Everyone loves a bonus, but when too much emphasis is placed on a bonus rather than the core product - the solar power system itself - it should be cause for concern. Bear in mind that most gadgets and bonuses included with solar power packages have cost the vendor far less than the retail value they put upon them. Unless the bonus is directly related to the solar power system, you will be better off forsaking the bonus and negotiating a cheaper price on the system!
If you are paying substantially less than many other similar size systems quoted
, you may be provided with poor quality equipment and/or poor installation work.
Quality equipment and installation isn't cheap and, like all other purchases, you often get what you pay for. Compare components and warranty periods and carry out checks into the company providing the installation
Solar panel certifications
This applies to all solar panel purchases, but especially to the purchases that could attract a government incentive. The certification on solar panels indicates the type of testing that has been done on them. For instance, TUV IEC 61215 confirms that the solar panels have been tested by an independent laboratory and have met their advertised specifications. Other certification types are often self-assessed and so rely on the company being honest what it claims.
More on panel types
It used to be the case that if you had limited roof space you would need highly efficient monocrystalline solar panels. This has rapidly changed with advances on polycrystalline panel technology and some thin film technologies.
Even if you have ample roof space you may still want to consider panel size vs. output
as filling up your roof with inefficient panels will affect your ability to add more panels at a later date, and does not maximize the power output of the space.
It is also important to bear in mind that regardless of claims, no solar panel technology will produce a significant amount of power in full shade and even partial shade may have a substantial impact.
Compare all components
Compare solar panels
- everything. Package deals are great way to save cash, but not all packages are created equal. For example, a company might use top quality solar panels, but skimp on inverter cabling and mounting system quality in the hope that the panel brand name will dazzle you and you will ignore the other components.
Beware of hidden costs
A low advertised price might not be just due to low quality components. While it's not unusual for prices to vary based on the type of structure upon which a solar power system is placed, any extra cost should be clear and not buried in fine print.
Get a few solar quotes
It always wise to gather a few solar quotes
when making a major purchase as you will find that prices vary widely between providers. Don't be swayed by price only as inferior components can be used to reduce the up-front cost of the system - but they may wind up costing you more in the long run in terms of reliability and efficiency.
Avoid high pressure sales people
High pressure sales tactics are unfortunately common in the solar industry. Try not to make decision on the spot but ask the person to let you consider the offer. If it is as good as they claim it will still be a good deal tomorrow. Pressured decisions on the spot often turn out to be less advantageous in reflection.
Solar fever sweeps the nation in waves and during these times providers can become backlogged. While you can expect a wait of up to a few months for a solar installer to perform your installation in some circumstances this is something you should be made aware of by the system provider.
Guarantees and warrantees
The durability or longevity of a solar panel is import for a number of reasons. For example it can be an indicator of the manufacturer's confidence in its products. Reputable solar panels will have a warranty period of 25 years.
However, an important point to remember about any warranty is that it will ofter only be honoured for as long as the company operatios. It's another reason to select a well-known brand of solar panel rather than an obscure low-cost brand from a company that may disappear overnight.