and ensures your panels receive the most sunlight possible, recommending optimisers if necessary.

Last but not least, before you invest in solar, make sure you choose a company that trains and employs all staff in-house. This will give you peace of mind. You can relax knowing that you have one point of contact, and that they will provide aftercare and support for any technical issues.

Solar is a long term investment, so your choice of installation company and solar panel manufacturer are key.

To set up a free energy assessment with a solar specialist in your area, and find out how you can get a positive return on your solar investment, say g’day.

Econnect Solar acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We acknowledge their continuing connection to land, rivers and sea. We wish to pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.